If designing your own website intimidates you, and you're not sure sure where to start, follow these tips to creating a website design that converts visitors into customers.
First thing you need to do is ask yourself, "what one action do I want each visitor to take the most once they visit my website?"
This is because many newcomers get so wrapped up in the aesthetics of their website design that they forget the very reason why they're making their website. They lose sight of the most important factor in running a profitable business, and that is your "bottom line". If you're a website that does not convert visitors into customers then it doesnt matter how "pretty" your website does it?
It's been proven that if you narrow it down to one action, therefore giving your visitor only one possible action to take (not counting the action of leaving your website), you'll have a higher percentage of visitors taking the desired action due to there being less overall actions to take, less options. That's right, by overloading the navigation and website with more links, banners, widgets, and other types of "flashy" design elements, essentially giving your visitors more options, you're likely to see low conversion rates, and a higher percentage of visitors leaving shortly after arriving to your website.
This is why you see those websites that are nothing but a sales letter with minimal links. It's because it's effectively converts browsers into buyers. Many web designers will knock these types of websites because they are not pleasing to the eye, but web designers do not really know the first thing when it comes to creating a website that converts visitors into customers at a high rate. Yes, it's important that your site does not look like it was made by a 5 year old, but you can easily portray a professional image by keeping it simple.
Just look at two search engine giants, Google and Yahoo, as an example. Yahoo's homepage is extremely cluttered, offering everything under the sun, while Google's design is very simplistic. It's no wonder Google has been much more successful than Yahoo. It would seem that Google even asked themselves, "what one action do we want each visitor to take the most once they visit your website?" and by keeping their designed focused on that action, they're answering that question, loud and clear … "search!"
So what kind of action do you want each visitor to take? If the purpose of your website is to make money, then ideally you'd like them to take some sort of action which will result in you getting paid. The best way to do this believe it or not, is to first offer something for FREE to the visitor in exchange of his / her email address. This may seem counterintuitive, but it's a fact that most visitors will not purchase whatever it is you're selling upon first visit, but many of those same visitors would be interested in something in exchange for their name and email address. People like FREE stuff.
By placing priority on capturing your visitors name and email address, you will begin to build an email list of prospective customers, and more importantly you can start building relationships with them. This is the most effective way to profit from the traffic to your website. If you treat your list the way you'd like to be treated, they'll likely buy not only one product or service you recommend, but they're likely to become your customers for life, buying products you recommend for years to come.
In conclusion, do not worry too much about the design and worry more about what kind of offer you pitch to your visitors. This will require some market research but that's another article.