Designing a site so you get more people converting, or following through on the course of action you want them to take, may seem straightforward. The old motto was that if you built a site that was generally appealing, people would come to it and stick around. As with most typical assumptions, that one is highly incorrect. The problem isn’t that a beautiful website is going to be bad for conversions. The problem is beauty is only one part of site design.

Think of it this way: Your site has to mingle both art and science in order for you to see the biggest possible return on your investment dollars. You have to make sure every design factor has been considered, and that most of them can be tested for conversion rate optimization. How do you do that? By taking apart your design elements piece by piece.

Design Elements Every High-Conversion Site Needs

The following are some of the design elements that are seen again and again on high-converting websites:

  • The design shows the visitor where you want him to go: Don’t make your web guest have to guess at your motives! Have ever been to a website where so much is going on you can’t decide what to do first? Every one of your webpages and elements should have thought behind it. Make sure you drive your visitor to take a particular action or series of actions with design elements such as arrows, bold text, colored text, photos, etc.
  • Make every button easy to find: Want to drive your visitors crazy? Hide the “buy now” button. You’ve probably seen this on other websites. If they can’t figure out how to take the next step, they won’t. Don’t just rely on your own opinion. Ask other people who haven’t seen the website before. You don’t want to lose any sales over something so easy to fix.
  • Pick attractive color combinations: Yes, this is an aesthetic principle, but there’s method behind it. Some colors and color combinations are more psychologically appealing to viewers. Impulse shoppers tend to go for orange, while shoppers on a budget tend to appreciate the color teal. The hues you choose can make a big difference in your click-throughs.
  • Have your headers stand out: We’re going to assume you’re taking your time to create energizing headlines that grab people’s attention. Why bury them on a website? If you have strong headers, you need to ensure they’re front and center.
  • Include links that look like links: Nothing is worse than having links on your page that don’t look like links. Be certain every visitor knows a link is a link. Usually, this can be done through a different-colored text, or underlined text. Most web viewers are accustomed to moving around websites this way.
  • Use high-quality photo images: Forget about getting all the stock photos people have seen before. If you want to convert, it’s time to upgrade your graphics. You don’t have to spend a fortune, either. Just move beyond the cheap or free graphics sites and pay a little. Consider, too, that you could have an artist draw graphics if you want a different look at your site.
  • Be sure your site looks great on a mobile device: Even if your web designer swears your website looks terrific on mobile, check it out yourself. Does it load quickly? Does it look natural? Is it easy to navigate? So many people are using mobile devices now that it’s imperative your site be mobile-ready. Plus, Google will evaluate your search engine rank position based on your site’s responsiveness.

As a last reminder, always be open to tweaking your website after checking the analytics, and don’t be afraid of A/B split testing. See your website as an evolving marketing tool, rather than a static element. You’ll see your conversions rise, and your customers and prospects will appreciate the time you took to make your site friendlier.