Effective Web Design; marketing secrets revealed

Submitted by David Harry | Category: General Interest | Published on Jun 10, 2006
Virtually all websites need 2 things, traffic and conversions. The traffic part is simple. No traffic, no purpose. Unless it’s a private community or intranet, traffic is the lifeblood of any online entity.

As a marketing/advertising consultant for over 15 years, it is always extraordinary that internet developers do not often enough make use of the lessons learned before the internet explosion. It has been going on since the beginning of time. Since cave artists put‘symbols’ to identify their paintings. A ‘mark’ considered to be a branding element to identify and promote the artist in question.

There has been a great deal of marketing/advertising research done over the last century. According to the ‘Advertising Age’ timeline the first newspaper advertisement was in 1704. It was, “The first newspaper advertisement, an announcement seeking a buyer for an Oyster Bay, Long Island, estate, is published in the Boston News-Letter.”. Marketers have been looking for ways to improve conversion rates ever since.

Understanding Effective Design

So what does that have to do with web design? Everything! Virtually all websites need 2 things, traffic and conversions. The traffic part is simple. No traffic, no purpose. Unless it’s a private community or intranet, traffic is the lifeblood of any online entity. Increasing conversion rates matter if it’s a store, a newsletter, membership sign ups, a ‘call to action’ is required. The website design and page layouts serve a purpose beyond an attractive ‘appeal’.

Testing is at the core of perfecting your website for maximum results. Marketing is not really about guesswork. It is about constantly testing ideas against a ‘base-line’ to achieve the greatest results. In one of it’s simpler forms we can categorize this with ‘split testing’ or ‘A/B’ testing. This merely means you run one design/advertising/copy over a predetermined period of time, monitor the results and then run a second version. The resulting stats (call to action, sales, inquiries) should establish a ‘winner’. This will give you insight into other potential changes that will affect conversion rates. The refinement process continues.

Some conversion considerations; some of the most important factors affecting effective website design and development are;

  • Headline, Simple changes to your headline can produce up to 1,900% increase in conversion rates. Try to ask a question. If captivating enough, it will entice visitors to learn more. Curiosity is a powerful tool.
  • Drop Caps; Drop caps have been an effective tool for decades now, but are rarely used on the web. David Ogilvy, (whom worked on advertising for brands such as American Express, Sears, Ford, Shell, Barbie, Dove, Maxwell, IBM, and Kodak ) is quoted as saying, "The drop capital increases readership of your body copy by an average of 13%". Certainly a healthy increase and massive ROI.
  • Colors; Psychologists have long researched the effects of color on people. Some research suggests that colors can account for up to 60% of a persons buying position. Many corporations use various A/B testing to establish the best colors for conversion rate profitability. It is most definitely a consideration and something to be tested.
  • Images; a no brainer. Images make a product tangible. From Computers to e-books, imagery creates a sense of reality to a virtual product. Even products such as downloadable software can be given ‘life’ in reality with a nice product shot. Always try to use images where possible.
  • Bullets; As stated by Kim Roach, “bullets are captivating, short, sweet, and pleasing to the eye. Not to mention, all of the top marketers, historic and present-day, use bullets. Clustered bullets offer a burst of benefits. “ in her dilation on conversion rates, and also added, “ In your bullets, be sure to use the words, "you," "your,", and "yours," rather than "I," "us," "our," or "we." By using possessive words, you transfer ownership and allow them to visualize owning your product. “ So be sure to make full use of the ‘bullet Effect’ wherever possible.
  • Background Color; much like the change of heading, this is a simple one that can pay dividends. Experiment with different BG colors. Each market tends to have slightly different flavors. Try and figure out which ones create the highest conversions for your site.

The tip of the Iceberg

This is truly a rudimentary and cursory review. My main goal is to make you more aware of what techniques are available to you. Do more research and find as many advantages as you can. Obviously a good web statistics (analytics/metrics) package is imperative for any ongoing marketing campaign. Be sure to get one. Working smart with your web design and development will ultimately increase conversion rates. Keep testing. The world marketplace is in constant flux so you have to be constantly identifying them and adapting.

This is the beginning to marketing through effective website design.

About the author;
David Harry is a marketing consultant for custom web site design firm Verve Developments and writes internet business development topics for TheBusinessDevelopers.com


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