Published On: March 9, 2012
4 Steps to Help You Improve Landing Page Conversions
There’s a design technique that keeps coming back and will never go out of style. Google, Amazon and Apple all practice it to stay ahead of competitors and dominate as world-wide industry leaders. This is the secret sauce behind Apple’s elegant products, what makes Google’s search interface so unique and easy to use, and it’s what keeps Amazon and Zappos customers coming back for every new online purchase. What’s the secret design method? It’s simply called minimalism. Minimalist design is all about reducing instead of adding, doing less rather than doing more, and focusing on what’s essential. When applied to design, minimalism helps you cut down on distracting features and unnecessary elements that have little or no value. In short, it’s a way to reduce clutter and focus on what matters.
The success and popularity of minimalist design is driving new methods in designing websites, apps and even advertising. For websites, the practice encourages a reduction of clutter to make it easier for users to find information. De-cluttering your website is not just a way to improve how it looks. It also helps improve web conversions because it gives users fewer choices to make. When people are presented with fewer options, they tend to make a decision more quickly because they spend less time worrying and deliberating among the choices they have in front of them. Psychological studies have shown that giving consumers too many choices makes them feel a sense of anxiety, stress and “decision-making paralysis”. Give someone too many choices, and they are overwhelmed with what to do or how to find the best option. Give them a tailored, carefully curated set of two to three choices you want them to make, and they’re more likely to make a quick decision.
De-clutter your website by focusing on a just a few key points of information, and you will see a substantial increase in online conversions. Here are 5 steps you can take today to focus user attention on the sections of your website you want them to see most:
“Negative space” is any empty space of a solid color, usually white or black, that surrounds the subject of your design. The “subject” is the focus of what you’re communicating, and the negative white space around it helps direct the viewers’ attention on the subject. Negative space is useful because it helps remove any distracting backgrounds or patterns that would otherwise draw the viewer’s attention away from what you want them to see.
When you place a white or black background behind a subject, it creates an appealing contrast between the something-ness of the subject, and the nothingness of what’s behind it. Negative space is used throughout web design and even in commercials. Notice how the white space is used throughout the “Mac vs. PC” ads by Apple, and the more recent T-Mobile commercials featuring a spokesmodel in a bright magenta dress. These ads are more memorable and easy for viewers to understand thanks to the negative space used as the background.
Treat the space on your website like valuable real estate, and devote room for content that gets you the highest web leads. You can use a neat feature in Google Analytics to see where users are clicking most on your website. This tool is called “In-Page Analytics,” and it is free data made available by Google. Log in to Google Analytics, choose the website you wish to review, click on “Content” on the left-hand navigation bar, and select “In-Page Analytics”. This will load an in-page view of your website and show the percentages of clicks received for each link or linked image. The “Conversions” section will also let you know which pages are generating the most web leads.
Text-based headlines and heading tags have clear SEO benefits, but they’re also great for organizing content and giving deeper meaning for images. Use larger text sizes for headlines, smaller text sizes for subtitles below headlines, and bold certain keywords to add emphasis and structure to your text content. You can also use a small-sized text caption below images to provide a clear label for what that image is or what it matters to users.
Even if an image clearly shows something a user can recognize, adding a caption removes any ambiguity, and can serve as a way to get visitors to click on an image if it is linked to a landing page. You can also use contrasting colors to draw attention to the portions of your website where you want visitors to look. A “new special” ad can feature colorful products on a more neutral, solid background, with brighter tones surrounding the products to add a bright look. Colors that alternate between dark and light grab attention because the darker colors make the brighter colors look brighter, and vice versa. Using just a few design elements like choosing the right colors can help you reduce the elements needed to direct a user’s attention towards the content you want them to see.
4. Reduce to only 1 featured content section and two to four secondary content blocks:
Simplify the layout of your website by having one primary content section, where you display the featured content you want visitors to see. Usually this is the newest or most important content, and it’s a great place to direct traffic from your homepage to any subpage you want people to check out. If you look at the Apple.com homepage, you’ll notice this practice in action. There’s one primary content section that highlights their newest product, and four smaller blocks of content below. Everything is surrounded by negative white space, even the top navigation bar. This structure is designed to give users clear choices to make, and communicates to them that these are the four to five main parts of the website. The top navigation bar is there for them to make specific choices if they’ve already been to the website before, but the overall layout creates a user-friendly interface for new visitors. The same is true for the homepage of Google.com , Zappos.com and Squareup.com. All of these examples show how a featured, central area can focus users’ attention to the first thing you want them to see and interact with.
These actionable strategies will help you organize your website in a way that immediately focuses users' attention on the key sections of your website. Remember, your website is a tool for communication, so how you structure text, images and links will make a significant impact on the conversions you get. Help users find their way around your landing pages, and they'll be more likely to to get in touch with you.