We all know that first impressions matter… a lot.
In the past, traditional storefronts provided a first look into a business, but today’s consumers are only one click away from deciding how they feel about your brand. In just a second on your website, potential customers have already formed an opinion and decided whether to stay or leave.
Obviously, your website is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have. This is especially true for small businesses, where the layout and design of your site has a significant impact on your engagement levels, conversion rates, and overall revenue that you’re able to generate from your site.
Here are 4 of the top persuasive website design principles that will entice users to your site, delight them once they’re there, and keep them coming back for more time and time again.
Remember, users are likely to land on any of your pages, not just your homepage, especially if your website is optimized for SEO.
Visitors coming to your site are most likely considering two things:
- does your website offer what they need?
- are they able to find it easily?
To make sure you’re meeting their needs no matter where they land on your site, treat each page as a landing page. This means making the message clear across all of your pages so your users understand what you want them to do next.
This is commonly referred to as a “Visual Hierarchy,” and it’s probably one of the most important principles behind persuasive web design. When you use visual hierarchy correctly, you’re showing the user exactly where they need to go next, what they need to do, and what is important, so there is no need for them to wander around aimlessly and potentially getting frustrated.
Tips for creating “Visual Hierarchy” on your site:
- incorporate white space to make important content stand out
- use larger font sizes to draw attention to specific details you’d want the user to read (like scarcity messaging or a value proposition)
- highlight your CTAs in a different color with action-driven verbs such as “Book Now”, “Get Discount”, or “Claim Yours.”
Simplicity is key when it comes to creating persuasive website design.
Keep the content and language clear so that anyone can find it easy to understand, no matter their background. The last thing you want to do is scare away a potential customer by using overly technical terms or jargon they may not relate too.
People love and resonate with familiarity, so your website should not be the place to re-invent the wheel. Keep your site uncluttered and clearly labeled. According to heat maps, eye tracking studies and consumer behavior statistics, users read the screen in an ‘F’ pattern, focusing on the top upper-left corner and left sides of the screen, which is where you should place the most important elements of your site like your logo, navigation and calls to action.
Every website that has persuasive design prioritizes “usability.” The customer journey on your site should always be simple, easy, and 100% free of any unnecessary clicks.
For example, how frustrating would it be to build what you think is the “perfect” lead form, only to find out your users don’t respond well to its design and are abandoning your site when they get to this step?
The most effective way to understand what your users want or don’t want, like or don’t like, need or don’t need is by User Testing.
User Testing is the only way to get a deep dive into your users’ frustrations and avoid exposing them to experiences or features that they respond negatively to. Take the time to create a flow or user journey by mapping out the steps you’d like them to take so they don’t get confused, sidetracked, bored, or, worse, frustrated.
Here are a few easy ways to improve your site’s usability:
- Leave strategic ‘bread crumbs’ throughout your site that guide users where to navigate to next
- Follow the ‘three click rule’ which means users should able to find what they need in three clicks or less
- We get it. There is probably a lot of information about your business your ready to share, but first and foremost you should respect your users’ time and keep pages filled only with the information and functionality they’ll need to take action.
- Lastly, if you’re website isn’t responsive by now then you’re missing out on a huge window of opportunity. Today, consumers are constantly on the go and according to Google, 52% of users say that a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with a company, so a responsive site can be a huge deal-breaker!
To stay competitive, design your website for “desirability,” or what an end-user will find desirable.
Despite the slow rise of user-centered design, we still find that many businesses are designing for themselves. Your website MUST be designed with the users needs in mind.
A user-centered website is much more effective and valuable and will keep users coming back time and time again, creating “brand loyalty.”
In e-commerce, up-selling has become a very popular technique to improve desirability. For example, maybe your website data suggests that after booking a flight on your travel website, your users tend to come back to book a hotel. So, imagine you have a user who is just about to book their flight to Austin, Texas. This is the perfect opportunity to show them availability for Austin hotels, a promo code they could apply for a hotel, or even the savings they could get by booking both their flight and hotel together.
The point here is that if you do the research to understand your users better, you’ll be able to create solutions that are more desirable to them.
Users Come First
Ultimately, persuasive web design comes down to focusing on your users’ needs, minimizing distractions and frustrations, and boosting desirability. When visitors have a good experience using your website and are able to achieve their goals quickly and easily, they will come back again and again, and maybe even recommend your website to others.
Need help creating a more persuasive website or app? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.