Create websites that convert without compromising exceptional design

Alec Lamothe

February 10, 2023

After you’ve built your fair share of websites, you recognize there’s always a dance between wanting to create outstanding design, and wanting your site to convert effectively. Balancing these two ideas is often difficult because websites that convert just simply aren’t as artistic as ones designed with only beauty in mind. This is a frustration that many business owners have because they feel like they need to pick one or the other.  I’m going to be covering 3 techniques I use to create websites that combine both principles in one. Because after all, you want to turn heads with your design and also bring in the leads, so why not have the best of both worlds. 

Technique one: forget what you know about forms. 

Without a doubt, the most ugly part of every website is a form. You have almost no control of how you design a form, because you want it to be easy to use and recognizable to your user. You can design a layout to be as creative as you want, but if you need to include a form on there, it can instantly take the style to a whole new low. So what can we do about this disheartening aspect of every landing page? It’s simple, delete it! ..Well, not the whole thing. Just every element the user doesn’t need to see at that moment. Take a look at the example below, I’m showing you just the first field, a simple ‘First Name’ entry. Who wouldn’t want to fill that out? It’s just one simple word (and some people’s favorite word) their name!

From there, you can introduce the next field through any design preference you’d like. You could simply have the next entry slide in as if they’re playing cards floating across the screen. Another fantastic idea for larger forms is to have the field be a link to a new pop-up or page where you will display the entire form with that first field pre-filled. This will require a little extra coding but I’d say it’s worth it to create an unforgettable user experience. 

So not only does this heavily improve the design and allow you to shrink what was once an ugly form into a small portion of the screen, it will also boost your leads. By having your fields hidden away, it will entice people to keep going along with the form without knowing how long it will be. When you see the whole form at once, you could think “ugh this will take forever!” but if you just see one at a time, it’s a small bite that the user is committing to. We’ve seen great success with this at OpenSail and would highly recommend this method. 

Technique two: Calls to action that scream ‘fill me out!’ 

Visualize your average website. The first thing you picture may be a block of text with a captivating image or graphic next to it. That image is the star of the show in that section as it should be, but if you design the call to action to be more than just a simple button, it will be the next thing the user looks at. Oftentimes buttons blend into the design and become another thing to glance over, but if you give that call to action more life, it will be something more than just a bland element. Take my examples below as a showcase of how you can make buttons fun to fill out. 

Now you might be saying  “my website has a hover effect where it changes color, ..that's captivating!” Well that’s something, but it could be so much better. Here’s a list of items to add to almost every button on a website to make it stand out every time. 

  • Entrance Animation
  • Hover Animation
  • A looping effect 
  • Reveal information on hover

These will create visual interest that buttons never get on your average site. When you think about it, it is the only thing that needs to be enticing to press on your website, so you better make it count. 

Technique three: combine the bland with the bold

There’s tons of information that looks bland on your site: forms, testimonials, footers, lists, long paragraphs, and so on. So what do we do with all this bland information? Well your average designer might say make the section above and below it more interesting so at least the whole site isn’t bland, they just need to get through a small boring part. I would challenge you to change your perspective on that, and instead combine the bland with the more interesting parts of your site. For example, take the testimonials and make it a rotating element beside, say, a video. It’ll keep the user on that section longer, and have a higher chance of catching the users interest. Rather than isolate, combine. You could do this with forms as well, don’t make a whole section with a single form on it, but the form beside a great photo, an animation, and 3 links to other sections. Take a look at the examples below for more ideas. 

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