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Do You Know Which Design Features Increase Profit And Usability?

It’s a well-known fact that people judge other people by their appearance pretty quickly, it’s exactly the same when it comes to website design. Hence, do you know which design features increase profit and usability?

A website that’s easy to navigate and looks terrific helps tremendously when it comes to converting site visitors to leads, and leads to paying customers.

NOTE: A site visitor converts to a lead when they voluntarily give you their email Id that permits further engagement with them.

#1 – A Members Login Area

Member Login section
Diagram 1.

A feature that is quite subtle, but which has a positive impact on the number of registrations on a website is – A Registration Based Site Login Area.  i.e. One needs to register on the website, which is usually a double opt-in system. Then login, to access content that is not available to the casual site visitor.

NOTE: Casual visitors (i.e. unregistered site visitors) cannot login and cannot access all of the website’s content.

Whenever I land on a tutorial site like www.opensourcevarsity.com, and I see a Members Login, I’m intrigued by what they have to offer.  It instantly makes me think that if the site is delivering something to people as a membership, then they must have something worth buying.

That the site should be worth registering on.

It’s such a small site feature really, but it has quite an impact on the way a site visitor perceives a website. This helps to drive sales as the site visitor can be intrigued to find out what is being sold.

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#2 – A Well-Thought-Out Strategically-Placed Headline

Great Headline
Diagram 2

When the homepage for AwesomeWeb was being designed, a headline was needed for a Home page.  The Home page needed to be so distinctly structured that when a site visitor landed on the page, they instinctively understood what the site delivered, and know to use the prominently displayed search feature.  Diagram 2 was the final output of a lot of brainstorming.

The headline is succinct, and the site search feature beautiful in its simplicity.

Once the headline copy was fixed, the first line was coloured red because it’s the first colour you see AND Awesomeweb wanted people to start at the headline.

The next challenge was positioning the headline and tying it to the Call To Action. To direct site visitors to the CTA, an arrow was added from the headline to the search box as shown in diagram 2.

Every webpage needs a beautifully succinct headline that explains the what & why. The webpage headline should be laid as the very first thing seen, that leads into its Call To Action.

#3 – An Eye-popping Call To Action

An eyepopping Call To Action
Diagram 3

All digital marketers should ensure eye-popping calls to action. Whatever the purpose of the current web page is, it’s Call To Action must be more obvious than any other feature or design element on the page. An example of this would be buttons that tell users what actions they need to take.

The Call To Action used by Popup Domination is both eye popping and awesomely lucid in its simplicity. How to I know. Hey I purchased Popup Domination myself.

Some examples of CTA displayable on a button:
Sign Up Now
Get Instant Access
Download the PDF
Register for the Webinar
Show me the Video

Great examples of landing pages that have obvious calls to action are:

http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ as shown in diagram 4
http://www.basecamphq.com/
https://www.dropbox.com/

Firefox Great headline
Diagram 4

All three of these sites make sure that the site visitor clearly notice the 1 thing they want them to. Far too many digital marketers forget this simple tactic. This can crush your conversion rate.

#4 – The Email Capture Form

Popup Domination report
Diagram 5

It’s true that 95% of the site visitors will never do business with you in any capacity.

Hence, capturing email Ids while prospects are on your website increases your chances to successfully tap into and do business with the 5% who are willing and able to do business with you.

There’s a possibility that you could increase the % of leads who actually do business with you engaging with them via your value packed newsletters.

Adding a simple name and email Id pop-up or slide out capture form to your website will without a doubt double or triple your effectiveness at capturing leads with minimal effort. Be sure to make an offer on the pop-up or slide out that that site visitor will find irresistible, that is what really attracts the type of people you want to do business with.

For example, if you’re website creator and want to attract entrepreneurs needing a website created write a beautifully laid out and formatted report entitled “7 Costly Mistakes Every Website Owner Makes Which Reduces Their Income Dramatically” – making the opt-in offer this specific will help pre-qualify your leads even before you ever send them your first newsletter.

I recommend a two prong approach lead conversion approach.
#1 – Add an email capture form to the web page template sidebar for all pages
#2 – Use an exit popup with the same offer
Using software like Popup Domination as shown in diagram 5.

#5 – Threaded Comments And Comment Upvotes

Using a threaded commenting system on your site’s Blog posts and page is a subtle improvement, but it does help connect with your readers.   Threaded comments really help follow how a conversation built over time, visually.

