Design can make or break your conversion rate.

Of course, as the proud owner of your website, you no doubt put your heart and soul into each and every idea. And of course, you want to include them all. But, as much as you’d like to work solely from the right side of your brain, it’s important to keep some strategic design principles in mind if you want to make your website more attractive and aim to convert. (Um, YES, you want to convert!)

Conversions can be defined as completing a specific goal, like subscribing to your email list, joining your community, or purchasing your product or service. So, how do you convert your traffic? Define your conversion goals, write them down, and use them to power all your web design decisions.

Ready? Here’s how to use your website to boost conversions.

Make your website a tool for conversions with these simple website design tweaks anyone can do.

Limit the choices with a strong call to action

One of the most powerful things you can do on your website is limit the number of choices your visitors can take. Too many options can be distracting and may cause the visitor to loose interest all together. This principle forces you to be streamlined and methodical about your site’s purpose. What’s most important to your bottom line? Make it clear with a strong call to action and try to limit it to one per page. The more you can streamline your users’ choices, the better your website will be use, navigate, and complete your conversion goal.

Minimize your navigation links

Continuing on with the first point, your navigation or main menu should be simple and concise. It is usually good to keep your main navigation at 5-7 links at the most. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too many options, so try to simplify it as much as you can and guide them to the most important places on your site (remember those goals).

Dropdown menus are also an option if you want to include more than 7 links. Example: About (dropdown: My Story, Testimonials, Press)

Don’t worry, you can use the footer for more links that don’t make it in the main navigation.

Make your buttons large and obvious

Your pages have purpose and that purpose is usually completed by clicking a button, so make them as prominent as possible. All your buttons should stand out with a high-contrast color and have enough padding (empty space) around it to attract the users eye.

Use direct language

There’s a time and place to be cute with your language- I actually recommend it in your emails and social media to connect with your direct audience. (Remember, if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one) But for the majority of your website copy, you should stick to simple and straight-forward terms. Keep your menu links short and clear, i.e. Contact instead of Let’s Connect. Keep your buttons and call-to-actions short and commanding, i.e. Shop Now instead of See More. Same goes for your email sign up. Replace the Join my Newsletter heading with something more direct like Get 10% Off.

Use your email list to offer incentives

Speaking of email, put it to good use by exchanging an offer for an email address. Approximately 96% of website visitors are not ready to buy on the first visit, so give them a little something to come back. Automate an email funnel so they get a welcome email immediately plus a few follow up emails over the following weeks. Email converts 4x more than social media so that email sign up is valuable.

Follow the F map

Studies show that users’ eyes follow an F pattern when browsing websites. That means the upper left corner is a hot spot (queue the logo and menu) and tracks down the left side of the screen (queue a big headline and call to action). Put this to good use by placing your sidebar and other busy elements on the right, and keep the most important elements on the left.

Add more empty space 

Contrary to its name, negative space is a big positive in web design. It’s simply empty space between elements, and can drastically improve a site’s visual appeal. This space can have a strong affect on users’ interaction and movement around your website. It allows elements (like your menu, titles, and call to action buttons) room to breathe and draw in maximum attention.

Use colors that are easy to read

The most user-friendly websites use black or dark gray text on a white background. This high contrast combination is easy to read; use it to keep paragraphs, headlines and buttons noticeable and readable. Alternating light and dark areas also helps define separate spaces.

Keep your accent colors to a minimum and use them consistently throughout your graphics, images, and buttons. Take your desired color to the Adobe Color Wheel (https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/) to explore and create a complimentary color scheme. Keep in mind, buttons should be in a color that stands out from the rest of your website.

Add personal photos

Incorporate faces into your articles, testimonials, and landing pages for a boost in your conversions. Personal images help create an emotional attachment between your visitor and you or your brand, and increase the likelihood of time spent on your website and ultimately converting. If you’re the face of your brand, have professional photos done and include them on the homepage. If you need stock photos, look for ones that convey happy customers. A collection by one photographer will give you the best option so the color scheme, filter, and tone is consistent.

And the great news about all of these tips… they don’t involve a full blown redesign. Take a couple of action steps towards designing a high converting website. Check your Google Analytics along the way to see what kind of impact it’s having on your bounce rate, time spent on site and goals.