In the haste to build and/or maintain a website, frequently the finer points of design are pushed to the fringe in favor of perceived priorities.  Design, unfortunately, gets grouped in the category of “wants” and not “needs.”  This is a fundamental flaw when it comes to your website because so much is dictated by design.  Yes, the backend of your site is extremely important to overall performance – but think of it this way: You have a sweet 68 Shelby Cobra muscle car with a supercharged V8 rocking 300 horses under the hood.  Sounds good right?  Well, wait.  The exterior is pale brown with rust spots.  If you’re going to go to great lengths to have plenty of muscle under the hood you need to go the extra mile to match the aesthetics on the outside.  The backend of your site is the gorgeous, chrome-polished engine under the hood.  The design or public facing portion is the customized paint job and interior.  Now that you get where we’re coming from, let’s look at what can be done to make that baby (e.g. your website) humm!

First and foremost when people land on your site it is a visual representation of your brand.  What do you want them to see?  What do you want them to do?  What image do you want to portray?  These are all important questions.  For the purpose of this post let’s focus on what we want them to do.  A large part of conversion is based on visually directing website visitors to take specific actions.  There is perhaps nothing more subjective than design.  However, studies have shown that there is a natural tendency to look at the top left corner when landing on a site, which is why the logo is typically placed there.  No harm here because it is a good idea to help visitors establish quickly that they are in the right place.  But then what – where do you want them to go within the site after they know they’re in the right place?

Good website design should guide the eye and prompt specific actions.  If your website design is not doing this, then most likely visitors to your site are just randomly clicking through pages.  This could mean loss of a sale or no engagement (newsletter sign up, social sharing, fill out a form, download a whitepaper, etc).  The good news – this can easily be corrected.

Here are five few simple design ideas to spark action and conversion on your site:

1) Use directional cues.

This seems like a no brainer – use lines, arrows to literally point to the specific action you want the visitor to take. Optionally, use color; contrast, shape or other various elements that create interest guide the user to the destination.

2) Evaluate Your Text.

Simple shifts to the existing copy on your site can make a big difference towards conversion.  Take a closer look at your text size, weight and color.  Consider increasing the font size of your headlines or emphasizing certain points with bold and/or color variations.

3) Utilize Contrast & Colors

One way to draw attention to a particular object or space is to make them stand out from the herd.  A simple way to do this is with variation in color and contrast.  Mixing bold and subtle colors will give directional cues to your website visitor while contrast will help certain things stand out.

4) Review positioning

Just like a brick and mortar shop, location is key to action.  Review where your key content or calls to action are – positioning on page will influence the order in which the user sees it.

5) Consider more White Space

White space is a design term that simply means empty space on a page.  The design role of white space is to create balance and contrast on any given page.  Proper use of white space can help de-clutter and drive more attention to where you want.

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