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These days, it isn’t enough to just have a website. In order to make a splash — and to keep a business in the black — you need a website that not only is excellently designed, but which boasts a high conversion rate.
Conversion rate is compiled by analyzing the amount of site visitors who take the action you want them to, especially as compared to visitors who don’t, or who take no action at all. A high converting website isn’t just about providing the necessary information to the viewer; it’s about motivating them to do something about it.
That’s easier said than done. Whether you’re an experienced website designer or a newbie dipping your toes in the waters of design, here are seven absolutely critical skills that must be developed in order to create high converting websites that are remarkably well designed.
One of the main criteria for a high converting website is that it is crafted in a way that aims directly at the target audience. This plays into all aspects of design, from content creation to color choice — more about that later. Of course, if you don’t know who the target audience is, it’s impossible to spearhead your design efforts in a way that will reach them.
The ability to do research into your target audience and recognize what will most likely appeal to them is vital for a well-designed site that actually does its job. The target audience changes from site to site, of course, so developing this as a skill is highly recommended for a good site designer.
Since we’re talking about motivational factors that play into web design, the call to action, or CTA, deserves to be right up there among the most important.
Why is the usage of CTAs such a critical skill to develop? Because it isn’t just a matter of throwing a CTA or two in amongst your content. And it isn’t just a question of using them willy-nilly, either. Using too few CTAs can leave your website visitor feeling that they don’t know what step to take next; using too many can be off-putting, as though you’re solely focused on selling and not on the benefit to the viewer. Good CTAs function as signposts for the viewer, helping them to see what they should do next without demanding that they do so.
Developing your skill with CTAs includes educating yourself on the best practices of CTA use, including knowing where to place them, how to frame them, what colors to use, and how often to include them in your layout.
Since we’re talking about colors, we should move on to the next indispensable skill for high converting web design: use of graphic elements.
This skill includes knowledge of the psychologies of color and font, graphic styles and how they fit in with individual content, and even design and placement of the company logo. If you’re designing a site for yourself or offering graphic design services for your clients, it’s smart to also add auxiliary graphic design skills — or at least getting used to using online tools.
The look of your site is a key point to its conversion: for example, almost 100% of the first impression your site makes is based on how it looks, and about 40% of consumers won’t even engage with a site that they perceive as being unappealing. Engagement, of course, is an important first step to conversion, so designing a site that looks great is vital.
Combining the importance of visuals and the “signpost” function of a CTA, skilled use of focal points is another trick that good designers should learn. Learning to use a focal point for each page involves analyzing the content as a whole and choosing the most important information to highlight.
Some great ways to do this is through color choice, font hierarchy, or infographics. It’s wise to remember, however, that focal points should be used with restraint; emphasizing or highlighting too much information can be distracting and divert conversion.
If you want your site to convert, it’s vital to make the benefits of both visiting the site and conversion obvious to your viewers. Featured content is an excellent way to do this.
Typically, content should be educational, entertaining, instructional, or a mix of these qualities. Well-written articles add value to visiting the site, and even more so when you add new content on a regular basis.
Skilled content creation includes sub-skills such as regular uploading, scheduling, and use of SEO keywords to attract the attention of viewers and encourage them to convert.
Not every site has a landing page, but they’re common enough that the ability to design one — and design it well — is a great skill for a web designer to have. Landing pages are also excellent tools for conversion, and shouldn’t be overlooked if conversion is the main goal. And what site doesn’t want to convert?
Landing page design combines other skills — graphic and layout design, content creation, use of CTAs, etc. These pages are perfect for capturing attention, capitalizing on the fear of missing out, and spurring visitors on to take action quickly.
Landing pages can also be annoying if they pop up too often, are difficult to get rid of, or demand too much too soon. So this is definitely a skill that needs to be learned in order to maximize the benefit.
The final critical skill I want to highlight today is the ability to manage and update the site in a way that keeps it running smoothly, avoids the dreaded “404 Not Found” notice, and maintains the site at standard for loading times.
If your site takes too long — and “too long” could be four seconds or longer — then your visitors will often back right out, completely smashing your efforts to create a well-designed site that converts.
Creating a site that works well and converts high is great — but keeping it running at that same high level is definitely a critical skill for a web designer.
With this skill and the others mentioned here, designers new and experienced alike can boost the conversion rate of their sites and create an overall site design that they can be proud of.