why good web design is important

Your website design has a lot of work to do.

It should look professional, make it easy for visitors to find what they need, and show visitors why you’re the person to do business with. But the most important thing a good design does is help to close the deal.

How can your website’s design help convert visitors into customers? Here are 7 must-know tips to get you started.

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1. Start with SSL

SSL certificates aren’t part of your website’s design, but I’m including them here because your site’s SSL status is often the first thing visitors notice. It can be the element that determines whether they stay or flee.

When you have an SSL certificate for your site, your domain name starts with https instead of http.

example of secured website with SSL certificate

And the green padlock symbol will show up next to your URL in visitor’s browser bars. People trust the padlock.

SSL is important for three reasons:

  1. Most browsers flag sites without SSL as “not secure”. Sometimes that warning scares visitors off.
  2. SSL matters for SEO. Google has used SSL status as a ranking signal since 2014, and in a search-result ranking tie between one site with https and one with http, https wins.
  3. SSL encrypts the data your customers enter on your website. That stops hackers and data thieves from stealing personal and payment information. This protects your customers and your business reputation.

Did you know? All HostGator plans come with a free SSL certificate.

2. Mobile Formatting Matters

Your website must display beautifully on a mobile screen. Mobile-first design is the cornerstone of modern websites because so many of us spend so much time browsing on our phones.

You can find mobile friendly templates for WordPress websites or you can hire a designer with a strong portfolio of mobile-first designs.

3. Make a Great First Impression With Your Product Pages

This doesn’t mean you have to throw all your company information on every product page, but it’s important to remember that any of your product pages maybe the first impression a visitor has of your website.

Let’s say you sell gear and supplies for exotic birds. You may have a fantastic home page, but maybe visitors are arriving at your site through searches for cuttlebones or parakeet playgrounds or parrot perches—and they go right to those product pages from their search results.

Each of those pages needs to include your company name, a brief summary of your shipping and returns policies, pricing, and a navigation menu that lets them quickly explore the rest of your website without having to hunt around.

example of product page with shipping and returns policy in description

4. Invite Visitors to Linger with Category Landing Pages

We’ve blogged before about the importance of structuring your product categories so they’re easy for search engines and human beings to navigate. And each category page is prime real estate for product photos, keywords, and informative content that can help your customers decide what to buy.

Back to our exotic bird website example. Let’s say your product categories are food, treats, grooming, health, habitats, and toys. Your habitat category page should include photos of your most popular cages, perches, and playscapes, along with descriptive text that includes the keywords people use to find your products.

This is the ideal place for a guide explaining how to choose the right enclosure or a checklist of must-have elements in a bird enclosure. All this content, if it’s tagged and written properly, can help boost your SEO and show customers that you’re a resource for information as well as products.

5. Make Your Calls-to-Action Count

Every page on your site should include a call to action (CTA). A CTA is a short statement telling your visitors what you’d like them to do next.

For example, on your exotic bird habitat category landing page, your CTA is “find your bird’s new roost now.” On product pages, the CTA is “add to cart.” You can also have a secondary CTA for people who aren’t quite ready to take the plunge—”add to wish list” or “save for later.” On the cart page, the CTA is “checkout.”

At every step of the way, your CTA gives customers a little nudge to take the next step toward conversion. That’s sales psychology 101. It’s also super important in an age where most of us have a bunch of browser tabs and apps open at once and our attention is highly fragmented.

6. Create a Low-Friction Checkout Experience

So, you have a parrot parent visiting your site, reading your content, choosing a new enclosure, adding it to their cart, and hitting the checkout button.

This next part of the website must be designed properly to keep that customer from abandoning their cart. Between 70 and 85% of all e-commerce carts get ditched before customers complete their purchases. Part of the reason is bad checkout design that makes customers work too hard to give stores their money.

Design your checkout so it requires as little effort from your customers as possible, while remaining secure and protecting you from potential fraud. Let your customers auto-fill their name and address information. Don’t make them create an account to check out. Let them use an online payment service like Square or PayPal so they don’t have to fish around for a credit card.

allow paypal option at checkout for mobile ecommerce site

Design it right, and your customers are more likely to convert.  

7. Consider Outsourcing Your Website Design to Experts

There are plenty of resources for designing your own website, especially if you’re using WordPress, because there are so many templates you can buy or use for free. If you’re not confident in your design skills or would rather focus on other aspects of your business, you can hire a design service with experience building mobile-friendly websites.

Ready to get started? Sign up for professional website design services from HostGator and outsource that process today.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance B2B content marketing writer. Her specialty areas include SMB marketing and growth, data security, IoT, and fraud prevention