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Using Web Design to Improve CRO

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Everyone who has a business website needs it to be high converting. Otherwise, what’s the point, right? Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is critical for anyone who wants to increase the proportion of their website visitors who enter their sales funnel and become customers. How do you get a website that is designed with CRO techniques in mind?

Nowadays, there are so many people with some type of design background who are dabbling in web design that managers may be tempted to hire the most cost-effective freelancer who has a fancy-sounding title. We urge business leaders to resist this temptation and instead hire web development professionals who are skilled in the use of CRO tools and understand website strategy, web design methodologies and how to boost conversion rates.

Table of Contents

What User Experience and CRO do for High Converting Sites

A CRO program will undoubtedly include tests and experiments, which you will need to run on your website. These tests will show you the parts of your landing page that are delivering the kinds of results you want. A lasting change is in order if you create a variation of an area on your landing page and it gives you better results than what you had in that area. You can use the data from these high-performing parts of the landing page as a benchmark when you run more experiments.


These days, website users aren’t going to wait around if they land on a site that isn’t easy to navigate. You can make it super-simple for them to find what they’re looking for if you set up your website to generate information triggered by their past browsing history, location or device.  The likelihood that your visitors will take the action you want them to take will increase by doing so. The changes you make to your website as a result of your experiments will yield more conversions over time.  


Effective CRO translates to considerable savings in time and money, and it makes having a website worthwhile, so you get a better return on your investment of effort. It allows you to focus on the higher-level areas of your business instead of getting mired in every little task. It helps you uncover new opportunities to increase your revenue because you gain an understanding of how and why your website users behave the way they do on the site.

Five High-Value CRO Techniques

1. Optimizing Call-To-Actions (CTAs)

The better your call-to-action (CTA) is, the higher the number of your leads will be. The CTA is a significant part of CRO because it produces results that are easy to measure. Do you have a lot of traffic going to your website all the time but your conversion rates are low? Your CTAs may be the source of the problem.


Start by investigating how well your CTA copy is performing. Maybe more personalized text will work better than typical CTAs like “buy now” or “click here”. Your average website visitor would have seen these instructions tons of times before.


There is a lot to be said for the benefit of familiarity, but instead, a CTA can focus on the benefit the buyer will receive, such as “Get the perfect meal plan now”. Remember, most users will be motivated to take action if they think they will otherwise miss out on something worthwhile. Why not test the run-of-the-mill option vs a personalized variation?


Before users read the copy in your CTA, they need to notice the CTA. Try to optimize every call-to-action visually. First, consider the use of a button. A button immediately signals to web users that if they click, they can expect something to occur. However, you need to look at a few elements of your button and experiment to find what works best with your audience. What combination of font, button size and colour will be most effective? There’s only one way to find out.


Even the placement of your CTA needs to be optimized. It is common practice to have only one CTA and place it at the bottom of the landing page. The question is whether this is the right practice. You’ll only know the answer if you test. You can place the CTA on multiple places of the webpage like the upper half, above the fold, and at the bottom of the page. Your experiments will reveal the best way to go.

2. Improve Your Headlines

 Before website visitors see your CTA, they will see your headline and the headline may determine whether they will read any further. Here are some headline variations you can test on your site:


Use Numbers


It has been shown that people are drawn to the promise that a number in a headline offers. It’s the anticipation of reading a list-style article in which they will see a ranking or comparison of similar things in a specific category.


For users who want only the most up-to-date information, having a year in your headline will catch their attention. It helps them to know they won’t waste their time reading an entire article, only to find the content is outdated.


Negative Words Work Well


You might think that positive words, such as “best”, would generate lots of interest. Still, native advertising giant Outbrain has tested this theory and concluded that negative words, like “worst”, work better. This cynical twist can be combined with the use of numbers in a headline for an attention-getting double whammy.


Other Headline Variations


Depending on your industry and audience, you can also seek to optimize your headlines by testing different headline lengths, questions vs statements, exclamations, funny headlines and how sensational you want a caption to be.


3. Testing, Re-Testing, and More Testing

The best way to improve your strategy is through consistent testing. Use Google Analytics to figure out from which areas users most often exit the site. Compare these pages with the low-performing pages on your website that perform better. Use the elements you find on your top-performing pages to improve the pages that give more inferior results. A good understanding of best practice in web design will go a long way in this area.


Testing your copy is also essential. Review the text on your website through the lens of what you know from your user research. Researching to determine what your audience finds compelling is necessary. Separately, test subheads and body copy through A/B testing or split testing to ensure your copy is written with real people in mind, rather than just SEO.


Testing is the best method of determining what’s working and what isn’t.

4. Clarity and Visual Appeal

Your value proposition should be clear to every visitor who comes to your website. Every page on your site should showcase what you’re offering and what sets you apart from the competition but keep your landing pages simple. Stick to one main action per page, even if you include secondary CTAs. According to the Fogg Behavior Model, people are more likely to take action when you make it easy to take action.


Your website users want to find solutions quickly and easily, and they should immediately understand how your offering matches their needs. It is vital to be as specific as possible. Superlatives like “the best weight loss program ever” don’t impress your audience, proof of the results previous customers got will work much better.


In less than one second, visitors to your website will form an opinion of your site and decide whether they want to stick around or make a speedy exit.


Effective web design can make or break you. If your visitors are turned off by pop-up ads, poor searchability, or unappealing colour combinations, they won’t even get to the first stage in your sales funnel.


The order in which you present various elements, which is your visual hierarchy, also needs to be considered. The prominence of individual elements is based on the level of their importance. The size and colour are two of the main tools used to make more critical elements to stand out. These tools, combined with leaving empty white space, can help draw attention to what matters most.


5. Conserve Attention

After you’ve gone through the trouble of having a well-designed site and stable visual hierarchy, you need to maximize users’ attention once you’ve captured it. Techniques like using more substantial than life images, contrasting before and after, and using surprising copy can attract attention when someone comes to your site.


How do you hold their attention? By breaking up the text, using captivating visuals and providing compelling content, you can keep web visitors’ interest. Also, find ways to incorporate novelty, limit choices and invest in quality photos to draw them in.

Call your audience to action

There’s no disputing the evidence that web design is best left to multi-talented professionals if you want a high converting site. The structure of your site influences the ease with which website visitors can navigate the site to find what they’re looking for. It is also an essential factor in how thoroughly search engines can crawl your content.

If you want to have consistent site traffic and motivate visitors to take the action you want to see, you need web designers who have proven ability. Don’t be fooled by fancy titles. The web design professionals you need are those who have a track record of executing CRO to transform a poorly performing site into a high converting one.

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Using Web Design to Improve CRO

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