Always answer every (genuine) comment left on your site. Ask follow up questions to help sustain the engagement.

This helps in your comment count (i.e. a perceived value).  It adds to your content and is indexed by Google and other search engines.

Subscribe to comments is also a big help, especially when you have a bustling website with a lot of engagement covering topics that are of real value to site visitors.

Comment Upvote is really helpful to mop up the input from those site visitors who skim through your Blog post content and its comments. These people, like the article, read the comments but do not really want to engage by leaving their own comment.

Somehow they seem to enjoy up voting or down voting comments made if they agree or disagree with the comment content.  Using a comment Upvote plugin helps capture their engagement.

#6 – Improve Text Readability

Text styling is often one of the most over looked parts of web design.  Regretfully, it’s also the most important.  If a site visitor finds it difficult to read the content on your webpage how can you expect them to become paying customers?

Here’s some examples:

Text links used to be blue and underlined. This is how text links should look on a website.

Designers started changing how text links looked simply because they knew how to do this. Unfortunately the further you get away from the standard look and feel of a text link, the less site visitors will click your links. Which simply means less money earned via the website.

If you visit all the top websites today, the majority will use blue text links.  Some may have shifted away from underlining the link. This could be because they are big brands and their site visitors people know their what their links look like.

Black text on a white background, it’s the most readable format. Now a day’s designers seem to be a bit biased towards using dark grey text on white background. This is often harder to read, especially by an older audience.

Paragraphs should be small. Maximum of three to four lines. It makes the paragraph more appealing to read. This is probably why I’ve written all this in a list format, it’s easier to consume.

Headlines should stand out. Site visitors skim blog posts, trying to find what they are looking for. Use the H1 to H7 HTML tags judiciously, to make your headlines and subhead line stand out from body text.

Sans Serif fonts are much easier to read than Serif fonts on display screens. Use a sharp Sans Serif font (Open Sans Serif from Google fonts being an example) with a font weight of 300.

#7 – Make Sure Your Site Has Great Usability

When you are creating your website, ask yourself WHO will be using it?

The navigation bar is a great place to start because this helps clarify how the content on your website’s can and will be accessed.  Organize the navigation links in their order of importance going from left to right (or top to down).

Once you’ve got the site navigation sorted, turn your attention to the content of each page.

Font colors have an effect on the site visitor.

  • Dark red and bright yellow cause people to take action
  • Blues and greens help build trust
  • Black font colour on white paper helps in great readability

If your site visitors experience difficulty reading a sentence, they’ll simply exit your site and head on over to your competitors.

Keeping sentences to 15 words max.  Paragraphs to around 2 to 3 sentences top. This maximizes engagement and keeps your website readability around those of a 5th grader.  Remember you’re writing for web users not university professors.

You can check your website / article readability by using this tool.

Please Leave Your Comments They Are A Huge Help

If you liked this Blog post, I’d love to read your comments. If you thought that this Blog post was not upto your expectations, I’d love to read your comments.

It’s your comments that helps me get better each day. Please pass on your bouquets or brickbats in the comments section right below.

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I've been an entrepreneur for more than 33 years.

I've taught marketing and finance at a few MBA schools in Mumbai, India. These subjects are like a horse and carriage. You can't have one without the other.

I am technology savvy too as I am armed with an M.Tech from Manchester University, UK. In that sense, you could call me a geek-marketer, as I’m comfortable with both technology and marketing.

I have written and published 83+ books in tech and digital marketing. Many of these are available on Amazon.

I've been working in digital marketing for around 24+ years. I love to teach the subject, plus define, execute, and tweak digital marketing strategies for my own websites and my clients.

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4 responses on "Do You Know Which Design Features Increase Profit And Usability?"

  1. As always some great tips Ivan. And some fine examples.

    Couldn’t agree more about text links. I think it’s something most marketers don’t even think about or realize how much of a difference it can make. Some time back I remember reading how some one tested it, think it was conversion doctor or something like that, can’t remember the exact site address.

    But he proved without a doubt that the old-time blue/red underlined lined links out clicked the rest, by quite a margin.

    It only makes sense, it’s what we are conditioned to see and associate with a clickable link. I always try my best to convert my links to the blue/red underlined. It’s not that hard, usually just some pretty simple css code. Sure I still have some to change, but it’s a process, right? 🙂

    So many theme’s these days have different link colors and most are not even underlined (some times it’s necessary I guess), and bloggers don’t know how it’s losing them clicks. Some links don’t even look like links these days. Sounds like a little thing, but can add up.

