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Six secrets to designing websites that drive conversions

Website design is trickier than it looks. The technical aspects have to be balanced with visuals that are appealing and that guide the eye appropriately. Both text and image have to work together to guide the viewer to take the kind of action that you want them to. Here are Oxygen’s six secrets to designing a website that drives conversions.

“The way to drive conversions is to focus on guiding the viewer to take the action you want them to, right from the outset.”

Website design secret #1 – decide what you want to achieve

The way to drive conversions is to focus on guiding the viewer to take the action you want them to right from the outset. This means placing your contact details and possibly even a contact form ‘above the fold’ (or within what is visible when your homepage first loads). Mastheads which include contact details are useful when you want a customer to call, because your homepage may not be the first page a visitor lands on. You should also arrange text, images and negative space in such a way that they guide the visitor towards the buttons you want them to click, especially if you want them to subscribe to a mailing list, or submit a form. Think about the focus for each page and make sure you don’t lose sight of it during the design process. Each page should have only one call-to-action, as several will confuse the viewer.

Website design secret #2 − keep it simple

The key to a great website design is to keep it simple and balanced. Use large, medium and small elements in harmony and leave enough empty space. Keep clutter to a minimum. This is particularly important if you don’t have a specially designed mobile site and your main site is likely to be accessed on mobiles and tablets. Consider placing less important links in a footer for instance. Place your logo prominently (top left-hand side is ideal) and link it to your homepage. Try to keep the navigation intuitive, with no more than five to seven main pages, and no more than three layers i.e. main ideas, topics and sub-topics, so that viewers don’t become confused and overwhelmed.

Website design secret #3 – use colour effectively

Of course, your well designed logo should sit at the top of each page and help to define your brand. But you should also use colour strategically to guide the eye towards whatever you want to be noticed. Use neutral colours to achieve a clean and elegant look with flashes of colour wherever you need to emphasise something. Avoid dark backgrounds or text colours which are similar to the background colour. These will reduce legibility significantly and the time visitors spend on your site. You should also avoid blue or underlined text as these usually indicate links.

Website design secret #4 – keep text friendly

You’ll need the text on your website to be easy to read, concise and nicely broken up in order to keep viewers reading. So select a font that is easy on the eye in no less than an 11pt size and which is easily legible on all formats and all browsers. Sans serif fonts are generally easier to read on a screen. Inconsistently centred text looks messy. Use responsive design so that text displays properly in either case. Your copy should be geared towards your target audience with paragraphs no more than five lines long. And of course, it should be carefully checked for grammatical and spelling errors.

Website design secret #5 – make buttons appealing

You want to make buttons irresistible to boost click through rates. But sometimes these are forgotten and form the ugliest part of the site. ‘Submit’ buttons etc. should change colour, font treatment, gradient or opacity when the user hovers over them.

Website design secret #6 – use good photos

Good photographs enhance the look of your website as no other visual element can. Unfortunately the use of free or poor stock photos is all too common and gives websites and brands a generic look. Consider commissioning your own professional photographs or sourcing high quality stock ones that truly represent what you do. They’ll provide a proper emotional connection to your brand.

Just finally, although it’s not a design tip, you need to make sure your brand new website will be seen. So check that your site is accessible to everyone, regardless of browser, format or device. The only way to do this is to design intelligently and test to make sure.

 

If you’re having trouble coming up with a website that does what you need it to, give Oxygen a call today on 0845 2606 255. From specialist mobile sites to online shopping and back-office integration, our web designers can craft whatever you need.

 

 

Steve Lodge: Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.