From Simple Design to Testing: Lessons Top Marketers Can Learn from High Converting Websites

Digital marketer

A new visitor is heading your way, so stand tall and look sharp. Don’t try too hard, but be sure to capture their attention in under eight seconds. If they see an attractive, yet simple design that is well structured, they’re likely to browse through your content. However, sometimes it’s still not enough to convert. So, what are the highest converting websites doing differently from you?

Companies with a structured approach, who test and run frequent experiments are likely to enjoy twice as many sales than those who don’t. In fact, most companies conduct less than five monthly tests.

The best digital marketers say that your website design can make or break your business. Alongside social media, SEO, lead magnet and great content, people won’t do business with you if your design is lacking. Research from Blue Corona states that 48% of people use a website’s design to determine its’ credibility. If you want a design guaranteed to always convert visitors, then simple, clean designs are best.

Why do sites with simple designs convert more visitors?

Timeless and evergreen

A major problem facing many websites and web builder platforms is meeting the fast pace of upgrades required from top websites. You’ve barely implemented one design, before its time for another. History has shown that the best designs, which require no upgrades – yet stand the test of time – are both simple and clean.

Simple websites are scientifically easier to process

Ugly websites or less visually complex ones are seen as more appealing, as they don’t require a lot of physical work from the brain and eyes in terms of storing, decoding or processing information. Pages with light variation and colour require more work for the eye to send information to the brain.

This makes it important to simplify every element of web design – from logo to typography and colour selection, because they each communicate information about your brand.

Users love open spaces

It’s unattractive to fill every part of your page with content and adverts. When you rent or buy a house, you tend to pay more for open space, because you find it appealing. The same applies to websites. A 2012 study by Google found that simple websites are rated higher and considered more beautiful than visually complex sites.

Simple designs are easier to read

Internet users love skimmable content. They may be too impatient to read every single line of content on your site. Research shows that 58% of online readers skim content. Therefore, ensure your site provides less content, but of a better quality. To optimise visibility for your content, reduce designs to a minimum. This way, the reader’s attention stays the main focus.

Google loves simple designs

Site structuring is one factor that impacts Google search ranking. Websites with a well-defined hierarchy and simple structure are easier to crawl and index, which leads to higher ranking and more organic visitors.

What lessons can e-commerce sites learn from websites with the highest conversion rates?

Faster loading websites

Speed of loading time is an essential feature for user experience and SEO. Websites that waste time when loading tend to experience more bounce rate than others, especially with features such as large images and complex options. When you remove these features, you’ll attract new visitors, improving speed and attracting higher search engine traffic.

Clear unique value proposition

According to experts, one feature of all high-converting websites is a strong value proposition that helps them attract and retain visitors. Without it, you won’t convert anyone.

People who visit your site should clearly be able to see (on your landing page or homepage) the reasons and benefits of doing business with you. Do you offer free shipping and returns? Is the order process easy? Do you provide extra security for purchases? Is there a part of your service that makes you unique? Identify the benefits and make them clear.

Limit buyer options

Have you ever heard of Hick’s Law? It’s a popular theory, stating that the time individuals use to make a decision is proportionate to the choices available . Simply put, decision time increases with the number of choices on your site and this in turn affects action. In relation to web design, eliminate navigation bars that are unnecessary. Providing users with too many links only makes them lose interest.

Consider all the decisions users make when they visit your site and make adjustments accordingly. This includes:

  • Whether there’s an option to share your post, download lead magnet or post a comment
  • Whether skimmable headlines are present to help decide which articles to read
  • Deciding whether to read product reviews, make a purchase or check more products

When using Hick’s Law on your website, figure out the most important action you want visitors to take on each page of your site. The more choices you limit, the higher your conversion.

Test ‘Call to Actions’

In a recent article, Hubspot gave an example of a company that attained higher conversion with a clear CTA, leading to a whitepaper where visitors learn more about the company and what it offers. They also used relevant graphics and a striking headline to guide users. These changes doubled their conversion. To increase download of the Firefox browser, Mozilla changed their CTA from ‘Try Firefox 3’ to ‘Download Now – Free’.

Find creative ways to answer questions buyers might have and ease their minds about any obstacles that make people wary about buying from small companies. Add customer testimonials, behind the scenes videos and a USP on your homepage to let customers know that you’re the real deal.

Match layouts against visitor expectations

If yours is an e-commerce website, people should be able to see this in the page design layout, as they would a blog or authority site. Major retailers like Nike have developed distinct layouts and characteristics that sets them apart and ensures their website feels exactly like the type that represents them as a company.

It can create problems if your website doesn’t fit expectations. Imagine an e-commerce site that sells laptops looking like a news website or blog. It’s confusing to visitors and they won’t stay long enough to find out what you really have to offer. To stay on the safe side of best practice within your niche, study the websites of leading companies and look for design elements you can include in your homepage. This provides a basic structure to guide your design.

Short forms

Top conversion experts always advise online brands to keep their forms short. If you want to subscribe to an email list and you see over 20 fields to fill, you’ll likely leave the site and move on to a competitor that has shorter forms. The main details you need to create an account are your name and email address. You can collect the rest of the information once you’ve received the visitor’s email address, which is what you’ll need to build a mailing list.

Easy checkout process

The primary goal of your site is to get users to keep buying from you. Many e-commerce sites focus on the journey and forget the checkout process. If numerous visitors are leaving abandoned carts, it’s probably because the checkout process isn’t streamlined. Reduce the pages and number of fields that people have to fill when completing a transaction.


To achieve success in a competitive online space, you must differentiate your product or service from the competition. You can implement all these steps and still come up short if you don’t explain the benefits of your product. However, simple websites lead to a digital marketspace that attracts customers for its ease of navigation and converts them into loyal customers.


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