Conversion designer: A new kind of web designer

As a web professional, I want to master designing for my client’s business success.

The one and only metric to rule them all, conversion rate reveals the sucess of a website we designed.

In this world, where everything revolves around making money, a web design means creating a piece of interactive art with words and images that exists because a client wants the visitors to magically turn into paying customers.

That magic is called designing for conversion.

Let’s dive right in.

Everybody designs for conversion

In today’s subscription-based economy, this means not only to gain a new user, but to keep him using the product. All that user experience design work as a pillar for a perfect, delightful and easy-to-use interface was commisioned in order to make the money rain.

Although conversion is king, it is usually an after-though. Clients would say something like “make my website more SEO-friendly” or “make my website accessible” or… "make my website make more money".

To master conversion, you cannot just plaster it over an existing design and A/B test it until your head spins.

Well… yes you can, but how about building an informed, purposeful and high-performing design from the start?

Success starts with research

Talking to people is absolutely neccessery. Lots of notes and thinking, quick & dirty paper sketches and more talking. An idea about the product is eventually born.

The designer should help clients complete the discovery phase as part of the UX package.

Master your copywriting

I simply open a fresh new Google Doc and start writing.

To write copy that converts, I've mastered these simple rules:

  • Write like you talk
  • Write like you’re talking to one customer
  • Write like you're talking to a customer of that specific client
  • Shorter sentences and simple words are better
  • Headings should contain value proposition (benefits)
  • Use action words like “today” and “now” and emotional words like “genius” or “secret", "proven", "discover", "skyrocket", etc.
Triggering emotion with words

That One Liner

The single most important thing on a website must:

  • Explain what the product does in one short paragraph
  • Showcase the benefit, not the feature (How it helps people?)
  • Be visible on top of the landing / home page
  • Come with a Call to Action (What to do right away?)

Examples of great headlines:

https://www.drift.com/
https://basecamp.com/

Visual Design

So when we know we got the messaging right, it's time to craft a design system that will be used for creating all our pages.

Design systems or component libraries define a cohesive style

The website has to simply "feel right". It "feels right" when everything comes together:

  • The written word is cohesive with the brand
  • The colors reflect the brand
  • The font families are on point
  • The photos and graphics have the same style

You would create a completely different mashup for a kids' store and for a SaaS company.

So, now we have all the components to construct our pages and create a successful website that converts well.

Cool tips for better conversions

Call to action

  • If there’s a form involved, do not point to it with a button. Just put the form at the top of the page and make it as simple as possible, or break it into 2–3 steps.
  • Don’t just use "Submit" as a form submit text
  • "Create my account" performs better then "Create your account"

Testimonials

  • Use well-known logos of companies for this effect to work
  • Add headshots of real customers

Graphics

  • For e-commerce sites, show alternate views of each product
  • If it's relevant, before & after images add fun and engagement

Privacy

Not-so-cool tips

Among these techniques that really scream for attention are:

  • Countdown clocks ("Only 10:02:59 hours left")
  • Exit popups ("Are you leaving already?!")
  • Visitor count ("3 people are looking at this product")
  • Time or stock sensitivity ("Only 1 pair left in your size")
  • Remarketing (the website will follow you on Google or Facebook as an ad)

Use them at your will. I won't judge you. Promise.

Web designer of 10+ years. Mommy and wife, pool dancer and pole player. Envato Elite author. Appeared in net magazine. Passionate about all things web.

Web designer of 10+ years. Mommy and wife, pool dancer and pole player. Envato Elite author. Appeared in net magazine. Passionate about all things web.