When it comes to the world of Web development, it seems that trends and opinions on the most effective options are constantly in flux. Responsive Web design? Parallax? But at the end of the day, only one thing should really matter for small businesses hoping to improve their online business efforts: making conversions.

Just like any other aspect of a small business, a website's ultimate goal should be to spur potential consumers to action. Whether that action is a sale, an online query or something else is determined by the business's goals, but either way, the website needs to lead consumers into taking some form of action.

While this may seem easier said than done for many small business owners, the truth of the matter is that investing in a high-quality, easy-to-navigate Web design can ultimately be every bit as important as (if not even more so) investing in SEO and other forms of marketing that drive traffic to the site in the first place.

Basic Choices
Creating a successful website that will generate leads begins with choosing a design that is visually engaging to the audience and logically guides them to the call to action in a clear and direct manner.

Web development agency Fusion 360 recommends making a minimalist site that is easily scanned by readers, as most Web content is browsed rather than read word-for-word. This entails avoiding the creation of text-heavy pages that can quickly become overwhelming to Web browsers (particularly mobile users) who are trying to access desired information as quickly as possible.

All text should be clear and concise in helping consumers understand how a company's product or services meet their needs while simultaneously guiding them through the conversion process. This includes making calls to action clear and direct. It doesn't help to use over-the-top, hyped language that doesn't adequately address a potential customer's concerns.

Stylistic choices should also remain consistent throughout the site, allowing for easy navigation. Different areas of the site should be clearly labelled, and navigation menus should be placed logically so users can get where they want to go. Generally speaking, the most important information should be placed "above the fold"--or near the top of the screen, before a user would need to scroll down to view more content.

Including a search option is another important consideration that can help users more easily find the content they are seeking. The easier a website is to use and navigate, the more likely users will follow through on the site's call to action, generating sales leads and other actions that fulfill the site's purpose.

Other Conversion Tools
Beyond these Web design basics, other useful features can make a big difference when properly implemented. Business 2 Community recommends utilizing such features as customer reviews, offering live chat customer assistance, and email capture services.

The benefit of such features stems from the additional ease-of-use provided to customers. For example, enabling customers to leave reviews of particular products builds a sense of trust and transparency that makes potential consumers more confident in their purchase (just look at how much Amazon relies on customer reviews for its successful business model).

Providing live chat assistance can also help when customers have questions or concerns that they want addressed immediately while browsing the site, but small businesses should be sure they have the resources available to such a feature before fully implementing it on a site.

Email capture helps deal with the surprisingly common problem of "cart abandonment"--or users filling an online cart with items, then leaving the site before actually completing the purchase. Widgets such as Rejoiner enable email capture of these uncompleted transactions, which then allows for business owners to email customers to remind them of it (hopefully prompting the sale to actually take place).

Experimentation and Testing
However, while an initial design and its accompanying features may appear to get the job done properly, adapting to current Web design trends is a must for a company's site to remain relevant and useful to consumers. What was popular in 2010 is not necessarily still the best choice for 2015. Before even launching a site, it is recommended to invest in A/B testing to determine which of two competing designs will ultimately yield the best results.

While not every small business will have the budget to perform extensive A/B testing on website designs, every company should test their site before launch to ensure that it truly is going to be effective in leading consumers to take the desired action.

The more testing that can be done prior to a website launch, the better. These tests can allow designers to identify which elements of a site's layout are not appealing to users, and where improvements can be made to better enable a smooth user experience. What may seem like a great idea while in development may ultimately not provide the best functionality for users.

Even after a website has been successfully launched, businesses would be wise to stay up-to-date on the constantly changing trends of the industry. User experience continues to evolve (as the rise of smartphones has already demonstrated), and design and layout changes will likely be a future necessity to ensure the continued effectiveness of a site.




Kevin Johnson is a Digital PR + Social Media Writer for Fusion 360, a Utah-based digital marketing agency.






Comments (13)

Great post, really worth to share. I would add only one small thing also required some valuable info on the website as well as great design. Thanks

nice business tips

Yes you are on right topic as in these days we must build a website which can provide us the most conversations as conversation driven website is looked by search engines also as the most relevant websites.

