Standing out in a sea of websites is an increasingly greater challenge. As shoppers turn to online stores like never before, wowing visitors and turning them into repeat customers requires skill, creativity, and a well-thought-out design.
Let’s look at some of the design elements that will help you catch the eye of your customers and inspire them to do business with you repeatedly.
Reduce decision fatigue by pre-empting visitor questions
Before they see your product, chances are visitors have already seen something similar. Especially if they have been researching online for a while and have looked at different options and price points.
Instead of forcing visitors to do their own digging, why not provide answers before they think of asking the questions? An FAQ section is a great way to provide additional information about a product. Plus, since it is based on actual questions of previous customers (at least in part), it can be a great time-saver for future ones.
Here is an example from Amerisleep, which has taken the time to answer some really interesting FAQs on their landing page.
Offer a way to convert right off the bat
Visitors sometimes fail to convert just because they’re not prompted to do so often enough. Some websites will trust their copy and design to do all the work, and place a shy CTA at the bottom of the page, hoping visitors will be diligent enough to get in touch or make a purchase without too many prompts.
However, if you make signing up for your services easy and straightforward, and if you also offer the option as soon as possible, you might be surprised how well you do.
The redesigned Dropbox website has an instant sign-up option – and since chances are you already know what Dropbox is by the time you arrive on their website, you can start using their services in under 30 seconds.
Prove you work with the big guns
You may think that if you’re a small business and don’t work with any prominent household names, you can’t utilize social proof. That, however, is not the case.
Let’s look at an example from Crazy Egg, which lists their most widely-known clients on their homepage. Some very big brands have worked with them, and this is certainly something to applaud.
You can do the exact same thing with your smaller clients, and use your chance to introduce them to the world at large. Write crafty taglines about each of them and add them to their logo – what is it they do so well; why do you like working with them?
Even something as simple as “Owners of the cutest office dog” can be a great way to add that unexpected wow factor to a page.
Take advantage of AI
While the term artificial intelligence still has that sci-fi ring to it, it’s widely being used in all kinds of industries, including digital marketing and web design.
The easiest and most straightforward way to use AI on your website is to employ a chatbot – a nifty little program that will chat with your customers about the things you teach it. There are less and more sophisticated chatbots available, from ones that simply record queries, to ones that are perfectly capable of answering all kinds of questions.
Here is an example from Aura, which has an unobtrusive chatbot available, making it easier for potential customers to get the answers to their questions.
Utilize white space
Modern web design has finally learned how to appreciate white space on a page. Years ago, websites were much more cluttered and much more colorful – you’d get green backgrounds and garish orange font; there were black backgrounds with white font that made your eyes water and swim, and it was often not a pretty sight.
But today, we’re blessed with a minimal design aesthetic that is easy on the eyes and allows for effective use of negative (or white) space. This means leaving plenty of space between your elements: images and font, headings and paragraphs, lines of text, CTAs and text, and so on.
Let’s look at Quip and how they have done it: you definitely can’t say the website is boring or bland, but there is still plenty of negative space, cleverly used to highlight the colorful elements.
Make your images small but powerful
Just to be clear, we’re referring to image file size here, and not the size of the images on a web page.
We’ve come so far in design that you no longer need to let your high-resolution image take up an insane amount of virtual space. You can compress it, and you’ll be losing none of the resolution, keeping all of the fine details, but letting your website load properly.
If a visitor has to wait even five seconds (two is sometimes too much) for an image to load, they will simply get bored and leave. Thanks to our shortened attention spans and how spoiled we have become with instant gratification available everywhere, patience is a lost virtue.
Use animation – sparingly and cleverly
As web design becomes more sophisticated, it becomes ever easier to animate all kinds of different elements. However, the thing about animation is that: a) it needs to be in line with the website and brand itself – you can’t have elements dancing the conga for a high-end brand known for its style and sophistication, and b) it needs to work. There’s nothing worse than a sluggish and tired website that takes ages to load because it is so heavily animated.
Here is a neat little example from Marie Weber – where everything is animated, from the logo to the headlines to the images, but it simply works. The transitions are smooth, the elements move around in an orderly fashion, and the effect you get is one of light and air, as opposed to clutter and mess.
When working on different elements of your website’s design, remember to always have your target audience in mind. What would they appreciate; what would wow them; how can you stand out and inspire action in them?
If they are the kind of people who prefer information over visual appeal, work on your copy. If they may have plenty of questions, try to answer as many as you can, and provide an easy way for them to get in touch. If your product needs to be seen to be believed, make sure your images are the showstopper.
Lastly, always remember to test the performance of your website as well. See which elements are working and which are underperforming – and don’t stick to the same design for decades, even if everything is converting well.