8 Ways to Hack Your Website Design and Convert

A website has to look good, that’s a given. But website design can do so much more, and it’s simply a matter of integrating several marketing techniques into it. Just like copywriting, where art meets science, website design can help you convert visitors into customers by using certain strategies. Let’s take a look at what these are:

1. Subliminal Suggestion

Subliminal messages have been a part of the myth and reality of marketing.  We all have certain associations in our minds, and we can trace back certain desires to a moment in our lives. For example, the smell of fresh bread can make you hungry or seeing flower blooms around you puts you in spring cleaning mood. In fact, a study revealed that children when shown Santa Claus’ cap are more willing to share their candy with others, while showing them the Toys ‘R’ Us logo made them more reluctant to do so.

For your own website, you should analyze what message you’re trying to send, and integrate it in your choice of images. Are you selling vintage clothes? Then you’re pictures should give visitors a feeling of nostalgia of older simpler times. Pictures such as Hemmingway at a typewriter or Paris in the 30’s can help you get this message across.

2. Choices = Good | Too Many Choices = Bad

In marketing, there’s a behavior known as choice paralysis. Choice paralysis happens when a customer is given too many choices, and its effects can be so powerful that the customer chooses another service entirely in order to avoid buyer’s remorse. There’s a simple remedy for this: have less choices. But there’s a tipping point here, which can be achieved by actually recommending a choice for them through the use of visuals and indicators. Giving users several choices and a default one can do wonders for your conversion rate.

3. Have Your Products on Display

Many users use the visual aspect of a product as an indicator of quality. For example, if you are selling a piece of software and there is no screenshot in sight, your conversion rate will suffer. On the other hand, having an attractive user interface can help you sell way more than having an interface that looks bland or cluttered.

An example of this would be Apple products. Apple products outsell their competitors at higher prices while providing products that are either slightly better or slightly worse. Why? Because of image. Apple products look good. Apple knows how to sell the image of their products, using simplicity and style.

So make sure you have a user interface that looks both good and user-friendly. If you don’t though, pictures can still do more good than harm.

4. Offer a Free Trial

Whether you plan on giving a timed trial with full features or a “freemium” version of your software, a free trial can help get customers involved with your product before they buy it. Once their involved, once they start to rely on the software you have to offer, they’ll see it as a helping hand in their activity. At that point, a customer is more willing to pay for your product. Now, this isn’t exactly a design element, but it is a useful technique that can drive up your conversion rate.


AIDA is a marketing term and it stands for: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. These are the four steps that turn a visitor into a customer. First you have to catch the attention of a user. If they’re visiting your website, you’ve pretty much taken this step. You then have to pique their interest, by explaining how the product best suits them. Once you have their interest, it’s time to generate a desire for your product. You do this by explaining the benefits of the product by telling them how it helped someone who is in a similar situation. There is an important difference between showing them the benefits or the features of your product. Features tell them what your product does, benefits tell them what your product does for them. Finally, the Action step. Make your product very easy to get to. A one-page checkout, or a Click to Purchase button will do that. Urgency also plays a big part in this step. A limited time offer or a limited supply can help you get visitors to act fast.

6. Direct Attention

Combining AIDA with fluid design is a great way to convert. Have your web design guide the user through your points, starting from the product, taking them through the benefits and features and ending in the call to action button. Make sure you take the user on a journey that gets all of your points across. This can mean having a vertical list that’s set up in the right order, that’s not too long and can be viewed in a single screen, or it can mean having a clear message and an arrow graphic that directs your visitors to the more information.

7. Keep Things Moving

Always give your visitors the option to take the next step. Each page should have a clear point where they can move towards a sale. Whether it’s an intro page, that has Take a Tour button at the bottom, or a features page that has a big Try Now button, things should always be moving forward. A user looking at one of your products should never have to wonder what to do next. ABC: Always Be Closing. Not every page should have a Buy Now button on it, but they should have some call to action.

8. The Gutenberg Rule

The Gutenberg rule states that western readers look at a page in four quadrants. You have the upper-left quadrant which attracts immediate attention, and the lower-right quadrant which signifies the end of what is being read. By applying this rule to your design, you can have the copy in the upper-left quadrant, a screenshot in the upper-right one, with the Call to Action in the lower-right quadrant.

The Gutenberg rule applies to websites that have a more standard distribution of content and applies to the natural way a user looks at a page. It does not apply to pages that use high contrast and design to direct the attention of the user. Both these styles are very useful to get your point across, it’s just a matter what fits to the overall theme of your website.

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