Published on August 31st, 2015
You wouldn’t walk into a job interview wearing sweatpants or a full-on tuxedo, would you?
Ok, maybe you would -- but if you did, both would leave the wrong kind of first impression on your potential employer.
Just like your appearance at an interview, your website is often the first impression visitors have about your company and what you offer in Inbound Marketing.
It needs to be appealing, engaging, and persuasive.
If it’s not, you’ll be passed over without a second thought.
A redesign is the ideal opportunity to make sure you’re making the right first impression and optimizing your user experience for conversion.
It’s best to have conversion points ready and waiting upon launch, but unfortunately, many times they get lost during the redesign process.
And if they aren’t there for visitors (especially new ones) you’re not going to see the improvement you want after spending the money you did to do a complete redesign.
To help solve that, here are 5 tips to make sure you’re including in your website redesign to kickstart conversions after launch.
Tip #1: Include Personalization
We’ve talked about personalizing emails before, but to take personalization a step further, add it into the journey of your website.
Web personalization is all about the relevancy of your copy to your visitor. It will increase conversions, visit duration, and reduce bounce rates.
What can you personalize on your site?
- Value Proposition: Gear your value proposition towards your ideal buyer persona. Making a general one won’t connect with an ideal customer or relay the value of your offer prompting them to continue.
- Headlines: Once a visitor has seen a headline, there’s no need to repeat it. Take the info you have on them and personalize it to what they care about most.
- Smart CTAs: Switch up what your buttons say for new visitors and for those who have already submitted information - doing this will help you offer the most value to each and push them through the funnel.
- Imagery: As you get to know your personas, tailor your images to their preferences. If your personas have different pain points, change the images they see to connect better with how you will solve a problem specifically for them.
- Smart Forms: If a visitor has already submitted information like their email address or name, save them some extra steps and fill it in for them or leave it completely out of your forms. Instead, ask them for something more detailed that will help you get to know them better through Progressive Profiling (i.e. company size, revenue, etc.)
- Offers: Pair only relevant offers with your content - you already know they’re interested in the topic at hand. Don’t stray from this and give them something you don’t know they’ll want to see.
- Social Proof: Make sure the first one that a visitor sees is relevant to them, their industry, or pain point in order to be persuasive enough to get them to convert.
By providing visitors with a personalized experience and relevant information, they will stay longer and feel more at ease converting on your site.
For example, take Social Sprout. Social Sprout makes sure that their offers are relevant to what the visitor was previously reading. At the bottom of their post, “Instagram Video Marketing: How to Be Successful” is this CTA:
They strategically placed this guide with their article about Instagram to encourage visitors to give their email address in exchange for even more relevant, helpful information. If this was for an eBook on LinkedIn or ROI, the user would most likely be uninterested.
Tip #2: Make Your Brand Consistent
If you’re redesigning in waves, make sure that all your individual pages look the same. Visitors can quickly become confused or turned off by a website that is inconsistent.
When going from one page to another, the last thing you want your user to be thinking is, “Am I even on the same site still?”
Creating consistency will help visitors feel at ease and know what to expect when scrolling through your pages.
When your visitors feel comfortable with your company, they will be more willing to give you information about themselves and eventually convert.
To help make sure a consistent design is created, build a visual style guide at the beginning of the process.
That way your designers will have a tool to reference to make sure what they are creating will work for your company’s brand. It will also reduce any major and time-consuming changes to the finalized version of your site down the road.
Here is just a peak of Skype’s extensive style guide:
You can see the full guide here.
Here are a few key elements to pay close attention to:
- Navigation Experience
- White Space
Tip #3: Build Trust
We’ve all experienced it before. We search for something on Google, arrive on a site, then quickly leave because something seemed sketchy.
We didn’t feel comfortable staying on the site (let alone comfortable enough to convert on anything). To make sure your visitors don’t feel this way, try leveraging social proof (testimonials, badges, awards, company logos, etc.)
It will help you build the trust and credibility visitors need to feel safe sharing their contact information with you. The wrong social proof, however, could cause hesitation and decrease your conversions, so be sure to research which one(s) your visitors need to see to take action.
Sidekick uses company logos as social proof right under their header to show visitors that even big name companies trust their services (and so should you.)
By keeping the logos faint, they don’t overwhelm the page and take attention away from the CTA. Keep things like this in mind when redesigning.
The smallest distraction can pull the user away from converting or even make them bounce off the page.
Tip #4: Intuitive UX
When it comes to decision making; make the process as easy as possible for people. Some website designs (I swear) make it a goal to challenge visitors, and when that happens, they ultimately exit.
Your website’s design has to make next steps obvious and easy to take.
Like Sheena Iyengar describes in her TED talk, “How to Make Choosing Easier”, more choices may capture consumer attention, but too many choices ends up scaring away more visitors than converting.
By doing some research, you can assume and plan what steps your visitors will take through your funnel. You can then create a pathway with the right information, offers, and action points that will gently push them further along.
To help guide visitors, try using:
- Page Hierarchy
- Visual Cues
- Comparison Charts
For example, check out how HubSpot leads visitors into taking action on this page below. They strategically only put the headers and buttons in their signature orange to draw the visitor’s attention down the page and only to the most important information.
Visitors don’t have to think about what to do next. The button tells them the exact next step they should take (trying out HubSpot for free.)
Also, check out how Shopify customized their pricing page to better lead customers into picking a plan. If your product page offers a variety of pricing options, try highlighting the most popular plan that way, people can quickly see which one most others have picked and help make their decision easier.
Or, try adding visual cues to some of your pages like we recently did on our own Consultation Request landing page. Using a visual cue like an arrow, helps visitors to think less about the next step and (hopefully) just follow instruction.
Tip #5: Site Speed
According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes 3 seconds or more to load.
With such a short window, it’s vital to make sure your newly redesigned site can load quickly because frankly, faster sites get higher conversions.
Here are just a few elements to check out to help increase your page speed:
- Browser caching
- Minify codes
- Bad requests
- Consistent URLs
- Image size
You can even run your new site through tools like WebsitePageTest, Pingdom, or Google’s Page Speed Tool to test out if your site is up to par. Keep in mind, these scoring tools will look for potential issues, but it’s up to you to solve any problems they identify.
A redesign will help you create a lasting first impression that encourages visitors to return time and again. By incorporating these elements into your redesign from the get-go, you’ll ultimately guide your visitors into taking action:
- Web Personalization
- Intuitive UX
When these elements work together, they encourage visitors to stay longer, come back, read more, and take action. They’ll trust you and what you have to offer. What more could you ask for?