How to Succeed in Design For Conversion

Published August 23, 2019, updated February 15, 2023
by Jeffery Thompson
12 min read
WordPress Development
Web Design for Conversion

Good web design is not only creative, appealing, and original. It’s a design that sells. To us, it’s a design with a purpose – to sell, to invite people to join, and to subscribe. It’s a design for conversion.

Psychology Behind Conversion Centered Design

Did you know that it takes between 5 and 7 seconds for site visitors to decide whether or not they like your website? When they land on your website, visitors consciously and subconsciously skim and scan through content to see whether your site is credible and trustworthy.

4 Simple Steps People Go Through When They Land On Your Website

1. Design: subconscious decision – do I like the design?

Visitors subconsciously decide if the website appeals to them and if it makes them feel good or bad. Additionally, they conclude if it’s worthy and credible. All this happens within a few seconds.

2. Relevance: conscious decision – am I in the right place?

Relevance is an essential factor when it comes to the first impression. Make sure that your website clearly states what your business is about and what you’re offering. If you are a pharmaceutical company, say it and show it. Remember, people landed on your page looking for answers to their problems. The first thing you need to do is to show them that they are in the right place.

3. Credibility: subconscious decision – is this website safe?

Credibility is showing that your website is safe and that you checked all the boxes when it comes to internet security. Not only you must have HTTPS, but you should also avoid having too many pop-ups, fishy-looking ads, and banners all over the place.

4. Decision making: conscious decision – what’s my next step?

Once they land on your page, and they skim and scan the content, it’s time to nudge your users to the next step smoothly. They will start looking for the information they need, so your job is to use design elements to navigate them to the next step.

What Is A Conversion?

You probably heard about conversion rates, UX design conversion tactics, and measuring page conversion. Conversion is getting someone to respond to the CTA and perform the desired action.

  • You can convert a website visitor into a lead through a form, email, or phone call.
  • Someone can convert to a subscriber.
  • By responding to the CTA, someone can share with you personal data.
  • In e-commerce, you can convert a visitor to an instant buyer.

To improve the conversion rate, we rely on principles of conversion centered around funnels and pathways that logically guide visitors to CTA buttons.

Call to action (CTA) buttons invite users to click to buy, subscribe, read more, discover, or sign up. CTAs stand out by design and color.

When your business offers more than one service, it’s challenging to know what your potential customer or client is looking for. That is the reason we create different landing pages. You can have one landing page for each service. When site visitors “land” on the page, they will find themselves in a conversion funnel that will lead to CTA.

Principles Of Good Conversion Centered Design

Over the last 20 years, we designed plenty of websites. Like the design, CCD, and user experience evolved, so did we. Here are the three web design principles of exceptional conversion-centered design that we believe can help you create a beautiful website that converts.

Design for conversion

There’s more to website design than just coding, graphic design, and UX. So, that’s why we made a list of the six most important elements of good design for conversion

#1 Learn About Use Of Color

In your website development process, color helps important website elements stand out. Notice how CTA buttons are red or green, so they stand out from their surroundings. If you have a monochromatic color scheme, you should pick bright and bold colors. On the other side, if you have too many colors, experiment with black or white.

Color Chart Emotions for Web Design

Pick your website colors for the emotional response they evoke. For example, we choose green because it feels natural and positive. It reminds us of a green traffic light telling us to go! Red is great for attention, but it also signals danger. Take some time to study the color wheel and pick colors that match the desired action.

#2 Enrich Your Page With Visual Elements

The human eye is drawn to attractive images, and you should use this to keep a visitor on the page. Use large images or videos above the fold, so users have to scroll down and continue their road down the funnel.

Enrich Your Page With Visual Elements

Along with images, you should use symbolic visual elements such as arrows and pointers that will drive the attention to where the action is. Arrows are probably at least subtle directional cues but you can and should use them to point to the CTA. Use pathways, illustrations, and suggestive images to drive attention to the CTA.

#3 Use Contrast To Highlight What’s Important

Similar to experimenting with color, you can experiment with contrast. If you have everything in black and white, a simple, bright-colored button will do wonders. Along with color, play around with contrast in shape and size to accentuate the critical parts of the page.

Use of Contrast in Design

#4 Pay Attention to Negative space

Negative space is one of the most positive things you can have on the website!

Negative space is the white space or simply empty space between all the elements on the site. The use of empty space makes your content easy on the eye. With negative space, websites look sleek and smart and much easier to read.

Pay Attention to Negative space

You can find negative space between paragraphs and sentences, so writers often break down blocks of text into sections and bulleted lists to make them easier to read (this is what I did with this article).

#5 Create A Sense Of Urgency

Do you remember the last time you booked a hotel room? You probably noticed countless counters, banners, and timers that warned you that if you don’t act quickly enough, you might miss the deal!

Create A Sense Of Urgency

You will see the same thing if you visit any e-commerce website. This web design phenomenon is called a sense of urgency, and its purpose is to motivate visitors to take action while the offer is still on.