    Funny, still see some bloggers who don’t reply to comments. Don’t make sense. Or they are too busy. Awesome tip about asking questions to increase engagement, plus it can make for more comments. Something I don’t do enough of myself.

    Also agree with the eye catching CTA’s. I’ve been using Thriveleads and it looks good, the stats will tell.

    Thanks for sharing Ivan. Great post.

    • Wow! Ron,

      Thanks so much for your beautiful, value packed comment. Appreciate it. Oh Yes, if one chooses the link text carefully, and places this strategically within a paragraph you’d be amazed at the number of people who click the link. While I know some people say don’t do this, I ways open the site linked to in another tab. That way, while the site visitor actually goes to another site, their Browser is still connected to my site as well. To come back to my site and continue reading requires them just to click an adjacent tab.
      Has done Magic for reducing my bounce rate tremendously.

      Yup, I take great trouble to ensure that all links are blue in color and get underlined when the mouse cursor is hovered over them. Links must be instantly noticeable and must trigger the fact that they are indeed links in the site visitor. Otherwise I think this defeats their purpose.

      Blogger engagement. Yes I’m pretty surprised at that to. I tend to see a bit of this on Kingged and many other places to. I often wonder why and then simply put it down to Blogger inexperience. I’d hate to believe that its due to Blogger indifference.

      Thanks Ron. Always a pleasure to hear from you. Enjoy the week ahead its going to be a great one.

  2. Hey Ivan,

    Thanks for writing this and syndicating it on Kingged.com.

    You have certainly covered some very important design features that can indeed increase profit and usability. I absolutely agree with all of these design features.

    I agree that having a “A Members Login Area” is certainly important and can increase profit and usability, but it’s not a good idea to alienate those who don’t want to log in but still want to get access to “some” information on the site. I see you also agree with this as your tutorial site Opensourcevarsity.com also has a lot of useful content for those who don’t want to log in, 🙂

    I also agree that “A Well-Thought-Out Strategically-Placed Headline” is very important. It helps to tell visitors exactly what to expect and urges them in.

    And of course, all the other points you mentioned are also very important, even though it all depends on how best one wants to implement which. What works excellently well for one site might not work as well for another. So, it’s also important to test things out before deciding on what/how to implement some of these design features.

    Something important though – you have done a great job of listing and explaining why these are very important design features but will most people who read this take action on implementing them? Sadly, no.

    And that’s always the problem – people will read this, nod their heads in agreement but do nothing, or not enough. The best action some will take is to file this away or bookmark/print it, to read later, but will still take little or no action in actual implementation. Yet they continue blaming everything but themselves for not getting good results. Of course we are all guilty of this, sadly.

    Anyway, that’s not your problem and there’s nothing much you can do to FORCE people to take action. You have provided very powerful tips in this post and that’s the best you can do. The rest is up to us, to read, take action and implement, 🙂

    Thanks for writing and sharing this on Kingged.com. I have “kingged” it like others before me, and am sure more people will read and king this as well.

    Kingsley

    • Hi Kingsley,

      You’re welcome. I’ve always found Kingged a really nice place to be. David Leonhardt, from Canada and a few others recommended Kingged. Once I signed up there was not looking back. I’m enjoying the engagement and the many new friends I’ve made on Kingged.

      You always bring in an element of surprise Kingsley, you read posts on Kingged take the time to add valuable comments. Your day must indeed be a power packed on. Some day soon I’m going to morph into a dedicated 24X7 hands on guy like you. Oh! who am I kidding.

      So far other than a registration I’ve not charged for any of the material I lay out on my sites. I always have about 40% material accessible for free i.e. no registration required needed. Simply come to the website and read to your hearts content. Then if one is convinced I add value and would like to read about more complex issues, register.

      I learned this from a mentor of mine really. He said keep 90% of your content for free if you believe in yourself. Hold back 10% for registration and monetization if you are confident that the 10% add value to the reader like nothing else can. I’m getting there.

      Ah Yes, a long time ago my dad used to say – You can take a horse to the water but you cannot make the horse drink. When I was young I used to wonder what he was saying. This was largely because he was saying this – To Me – when he showed me his wisdom and experience and I really did not want to partake because of my youth and – quite frankly – my stupidity. Oh! but I learned what he said as I’ve grown older and a whole lot wiser.

      Thank you for Kingging my post Kingsley truly appreciate this.

      Warmly,

      Ivan Bayross

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