Digital marketing · 6 min read

6 Design Principles to Increase your Website’s Engagement

The digital landscape is evolving and your design and marketing efforts need to reflect that — this can start with your website. This is essential to stand out when you are competing for the same customers, as it’s the way you present your business to the rest of the world.

Have you ever felt the following?

  • You feel like your website is “good enough”, but now it doesn't feel like it's reflective of our ever-changing digital world.
  • You're looking for a new way to reach your community and build strong relationships with warm leads.
  • You're ready to confidently elevate your brand professionally so you can increase your impact and sales.

My name is Christine Lieu, and I am the expert behind CL Designs and the Brand Party Podcast. My first dip into entrepreneurship and startup culture was inspired by a time of loss in my life, but it had me reflect on how I wanted to live my life to help clients create bold legacies. 

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Your website is a portal to your magic. You are investing in it (through the domain, hosting, and more) and it should be a platform that returns your investment. I’ve put together a list of my top 5 tips to optimize conversions for your website and some prompts to dive deeper.

1. Make your design friendly

To create a memorable experience, you’ll want to consider user experience (UX). If it’s difficult to find the information your customers need and difficult to navigate the pages, they will leave and be unlikely to return. Today, we peruse websites mainly through our mobile devices first and laptop/desktops second. Ensure your layout is responsive (catered towards various screen sizes), easy to navigate with a touch of a finger and that you have simple CTA buttons. 

As much as they may land on your website to learn more about you and what you have to offer, ensure your messaging is actually more about how it can help them. In order to stand out from your competitors and attract new leads, ensure your design, layout and composition create a cohesive identity that’s also functional and gets the job done quickly. Audit your colour choices, logo usage, styling of photos and graphic elements. To ensure cohesion, make sure you’re using a few font choices to streamline the overall look and feel to make it easy for visitors to read.

If you think about a time you were checking the credibility of a brand, it’s more than likely you’ve searched their website. According to Forrester Research, good UX design can increase your website's conversion rate by up to 400%, while Invision has stated that 88% of online customers are less likely to return after a bad experience. Visitors’ actions are inspired by their perception of design and the overall experience.

2. Create a low effort, high touch experience

Consider the most integral steps in your customer’s journey. Is there a lot of heavy and manual lifting to be done? If so, consider integrating tools to help with calendar scheduling, automating a questionnaire post-sales calls, or create a contact form directly within your website for a one-click correspondence. In doing the work upfront, you’ll end up creating a high-touch experience for visitors to get what they need in 1 click. 

Customers are becoming more and more impatient with so much content at our disposal. If you’re looking to optimize speed and boost your SEO, you can: 

  • Ensure that your page loads in a matter of seconds to increase your visitor’s chance of staying on longer. 
  • Speed up your website load time by compressing your images to a smaller size or resolution quality. 72 dpi is the resolution quality needed for anything digital.
  • Clean up your media library if you have a lot of video, especially if they’re running natively from your website.
  • Embed videos sourced from other platforms
  • Integrate newsletter sign-ups with a hyperlinked button 
  • Share an embedded calendar link through a frame.

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3. Remember accessibility always matters

You should always consider the accessibility of your website, firstly to be compassionate to visitors, and secondly to reach an audience that you may be missing out on. When choosing colours, you want to ensure that it’s AODA compliant to boost contrast and legibility for those who may have different visual abilities. It’s said that by the University of Loyola, they’ve seen an 80% increase of brand recognition by the use of colour. Evoke the mood you’re looking to reflect and can use it strategically to emphasize certain actions and elements. Create multiple visual cues whether that’s photo references for added visual support with alt text to stated button actions and visual cues for various elements like arrows to prompt further.


4. Provide social proof

According to Kinesis, 94% of first impressions are design-related. Of course there are other factors that will impact this figure, but the influence that design has to make that immediate judgment is too large to ignore.

You can add testimonials, reviews, and press features for added credibility to build trust with your community. With the possibility of large areas of text, consider what’s most relevant for visitors coming to your website. If they were to glance through your content, bolding certain parts you want them to focus on will help with the overall design to capture attention.


5. Be direct and clear about choices

The majority of small business websites don’t have enough calls to action (CTAs) on their website. They may not always do the action you advise, but that prompt really does help boost familiarity and encourage action. It’s like dangling the carrot but not giving the treat. You’ve got to share the offer. Minimize the amount of choices to make a clear decision making process for your visitors.

Make sure your buttons are all styled with the same shape and punchy copy. With copy, make sure it’s understandable what you’re expecting the next step to be and that it’s hyperlinked accordingly. With colour choices, you’ll want to choose from your brand palette that is used for emphasis to encourage bright and inspired action. Studies have shown that buttons with red, orange, or green colouring get the highest conversion rates, as long as they’re clearly identified on the page.

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6. Humanize your experience

Remember that there’s a human behind the screen! People don’t buy products they buy the story and solutions you have to offer. Learning more about your intention and purpose will help turn those website creepers to converters.

Put your best foot forward! Incorporate negative white space to ensure a breathable and legible experience. Remember, less is more.

Celebrate creating! Experiment with different ways to optimize opportunities and conversions with your website with a human-centered approach. Delight your potential new leads, current customers, and community with your magic.

 


About the Author:

Christine Lieu is the expert behind CL Designs and the Brand Party Podcast. She helps purpose-driven businesses create cohesive branding, web design, and social content creation to increase your impact and sales. Saying no to dull and clunky visuals and yes to consistency, creativity, and efficiency forms the core of her approach. As featured in Top 10 Canada Design and Apple Podcasts’ New + Noteworthy lists, the Brand Party Podcast delivers fun, honest, to-the-point advice that you can implement RIGHT AWAY in your entrepreneurial journey. 

Christine has been featured in Yahoo News’ Top 10 graphic designers to watch for in 2021, has had the honour to be nominated for RBC'S Women of Influence Award two years in a row, and earned Digital Publishing Awards for her work on Maclean’s “Bulldog” Election Daily issue, Walmart Live Better​ and CBC Music.

Learn more about Christine at christineldesigns.com or on Instagram at @_clieu or @brandpartypodcast

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