Designing Websites that Convert

Anyone who owns an website in Sydney knows the importance of making it visually attractive, optimising it so it’s as SEO-friendly as possible, and promoting it through various online channels. Despite having done everything you thought you could, you might have realised with dismay that up to 68% of your visitors who have filled up their online forms have abandoned their website. If you’re frustrated by your conversion rate, there might be issues with your checkout funnel design. Rectify problems with the below tips.

1. Give users instant visual feedback to their actions

You might have spent lots of time making sure the pictures of your services are as tantalising as can be, but that shouldn’t spell the end of your efforts. The visuals surrounding your website itself are also important. Make sure your website cart is a reasonable size, not so big as to be obtrusive, but not so small as to be difficult to find. Your  design doesn’t have to be fancy, but visibility is a must, as is its ability to be updated in real time.

Also let visitors know upfront how many steps in the ordering process they will have to go through, as well as give them a visual indication of how much time their checkout is going to take. No one wants to click through never ending screens before their order goes through. Letting customers review their order one last time before it’s submitted is a best practice many online stores use.

A confusing form can deter users from completing the transaction, so ensure you add descriptions or examples of what information is required in the form fields. Form field labels that are ambiguous can be frustrating for customers, so ensure you provide clear instructions for each and every field.

2. Keep the process as simple and as clear as possible

No matter how flamboyant your brand might be, the two guiding principles behind your website display should be clarity and control.

Avoid placing any distractions or anything that could serve as an opportunity not to fill in a contact form  , even if it is another product or service your company offers. For instance, resist the urge to add pop up windows that take up the entire screen prompting your customer to sign up for newsletters until the order has been finalised.

To keep your website flow linear, you might opt to insert a forn progress bar using jQuery or CSS that provides the customer with a visual indication of how far they are from getting through the entire process. Label each step, and indicate exactly where the customer is at each point using colours and highlights that give them an idea of what is required of them next.

3. Too much info can be a deal-breaker

It is almost never a good idea to force your customers to register before being able to complete a check out. By all means allow them to create accounts, but make it optional for those who just want to make a quick purchase.

Despite the fact that there are many advantages to getting your customers to sign up for accounts, resist the urge to make it compulsory. Bear in mind that many users have multiple accounts on various sites and don’t want to have to remember yet another set of usernames and passwords, especially when they’re simply trying to make a speedy purchase. Some customers also tend to be wary of the fact that signing up might mean being subscribed to mailing lists against their will.

Any forms used on your checkout page should be kept as unambiguous as possible. Avoid asking for too much information, and have your forms reflect clearly the simplicity of the checkout process. If registration is not required to make a checkout, be sure to make that fact obvious to your customers.

4. Trust and easy access to customer service

It’s hard to know exactly what trouble a customer might encounter on the road to making a successful checkout, so it’s your responsibility to ensure that information and access to customer service is easy to find.

All contact should not only be clear and visible, but also accessible through links that appear on every page. Even if your checkout process may seem simple to you, don’t assume that’s always the case for your customers, who might need assistance from time to time.

Visual clues such as the lock symbol or third-party seals of approval should be displayed not only on the checkout page but also on the rest of your ecommerce site, so customers receive assurance that your site is safe and secure. Include a link to your privacy policy so even the most cautious of customers are appeased.

There are some basic checkout usability guidelines you should follow to make your conversion rate as high as it can possibly be. This should be your priority, rather than adding more elaborate features. Finally, it is key to continually test the efficiency of your checkout system to identify bugs as well as analyse cart abandonment patterns.

About the author

Hi, my name is Marcelo and I’m a local SEO consultant and web designer in Sydney. I’ve been involved in web design and SEO for over 16 years and in that time I’ve ranked countless client websites, as well as my own business websites. I currently live in Connells Point, Sydney – St George NSW and it’s my objective to help local businesses to thrive. Whether you’re a plumber, dentist, attorney, carpet cleaner, builder or tradesman, I will help your businesses achieve an established online existence using my own proven formula.