The point of a business website is to produce more business. It is important to have a website, but if it does not produce anything, you have a piece of art, not a lead generation tool. You can do all the marketing you want, have your site rank well in Google and drive as much traffic as you want to your site, but if these visitors don’t do anything when they get there, it is all for naught. This is why focusing on converting the visitors on your website into leads is so essential.
The design of a website can have a massive impact on your visitor’s conversion rate. A study undertaken by Adobe found that 38% of people will actually leave a website all together if it is unattractive. In the same study, it was found that two thirds of people are more likely to read something on a beautifully designed site than a plain looking site. With these sort of results from a reputable company, it is easy to understand how important website design really is to your online business strategy.
The British psychologist William Edmund Hick determined that “the time it takes for an individual to make a decision is directly proportionate to the amount of possible choices that he or she has”. This obviously can be applied to e-commerce websites, but less obvious are the smaller choices that lead to a conversion. Your contact form may be left if there are too many parts to fill out, or a survey with too many questions may result in the person leaving the survey half complete. Even the amount of pages in a menu can have an impact on the decision making process.
It is often better to make the decision making process as easy as possible for the visitor. This doesn’t mean only selling one product or focusing on only one service, it simply means that displaying those products and services strategically on the website will improve the lead generating power of the site. This is where landing pages are best utilised, providing a single, clear option that the visitor can make the decision to purchase, learn more or move on.
Heatmapping has provided conversion optimisation experts and marketers with the opportunity to see more of how visitors are interacting with websites. The Gutenberg diagram provides a general overview of the pattern the eyes make when viewing homogenous, evenly distributed, text-heavy content. As you can see in the diagram, readers often move in a sweeping movement down the page with each sweep moving a little further from the left edge and closer to the right. Thus, information in the top right and bottom left of the page is often missed entirely.
F Layout is based on Jacob Nielsen’s work in eye tracking for his company. He discovered that people start reading content horizontally from left to right in a sweeping motion, but the sweeps become more aligned with the left hand side, moving down the page. It was discovered that visitors are less likely to ‘read’ online and instead scan through articles. This is where headlines can make the greatest impact as well as keeping the most important information at the top of the design.
Z Pattern suggests that visitors view information in the format indicated in the image above. Visitors move their eyes from left to right in a horizontal movement and then diagonally down to the next bit of information from left to right. This is often why website designers will zigzag their images next to their content, increasing readability and maximising the potential for the information to be consumed.
Page Load Times
An article about conversions would not be complete without a discussion on page load times. Especially considering most visitors will only give a website 3 seconds to load before they move on. It was found by the Aberdeen Group that there is a 7% reduction in conversions in a single second of delay. The longer a visitor has to wait, the less likely they are to purchase, if they wait for the site to load at all. This is why a well designed website, content delivery networks and a decent server are so important.
The Psychology of Colour
There are countless articles and infographics about the psychology of colour. Red creates passion and desire, black indicates luxury and exclusivity, purple royalty and prestige. While on the surface it may appear that the colour of a website is not as black and white as this, on the subconscious level it is accurate. Colour is so often linked to an emotion and when this colour is viewed, that emotioin is evoked and the visitor reacts.
There is a famous picture of Mars that shows a human face on the surface. Conspiracy theorists have suggested that this is evidence of life on Mars, but is is simply Pareidolia. Pareidolia is the psychological term for finding faces in unusual objects and of course the face on Mars was not actually built by aliens, it was merely the shadowing of the mountain that produced a somewhat familiar shape, a human face. People love human faces, they are familiar and help your visitor connect with your business. This in turn boosts your conversion rate, improving your lead generation and driving more business.
You have about 8 seconds worth of attention before your visitor stops focusing on your content. This is the average human attention span and in this time if your visitor isn’t engaged, your conversion rate suffers. In this 8 seconds it is essential to get your businesses message across in a direct, clear way. Your visitor needs to know as soon as possible how they can benefit from purchasing your product or services. Grab their attention with animation, get them to act with large signup buttons and add video to your site to make it as easy as possible for them to consume the information.
With data about your visitors so readily available through analytics tools and heatmapping, it has become easier to determine what leads a prospect to a decision on your website. By reducing the amount of options available, a visitor is more likely to make a faster decision about purchasing your products or services. Page speed plays a big role in conversion rate, with less than 3 seconds being the optimal speed.
There are different reading patterns that visitors use to read content online. By designing with an awareness of these patterns, content can be consumed more effectively and your business message will be more effectively portrayed. Use colour to evoke emotion, animation to grab the visitor’s attention and human faces to provide familiarity in your brand. Don’t waste your 8 seconds with irrelevant content, get your visitors to act now.