Web design, user journey & the impact on conversions

Does the way a website is designed visually impact on conversions? What about the way a website is designed in terms of user journey?

Two great questions, I’m sure you will agree. It’s no secret that there is no “best way” to design a website in terms of visual appearance. There are many theories and supporting analytics which point to certain website structures improving the performance of CPM or CPC adverts, but this is only relevant if your websites end goal is to make revenue from a paid ad platform. There is also research suggesting certain colour call to actions significantly improve CTR. Again, these must be taken with a pinch of salt and put into context.

One thing that isn’t in question, is the correlation between a visually pleasing web design and conversions. Yes, there are many other factors in play, such as product price, page speed, mobile friendliness (most¬†of which are part of google’s ranking algorithm coincidently) but a beautiful website often tends to improve the conversion percentiles often under scrutiny.

Ok, how do I build a beautiful web design that improves my conversions?

My simple formula for any web design build i embark upon is to first of all, put myself in the users shoes. It is important to understand what they will want from the site, what information, in what place at what time and in what format. It’s then our job as the web designers and developers to meet these needs, in an attractive fashion, where sure enough, conversions will follow.

Questions to ask yourself as the user:

  • What am I looking for?
  • Where would I most likely look for this, which category, does one exist already, if not why?
  • What do the current analytics show, is there a certain page with high bounce rates? Is this page structure different, is the content and the way it is presented unclear. Which page has low bounce rates? What’s the difference between the two? Note: Analytics is also a great way to gain key insight into shopping basket behaviour for ecommerce, should it be a one page basket or several pages. Should it be crisp and white, or should it be graphic intensive?
  • How emotive is the purchase of the product or service in question? Is it an impulse buy? Or is it a long thought out decision? (This question helps dictate web structure, reliance on persuasive content to influence decisions and “tone of voice” of the design)
  • What would I like to see to really set this website apart from it’s competitors

Okay, the site has launched, how do I measure the results?

Most people will instantly point you in the direction of google analytics, analysing bounce rates, average site usage time, pageviews and oblviously conversions. It’s always best to compare goals that were previously set up to their equivalent version on the new website (url page names may change so the old goal will not always work). This will of course provide a great apples v apples comparison and is of great importance for any website, especially ecommerce.

Whilst google analytics is important, I’m a firm believer that other methods are just as important in terms of analysing a new website design’s success. Conversion improvements may not show initially, due to adaptation from frequent users that may be necessary. For this reason, I always find good honest feedback to be of great importance in terms of giving valuable¬†insight. A great way to do this is via a survey utilising the likes of Survey Monkey or Google Forms, and emailing your existing database via Mailchimp or Constant Contact.