7 Pro Web Design Tips That Will Make You More Money
You’re frustrated. You have a beautiful website that you’ve spent long hours designing yourself — or a lot of cash acquiring via the skills of a professional web designer — but it’s not helping you make money like you had hoped.
In fact, you’re getting only a few meager website visitors to sign up for your email list, hire your services, buy your products…or even fill out a contact form inquiry!
Having designed websites for over a decade, I’ll tell you:
A pretty website does not mean a profitable website. (Tweet it.)
And even the most visually elegant design can stink when it comes to conversion rates.
That’s because effective web design is only partially about aesthetics like crisp, eye-catching graphics and a clean color scheme.
In order to be successful from a business perspective, a website also has to be designed with savvy marketing, psychology, and user-experience principles in mind.
Below are 7 pro web design tips you need to know if you want your website to make you more money. Print them out and give them to your web designer, or use them yourself for your next redesign!
1. GO MOBILE-RESPONSIVE
If your visitors still have to do the “pinch and swipe” to get around your website, you’re not just momentarily annoying your potential customers, you’re harming your bottom line (AND your reputation).
In a Google study on mobile-friendly sites, 1 in 2 people said that they even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly. About the same amount said that a poor mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company and made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business.
(That’s a lot of negatives.)
On the flip side, almost 70% said that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service!
Having a mobile-responsive design is no longer just a really good idea; it’s a must. Ready for a challenge? Set a goal to make your website mobile responsive by the end of this year. It’s time.
2. DON’T OVER-PROMOTE SOCIAL MEDIA
To understand your online goals, I want you to think about your website as if it were a real brick-and-mortar location in your city.
Meanwhile, your social media accounts are the networking and customer service events you do around town (where you casually hang out, share your expertise, and make people aware of your business).
When people come to your office or store, what keeps you profitable? Showcasing what you do and getting them to stick around awhile in hopes that they’ll give you business…or bombarding them with flashy signs telling them to go find you at the next Chamber of Commerce meet-and-greet?
Your website is a great place to show people that you’re on social media, but remember your priorities. To make sales with your website, people need to be drawn into it and encouraged to stay there.
Don’t make it easy for them to leave too soon by over-advertising your social accounts!
“Oooo, look at all of her fab photos on Pinterest…Wait, what’s that one? Hey, I’ve been dying to learn about how to do that! I’m gonna go check it out…”
You can keep your social presence muted with simple, small icons and no more than two unobtrusive “like” or “follow” widgets. (I strongly recommend just one that you switch up every now and again.)
3. DISPLAY AT LEAST THREE EMAIL OPT-INS
Building a solid email list is key for many businesses, especially if you’re online-based. But you can’t get subscribers without first getting people to notice the opt-in form!
People need to see something an average of seven times before they take action. Yet, most email subscription forms are small, appear once on-page, and blend into an already-crowded sidebar. (Where’s yours? Be honest!)
If growing your list is a priority, you’ll want to give your email sign-up more exposure. A smart strategy is to place it in three prominent places on your website:
- at the top of the page
- at the bottom of each blog post
- in the footer
(This is much classier than perpetually annoying your visitors with an obnoxious pop-up, and you’ll get more qualified leads this way, too.)
Like earning EXTRA CREDIT? You get bonus points if you also find a place to put it inside your About Page!
4. REDUCE BUYING OPTIONS
If you want to sell more, you should offer a lot more options…right? Wrong.
Giving people an abundance of choices is one of THE biggest mistakes people can make in their business. Offering many custom options leads to “choice overload” — instead of encouraging people to buy, it makes them so overwhelmed that they decide not to go through with a purchase at all.
(To learn more, watch Sheena Iyengar’s brilliant TED talk on how to make choosing easier.)
So, instead of offering 10 different baby shoe designs in 20 different colors, aim for 3 signature designs in 5 best-selling colors. Or, rather than offering 8 levels of your service, whittle it down to 3 irresistible packages.
Featuring a few high quality offerings on your website will not only help people feel confident and clear about buying from you, it will also help bolster your reputation as an expert. (Because you and I know that real experts don’t do a little of everything. They do a lot of one thing…with excellence.)
5. GIVE SOCIAL PROOF
Before someone will buy from you, they need to trust you. However, gaining this trust is a BIG challenge online. Your word alone won’t cut it when people are choosing who to hand a substantial chunk of their change.
That’s why if you want to get business through your website, it’s essential that it displays “outside” evidence that you’re legit. Examples of this kind of social proof include:
- personal and/or biz testimonials
- logos of clients and/or media outlets that have featured you
- the number of subscribers to your email list
- the number of people following you on social media
- awards you’ve won
- books you’ve written (and actually sold)
- videos or podcasts of you being interviewed/giving a speech
- tweets from people praising your work
- photos of you with widely recognized people
- your (completed) LinkedIn profile
Sprinkle these trust tidbits around your site, but focus on placing them in headers, sidebars, and footers on your homepage and/or blog.
And, naturally, you should always showcase them on your sales page. That’s your place to shine; don’t be timid!
6. CUT OUT FORM FIELDS
On average only 1 in 5 people complete a website form after starting it.
This isn’t good news for you if your business depends on lengthy website forms to initiate project inquiries. You may think you’re making it easy on yourself by getting every last shred of information up front, but in reality you’re creating a biz-limiting obstacle to what should be your primary goal:
Making personal contact with your interested customer!
A good website makes it a breeze for people to move into a business relationship with you. Website forms should be brief (no more than 7 fields) and require only the most necessary information.
For instance, if you run a graphic design business, do you REALLY need to know what font styles a person likes when they first reach out to you? Those questions can — and should — wait until after the first contact, so go on. Delete it from your form.
7. FREELY SHARE PRICING
What is the #1 thing potential customers and clients want to see on your website? Hint: it’s not your contact information, your credentials, or whether you’re on Google+.
It’s your prices.
Failing to be transparent with your prices is a dud business practice. A website usability study by the Nielsen Norman group found that when people can’t find your prices, they automatically assume the worst (and quickly leave your site).
“If I have to ask, I probably can’t afford it.”
“They’re hiding the information I want…I can’t trust them.”
“I have no way of knowing if this is for me and my budget, so I’ll look somewhere else.”
You gain nothing by shrouding your prices in mystery, so start putting them out there. Also, be assured that if your prices vary — particularly if you’re in the creative or consulting industries — it’s perfectly acceptable to give price ranges or “starting at…” figures.
Readers, what’s your take? Have you changed something about your website that resulted in more conversions? What is your favorite web design tip here?
Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s discuss!