Hi Kevin,

Website is very helpful to grow business fast all over the world. Using a local store, we can sell our services or products to only local customers but to establish our business online, we are able to sell services everywhere and to everyone. That's why every small business need a user friendly website to grow business.

Regards,
Jyoti

Hi Kevin,


I'm according to your explanation, the goal of the 99% websites of the world is conversion. If the website offers services, the goal is a call or form submit and if the site is a e-commerce shop, the goal is sell a product.

I think that we need first think in the user, before to create any digital content, because if we do the exercise of imagine different role people, we can focus all the website experience in them.

Regards,
Víctor

Thank you for a great article. I agree that all websites must be initially developed with conversion practises in mind, especially from the design phrases.

We have started to add on-page remarketing techniques to our clients websites. It's easy to drive 'organic' and 'paid' traffic to any website, but majority of web developers don't take advantage of on-page strategies to convert all existing site traffic...

Hi, As a smallish local business, I thought this was an interesting post. I am not sure we have actually set our site up for conversion, but it does convert as we have a stream of traffic which end up as enquiries. We do this by having an outbound activity integrated with the site. A lot of business comes from giving clients the ability to upload pictures of their roofing problems - it saves us a massive cost in our estimating department - so conversion for us is not just a numbers game.

There's a bunch of fundamental things just about any site can do/use,
and they are generally easy to do.

1) Contact Number.
Ensure that you have your contact number clearly visible at the top and bottom of each and every page, as well as on your contact details page.

2) Contact Address.
Make sure you include a real-world contact address on your site (contact page, and possibly even in the footer of each page).

3) Security/Trust icons.
If you take online payments, include images for SSL (if you use it (you should!)), payment gateway providers (like PayPal), accepted methods (MC/Visa/AmEx etc.) and such.

4) Email contact form.
Provide a simple form for visitors to email you with. Don't rely on mailto: links, or giving an email address - let them use the form straight away.

5) Call Back Requests.
A simple 2 field form for their Name and Telephone can generate a number of leads. Just pop it in the side-bar or at the bottom of the content on each page

Those 5 things alone can prop up your conversion rates - and they aren't that difficult to do.

You can go further, and do more.

Get a bit more personal (And build more trust) with a profile section for staff, including name and image (get their permission first).

Testimonials is another great one for some industries (Esp. if you can get a real name and image (and if a business customer, their web URL and business location for authenticity)).

Relevant attachments can work wonders (that means putting testimonials/ratings/reviews for the relevant product/service on the right page).

Detailed ratings can help with products. Don't just go for the generic 5 star rating,
rate features/aspects of products (ease of use, ease to setup, durability etc. - rate what is important to the end-user!).

Comparison tables and buyer guides can help get the close as well - esp. if you include a "buy now" link with each product column. By helping them easily identify the key features, and see the most suitable product ... and then facilitating the purchase, you should see an increase (good social link material too :D).

See - no shortage of things you can do ... and not a single button colour change in sight :D

That said ... you will see lots of tips/tricks for CRO, and a lot will mention things like Calls To Action.
Remember, the CTA is the "close" of the pitch.
Which means you have to have made a pitch in the first place!
Most people forget the Value Proposition (that bit just before the CTA), and that can often be tweaked (and tested!) for improvement.

You are rightly said that Experiment and Testing can turn your business, if you are small business owner as like us :D then testing and experiment in other ways also important and you should think about it yourself that how can, with what??

Hi,

Its nice post. And Small business needs a conversion friendly and user friendly website. so this is very useful post for any small business venture who need a create a website for your business.

As you described here that our website's design structure matters. Yes we must provide the conversion friendly content to our webstie so that we can convert the reader into customer.

Great Blog and for a conversion to occur the most important aspect is your website. It should be user friendly with the right set of testimonials and other factors explained above. But for a better and faster understanding of your website, products/services involved it is best that you embed a video in your homepage. Many companies have found their conversions to shoot up after including videos.

Very interesting post. I definitely agree that a website has to be friendly and easy to use. I've been frustrated many times by websites without a 'search' function. I am never sure why people choose not to include it?

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