According to a survey done earlier this year, there are now close to 2 billion active websites online right now. In other terms, that’s roughly one website for every four people on Earth. Now, clearly, most of these websites go unvisited, but the sheer volume of content out there can make some hesitant about web development, with many wondering how to design a website that can break through the noise and actually be successful.

On top of this, if you are creating a website with the goal of drumming up business, you not only need to get visitors to your site, but you need them to actually convert once they find you. Thankfully, this isn’t rocket science and by taking a few well-placed steps in the right direction, you can design a website specifically with conversions in mind.

In this article, we are going to show you exactly how to design a website that will both provide a good user experience and drive conversions. By making these changes to your site and sticking with them, you can improve your web presence and make yourself easier to reach by potential customers. Let’s get started.

how to design a website

Design with a purpose

In order to understand how to design a website with conversions in mind, we first need to review a rule of design: you must have a goal. Whether you know it or not, every design you have ever seen has had a purpose and, depending on how well it was created, an end point it was leading you to.

While conversions are what we will be speaking about today, the design best practices we will look at can be applied to any design hoping to improve the completion or fulfillment of a purpose. Although there are tools such as chatbots that can be used to improve conversions, there is no substitute for good design. And with 46% of users listing a website’s design as their top criteria for working with a brand, there’s never been a better time to get started.

1. Limit Options

The first step when designing your website, especially when you are aiming for a high conversion rate, is to the limit the options available to your users. There are plenty of reasons for doing this, but Hick’s Law sums it up best: the more options available, the longer it will take to reach a decision.

When it comes to your website, you don’t want your users to have to take time to find what they are looking for or comb over a bunch of options. You want to make the call-to-action that leads to the next step plain, simple, and easy to find so that more users convert. If the first page they come to has more than 2 or 3 options to choose from, they are more likely to go somewhere else than choose any of them.

2. Plan for Impatience

Jumping off of this, another major consideration when wondering how to design a website is user patience or lack thereof. In the digital age we live in, users expect their needs to be met in a matter of seconds and will quickly become annoyed with slow pages and excess content. In fact, according to one study, a mere one second delay in page load time results in a 7% reduction in conversions.

No matter the size of your business, you can’t afford to have 1% of your conversions walk out the door, much less 7. In order to combat this, along with taking a minimalist design approach (more on this in a second), reducing the amount of code and media on your site can greatly improve page loading speeds. We recommend using various online design tools to improve the speed of your site.

3. Minimalism is Your Friend

While there is a time for information and content, there will also be times for keeping things clean and minimalist. When wondering how to design a website, remember that white space, when used correctly, is your friend. This goes double when your aim is to increase conversions. By having a page with nothing but the most pertinent information, users won’t have to look far to find what they need.

Keep in mind that this isn’t just for landing pages with CTAs front and center. Every part of your website can quickly become easier to read simply by reducing paragraph length and using the right fonts and spacing to take advantage of negative space.   

4. Stick to Your Color Palette

Along with choosing the right font and spacing for your website’s content, finding and sticking with a color palette is another way to take control of your site’s design. One of the hallmarks of UX design is consistency and if you can use the same colors in a strategic way, you can grealy improve the layout and potency of your site.

For instance, let’s say that a main color you choose for your site is green. Now, when laying out your site, each point in the content where you are displaying the value of your services should be done using green, followed by a CTA in green, indicating to your users that this is the next logical step. Obviously this is just an example, but this simple design choice can have profound effects on your users.

5. Use High Quality, Human-Centered Images

The next part of website design we will review is that of images. While some see images as an afterthought, finding and using the right high-quality images is a necessity, especially when creating a customer-facing site. Take time to find a trusted stock image provided to ensure that you are only using the best images to maintain a professional appearance.

However, it’s not just high-quality images you should look for, but human-centered images are another way to boost credibility and conversions. Although it may seem obvious, users will often be more enticed by images with a smiling face than say a picture of your product (or dog). The goal is to find the right balance of familiarity and professionalism that shows you care and will take care of them, should they become your client.

6. Plan and Test Your UI Flow

Which leads us to the next thing you will need to know about how to design a website, which is to plan for success. This is a common mistake designers make: not having a plan when users click through their site to the next. By laying out a UI flow, you can mitigate this and even make it more likely that users will follow through.

The next step after laying out the flow is to maintain it and even test elements to make sure you are keeping it optimized. Another common mistake you will see is forgetting to track and update the website after the initial launch. Unless you dedicate time to pushing your web presence forward, you will remain stagnant or even begin to fall behind.

7. Collect Feedback and Data

As we just mentioned, one of the best ways to stay relevant with your website is to continually test and optimize your site. However, you won’t know which direction you need to push unless you have ways to collect feedback and data to guide your decisions. This is why we always recommend putting these best practices in place as soon as possible to achieve the best results.

While this may just feel like another item to write off your website redesign checklist, user data and feedback actually play a much larger role. From deciding how the UI should feel to finding the target audience of your site, data like this should always lead the way. Put these measures in place so that you always have something to fall back on.

Final Thoughts

In the end, it won’t be just one or two of these best practices that will help you create a website that converts, it will be a combination of all of them. As is often the case, the total is more than the sum of its parts and websites are the same way.

Take time to analyze your site and review the above tips. If you are hoping to improve the conversion rate of your site and drum up new business, there’s never been a better time to get started. Now that you have the knowledge, it’s up to you to make it work.