7 essential website design tips to attract, nurture and convert more customers
If you are in the process of building or updating your online presence, consider these 7 essential website design tips that will help you attract, nurture and convert more customers.
As brand artisans and serial entrepreneurs, my team and I have compiled some solid insights over the about what it takes to build an engaging website.
Below are the top 7 essential elements that you need to incorporate into your website design if you want to attract, nurture and convert customers.
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1. LANDING PAGE
The landing page is the main page used to communicate who you are, who you serve and how you serve them.
Depending on your business model and product offering you may strategically use a variety of landing pages, but for most businesses this main page is the homepage.
In fact, visitors may reach your website in different ways but will automatically navigate to your homepage if they feel compelled to learn more about you.
Given its importance, the home page has to be designed to immediately resonate with your audience, engage them and provide a compelling reason to take action.
We experiment with many different landing page layouts for our websites and have found the following components to be useful:
Powerful Headline — this is a short but significant statement about who you serve and what you have that benefits them.
Strong Call-to-Actions — this is a clear indicator of how you want you want your visitors to do next (such as a Shop Now button).
Relevant Imagery — a highly effective image (or set of images) that help you visually connect with your visitors
Informative Story — a longer summary statement about who you are, who you serve and what you offer (your value proposition)
Features Snapshot — a benefits-focused outline of your offerings so your visitors understand what they can expect from you
Streamlined Navigation — an easy way for visitors to explore more by directing them to the secondary pages on your website
Footer Section — a section at the bottom of the page where additional information and navigation can be found
Trust Factors — supplemental elements that help establish familiarity and build trust with your visitors.
Our homepage here on Everesse provides a simple but robust overview of what the platform is all about with a focus on inciting readers to explore our editorials and offerings.
But, as mentioned, some businesses will have more than one landing page and strategically determine the layout based on their goal.
Likewise, when building your homepage or any other landing page(s) always keep the end goal in mind and design the layout to nudge your audience towards that goal.
One of the reasons why we love Squarespace is that they have a number of built-in features that allow you to quickly build landing pages for your website.
2. EMAIL CAPTURE
Your website must include elements that turn a visitor into a lead. The best way to do that is to create a sales funnel with email capture as the key goal and then figure out how each page of your website will support it.
Capturing email is critical as it allows you to communicate directly with individuals who’ve expressed interest in your business.
Email is one of the best channels for customer acquisition given its high conversion rate and return on investment.
For this website and those we sale, we set up a few different email-centric sales funnels based on the source of traffic.
For example, if we envision most of the traffic coming from Pinterest the sales funnel is as follows:
Pinterest » Blog Post » Homepage » Email Capture » Email Series » Landing Page
Or, for those who navigate to the homepage to investigate more:
Pinterest » Blog Post » Homepage » Email Capture » Email Series » Landing Page
Pinterest — this is an excellent source of traffic that’s easier to rank for than Google, so we design many of our websites to be “Pinterest friendly” with many pinnable images and graphics.
Blog Posts — as discussed below, consistent content creation is one of our most important means of attracting and connecting with visitors.
Homepage — as mentioned above, the homepage is typically the main landing page and should prioritize the most important goals for the website.
Email Capture — capture email using high-value complimentary opt-ins and ensure visitors know that turning over their email will be worth it.
Email Series — take your subscribers through a robust evergreen email series to educate, engage and further establish trust before pitching your products.
Landing Page — in addition to your homepage, you may have landing pages set up for products and services and can link to those from your email sales pitch.
I can’t stress enough the importance of putting a mechanism in place to attract qualified visitors, turn them into leads, and nurture those leads until they are ready to be converted into customers.
No matter what type of business you run, take time to build an effective sales funnel and have a point of entry (i.e. email capture) on multiple areas of your website.
Squarespace has a built-in email campaign manager that you can use to build your subscriber list. If your website lives on Squarespace this is the easiest way to execute your email strategy as everything is in one place instead of you having to switch between platforms.
If you aren’t using Squarespace for your webiste or want a slightly more sophisticated but still easy-to-use email manager I recommend Convertkit, which we use for some of our brands and clients.
3. VISUAL IDENTITY
A stunning design is not a nice-to-have but a must-have. You only have a short period of time to convince your visitors that you are relevant to them.
For our clients, both large and small, we typically see, on average, visitors stay on a website for only 60 seconds with over 60% leaving before even navigating to a second page.
We’ve surveyed hundreds of entrepreneurs and found that the aesthetic is a primary determinant of whether someone will stick around or not. Beauty buys you time so it it pays to spend the effort building your brand strategy.
Your brand strategy touches on various elements of how you position your business but the outcome should be a style guide that you use to design a consistent visual identity (logos, fonts, colors, images, etc.) that makes your site look polished and professional.
