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Looking to improve your site? Is it boring, or possibly not as great as you want for user interaction? Are you not getting the number of visitors you want? Let’s figure out how to do that in this three-part series on design, functionality, and traffic.
To conduct this effort to improve your site, we will draw on the thoughts of a couple design experts. First we will look at simplicity. Here are three points we will cover to enhance the ease of your site, courtesy of Jane Friedman:
- readability & conciseness
- going easy on the eyes
- limiting the possibilities.
Next we will consider how to make your site impressive. The advice for that section draws on three tips from Search Engine People. Not only will impressiveness help with conversions, but it will increase the amount of time people spend on your site and enhance your repeat visitor numbers. In that section, we will review the following five subjects:
- color scheme
- calls to action.
Finally, we will examine fun facts about website conversions that you may not know. These facts will help you understand how to improve your site and have better things to talk about at cocktail parties and trade shows. The first one is directly below.
Fun Fact About Website Conversions #1: Did you know that every time a website makes a conversion, an angel gets one wing? Just one, which is a little awkward and embarrassing. That’s why it’s crucially important you get conversions in pairs. Otherwise, angel decision-makers and other angelic notables will grow increasingly resentful of you as they walk around lopsided.
Simplicity & Web Design
It may sound obvious, but preventing confusion should be your top consideration when you look at your site. Confusion is on a spectrum. Most sites leave us unable to find what we want from time to time, but best to minimize those moments. In fact, Jane Friedman suggests treating your site as a billboard. Here are her three recommendations for making your website as easy to use as possible:
- Readability & conciseness – When you are looking for something you need on the web, you probably don’t spend a huge amount of time poring through all the details when you first visit a site. If you are like most people, you scan your eyes and skim for the content you need. Keep it short.
- Easy on the eyes – White space (or “fuchsia space,” depending on your background color) is not the worst thing in the world. The home page especially must look clean and livable, like there’s room for visitors. Don’t stuff the homepage with everything you are positive everyone must see. Go easy on people when they walk in the door. Excessive content creates what Friedman calls “surf shock.”
- Limiting the possibilities – Beyond how the site looks, even if you space everything out visually, you can also err in asking visitors to do too many things at one time. Think of every link and button as a secondary call to action. Are there certain points of focus for your visitors? Deliver only those options. They will appreciate it.
Fun Fact About Website Conversions #2: Did you know that when you get a conversion on a website, it entitles you to one free carousel ride at the Bill Gates’ rainy and bleak Internetastic Dude Ranch in Republic, Washington? While there, you can also visit a real dude ranch, where the sun shines all the time and leprechauns tend to the horses. Gates’ is just a carousel in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by thunderclouds.
Impressive Web Design
OK, now let’s take a quick look at how to dress your site to impress. Here are three pointers from the folks at Search Engine People, who recommend primary focus on user experience (note that we also offer SEO, with a heavy focus on content marketing).
- Layout – Layout should pair with content, and your message should dictate the layout. The visitors’ eyes should easily and quickly move from one point of your overall message to the next: greeting statement & who you are; to supporting content (videos, testimonials, whatever); to your call to action.
- Color scheme – Make sure your site isn’t colored in too extreme a way, even if that’s true of your logo. The site shouldn’t look “harsh.” You want your background to be lightly colored. All calls to action should be the same color.
- Calls to action – Ask visitors to act above the fold (i.e., the page as it looks before you scroll down). Calls to action should be obvious: sizable and located in prime real estate on the page.
Fun Fact About Website Conversions #3: Did you know that website conversion was first invented in 1836 by Francis Pettit Smith, who drew up the plans and then immediately collapsed with the dropsy, perishing moments later. “He was ahead of his time,” says Guy Kawasaki of his hero before submitting to an extended panic attack.
So, that does it for design. To review, use simplicity (with readability & conciseness, going easy on the eyes, and limiting the possibilities) and impressiveness (with layout, color scheme, and calls to action). The future two pieces will be on functionality and traffic. Now go get that carousel ride. Watch out for lightning.
by Kent Roberts