Nowadays, countless guides on the internet try to persuade you how easy it is to build a successful website from scratch.
While it’s true that anyone can get a decent-looking site live with the right tools, it’s still not easy for the online community to separate good web designers.
Remember, an experienced web developer knows to have a user-oriented approach when designing websites.
It’s not just about fancy visual effects, animations, and so on — it’s about creating an experience that compels users to take a specific action.
In this post, we’ll drill down into the tools which are the bedrock fundamentals for creating a high-converting website and how to utilise them yourself. (Image Source)
Let’s get started.
1. Start with the Right Platform
When it comes to developing websites, first you must choose a platform that can help you attain your goals.
Content management systems, e-commerce platforms, DIY site builders — each type of software has something unique to offer. And when commissioning a web developer, you can’t take this decision for granted. It’s important you know and understand the differences and positives & negatives of each option.
Here is a brief explanation of each tool and their strengths:
Content Management Systems:
A flexible platform designed to help you edit, manage, and publish online content.
CMS also give developers complete control over the website’s appearance — typically providing pre-made themes to work with.
WordPress is, by a clear mile, the most popular CMS ever. On top of the easy-to-use interface and countless themes to choose from, it also includes a massive plugin library for expandability and functionality – from newsletter subscription forms s to SEO.
If your main goal is to sell product, you need to check out e-commerce platforms that consolidate everything you’ll need in one place.
For example, Shopify is becoming the go-to e-commerce platform that has all-in-one service including web hosting, online store themes, and integrations with services — from payment gateways to social sharing buttons. It also supports drop shipping apps like Oberlo and BigBuy, which enables shops to launch with a low overhead – but they do charge monthly fees.
DIY Site Builder Tools
It’s sometimes difficult to understand the difference between a content management system and a DIY site builder. The fact that both also support e-commerce functionalities don’t help, either.
What you need to remember is that site builders like Squarespace and Wix have limited customisability and capabilities, especially if you want modifications in your website’s source code. They do, however, make up for it with the wide selection of themes that hit the spot between pleasant appearance and user-friendliness.
2. Optimise Your Website’s Performance
Going back to being user-oriented, your website’s loading speed is one of the user experience factors that can single-handedly kill your search, traffic and conversions.
According to Google, 53% of users abandon a mobile website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. This number is reduced to only 40% for desktop sites, but you’ll still be missing out on a huge visitor stream.
This begs the question, how can you make your website load as fast as possible?
The answer, of course, varies. What you can do is to run an analysis through Google PageSpeed Insights to identify the exact issues that affect your website’s loading speed.
PageSpeed Insights work by providing optimisation suggestions that are specifically tailored to your website’s needs. It is a highly effective tool if you want to optimise your website’s loading times and maximise conversions by retaining more traffic.
To give you an idea of what to expect, below are some of the typical suggestions for your website’s loading speed:
- Use Lossless Image Compression
If you have a lot of visual content on your site, use a lossless compression tool like Compressor.io or Smush to reduce their size without compromising quality.
- Consider a Content Delivery Network
A surefire way to see significant performance gains on your website is to use a Content Delivery Network or CDN. Basically, it’s a network of servers that are strategically distributed across multiple locations to keep loading times consistent for all users — regardless of where they are in the world.
- Minimise Your Code
A handy tool like MinifyCode.com can further increase your website’s performance by removing excess characters, such as white spaces, line breaks, and comments, from codes. This can result in noticeable improvements, especially if you offer a lot of dynamic content and interactive elements on your website.
3. KISS (keeping it simple)
Remember, web pages are instruments that help users achieve a specific goal. By being aligned with what the audience wants to do, web developers can accurately determine which page elements should be included or removed.
Do you need a prominent call to action? Are you sure banner ads aren’t pulling traffic away from your site?
Accomplished marketers like Neil Patel understand this fully, which is why you can observe the KISS principle at play in their websites.
(Image Source: Neil Patel)
It’s not rocket science: the fewer distractions presented to your audience, the faster they’ll buy into your value propositions. Apart from branding elements and navigation menus, try to avoid adding anything that contributes little to the user’s journey towards your desired action or goal. That’s why landing pages often have menus removed.
4. Keep Fine-Tuning
Even veteran web developers find it hard to unlock the maximum conversion
potential of any given site instantly — let alone do it on their first try.
Your best bet is to launch your website, boot up some performance monitoring software, and let the numbers show you the way forward for refinements.
The usual route is to integrate Google Analytics to start monitoring key performance metrics, such as web traffic, bounce rate, session duration, and e-commerce transactions. It can also help you identify your best content as well as pinpoint the “drop-off” points where you lose most of your audience.
If you want, you can also slice through the number-crunching and visually monitor how most users interact with your site. You can do this with the help of a heat mapping tool, like Crazy Egg, Sumo or Hotjar.
Conversion rate optimisation is a learning experience that requires your direct involvement and regular updates.
The tips above should be more than enough to put you on a more profitable pathway.
Care to share a couple more tips on how to develop conversion-ready websites? Feel free to leave a comment below!