Conversion is all about getting your site visitors to take action. A good landing page isn’t one that just keeps the reader from closing the tab – it’s one that gets visitors to do the thing you want them to do.

The challenge web designers face when designing a landing page is to convert passive engagement into action. Whether it’s subscribing to a newsletter, clicking on an affiliate page link, or putting a product into their shopping cart, there are many ways you can use smart design to drive user behavior.

Let’s take a look at some popular techniques.

1. Use Negative Space to Highlight Core Conversion Elements

Prompting action is all about creating motivation. No visitor to any landing page will become a subscriber or customer unless you give them excellent reasons.

You can have the web’s best copywriters delivering super-effective, conversion-focused content for your site. Their words could communicate value propositions in the best way possible. Yet, if these messages aren’t the most visible elements on your landing page, you’re losing conversions.

An excellent way to ensure that visual clutter doesn’t obscure a landing page’s most valuable assets is to incorporate negative space in your design. According to studies, intelligent use of white space can increase reader comprehension by up to 20%.

Emma Email Marketing’s homepage is a fantastic example of this technique. Three visual elements immediately jump out you as the content loads:

  • a headline explaining what the product is
  • concise sales copy explaining the value proposition
  • a call-to-action button

These three elements are surrounded by virtually nothing. The motivators for clicking on the CTA jump straight out at the visitor – and that’s precisely what the site owner wants.

2. Provide More than One Call to Action

Negative space isn’t always easy to do, as some landing pages exist because they have to communicate a ton of information to the reader.

If you run an affiliate marketing website, your CTAs will often run the risk of being lost amidst thousands of words of text. Sure, you want to talk about how awesome each product is – but you also want the reader to notice that “Buy Now” or “Check Current Price” button.

An excellent way to ensure these CTAs aren’t overwhelmed by content is to do what Best Spy does and present the reader with more than one of them on different areas of the page.

Before the reader gets to the meat of the article – the product reviews along with their respective CTAs – they’re shown additional links to the seller page as part of a handy content summary.

In the hands of a lesser designer, multiple CTAs could be confusing for the visitor. Best Spy navigates this problem by offering additional informational value along with the CTAs. In this case, a handy feature-comparison table justifies the element’s placement.

3. Choose Your Imagery Wisely

Neil Patel’s blog post on optimizing conversion rates quotes this incredible stat: studies show that people remember 20% of the information they read, but 80% of the info they see and do. The same post also quotes an example where a change in a particular CTA’s accompanying image resulted in a near-50% increase in conversion.

Clearly, packing information in a more visual context isn’t just a great way of ensuring that information is understood; using the right visual is also crucial. With stock image resources offering so many options, how does a designer know which image will be better than another?

The answer is relatively simple: the one that’s more likely to generate an emotional response from the visitor. This statement isn’t a shot in the dark – there’s some solid research behind it. Essentially, visitors process visual information in a way that’s more likely to circumvent their logical hesitation to being converted.

There’s no model for selecting the “right” image for your landing page. What’s most important is that a smart designer bears this concept in mind during the design journey.

4. Highlight Relatable Social Proof

Testimonials, reviews, and positive press coverage all play a critical role in buying the credibility needed to convert a skeptical visitor. When designing your landing page, it’s essential to find a way to shine a spotlight on evidence that readers can trust you.

LinkedIn’s home page contains a terrific example of using a testimonial for this purpose. By displaying a series of stories, each involving a formerly unemployed user finding a job on the site, they’re generating trust while also building an emotional connection with the visitor.

The testimonial gains additional credibility by showing a candid image of the person’s face, full name, and new occupation.

5. Make Your CTAs Pop

No, I’m not suggesting you go all ’90s here and start using flaming gifs or rotating 3D buttons. A little goes a long way when drawing attention to a visual trigger. There are many best practices to bear in mind when designing your CTA button or link.

Here’s a summary of what I’ve found most useful:

  • Be brief. Don’t use more than four words, although two are ideal.
  • Use subtly urgent terms. Words like “now” and “today” are proven to improve conversions.
  • Use color to make them stand out. The CTA can’t be lost amongst the surrounding content.
  • Never stop testing. Frequently change up placement, design, and labels to monitor CTA performance.

Some Final Words

Web design has come a long way since we were using Dreamweaver back in the early 2000s. The internet has evolved into a more mature digital landscape, where experts can analyze user behavior to establish best practices.

Designers now have access to incredibly valuable knowledge to understand the relationship between something as abstract as design and something as measurable as conversion rates.

Bear this in mind every time you design a new landing page. Whether it’s your site’s home page, or one supporting a specific marketing campaign, you don’t have to make instinctive, uninformed decisions. There’s a wealth of information on the web that will help you find a balance between aesthetics and function.

If you’re serious about improving conversion, understand the importance of research. Delve into this topic with confidence – the rewards will be there.

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