A  website homepage has five seconds to convey enough information to persuade someone to look around and find what they came for.

How do you introduce your offer, present your content, and persuade someone that your products are the best?

Website conversions occur with well designed web pages that contain answers to the most asked questions your visitors have. Therefore, the more you understand your target market, the better your conversion rates will be.

Know Your Website Visitors

The more you know about who visits your website, the better the chances you can design properly for them.

  • Who will use it? This is probably an easy one to start with.  Will your target market be local? How old are they? Do they have previous experience with your product or service?

  • What do your website visitors want to accomplish when they arrive? Do they want information and if so, what do you show them first?  Have they been to your website before? Return visitors take less time to find what they are looking for.

Trust and credibility are important to website visitors. When they visit a homepage for the first time, they want to know that you have what they desire, are the trusted resource and that your business is credible.

Research Improved What We Know Today About Website Conversions

There are secrets to website conversions that we have learned over the years from watching people use websites.   For example, researchers’ study where our eyes look, where we click first, and even the colors we respond to most often.

Red increases the heart rate while viewing web pages and is the color associated with alarm or stop, but in China, red is a positive, happy color. We have learned that greens and blues are soothing colors for websites, but those colors will look different to color blind users.

Color contrasts are important design choices too. Dark mode is used more often in mobile designs because the dark backgrounds are easier to see with cell phones outside. Some people find that dark mode designs are easier to read.

However, older users or those with poor eyesight may require brightly lit backgrounds and sharper color contrasts. Nearly everyone has trouble reading text that is placed over a picture.

And yet, even with all the case studies, web designs continue to baffle people.

User Behavior Guides Design Choices

Did you know there are thousands of usability guidelines for websites? They change over the years but generally there are best practices proven to produce favorable conversions and user experiences.

User interface and usability guidelines change and adapt to how we use our computer devices. There are patterns to follow for mobile or desktop layouts, such as stacking for rows of images and the placement of buttons and links to inside pages.

User behavior is well researched. And because it is, companies research how we search, scan pages, save, what buttons we are more likely to push and what sections of a page we are more likely to read first.

User habits help web designers make decisions for their page layouts and the content they use.

For example, you may browse for a new couch on your laptop or desktop computer and save several candidates that you liked from different websites in their shopping cart. Later, you might be having dinner with a friend and after showing your choices to them from your cell phone, decide to order right then and there from your mobile device.

The layout for both mobile and desktop versions don’t necessarily need to be identical, but it helps users if they are similar.  Most mobile designs are intended to be fast, minimal and concise.

Kicking Tires

An automobile website wanted to understand how website visitors shopped for cars online. Using eye tracking software, they discovered that men and women are attracted to different parts of an automobile when shown an image of one.

The men “kicked the tires” first. They were more interested in the technical specifications. Women viewed the interior, colors and styles. We have similar habits at car lots, so it’s interesting that we shop for cars online the same way.

Another study on call to action conversions tracked the number of button clicks based on what direction a human face was looking. If the human face was turned left, that was where the order button was placed to perform best. People, it turned out, are curious about what the face in the web page picture is looking at.

Performance Matters

Google wants to present the website that performs the best to searchers. Therefore, the focus on mobile designs is important.  Load times are measured.

Your website homepage can respond in five seconds by loading text and images quickly.  Carousels, sliders, and rows of product images slow down page load times.

Help your website visitors when they arrive on your homepage by verifying that it meets their search criteria.  Provide clues within the content in the header, navigation link text, page title, heading, subheading, brief introductory paragraph, one image and three bullet points that highlight top features.

Those are the areas of the top half of the homepage that everyone sees first.

Your brand or company name should be shown at the top in both your logo and text.  Topics are placed inside headings and subheadings in header tags for easy scanning.  Buttons and forms should be carefully placed so that your visitors can take the next steps when they are ready.

The homepage is often the introduction to your online business and the first steps of a tour of your website. It may take several changes to the layout or tweaking of the content to make the best first impression.

Need help with website conversions? Learn how to improve your website design with a website review.