Designing an effective website is easier said than done, yet is possible :) Small businesses want to ensure their website is designed to perform as a marketing tool and not just be another boring template site on the internet. Such sites are built with little understanding of the sales funnel concept and calls-to-action to help the conversion process. Your website can be a vital tool in your lead generation, moving site visitors towards a sales conversion.
With just a few simple design truths you can create a more effective website. It is a truth that is now more commonly embraced among website designers and usability experts, yet is a truth that is often ignored. So What is this Truth? It is the truth that simple websites are better.
Google’s First Impression Study
Google’s famous first impression study found that a user judges the beauty of a website in 1/50th of a second. In that time, users rate visually complex websites as less beautiful. A visually complex website is one that has many competing elements that call cognitive attention or user interaction. They can include icons, banners images, logos, titles, headlines, text blocks, ads, menus, drop-downs, social plugins, warning messages, search boxes, forms, text links, and anything else that a developer conjures up or a business owner demands. As the renowned industrial designer Dieter Rams said: “Good design is as little design as possible”.
Simplicity will improve everything: aid usability, improve aesthetics and website loading time, and pleases the user.
- Remove Extraneous Elements
- Create More White Space
- Below the Fold-line
- Better Sameness
People are visual and that means big, beautiful, quality image (optimised for faster loading of course) can grab their attention and convey a message more quickly than a big block of text they don't have time to read.
The goal of a website is to make it usable. The word “usable” is obviously relating to the user and their experience. So how do you make your homepage usable? For starters, you make it simpler. Usability and simplicity are correlated. Simpler websites are more effective, and effective websites work better. However, simply saying “make your homepage effective” isn’t all that tactical. Here are some actual ways that you can shape an effective homepage.
- Know Your Goal
- Consider Your Users Intent
- Reduce Choice
The goal of your website should culminate in an action. You want users to do something: read an article, sign up for a free trial, download a resource or buy a product. Your homepage must serve this purpose. It is the start of the process of guiding them down the path to the action you want them to take… you must call for this action on your homepage. Many websites commit a tragic error when they leave off the call to action. This is a serious mistake! The homepage is the most visited page on your website. It is a page of utmost importance and critical conversion potential. Don’t waste it. How can you drive conversions on your homepage?
- Use a prominent headline that calls for action
- Make your USP (unique selling proposition) a clear part of your homepage
- Feature a large CTA button above the fold-line on your homepage
The End Result is an Effective Website
Each of these elements are connected; Simplicity, Usability, and Action. A simple website is also a more effective website, and an effective website focuses on a single conversion action. Effective sites reduce choice, and reducing choice increases conversions. Each one is related and dependant on the others. As a result, once you start to focus on the first element of a killer homepage, you are forced to deal with the rest. Instead of being a cluttered placeholder for everything, your homepage is transformed into a powerful force to be reckoned with :)
David — OURDESK — Strategic IT & Website Packages for Small Business