2 design fundamentals that have a huge business impact

Little things can quickly add up over time to either hurt or improve a visitor’s experience on your website. Why do small changes, lead to significant business differences? One minor issue here and there isn’t going to significantly affect the conversion rates, per se. But, a few of them will quickly add up and change the overall experience on your website. What kind of small changes are we talking about? What sort of huge business impact can they have?

When a visitor reacher your website, they unwittingly seek answers to two questions: am I in the right place and do I trust this company? When things get in the way of a visitor saying yes to both of those questions they leave. Small design elements can have a huge business impact when they get in the way of those two questions.

Am I in the right place?

Making sure your target audience realizes they are in the right place isn’t super hard. Having a clear layout and a concise message will achieve this quickly. Clear language that plainly articulates what you’re offering is paramount in getting high conversions. All in all, that’s pretty simple to do. The caveat is being aware of anything that blurs this message and get in its way.

Your offer and your message can quickly become lost among the clutter. Numerous promotions and CTAs are a perfect way to dilute your message and make it unclear if a visitor is, in fact, in the right place.

Accidentally shifting target

The best webpages have a single primary goal. This means they don’t promote everything under the sun. Let’s say you’re currently interested in signing up more clients for your exclusive and expensive flagship offer. Yet, the website pages are filled with promotional freebies such as a free consultation, a free ebook, free downloadables or copious links to your blog. What kind of message do you think it sends to your visitors? Not the best one for the flagship offer. The high-end offer is going to be lost, and you’re actually not targeting who you want to; you’re targeting those looking for free answers instead of those with money who are ready to invest in your services.

I completely understand trying to catch people who would make a perfect client down the road. But if you aim to sell high-end offers right now, those people won’t be able to convert and hire you today. The same could be true for a reverse case as well – or any other instance of misaligned goals.

Freebies are meant to nurture leads into forming a long term relationship. By showing off too many promotions for them, you’re not making room for your actual target audience.

Creating mixed signals

What do mixed signals on a website look like? Like I said it could be just a seemingly small thing that adds up to confuse the visitor. You might have the greatest intentions. But, if you don’t realize what you’re doing, those little bits and pieces quickly add up to mixed signals, lost leads and fewer conversions.

Think about it from the perspective of the visitor. If they ended up on your site looking to hire a private personal trainer, yet all they see is free resources for DIY weightless, for example, the visitor will bounce. These are the things that make people think they’re not in the right place.

Not just the promotions or messages

Sure, I’ve mentioned a lot about messages and mixed promotional content. Those two are just the easiest examples. Many other things can add up to a huge but negative business impact.

The look and feel, the tone and voice and the photography can also get in the way. It’s all about the different sections and how they all come together, your navigation, broken links and lack of proof can truly turn people off in high numbers leading to fewer conversions and lesser business results (aka have a huge negative business impact).

The way you speak to a niche audience is significantly different than a more general one. For example, if your services help single dads under 25 years of age, your tone and the way you speak about their problem will be much different than single moms in their 40s then just single parents. These groups may face similar issues, for sure, after all, they are all single parents. But, the way to connect to them is going to have a unique approach based on their individual situations. If a website doesn’t take this into account, it’s going to face death by a thousand cuts.

How is the usability?

One other significant aspect that loses a lot of visitors is usability. The term refers to how easy to use something is. In this case, it’s your website. Let me give you some insight into the type of questions I think about when I work with my clients:

  • Is your website easy to understand and navigate?
  • Is it slow?
  • Are the pictures pixelated because you’re using a small image as a big background?
  • Is the font big enough to read and scan easily?
  • How does the website look and behave on mobile devices like phones?

These things further affect the experience someone has with your brand on your website. And when a lot of these small things are neglected or aren’t adequately addressed it reflects in huge business impact.

At the end of the day, if your business has a website, it’s your job to make sure it’s easy on your visitors. The less work they have to do to figure out if they’re in the right place, the better business impact and results you will see. When the experience is improved, the sooner a visitor realizes that you’re the one for the job. In turn, you will see more conversions.

These kinds of details matter because they do add up quickly!

Do I trust this person?

The second question a visitor must get a feel for right away is the issue of trust. Now that they realize that they are in the right place, they must see you as the right person for the job.

There are three main phases of assessing trust and credibility:

  1. Is this too good to be true?
  2. Are they the right fit for the job?
  3. Can they get ME the results I need?

Is this too good to be true?

With this question, people often try to see if where they ended up isn’t a scam. This one is pretty simple to address. Your website needs to look the part, have appropriate branding and level of professionalism. Case studies can go a long way here!

Are they the right fit for the job?

This is your opportunity to prove you’re worth the salt! Even if the problem you’re describing resonates with your visitor, they must believe that you can do the job. This is where things like the layout of the website and its different pages are essential. If the page misses too many opportunities to prove you’re amazing at what you do, you’ve lost a lead.

This is where appropriately sprinkling in social proof is key. Knowing how, what and where to place different examples of social proof – case studies, testimonials, reviews, press features, interviews, etc. – makes a significant impact on conversions. When these opportunities are missed, they too have a huge business impact but a negative one.

The truth is that you’re fucking amazing at what you do. The problem lies in convincing your leads.

Can they get ME the results I need?

To answer this question, your website must paint a clear picture of the future a lead would have after working with you. This is where detailed and powerful social proof comes in. I’m talking case studies with numbers, figures or photographs of what you did for past clients, why, how and what was the end result. Telling a detailed story is kay in converting leads at higher rates.

The big question is how do you paint a picture like this? Well, it’s all about strategy. It’s about understanding what’s going on through your visitor’s mind, how they think and where such proof would have the most impact.

I wish I could tell you exactly where this information goes, but that’s unique to every business since each one has their own goals, services, and target audiences.

My biggest piece of advice is to never leave the social proof to the bottom of the page. It’s something I see very often in DIY websites. This assumes someone scrolled all the way down and just needs a small nudge to convert. That’s wrong – the best impact social proof can have is when someone isn’t sure this is for them. So put the proof on top to support your claims. Don’t let it get in the way or take over the story you’re telling. Like the term suggests, use it as proof! Sprinkle it throughout the visitor’s journey.

The takeaway

As you can see, there is a lot that does into creating an impactful website. Turning one into an indispensable business asset takes extreme planning and knowledge. Today, I’ve only covered two fundamentals that help me make the most amazing websites.

The takeaway from this article for you is to think more strategically about the story your website tells and if it is, in fact, a story that helps your visitors clearly see that they’re in the right place and that you’re the right person for the job.