I highly recommend taking a business branding course to understand the elements that go into your visual identity. A brand strategy will also be extremely valuable in crafting your copywriting strategy, as discussed below.
Branding comes into play once again with your voice and tone as you want to be consistent in the way you message and communicate with your audience.
Once you have a strategic plan for your voice, it is worth investing in a copywriter to bring it to life (if you don’t consider yourself to be a strong writer).
Because we love writing as much as designing, we do the bulk of the writing for our websites. However, for most of our clients we advise finding a skilled writer who knows how to write high-converting copy — especially for the sales-driven email and product pages.
But if you are a good writer and want to do-it-yourself, keep these tips in mind:
Use your own voice — be consistent and genuine. If you are a person, write like you speak in real life. If you run a brand with a distinct identity (apart from you), then stay true to the brand voice you developed in your brand strategy.
Keep it simple — because you are ultimately selling products to visitors with short attention spans, get to the point. An online business website is not the place for overly flourished, academic, or hyped up writing.
Understand your audience — focus on your niche and build your persona so you use words that they can relate to. Don’t be so broad in who you are trying to reach that you end up watering down your message.
Focus on benefits — the reader needs to clearly and quickly understand how what you offer is valuable to them. When discussing your products highlight the benefits and why it meets their needs.
Insert emotional words — because you are solving problems or meeting needs you need to incorporate words that connect emotionally with your audience.
Humans may be rational beings, but we make decisions with our emotions. Power words are those that stir up feelings and only through feelings can you inspire action.
Have a strong CTA — if nothing else, be direct about how you want your audience to engage with you. Don’t assume they will know what to do next, lead them to it.
A call-to-action is what prompts a visitor to do something — it’s pretty hard to convert without them.
5. BLOG POSTS
Consistent development of value-added content is the lifeblood of websites, and what easier way to accomplish this than via a blog?
Blogs are an excellent means of serving your audience, building authority and thought leadership in your field and driving traffic to your website.
Blogs are especially powerful if you publish posts with an end goal in mind (i.e. understanding that you ultimately want to generate quality leads that you can eventually convert to customers).
Starting a blog and maintaining it on a regular basis will be one of the best things you can do to market your business and attract your perfect customer. This is why we build blogs for every website we create.
6. HIGH-QUALITY UX
The most important considerations for a high-quality user experience (UX) is to make sure your website is performing optimally when it comes to the following elements:
Ease — Visitors need to be able to navigate your website with ease so build your interface with flow in mind.
Speed — People are impatient so your web pages need to load fast (use Google PageSpeed to assess the speed of your site and make any recommended improvements).
Responsiveness — Your website needs to look good on multiple devices (especially mobile as, according to Statista, over 50% of website traffic is via mobile devices).
7. TRUST FACTORS
Trust factors are all of the supporting elements that convince visitors that you can legitimately add value to them. These are the things that make a visitor think “I like them and believe they can help me”.
All of the aforementioned elements of a website serve as the most important ways of building trust. However, we’ve found that the strategic use of different content formats also works wonders in connecting with visitors.
Most websites rely almost exclusively on words and images to communicate. However, given the rise of video and audio we also think it’ll soon get to the point where you'll have to offer content in a wider variety of formats.
Moreover, people prefer to consume information in different ways. For instance, I love to read and almost always prefer words over other formats.
But it’s clear that most people have short attention spans and limited time so I’m probably in the minority. Reading is increasingly taking a back seat to listening and watching.
The key takeaway here is that words and images can be quite flat and static. Alternate formats create depth and texture — leading to a more dynamic experience that builds trust.
Because of these trends in content consumption, we incorporate a full range of formats — video, audio, words and images — into the websites we create.
Now, other common trust factors are press mentions, client logos and testimonials. These definitely play a role but we tend to see websites overuse them and as a result don't believe they are as convincing as they once were.
We still use these elements but do so more subtly as we’d rather play up the creation and delivery of highly valuable, irresistible content in multiple formats.
Another tactic we’ve experimented with are the use of public alerts when someone converts on the website. You may have seen these popups that say something like “Noelle just purchased a course 30 minutes ago.”
The company that popularized these alerts is called Proof. It takes minutes to install their service and could be a great way to instill trust in potential customers or clients.
That said, we don’t use Proof on all of our websites because we don’t think it necessarily fits in with all of brands or would resonant with every audience. So I recommend testing Proof and seeing if it’s something that adds to or detracts from your goals.
Keep in mind, no matter how much effort you put into your website, the underlying strategy needs to connect back to value — for yourself and your audience. Honestly communicating your value is the best way to drive conversions.
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