Designing a website that converts

The more I speak to small businesses and people who want to build websites the more I realise this is a problem a lot of people have.

The funniest thing is I have seen this problem at all levels, even some of the more technical people I know still build website’s that have too much functionality leaving visitors confused about what to do next. Also, even though I look to a lot of designers for inspo, I still find the same problem where their homepage doesn't quickly tell me why I should care.

In this article, I share some of the basic tricks that I’ve learned about making websites that convert.

Make your first impression count

A great homepage isn’t a nicety. It’s your first impression. The better your first impression, the better your customer acquisition efforts perform.

Consider how around 75% of your site traffic will leave after only seeing your homepage

👆🏾 That’s without even scrolling down

You can think of conversions in this simple way

`Conversion Rate = Desire - Labor - Confusion`

• Increase desire — Entice visitors with how much value you provide. Create intrigue. Pitch your product in a way that successfully resonates.
• Decrease labour — Reduce the work your visitors have to perform so they don’t get tired or annoyed and leave prematurely. How? Be concise and ensure every word and design element is of value.
• Decrease confusion — Don’t confuse visitors with obscure or verbose messaging. Ensure every sentence can be easily understood. And make it self-evident which action they should take next (e.g. signup or buy). Ensure the design of your action elements (e.g. buttons) are unmissable.

Craft a winning value proposition


Value Proposition: Getting noticed by your potential customers is the first battle.

1. Write it around the problem you solve and the value a customer will get after using your product/service
2. Avoid empty buzz words like *simple*, *fast*, and *easy* until you have a big brand
3. Be specific

Here’s a formula by Dane Maxwell

`End Result Customer Wants + Specific Period of Time + Address Objections`

There’s a template,  stick to it


Below is the winning layout according to Growth Marketer Julian Shapiro:

• Navbar: The top of the page — where your logo and navigation links are.

• Hero: The main section at the top of the page, which includes your header text, subheader text, and captivating imagery.
• Social proof: Logos of press coverage or your well-known customers.
• Call-to-action (CTA): Your signup button and a concise incentive to click it.
• Features and objections: Your key value propositions are fully written out.
• Repeat your call-to-action
• Footer: Miscellaneous links.

I won't go into the nitty-gritty but if you just want a template that works, click here

Messaging first,  not design-first


Growth is not a design-first process. It’s almost always messaging-first.

This is probably the hardest thing for me to comprehend at first.

Anytime I wasn’t doing this. I wasn’t prioritising clarity, brevity, and directness. We all like to move like creatives but there are much better places to be innovative in the growth funnel — like your ads and your product features. But not your homepage. Typically, people just want information quickly.

Have a clear CTA


I can't stress this enough. Make it self-evident which action they should take next (e.g. signup or buy)

Design-wise, you should have a primary CTA and at most a secondary one.

Each page should serve a purpose especially if you are moving people along the growth funnel. One of the biggest confusions I have seen in usability studies is people not knowing what to do next.

Overall, if you have a promise of value to your potential customers, the messaging, designs and CTA's should construct an ongoing narrative. If you an absolute beginner don't be scared to use a good premium template on Wordpress, Webflow or create a simple landing page using tools such as Carrd and About.me

Hope this helps you with your next website