Convert More Internet Leads with These 7 Web Design Principles

by Sergio Valdes


Chris Smith is the co-founder of Curaytor.

When building your website or landing pages (or changing and improving the ones you may already have), a “conversion-first” approach to design and user experience is a must.

Simply put: Great design builds trust and trust is and always has been why people buy things, online and off. As Zig Ziglar once said, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you. But if they trust you, they’ll do business with

Here are some methods you should follow with your website to build trust and convert leads:

1. Clean Design – A recent paper by Elizabeth Sillence, Pam Briggs and Lesley Fishwick, entitled “Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites,” proved that good online design equals trust and sales. Ninety-four percent of Web users, according to the paper, cite design (compared to only 6 percent citing content) in relation to “the number of times a factor was mentioned as a percentage of the total number of comments about rejection.” So maybe content isn’t king after all.

Here were some of the first impressions and remarks about website design that Sillence, Briggs and Fishwick included in their paper:

  • “I found the screen too busy. I couldn’t quite latch onto anything straight away” (female, 66 years old).
  • “It’s so clinical, so pasty, lots of white lots of pale blue obviously trying to be gentle on the eye” (female, 48 years old).
  • “The banners, when they are trying to sell you something or click down here for your free whatever, you just get turned off” (female, 49 years old).
  • “One of them I didn’t like the color of. I couldn’t wait to get out. It was an insipid green backdrop it just put me off reading it” (female, 53 years old).
  • “There was just nothing I liked about it at all. I didn’t like the colors, the text, the layout” (female, 52 years old).

2. One Column – Having a one-column layout allows for a “one page, one purpose” approach. Two- and three-column website designs can feel cluttered, complex and busy. Plus, it’s much easier to make a one-column layout responsive for mobile devices, which are where more than 50 percent of your traffic and leads will come from. If you are going to use a platform like WordPress or Squarespace to build your website, be sure to look for one-column themes.

3. Social Proof – “They are great” is the new “We are great.” When you display the feedback of your happiest customers, and not just your own marketing messages, you will find that the quantity and quality of your leads from your website will increase. Using actual reviews from Yelp, Google or Facebook, and recommendations from LinkedIn, is ideal. Remember, your leads can instantly identify and already trust those logos much more so than yours. It amazes me how many business owners have great reviews online, but they don’t actually showcase those reviews on their own website in a beautiful way.

Consider this: according to a BrightLocal study, 88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

4. More Contrast – The fewer colors you use, the more the colors you do use will pop. Whitespace is highly underrated. A well-designed website should get people to the parts of it that make you money, fast. Increase your contrast by taking a “less is more” approach: Use colors only when critical, like in your calls to action. This
will get the people visiting your site clicking on the pages, buttons and links you want them to the most.

5. Fewer Form Fields – We have only eight seconds to capture someone’s attention online, so you cannot ask for a ton of information on your website contact forms. Stick to the basics of name, phone number, and email when possible. You can also use a “log in with Facebook or Google” button above the form fields so they can complete the form without any keystrokes at all.

I have also found it to be very helpful to have a backup option like “Or you can call/text 555-5555 or email Hello@Curaytor.com” anytime you have a contact form. The bottom line is that if someone is willing to fill out a form on your website to be contacted, they might also prefer to simply contact you right then. If it takes someone more than a moment or two to locate your phone number and your email address on your website, fix that ASAP.

6. Keeping Focus – More choices equals fewer decisions made. You really want to limit the number of calls to action on any given page to one when you can. If one page of your website asks me to join your newsletter, follow you on Twitter and download your e-book, I probably won’t do any of them. Remember, one page equals one purpose. The only page of your site that will likely need multiple calls to action is your homepage. For all other pages, keep them laser focused on one primary focus.

7. Larger Targets – This one is particularly important to lead capture. Code Academy cited Fitt’s Law, which says, “The time required to move and interact with a target area is a function of the distance and size of the target. The closer and larger the target, the faster the action.” To state it simply: the size of and distance between the form fields on your website forms and landing pages matter. Make sure your forms are not too small and, also, not too spaced out.

Chris runs sales and marketing for Curaytor, a multimillion dollar marketing and software company. He is the author of “The Conversion Code,” a No. 1 Amazon Best Seller about capturing Internet leads, creating quality appointments and closing more sales. Chris is also the co-author of “Peoplework.” Prior, Chris worked for DotLoop, Inman News, Move Inc. and Quicken Loans.

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