I couldn’t help but write down a few comments and links in response to a recent Smashing Magazine post.Â Designed to Sell: 8 Useful Tips to Help Your Website Convert kicks major butt, and I thought you’d both enjoy the article and a few comments/additions thrown in for each of the 8 tips:
Basically, make sure your design elements – and most especially your pictures – enhance your credibility and put visitors in the right emotional frame of mind to convert.
Too many choices results in buyers avoiding a decision and failing to convert.Â You need to make it easy for a buyer to say yes without getting too bogged down in the details.Â One way to do this is to provide a recommended or “best value” option.
But here’s where I’d go a bit beyond that by looking at this through the lens of temperament:
This is very similar to my post on “Show me the pics.”Â People want to see what they are buying.Â Not only do the pictures answer questions, but people want to imagine using the product.
What I’d add to this is that one picture often isn’t enough and that action photos are gold.Â For software and services that means not only offering product tours with lots of screenshots, but also in using scenario-based product tours rather than functionality-based tours.Â Walk me through doing something rather than randomly showing this or that functionality.
Great (and self-explanatory) advice, but I was glad that Show the Product came before this.Â I’ve seen a fair amount of software companies believe that visitors would just leap at a free trial in order to experience a product first hand, and that just aint how it works.
Visitors invariably want to sniff a product out BEFORE downloading it and investing time with it.Â Realize that “Free” doesn’t really equate to risk free.Â Dmitry writes about the positive benefits users’ emotional “sunk costs” that come with using a free piece of software – the kind of thing that leads to a paid updgrade vs. a search for a whole new product.Â What he doesn’t mention is that visitors are well aware of that sunk cost and will avoid downloading software unless and until they have a decent sense that it will work well for them.
So, yes, by all means, let people try the product for free.Â Just make sure you show them enough of the product and what it can do that their willing to invest the time trying it out.
I combined these because they are intimately related and are both areas Future Now has quite thoroughly covered.Â We, of course, add the “S” of Satisfaction onto the end of Attention-Interest-Desire-Action.
Also, planning persuasive momentum/next action steps should be more involved than simply ensuring visitors can find a buy button when they’re ready to buy or that you have some additional link made available to them.
Finally, you gotta love this money quote from the article:
“…you shouldnât design a nice website first and then fill up the space with words. Instead,think about the message you want to send out, write the copy and then construct a design that delivers that.”
Amen, brother.Â Amen.
Having just finished writing about the impact of design on visitor eye tracking, I naturally found this to be the best part of the article.Â Lost of great stuff on intelligent use of design to guide the eyes/attention of the visitor.
As for additional resources on the Web, check out
I really don’t have too much to say about this one, other than it’s another rule of thumb for good composition/page layout and that you should go and take a look at it for yourself.
And that’s it.Â I’d love to hear your comments, suggestions, and additional resources as well.Â Let me know what ya think…