7 Website Design Elements that Affect Conversions (and Tips for Improving It)

by Corey Philip
February 6, 2020

Whenever a person visits a website, the first thing they will see is its interface. In the case of a conversion-focused website, this first impression is the “make or break” point to get a visitor’s attention and “convert” them from a visitor, then a lead, and lastly a customer.

Marketing promotions and offers definitely can enhance the chances of catching the interest of somebody visiting your site. But were you aware that your website design plays a huge role when people decide to stay or navigate away?

Your website’s appearance is similar to how you present a physical store to entice potential customers. A considerable portion of the everyday audience base their decisions on first impressions–the more beautifully presented a store or website is, the more comfortable they feel in it and the more likely they are to become a customer. Take H&M as an example: visiting their website should be as pleasant a shopping experience as visiting their physical locations.

If you want to make your website look attractive enough to increase the chances of website visitors converting, your website designing skills will surely be put to the test. But you don’t have to be an expert with years of experience! Sometimes, all you need to have is a firm grasp of the fundamentals of website design. From color to white space, designing your website following these principles is key to attracting more potential customers.

Here are 7 ways you can improve your website using design elements to convert more clients:

1. Hick's Law

According to British psychologist William Edmund Hick, the time it takes for someone to make a decision is proportionate to the options they have available. The more options you have laid out before you, the more time it will take for you to process each option and choose one.

From a web design perspective, applying Hick’s Law means limiting the number of options you provide your viewers to either navigate or perform an action while on your site. Otherwise, your viewers will be overwhelmed by the many things they need to process to proceed. Instead of staying like you want them to, they will choose the easy way out: clicking the Back button on their browser to return to the search engine results and look for a hassle-free site.

You can manipulate the options you provide your visitors so you can meet your end goals. Do you want to make visitors check out your services? Focus on a few options emphasizing this. You can start by providing website visitors with the most common navigation points to them, then work from there. Bottom line is you should not overload people with too many links.

Take the CNN website for example. Despite being information-intensive, the navigation system is kept simple by categorizing choices so users know where they can find what they need.

2. Simplicity is Beauty

When making a website, having too much clutter will overwhelm your viewers, which discourages them from revisiting your site. Just think of all the potential conversions you could have gotten had you simplified your design!

Websites should be as straightforward as possible without omitting any critical components. As stated with Hick’s Law, the more a human can see, the more time it takes to process. With a simpler design, it won’t take too long to look through your website, making visitors more engaged while navigating through your different web pages.

One way of doing so is to have white space on your site. Another is by adjusting the typography, including font size, style, formatting and positioning, so content is clearer and easier to read. With a less “crowded” website that has select content on the home page, you can control the focus of the viewer to that content without the risk of distracting them.

The Cade Martin website showcases simplicity beautifully. Navigation is concise, the white space lets you focus on the text without the feeling of clutter, while the font size attracts your attention to the most important part of the website.

3. The Rule of Thirds

First known as a principle of photography, the Rule of Thirds focuses on visually dividing an image into a three-by-three grid of equal proportions, and then strategically place key points on each intersection. 

The rationale for this is that these spots are where the human eye focuses on the most when analyzing a picture (or in this case, a website). Placing the parts of your website that will contribute to the “conversion factor” as near as possible to these intersection points, such as call-to-action buttons and testimonials, are a great way to boost conversion rates.

Following the Rule of Thirds, the "Create your crisps" and "Your brand, your products" on the Sia website is quite close to where the grid lines intersect. You immediately honed in on those areas, didn't you? Keep that in mind when you plan your website's layout.

4. The F-Layout

How does a person read a website? The answer: just like reading an article, a letter, or any piece of literature–left to right, top to bottom. This natural methodology of navigation is known as the F-Layout.

To have an engaging website, you need to place the essential components for engagement as close to the top as possible. That way, whenever someone sees your site, they do not need to scroll down further just to see what you want them to see — couple this with utilizing the Rule of Thirds to boost conversion significantly.

The more important the element is, the further up, further left it should be. Check out the Amazon website. Their most important element is the search bar, and you can immediately tell where it is at just a glance!

5. You Only Have Eight Seconds

…to get the attention of someone who visits your website! Make use of this opening as an opportunity for making your pitch to grab their attention and keep them on your website.

Here are a few ways you can manage to do this:

  • Easy-to-read, big but brief headline
  • Interactive multimedia content such as a video, eye-candy imagery and animated pop-ups
  • An informative homepage that immediately shows visitors what they came for

These, among other simple visual changes, will entice the visitor to act in just eight seconds so you can turn them into a customer.

Aside from that, you must also put into consideration the time it takes to load your site. Humans are known to be impatient, and even a single second of delay in loading your website can reduce the number of potential conversions. Make sure that your page is fully optimized for it to load as quickly as possible so you can fully utilize that eight seconds of pitch opportunity.

6. Colors and Contrasts

As crucial as text is, that’s not all your site is about. Sometimes, mere colors can invoke emotions in viewers that find their way on your website. Using contrast to your advantage to emphasize headlines, calls-to-action, and other vital components will boost conversion and your engagement with potential customers.

Think of having a background and foreground color, where your background makes the overall look of your website, while your foreground adds value to your calls-to-action and invokes the message you are trying to convey.

7. Using Images to Engage Further

Although we did mention that keeping your website simple will make things easier for potential customers, that doesn’t mean your site should be bare bones. Looking at a website with just a text and a few buttons can be very dull.

You can add high quality, compressed pictures to increase eye-candy without ruining your loading time. And while you’re at it, why not use an eye-catching image unique to your branding? Your viewers will easily associate your website content with it, getting them more interested in staying on your site.

Check this guide out on how you can engage your audience using visual content.

With these guidelines, you can make your website design work for you to gain more clients. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of the fundamentals of web design to attract more website visitors, and the rest will follow suit.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}