How the Right Web Designer Can Help With Increasing Traffic Conversion

If you’ve ever tried to hire a web designer, you know what a wide range of styles and approaches there are to building a simple website. Some want to make it as pretty as possible, with lots of bells and whistles and incorporating the latest trends in color and imagery. Others want to keep it simple, perhaps too simple for your business goals. If your business depends on having a successful website, then you need to make sure you include a conversion rate expert in the design process. Unfortunately, that can be really difficult because most designers don’t understand online marketing strategies; most marketers don’t understand good design principles; and neither of them are likely to be familiar with traffic conversion considerations.

The mindset for each discipline is very different, and it’s highly unusual to find professionals with experience in all three areas – marketing, graphic design and conversion rate optimization (CRO.) But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to find them. Here are a few ways you can tell whether a web designer has a good understanding of Internet marketing and how to build a successful website.

1. How does their design process work? If they explain that you will talk about color schemes and aesthetic details, and they don’t mention traffic generation, copywriters, analytics or they don’t ask questions about the effectiveness of your previous site, they probably don’t give those elements enough importance.  In this case, they are designing the site for you, not for your visitors. They are more concerned about making it pretty than making sales. That may be fine for a hobby blog, but for an ecommerce, lead generation or other business site, it’s not going to be good enough.

Lesson: You are not the client; your customers are. The designer should be asking about target audience, demographics, traffic sources, and your ultimate conversion goals and designing a site that matches what your visitors want to see.

2. Do they use Lorem Ipsum? Lorem ipsum is basically nonsense placeholder text to give you an idea of what the page will look like before the copywriting is finished. If a designer uses lorem ipsum for headlines or body text, they don’t fully understand the importance of words in conjunction with design. The copywriter should be a major part of the design process, both for conversion optimization and traffic generation (no matter if they’re using AdWords, SEO, social media, videos or any other traffic streams.)   The words describing the message are just as important as the visual cues that represent the offer.

Don’t forget the designer can’t work with the copy if they don’t have it. All too often, business owners hire the designer before they even think about the copywriting. It’s wise to make sure you have the copy well underway before you engage the services of a designer. That way there are no delays.

Lesson: Make sure your copywriter and designer are working together to create the best site possible.

3. Are they familiar with the term conversion rate optimization? If so, what is their experience with it? Ask them how they apply it to the design of landing pages and shopping cart checkout pages, especially. If they don’t mention split-testing pages, then they don’t understand true importance of converting random traffic into sales. Too many designers believe their final design is the “perfect” solution to your needs. But the fact is you should constantly be testing new pages against old ones to see which one works best. There’s always room for improvement. Just don’t expect a freelance graphic designer to keep revising your pages for free. Their rates don’t often include creating test pages. Once you have a page that works, you should expect to pay extra to build the new test pages.

Lesson: Split-testing is an integral part of conversion optimization. You can’t do CRO without testing.

4. What is their launch process? Ask them to explain how they launch a new website when there is an existing site already in place. If they don’t mention split-testing the old website vs. the new website, that’s a dead giveaway that they don’t understand conversion rate optimization. Just like testing individual pages, you also want to see which site leads to the best bottom line conversion rate.

Lesson: You should never launch a new site without testing it against the old one. Just because you think it looks better, doesn’t mean it will convert better.

The teams at ConversionCore and ClickCore work side-by-side to build our clients’ websites because we understand good design and good traffic conversion go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. So, before you hire the designer with the flashiest portfolio, make sure you’re getting a site that will perform the way you want it to.