The shopping experience on an ecommerce site is rather straightforward.
Let’s imagine you’re in the market for a new monitor to replace your aging one. You might do a search for top rated monitors or you might head directly to Amazon and click through to the appropriate category under electronics. You’re not exactly sure which one you want so then you simply sort by popular and the following product catches your eye:
It’s been rated as a number one best seller and has received plenty of positive reviews.
So then you scroll further down the page where you see more details about the product including technical specifications and some of its many benefits. So then you make a decision and add it to your shopping cart. After filling out your billing details, you pay for the product and wait for it to ship to your address.
The entire process is similar for most online stores, not just Amazon. Landing the sale is the primary objective which is easy enough to measure and put a hard figure to.
But the process is not so straightforward for companies whose business model is providing services. There is no “product” that a visitor can simply add to their shopping cart and have it delivered. Services also tend to vary from one individual to the next. For example, two business owners looking for web design services have very different needs so there is no one size fits all solution.
Whereas product pages are focused on getting the sale, service pages are all about getting the lead. It’s an important distinction and one that matters.
Why Web Design Matters
Visual website design continues to be the primary factor that heavily influences how online users determine the trustworthiness of a website. In one comprehensive study, British researchers set out to determine how users judge health sites. The factors that led participants to immediately reject or mistrust a website were overwhelmingly related to its design.
Only a small percentage was related to the actual content.
Poor design not only led participants to mistrust a website but also provided no incentive for them to explore further than the homepage. Building credibility with your visitors then starts with a professional design that is free of distractions and makes it clear exactly what your business does.
Here we’ll dive deeper into what makes an effective service page design and converts visitors into qualified leads.
1. Make the Navigation Menu Accessible
The homepage tends to be the most visited page on a website. But the services page holds equal importance as that’s where your visitors will typically click next to learn more about your offer.
So the first step towards designing a more effective services page is to make it accessible.
Think of site navigation as the directories you see in a shopping mall. They serve a very specific purpose and help shoppers find their destination. So to drive the most conversions from your site, you need to put effort into helping users navigate your site with ease.
Here is an example of an effective navigation menu that is accessible from the top of the site:
Site navigation should be as simple as possible and also where it is clearly visible such as at the top or to the sidebar. Keep navigation links to a minimum as having too many choices can overwhelm your visitors and affect your site’s usability.
2. Make Ample Use of White Space
One of the most common web design mistakes is cramming too much onto the page. It makes everything look cluttered with no sense of order. Minimal layouts tend to work best as they provide greater clarity and make it easier for visitors to find their way around.
White space refers to the empty space that surrounds on-page elements such as text and pictures. It makes your content more legible and provides a natural progression of where visitors should focus on next.
Here is an example from Dropbox which surrounds its content with ample white space:
Usability is a key component of effective web design. Sites increase their credibility by being easy according to the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility. Instead of cramming as many elements as possible, make ample use of white space to improve the design of your service pages.
3. Prioritize Content Above the Fold
Anything “above the fold” refers to content that is visible in the upper half of a web page. It’s what visitors see immediately when landing on your home or service page.
According to extensive usability tests from the Nielsen Norman Group, more than 80% of time spent on a webpage takes place above the fold.
Although scrolling is now natural behavior on the web, online users allocate a small percentage of their attention to content below the fold. Here is what the author has to say about long pages:
“Long pages continue to be problematic because of users’ limited attention span. People prefer sites that get to the point and let them get things done quickly. Besides the basic reluctance to read more words, scrolling is extra work.”
The data points to the importance of placing key content above the fold. This doesn’t mean you should cram everything in the upper area of your pages, only that you should make the best use of it.
Include the following above the fold:
- Business name
- Clear value proposition
- Navigation menu
- Contact details
- Call to action button
This page does a great job at including each of these core components:
Online users often have very specific goals in mind and shouldn’t have to scroll through long pages to achieve them.
4. Include Strong Call to Actions
A visitor lands on your website and clicks through to one of your service pages. They read about the details of your offer and are interested in learning more. So how do you get them to contact your business to request a consultation or make a booking?
Include a strong call to action.
A call to action is an important feature to include on a services page. It’s typically an image or a line of text that prompts your visitors to take action, hence the name.
The actions you want your visitors to take could be anything from purchasing a product to downloading an book to signing up to a newsletter. For your services page, it could mean prospects filling out a lead form or requesting a consultation. But visitors often need to be guided on the next steps to take, something that a call to action does well.
The addition of a call to action on a landing page led to a 62% increase in conversions in one case study.
Here is the original landing page:
And here is the same landing page but with the addition of a call to action:
Here is what makes an effective call to action:
- Attention grabbing design: One thing you’ll notice about the landing from the example above is that call to action button contrasts with the rest of the page. The reason for that is simple: It draws attention and visitors are more likely to notice it.
- Clear value proposition: Your call to action needs to communicate a value proposition, or a benefit that visitors can expect. But at the same time the copy also needs to be concisely written and not simply be “Click Here”. So communicate exactly what visitors are getting for their click.
Call to action buttons are often overlooked. But as we have seen from the case study cited earlier, even a simple change to a landing page can have a huge impact on conversions.
5. Add Social Proof
Social proof was originally popularized by Robert Cialdini (author of Influence) as one of the driving principles of persuasion. It’s the idea that people tend to look to their environment to guide their own behavior.
Here is what Cialdini says about social proof:
“First, we seem to assume that if a lot of people are doing the same thing, they must know something we don’t. Especially when we are uncertain, we are willing to place an enormous amount of trust in the collective knowledge of the crowd.”
This psychological phenomenon is a type of conformity and can help us navigate unfamiliar situations. Where it most stands out in though is marketing as social proof is often used as a way to persuade consumers. One common example is the tagline that accompanies some brands of toothpaste with “9 out of 10 doctors recommend this toothpaste”. Taglines like those are irresistible and make us more confident in our purchase.
Similarly, social proof can be used on landing pages to add value to an offer. Testimonials are a great example as they serve as positive endorsements that a product or service is trustworthy.
Here is an example of a services pages that includes testimonials at the bottom of the page:
So how effective is adding social proof to a landing page? In one case study, just the addition of a testimonial along with a photo to a lead generation form increased conversions by 50%:
Social proof with a strong call to action is a powerful combination, and can transform any landing page into a lead magnet.
6. Design For Mobile Users
Data shows that 56% of searches done on smartphones have local intent.
If your target audience is primarily local, your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices. Otherwise you risk mobile users bouncing out due to a poor browsing experience. Nothing is more frustrating than landing on a website from a smartphone only to find that it’s been poorly optimized for mobile.
Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test tool to check if your site meets mobile requirements. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll see the following warning:
To address these issues, Google’s recommendation is to implement a responsive design which dynamically adjusts to all screen resolutions. Responsive design is beneficial from both a user and search engine standpoint.
The browsing experience is optimized for all users whether they’re accessing your site from a desktop, smartphone or tablet. And because the same code is served, the Googlebots are able to crawl and index your pages more efficiently.
To convert mobile users into qualified leads from your services page, a mobile friendly design absolutely needs to be a priority.
First impressions matter on the web.
Your website is often the first point of contact that visitors have with your business. Numerous case studies have shown that online users look at visual design when judging a website. The importance then of a professional design cannot be stressed enough. Implement the above on your services page to build trust with your audience and turn visitors into customers.