#6 Pop-up Windows

Businesses love them, and users hate them, but pop-ups are still widely used across the web. The disruptive nature of pop-ups is considered a huge demotivator, especially when users are focused on reading. So, use them wisely and politely invite users to subscribe or sign in. One pop-up per page is enough.

Pop-up Window Web Design

Copy and Messaging

Copywriting is the art of writing a persuasive text that sells, promotes, and informs. In digital space, we are witnessing an evolution of copywriting that banishes long and tedious writing and makes room for clean and short copy.

#1 Use Powerful Headlines

We already mentioned that today, people just skim and scan text, without pausing to read every single word.

In ‘Letting Go of the Words’, Janice Redish notes that:

  • 90% of your visitors will read your headlines
  • only 20% will read the body copy
  • and about 50% will read bullet points

This study is from 2007 and it’s still relevant today! Writing web copy is the opposite of writing fiction. Here you need to focus on the headlines and subheadings and inform readers what they can expect in the sections that follow.

#2 Limit Industry Jargon

Not everyone who wants to use your service knows a lot about your industry. Let’s say that you are a software company and that your average visitor is someone looking to build an app for their service. It would help if you didn’t drive them away with the industry jargon and developer lingo only you can understand.

It’s better to offer a solution to their problems and to make them feel comfortable. There’s no need to tell them just about everything you know about building apps.

#3 Keep It Short

I already mentioned in the design section that long forms are not suitable for web copy and that you should split large chunks of text into shorter paragraphs. While you make your writing easier to digest, you also need to make your sentences short and sweet. You can say a lot with just a few words.

#4 No Fluff Content

There is something in digital media and, generally information technology, that makes people believe that they should write dramatic headlines. These are called Barnum’s sentences, and today they are criticized for their vagueness. We call them “fluff” content. Please don’t use them. Ever.

Example of Bad Copy on the Website

#5 Include Social Proof

Along with relevance, you should demonstrate credibility on your website. Ask your previous clients to give a statement so you can quote them on your website. Client quote is social proof that shows new users that you once fixed the same problem for someone else. Therefore, you are competent to do the same for them.


We build websites for users that need your product or service. That’s why we always talk about user experience (UX) and web design. Here are some essential UX tips for building web design for conversion.

#1 Use Simple Navigation

Does your website have a menu at the top of the page or a drop-down menu on mobile?

Navigation is the most important UX element. It makes your pages accessible, so users can easily navigate from the homepage to a service page and find their way back.

When designing menus and pathways use familiar patterns and menus that we see on almost every website. Also, use interactive elements (color change with mouseover), so visitors know that the link is clickable.

#2 Reduce The Number Of Multiple-choices

The problem of multiple choice is best described by Hick’s Law, where the time a person needs to make a decision increases with the number of options they have.

Hicks Law Graph

When users face multiple choices, they feel overwhelmed and confused. The best thing you can do is show a few of your products or services and help users to decide by pointing them to CTA. Otherwise, they might leave.

#3 Use The F Pattern

Opt for a simple layout where users interact with your website and can read content from left to right.

Use The F Pattern

The F pattern helps you create a flow so visitors can focus on the content.

Put the most important elements on top and slowly decrease the amount of information towards the bottom. Design the page in the shape of the F letter. Don’t put the CTA on the bottom right as that is the place that gets the least attention.

#4 Work On Above The Fold Area And Encourage Scrolling

Above the fold is the part of the website that’s visible before the first scroll. It’s what visitors will see when they land on the page. It’s important to put the menu on top, in some cases, even the contact information.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should put everything on top of the page (remember multiple-choice issue and the F layout). A nice image or an informative video is an excellent choice for above the fold area, as it will encourage visitors to scroll down the page and discover more information.

#5 Balance Text And Visuals

Too much text can seem overwhelming, so try to mix text and visuals to illustrate what you have to say and to offer users a break from reading. Balancing text and visuals also encourages scrolling.

Balance Text And Visuals

#6 Use Symmetry And Simplicity

No matter how edgy and creative you want to seem, symmetry always feels pleasant to the human eye. We love symmetry because:

  • it makes us feel in control of the discovery process
  • it helps us memorize what we just saw and read.

The same goes for simplicity. There’s no need to spend time designing quirky layouts that might confuse visitors and make them leave. A simple design is crucial for sign-up forms where you should do your best to remove friction and make it easy for everyone to leave their name and email in a few simple steps.

Conversion Rate Optimization Is A Process, Not Just One-time Fix

Remember, every time you feel stuck and need help with optimizing your content and design, always think of the conversion optimization and go back and take a look at the 4 steps people go through when they land on your website. They’ll check the following:

  1. Design and subconsciously decide if they like it or not
  2. Relevance and see if they ended up at the right place. This is a conscious decision where people look for the answers you promised you had.
  3. Credibility and safety
  4. What’s the next step and make a decision to navigate to it
Jeff eats and breathes technology. His undying passion for software development inspired him to establish BIT Studios, a reputable custom software development company that caters to SMEs and Fortune 500 companies. Jeff is a strategic thinker who combines creativity and expertise to build digital …
Originally published August 23, 2019, updated February 15, 2023
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