Five Essential Web Design Principles To Skyrocket Your Conversion Rate

We all know that having a good website is important. But how important, exactly? 46% of people say a website’s design is the number 1 indicator if a business is credible or not (according to a study by Stanford University).

Want to know something even more shocking? 38% of visitors would leave a website if it’s not aesthetically attractive. That’s a lot of leads that could have become customers!

Responsiveness and conversion are our main goals when we create websites for clients.

Responsiveness and Conversion of Website - Microswift
Getting your website to convert visitors to customers is our goal.

So when it comes to web design, we take it very seriously. Responsiveness and conversion are our main goals when we create websites for clients. In this article, our experienced web design experts will share with you the 5 fundamental web design principles that will give you an immediate and sustainable boost to your conversion. Let’s dive right in:

Principle #1. Less is More

It takes about 50 milliseconds (0.05 second) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your website, or if they want to leave or stay.

As humans, our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. The average attention span is now merely 8 seconds (yes we officially have a shorter attention span than goldfish (?!). When it comes to websites, this becomes even more critical. It takes about 50 milliseconds (0.05 second) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your website, or if they want to leave or stay.

So don’t bombard them with too many texts, images, links or Calls-to-action (CTAs). Keep it simple, clean, and straightforward. Don’t let visitors have to guess where to click or how to navigate the site. Make it obvious even for first-time visitors what you want them to do.

In the example below, you can see a website we created for Ocean Dental Care Oakville. There are only 8 navigation tab and the CTA “Book Online” is clear and obvious at the top left corner. On top of that, the images we used also nicely complement each other in both colours and compositions.

Simplicity in design for dental clinic - Ocean Dental Care Oakville - Microswift
Ocean Dental Care Oakville - Website Homepage

People can only handle so much information at one, so if they see too much information all crammed into one page, they’ll get overwhelmed and will hesitant to make any decision. It links to “decision paralysis” when we are presented with too many options that it’s hard to choose and we end up not choosing at all. In this case, if visitors are offered too many options/ CTAs, they might end up not clicking anything and just exit the site altogether.

Simplicity is more than just limiting the options. It’s also about a minimalist and clean website design that’s free of distraction and clutters. It’s also more aesthetically pleasing and easier on the eyes. In recent years, the web landscape has become more appreciative of the clean layout look and focus more on the interactive components of the website, like videos, creative animation, etc, so make sure that your website is modern and up to date with the latest website design trends!

Principle #2: Follow the F layout

Following the F layout - Microswift

Researchers found that reading the screen in a "F" pattern is the natural behaviour of a user when browsing the web. To the left is a heat map showing where users’ eyes usually land on a web page.

As you can see, people first look at the top of the screen from left to right. Then they scan down the page, making small forays into the content. The bottom right of a website is the region that gets the least visibility.

So what does it have to do with improving your website’s conversion? You can take advantage of this behaviour by positioning the most important objects and calls to action along the lines of the F-shape and putting less important objects in lower areas of visibility.

For example, you should place the company’s logo/ main call to action/ important information at the top of the page to the left side as this is where users will first look. Reversely, you can place less important information like ads and cookies policy on the right sidebar or bottom right of the page.

Principle #3: Use Testimonials and Third-Party Validation to Build Trust

Having real testimonials visible on your home page is one of the best ways to portray credibility to new visitors. Just providing a testimonial section for your customers can be enough to win your visitors ' trust. This is because they are evidence, first and foremost, that you have clients and are therefore a legitimate business and not some kind of online scam. Second, testimonials are like past customers’ positive reviews. The more testimonials you have, the more visitors will regard you as a trustworthy company.

a good example of using customer testimonials - microswift
A good example of using customer testimonials on websites

Customer testimonials not only help place your company in a favourable and respectable light but also help explain how valuable your product or service is. A good customer testimonial will include what the customer's need was and how your product or service was the solution to that need.

If in your testimonials they are able to relate to the consumers, it will be easier for them to relate to your brand. When it comes to attracting new customers, such an emotional connection can be a powerful tool. Make sure to use the names and pictures of the customers delivering the testimonials to make it even easier for visitors to connect with them on an emotional level.

Additionally, another way to build social proof for your business is to have the logos/ endorsements from credible and well-known brands, awards or features in magazines/ newspapers. This is one of the best ways to showcase the prestige and trustworthiness of your business.

Third party endorsement example - microswift
How we use third-party endorsements on our website

Principle #4: Use Human Faces in Your Images To Increase Familiarity

the use of human faces in websites - microswift
Using human faces at the centre of your website helps evoke emotions in visitors (from Moonstone Dental Care)

We love human faces. According to designer Sabina Idler, when we see a face, we're prompted to feel something or empathize with that person immediately. When we notice the content on a website — such as a problem, question, habit or anything else — we feel connected and understood. Make sure you have faces in your posts, case studies and testimonials, landing pages and opt-in pages to improve your conversions.

Also, make sure to use high-quality and relevant images, since low-quality, lifeless or bland images can turn off visitors and negatively affect their perception of your brand. Remember: people like brands that they feel resonated with. If your pictures are too "stuffy" or "corporate," you're going to turn away your visitors. Research from Skyword showed that you will get an average of 94 percent more views if your content contains convincing images.

So instead of using bland images, source high-quality photos or better yet, get your own personalized photos and videos specially made for your business to develop a more positive and personal connection with consumers.

Principle #5: Mobile Responsiveness is Simply A Must

mobile responsiveness in web design - microswift

Eighty-five percent of adults agree that a company's website should be as good or better than its desktop website when viewed on a mobile device. All websites should feature responsive web design nowadays. In other words, the display of the website should adjust based on the pixel width of the website upon which it’s being viewed.

Besides, smartphones accounted for 63 percent of all retail website visits as of 2018. Lots of transactions are happening online as online shopping becomes the new norm in our everyday life. As a result, your website simply NEEDS to be mobile-optimized to cater to the growing number of mobile users, because if you don’t, your visitor who’s looking at your site on their mobile device will likely leave and come to your competitor’s site instead.

That’s it for now! We hope that these tips will inspire you to do a little website audit and assess what changes need to be down and if you have any questions on building a beautiful, responsive and conversion-driven website, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time!

In the future we will share even more tips on how you can fully optimize your website to maximize your conversion rate, so make sure to follow our newsletter and check our blog regularly for future insights!

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