Lately, I’ve been witnessing the following scenario way too often: first, someone commits to ordering professional web design services.
They then proceed to finding a designer with the most visually striking portfolio, paying them a pretty penny and receiving a website redesign package worthy of a dedicated Louvre exhibition (move to the side, Mona Lisa!).
Surely, if the website looks stunning, it’s bound to achieve amazing results?
Not so fast. Beautiful imagery and a stunning colour palette do not guarantee conversions.
Instead, if the web design agency focused purely on the looks, seldom visitors are likely to click around, marvel at the designer’s talent…and forget about what they’ve just seen, without taking any action.
Why is that, you may be wondering? See, many designers fail to go beyond pretty pictures and beautifully aligned buttons, distracting the visitors from any meaningful routes leading down the conversion funnel.
Fun fact: sometimes, website redesign performed by marketers works better as far as engagement goes, even if the visuals are not as polished, since all essential conversion elements are in place, working in perfect harmony!
But is it possible to get the best of both worlds and hire a web design agency capable of producing beautiful and well-performing pages? Sure is – and contrary to popular belief, it’s not about paying the most expensive price and hoping for the best!
Instead, when booking web design services, look out for the 3 critically important signs of a well-converting website. Today, I’ll be telling you all about those – so sit back, relax and enjoy these money-saving insights!
The three whales of professional website design
Remember the legend of the three whales on whom the worlds rest?
Although this has been long debunked thanks to the efforts of the Ancient Greek astronomer Eratosthenes, effective website design still relies on its own three whales:
- Clear message
- Promise to visitors
- Compelling call to action
It’s that simple…in theory.
In practice, not many web designers will use these principles in their work, resulting in low conversions, confusion and wasted funds. Therefore, before you start working with someone, it’s important to check whether they will prompt you towards these points without you having to explicitly request it.
By gauging this information, you will instantly know what the designer is about: pretty portfolio or the actual performance!
Let’s look at each of the three whales in more detail.
Simply put, a website should strike the visitors with a clear, concise message about the purpose of the business. This is sometimes referred to as the website tagline.
Sounds simple? Not so fast.
Just think about it for a minute, and you will likely remember many instances when you landed on a new website, read the main message (provided it was present) …and still had no clear idea of what the company offered.
These days, it’s not uncommon to read a trendy tagline and remain unsure whether you’re being pitched a superfood supplement or the latest pilates craze.
And since consumers’ attention spans are shorter than ever, you really don’t want to risk it. Instead, you want to use any chance to make a strong impression on anyone passing by, dragging them deeper into the website!
Based on some big players urging customers to “Just do it” ©, it’s easy to get an impression that a catchy phrase is everything.
However, this kind of approach tends to work best for big brands who have earned their recognition points ages ago and don’t have to explain themselves or their purpose.
Instead, the focus should be on crafting a clear message, and if a catchphrase must be used, an explanatory sentence must be provided to clear out any confusion and fill in the blanks.
Some formulas an experienced web design agency may use when creating a clear, concise website tagline include:
- [Achieve this] [by doing this]
- [Doing this] [is great because]
- [We offer this] for [this audience]
- [We offer this] to achieve [this]
- [What] [with what advantage]
Of course, these are not the only possible formulas for creating powerful taglines – however, the examples above should give you a good idea of what to look for, as well as a benchmark for your preferred agency’s offerings.
Promise to visitors
Now that the visitors know who you are, and are hopefully at least mildly interested, you must strike them with a promise of what’s in it for them.
By clearly and concisely communicating to the visitors how they can benefit from your offerings, you can convert them into loyal customers effortlessly!
Sometimes, it’s as simple as listing services and products available.
For instance, an e-commerce business might list the categories of things that can be purchased from them, whilst service companies will, naturally, talk about the services they are able to perform.
It can be a bit trickier for content-rich resources such as blogs – however, the type of content offered must be described as concisely as possible to avoid visitor confusion and frustration.
In most cases, it’s also a good idea to explicitly outline the specific benefits visitors can gain by using the services. Such selling points may include:
- Price beat guarantee
- Offering the widest range of certain products
- Free trials
- Free support
- Bonus resources available upon subscribing
- And more
Basically, anything that makes a business stand out must be incorporated into website redesign.
Compelling call to action
A call to action is a statement that informs your target audience what they should be doing once they’ve seen your website and liked what they saw. The key to creating a compelling call to action is being very clear and concise, so no beating around the bush or ambiguous wording!
An effective call to action should therefore start with the desired action, such as:
- “order”, “shop”, “buy” – for e-commerce websites
- “subscribe”, “download” – for subscription-based services
- “answer these questions”, “fill out a form”, “enquire via” – to collect information that will be used to get back to the customer (typical for medical businesses or those selling expensive items)
In addition, elements of excitement such as special deals are often added, e.g. “Order today and get $30 off!”. The exclamation mark here also serves a purpose of provoking emotion and enthusiasm – you want to get your visitors excited!
Also, to stand out more, don’t be afraid to mix up the wording whilst retaining the meaning.
For example, whilst “Fill out this form” may sound a bit plain for a Personal Training business, something along the lines of “Start a journey to a healthier you – enquire now!” is likely to yield better results whilst letting the bubbly, friendly personality to shine through.
Bonus tips for choosing the best web design services
So, you’ve narrowed it down to a few agencies that incorporate a clear message, a promise to visitors and a compelling call to action when designing a beautiful website. Excellent – but how to narrow down the choice from here and pick the best web design wizards in Australia?
Here are a few bonus tips to help you out!
Do they use interactive elements?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, just under half of marketers tend to incorporate interactive content, whilst almost 80% of interactive content users would like to see more of it. A bit of a discrepancy – and a good benchmark to separate the best web designers from the rest!
One of the most effective interactive elements are infographics, due to the ease of use and effortless learning about the brand for the visitors.
However, infographics aren’t appropriate for all business types, so there are many effective alternatives, such as games, contests and in-built interactive e-books.
What about video content?
According to recent research, using a landing page video can deliver a 53x (not a typo!) increase in one’s chances of landing on the first page of Google searches!
In addition, spicing up the available content with videos effectively boosts page visits, time spent browsing and conversions.
In general, posting multiple media types such as text, photos and videos is much more engaging than plain walls of Times New Roman (however informative) – but it’s also important to keep everything clean and professional to avoid overwhelming the visitors.
Do clients stick around?
One clever question to ask when employing a web design agency is what their retention rate is – the higher it is, the higher the likelihood of complete customer satisfaction. Of course, you can just eyeball the testimonials instead – but no one really puts out bad ones or mentions those who were not satisfied with the partnership.
Getting quality web design services is crucial for professional growth and expanding the client base – however, it’s best done right or not done at all! Hopefully, the tips above will help you separate professional web design agencies from those who are only capable to deliver looks, not performance.
Judge the website not only by its looks, but also by the presence of the key marketing elements – and you will get the best results. Otherwise, if a site looks great, but fails to convert, it’s just a piece of art – and probably not the best one anyway.