I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Internet industry since 1995 when I was the product manager for BellSouth.net, one of the first ISPs to be launched in the marketplace. Of course much has changed in the industry since then and will continue to do so going forward.
There has been a lot written about web design and I find it interesting that many books and courses that teach web design have little to no knowledge of the importance of converting website visitors to customers.
Conversions Are Your Bottom Line Goals For The Site
Every website should have a specific goal or action. We typically call this a “conversion”. And you need to test to discover the elements that help increase conversion. Xcellimark has had the opportunity over the last several years to conduct hundreds of AB split tests in order to prove what works and doesn’t work from a web design standpoint to get a conversion.
Elements of Web Design That Help Increase Conversions
So what are the most important elements of Website design within the context of ‘Conversions”? This list is not meant to be exhaustive, nor is it listed in any type of order of priority or importance. In reality, all of these elements are co-dependent and have to take into consideration how well you integrate them into a complete solution.
• Online Image – Online image is a big determining factor of your online credibility. In the consumer’s mind your online image represents your product and service quality. If your website looks cheap, they will think your products and services are cheap and inferior to your competitors.
• 7 Second Rule – You have 7 seconds (many experts say even less time) to answer 3 questions when someone comes to your website: Where am I?; What can I do here?; Why should I do it with you?
• Balanced Approach – You must balance your design, copy and conversion path with the focus on achieving a goal. This typically is interpreted as a conversion to a lead or an online customer acquisition.
• Focus on Conversion – Conversions are those visitors who perform the desired action of a website. Conversions can include generating a lead for a sales team, signing up for your monthly newsletter or white paper for your remarketing efforts, or acquiring the customer online through a purchase or subscription. Most businesses are focused on ROI today. It’s all about “what can you deliver now”. A pretty website is almost meaningless if it doesn’t grow the business in a strategic way. Conversion attributes such as motivation, value proposition, incentive, friction and anxiety have to be addressed as they impact your ability to convert website visitors.
• Website Management Systems – You need to have a secure and easy way to keep your website updated. Key functionalities such as a content management system, blog, analytics, email marketing, an intranet, and social media are capabilities that need to be a part of any website being developed today.
• Operational Integration – Your website must be integrated into the normal operations of your business. It is not just for your IT department or IT manager. It is a key component of your marketing, sales and customer service operations. This means dedicating the resources to properly maintain your website management system. It may also mean integrating your website management system into other core IT platforms such as your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) for marketing and sales management, email systems for remarketing efforts and potentially even your billing and customer service systems.
• Community Development – Customer’s today expect to be part of your online community. More businesses are now implementing their own online community capabilities so that clients don’t have to go to 3rd party social networks in order to find out what is going on. Building your own online community keeps your prospects and customers closer to you and generates a feeling that you are always open for business and connected to them. While you may not have this implemented in your current website, you should have a roadmap where this can be implemented for your business in the future.
Whether your business is small, medium or large, you must address each of these areas within the context of your market, competitors and customer expectations. You will not be able to effectively compete and grow your business today without an effective website marketing capability which includes a high-performance website system. All of the businesses we see growing today are doing so through their online website capabilities and related marketing efforts.
To get started on your new high-performance website that incorporates all of the important elements listed above, contact Xcellimark today.