Start rocking your reputation!


7 Pro Web Design Tips That Will Make You More Money

  |   Business Tips, Website Design   |   21 Comments

Want to make money with your blog or small business website? Your first step is to make sure your design is marketing friendly, not just pretty to view. These 7 tips will help.


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!


What gives?


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!




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.





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.)





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!





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.)





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!





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.





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!





Erika Madden

(Chief Olyvia)



The free 21 day ecourse that creates pro online impressions for business owners!

  • Excellent tips! I’m not at the point of selling products or services yet, but I’m planning for that. Regardless, though, my goal as a blogger is to get more readers to actually come to my blog. (Makes sense, right?) I’ve moved my social media icons to my footer for that reason. I think so many bloggers focus on getting their numbers up on social media rather than getting their social media followers TO THEIR BLOG.

    I’m happy to say I do have my newsletter opt-ins in 3 places, but I do also use a pop-up. It’s set to only pop-up every 30 days for repeat visitors, though, and so far it’s really benefited me.

    Thanks for these tips. When I start promoting my services, I’ll definitely refer back to these.

    • Oh Kirsten thanks for your comment. 🙂 And you bring up a fabulous point for other bloggers — someone may not be selling anything currently, but many of these steps can (and should) be implemented NOW if they plan on doing so in the future! Things like having a mobile responsive site and being smart with your social media marketing applies to everyone.

      While I don’t recommend popups, I’m glad to see someone using a popup that actually DOESN’T reappear every time you visit the page. 😉 (Yes, I admit, I just had to test it. So often I see someone use a pop-up that they believe only appears every 30 days, when in reality it shows up on every. single. visit. Yikes!)

      Thanks for taking the time to give your input!

  • Great tips! Lots of take away for me. I need to work on my mobile site. It’s there, but it’s not the best yet. I need to find a 3rd place to put newsletter sign up too!

    • Kristie, I think your big signup form across your homepage is smart! I also really like how the signup form in the blog sidebar stands out with the contrasting colors. It catches the eye and looks professional. Nicely done. 🙂

  • Christina

    I’ve been asked before why I don’t provide program prices on my site. I suppose my concern in the past has been opening myself to the scrutiny of competitors. Instead I talk prices with interested customers when they come for a studio tour. What are your thoughts on that?

    • My first question would be, do you ever find yourself offering tours to people that then don’t go through with registering because the prices aren’t in their budget? If so, that would be a good indicator that you need some sort of “filter” so you aren’t wasting your time as a business owner trying to get clients that aren’t in your the market for your specific services.

      As far as competitors are concerned, if you can show the value + unique offerings of your program (which I believe you’ve done a good job in doing), my belief is that you don’t need to worry about displaying your pricing. Sure, they may use it as part of their marketing strategy (and may undercut you), but ultimately none of that matters if you have a strong business model and are uniquely positioned in the market. Offering unique value typically trumps price every time.

      If you’re interested, here’s a few good articles from respected sources for further reading on the subject:

  • Marianne

    Great points Erika. Especially the pricing one! Oooh that one drives me crazy!

  • nikkiham

    Ok, for the above that is applicable to me…I need to figure out how to get an email subscription form on each post. I have one at the top, bottom…phew! got that part right…I am mobile friendly…and check I do not over promote on social media, probably under-promote, I am working on that! Thanks for giving me some guidelines to work towards.

  • I was having huge trouble designing my sidebar opt-in since switching my email provider. You’ve convinced me to stop and adding it to the header or top-bar (depending on how I manage it). Thanks I was almost to the point of asking a refund!!

  • Great tips. One of the tips which I liked most is DON”t OVER-PROMOTE SOCIAL MEDIA. It’s very easy to get from the track as social media is right now very important for marketing. Many times designers overuse this function which can affect the site usability.

  • Cath Cox

    Great ideas! As a service provider, my call to action (BOOK NOW! instead of opt-in) is on every page.

  • Tips for Web Design was really cool. Awesome post. But the web design trends are constantly changing. You need to get updated with the latest trends to stand out from your competitors. What are the web design trends that will predominate in 2016? Check it out at

  • Abideen

    I agree with you on all 7 points. My favorite web design tip here is the pricing, and your stated users thoughts on this are spot on. Excellent tips, thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you so much for the thips! I hope I will soon make money with my blog!

  • Unaiza

    I am so much in love with your website! Plus your tips are like coming from heaven 😀 Seriously, I gulped every single bit of it and gonna apply them right away to my website. Thanks a ton!

  • Jason G.

    Very good information. I appreciate your taking time to post and share with others. I have been looking for some ways to improve my web presence and begin growing my small business. Really like the idea on the forms. Will definitely keep forms short and easy to complete. Thank you!

  • store singsys

    Nice post Erika, recommended for designers and small businesses. Thanks for sharing!

  • Great tips, Lots of ideas to learn to.

  • 9th Wonder Co.

    Great Tips! I immediately snatched my email pop up from my site while reading this. I kept hearing about how it was such a good idea, but then remembered that when I’m surfing the web and a pop comes up, I can’t stand it!

  • Lisa Vanderveen

    Love these Tips!! You’ve confirmed some I’ve heard before and I love the ones that are new to me! Thanks 🙂

    Lisa V in BC