Website design, improving conversion rates and helping SEO

The visibility of a site is gradually becoming dependent on more and more factors – the number of SEO signals is increasing.  We used to be able to more or less ignore design but no longer.  Google is now believed to look at a site’s performance metrics and these are definitely influenced by the site’s design.

I have been  looking at a client site that is about to undergo a redesign and so I have been thinking about design much more than I normally do.   I usually focus almost exclusivley on the content and how it is presented from the point of text layout.  But the site in question doesn’t have great visibility and the conversion rate  is low.  The low conversion rate is not the only problem but it needs improving and I think it is not unrelated to the dark background and reversed out text.

In my search for more expert information on how design, and more specifically colour, affects conversion rates, I came across a video that I think is well worth watching.

By Flint McGaughlin of MECLABS  It is quite long at an hour, but provides some useful insights.

It was recorded a while back in 2012 but it seems valid.

The two points that I felt I need to remember were about headlines and about focussing on just one call to action.

Headlines – capture attention and convert into interest

Flint used the rather useful metaphor of a headline being like a chat up line.  Both need to capture attention and then turn it into interest.  The site I am assessing is an ecommerce product site and the headlines are simply the product name, like so many ecommerce sites.  Such a headline may capture the attention if is exactly – and I mean exactly – what you are looking for, but there is no margin for error.  Even if the product is what your wanting to buy but you use a slightly different name for it, the chances are that in the micro second you allow to for your decision, you will decide it is not right and move on.  What a waste, especially if I have put a lot of effort into the SEO of the page, or perhaps even worse, used Adwords and paid for you to visit the site.

Often there are constraints on an ecommerce and the headline has to be simply the product name.

Pink widgets

It just doesn’t invite any sort of engagement.

But put a sub head underneath and it becomes much more interesting

Pink widgets

The prettiest pink widgets apps for your Android

Call to action

We all know that every page needs a call to action, which at the very least should be a path where you are encouraging your visitor to go rather than leave your site.

Often there is more than one call to action, do this or do this.  The insight here was that every page needs a primary call to action to which 70% of the design should focus on achieving.

Don’t confuse your message.  As I say, obvious really but the obvious is often well worth revisiting.

I don’t often listen to the whole of a one hour video but this one was worth the couple of cups of coffee it lasted.  There is a lot more good stuff than the two points I have highlighted.

Article Name
How colour affects website conversion rates and therefore SEO
As search engines use ever more signals including conversion rates, website design is becoming more of an SEO issue as well as a usability one.

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