Website design has come a long way since the dawn of the Web. Gone are the days of flashing banners, scrolling text and quirky animations. Today, the Web has matured into a platform where usability and conversions trump flash and ostentatiousness.
Software like Optimizely allows you to test what web design works best. Think that a green background would work better than a blue background? Run a test. Send half of your visitors to the green version and send the other half to the blue version. Then, look at which half creates the most sales for your business. If the blue background leads to the most sales, this is the version to choose. This is called A/B testing, and it holds the key to you unlocking more revenue from your website traffic.
We have discovered lots of fascinating information about web design thanks to this practice. While it is always worth testing ideas to see what works for your business, there are certain principles that have been proven to increase conversion rates.
The next time you are tempted to create a three-column website, think again. Studies consistently show that the highest-converting websites have a single column that starts at the top of the page and works its way down to the bottom. This may not look the prettiest – and it may not be the easiest way to present information – but it is a surprisingly effective approach. When you present information from top to bottom, your audience is more likely to read all your content, and more likely to buy your products.
Over the last few years, you may have noticed that buttons have gotten bigger and bigger. This is because A/B testing has shown us the value of making actions really, really obvious. If you want your visitor to click a button that says “Buy Now”, make it a bold color and increase its size. You should also have plenty of negative space around the button, which will help to draw your audience’s attention toward the place you want them to click.
We have also learned about the value of keeping things simple. In the past, businesses would be tempted to give their audience loads of options at once. If they don’t want the first option, they will have the chance to choose the second. But now we are learning that this technique rarely works. When you give your audience too many choices at once, they end up buying nothing at all. Best to present your audience with one offer per page, and then let them say “yes” or “no”. There is nothing that kills conversion rates like complexity.
Remember, different types of website traffic convert differently. Don’t assume that a method that works on AdWords will work on Facebook. You need to test and refine your campaign for each marketing channel. You need to be prepared to test everything, to alter your approach based on the data and to dismiss your instincts when they’re proven wrong.