Following on from my previous blog post Persuasive design: get your website to convert more (part 1), I’m continuing to look into the importance of ‘conversion optimisation’ within websites. Last time, I gave an overview on ‘what’ conversion optimisation/persuasive design was and ‘why’ it is important to all businesses with a website. Now, I’ll give some general pointers into ‘how’ this can be achieved.
Before I go on, I’ve got to give some deserved credit to Andrew Gordon (@AndyLloydGordon) – who gave a very informative course on this subject, of which is the inspiration of these posts. Since this course, I have tried to put the following into practice when designing sites for clients, which I will demonstrate with a recent website design for ‘Arnold Tyres’:
1. Grab attention
This is obviously crucial, as you want your visitor to stay on your site as long as possible. Making your site relevant, aesthetically pleasing and engaging will help you achieve this. Decreasing the amount of drop offs can only be beneficial to your eventual conversion rate.
2. Provide big picture (context) – 5 second rule
First impressions are everything. Us humans are always seeking speed and efficiency when it comes to viewing and using the world wide web. So convincing them straight away that your site is right for them is a must. Within the first 5 seconds of your visitor landing on your site, they need to know exactly what you do and what you offer – or frustration and confusion will begin to kick in. Having prominent type somewhere in your design will help you achieve this:
3. Make claims & gains
In order to ‘convert’ you need to convince or persuade your visitor that what you are offering will genuinely benefit them. This doesn’t mean spammy, false promises. It means communicating a worthwhile proposition for them in a trustworthy way. (Hopefully) like so…
4. Provide proof (especially social)
We as users are all naturally aware (and perhaps overly sceptical) of content given by a company about how good they are. We all know that this content is fuelled and that it is included in order to try and persuade us to invest in their product/service. Having ‘proof’ that illustrates to the user that other people like them have had good experiences tends to be a lot more effective. Having clear and genuine testimonials, along with having one eye on your social media reputation are effective ways to provide this ‘proof’.
5. Handle objections
When browsing a site, we all subliminally create questions for ourselves that may ultimately decide whether or not we invest in what the website is offering. For example, questions that a visitor on the Arnold Tyres site may ask themselves is ‘Are they trustworthy?’ or ’Are they expensive?’. Having content, proof and a general tone that counteract these worries will more that likely heighten the chance of that visitor becoming a conversion.
6. Clear call to actions (especially the MWA – Most Wanted Action)
When optimising your site for conversions, you need to know what you are optimising it for. What is the intended final ‘goal’ for your site (or even page on your site). Once you’ve figured that out, you can target it in a more direct way – allowing it to become the focal point of your design and thus encouraging people to follow that journey through your site:
7. Provide value propositions
Similar to point 3, a value proposition simply translates into ‘why I should buy’, or ‘what’s in it for me?’. Having offers, trials or just a simple list of benefits could solidify any decision by the visitor to buy on your site.
8. Tap into human traits – faces
Looking into human psychology more thoroughly, there are certain tendencies that we all do and incidentally have always done. These tendencies can work to our advantage when encouraging our users to focus on certain elements of your site. Using human faces is one of them.
It is a part of our primal nature that when presented with a human face, we look at it. It sounds obvious, but when put into the context of web design it can be invaluable. Images of people can be a huge tool in getting the visitor to empathise and relate to your business and what you are offering. Having a picture of a mechanic not only instantly draws the eye (our primal instinct), but also can stir up emotions of “this mechanic knows what he is doing”:
9. Tap into human traits – movement
Another primal tendency we all have, is the automatic attention to movement. This may relate to our hunter gatherer instincts, and again can be used to create focal points within our site. Having a simple animation on the page can draw this natural reaction, and in turn heighten the likelihood of the user completing your ‘most wanted action(s)’.
10. Provide mental shortcuts
Our brains always try and associate sections of mental data with each other, in order to take a ‘shortcut’ to the final outcome, emotion or reaction. This can again be used to our advantage – forcing the user to make mental shortcuts that favour what we are trying to convey. For example, a black and white image can make us feel like the image is ‘prestigious’ or ‘old’, even if it was taken the same day as it was viewed. This is a perfect example of our brains seeing it once, and taking a (perhaps incorrect) shorcut into how you should feel about it.
Know of any more techniques that work? Drop me a comment below!