Building a site fit for conversion

05 March 2020
Sam Pettiford
Sam Pettiford

What makes a truly successful website? During build it usually boils down to a feeling of excellent design/code work then when the product Is delivered it may come down to feedback from the client, which often leads to a review or case study then maybe even a referral? At the end of that road its pretty easy to think “we did a great job on that site and here’s why”, but the the proof, as they say, has to be in the pudding and in this case the pudding is the clients reason for wanting a new website.

During the design and build phases it is essential to consider the clients business goals. They will all have sales targets, and as web designers, we have a huge impact on how our work can meet those goals and convert traffic on their site into cold hard results.

What’s a conversion?

A conversion is usually associated with a sale, but is more accurately defined by every time a visitor completes a desired action on your website and its that action itself that can be defined is many ways, but not limited to;

  • A basic click (if the resumption of that click is to move to a goal page)
  • A subscription to an email list
  • A product purchase
  • A ebook or pdf download

In short - conversions can be any action that relates to a particular success factor regarding an online customer activity. We can measure conversions using any type of Analytical packages, but to manually measure your conversion rate is quite easy - all you have to do is divide the number of conversions you get in a given time frame by the total number of people who visited your site or landing page and multiply it by 100%.

How can I design with conversion in mind?

Each site visitor is usually on your site for a reason. They have a problem, which you can solve with your product or service. To effectively design with conversion in mind, it’s vital to consider how to deliver that solution as simply and as quickly as possible while gleaning the information you need throughout that journey. It may feel a little underhanded implementing a behavioural strategy into what is usually a wonderfully creative process, but there is no trickery to be found here. It’s about presenting there two simple things with as much ease and clarity as possible;

  • The product or service that will solve the customers problem
  • What the user must do to access that solution

The VP

Your value proposition (VP) should describe how your product or service solves or improves problems, what benefits customers can expect, and why customers should buy from you over your competitors. This can be a product description, a list of benefits or a review, but whatever it is the customer should be able to decide quickly and with as little hesitation as possible why your product could/will solve their problem.

Once the customer has the information they need from the value proposition, you then need to present the call to action (CTA)…


As you’re probably aware, a call-to-action (CTA) is an effective tool for encouraging and persuading visitors, leads or customers to take a desirable action, so in this case the customer is aware that your product or service can solve their problem via the value proposition and now the call-to-action will tell the user what they must do to solve that problem. Most CTA’s are buttons and links that direct the user to forms, content, assets and sharing features, but whatever your CTA is be sure that you get what you need from your customers (at least initially) from that.

Of course, there are a myriad of other things to consider around conversion including UX and site speeds. Some of the recent conversion optimisations that have been adopted by almost every e-commerce company include;

  • Live Chat - being able to help your client immediately via live chat rather than having them write an email and wait for your response is a key component to modern day customer service.
  • Free shipping - the biggest e-commerce companies now offer Free Shipping, in fact an e-commerce poll in 2018 showed that 74% of people would shop online more if their favourite companies offered free shipping above anything else.
  • Cart Abandonment - you can barely close a shopping cart window anywhere these days without receiving an email reminder!
  • Security is key - the introduction of customer data security is not only a big topic, its the biggest topic! In fact the introduction of the small lock icon you see in online shopping carts increases transaction rates on most platforms.


Ensure that you measure every decision you implement using A/B testing. You need that data to justify any change you make. Both you and your clients will feel better about the decisions you make with data to justify them.

Clarity is key. Making a customers journey as easy and as clear as possible will result in them being happier to interact with you and your business. Similarly, when designing sites for your client, the consideration of their customers during the design and build phases demonstrates the commitment you have to them achieving their business goals. There is no better review than being directly responsible for an increase is client leads and sales through increased site conversions.

Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

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