The Anatomy of a Website that’s Optimized for Conversions

by Kathryn Aragon

Last updated on August 26th, 2017

Conversion rate optimization is about optimizing existing traffic on your website. But what if you’re in the design phase of a new website?

Can you design your website to be CRO-ready from day one—so it’s already set up to optimize your conversion rates?

The key is to get the basic framework in place. The elements that make a CRO’s job easier include:

  • Design
  • Copywriting
  • Usability

But to fully optimize your site, there are a few other elements you need to think about as well. Thankfully, this infographic, courtesy of Template.net, outlines the anatomy of a well-optimized website.

The Anatomy of a Well-Optimized Website

Basics to Design a Website Infogrpahic finalSource: Template.net

Wireframing / Structure

When CROs evaluate a website, they often start with a wireframe, which gives a conceptual, high-level view of the design. Wireframes can help you with 3 things:

  1. Information design
  2. Navigation design
  3. Interface design

Usability

Your site is worthless if it isn’t easy to read and use. To improve usability, make sure you have:

My recommendation? Read Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think.

Top UI/UX Principles

  • Design should focus on an experience.
  • People don’t read every word. They scan. Make your site scannable.
  • Simple and clear UI makes the user fall in love with a website.
  • Maintain balance between creativity and common design patterns.
  • Above the fold, focus design on gaining user attention.
  • Scrolling is often faster than paging. Consider a long-form, modular design.
  • Build nice responsive design, not just functional responsive design.

Now you…

A website redesign isn’t always necessary. Simple CRO—testing and improving over time—may improve conversion rates without a dramatic site-wide redesign.

But if you’re starting from scratch, why not design a site that’s sure to meet your conversion goals from day one?

If you could start your site from scratch (without worrying about budget or time), what would you change? If you’re planning a new site, what’s your highest priority?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Kathryn Aragon.

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Kathryn Aragon

Kathryn Aragon is the former editor of The Daily Egg. She's a content strategist, consultant, and author of The Business Blog Handbook. Learn more at KathrynAragon.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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  1. Sarah says:
    January 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    I apologize, but I am decidedly in the anti-CRO camp, especially for beginners.

    While it certainly helps to have a website that is well optimized for conversions, the mindset that this should be the first thing you have in mind is troubling.

    I believe that a new blogger or business that is looking to build that trust that is so crucial in converting fans into customers needs to focus first and foremost on their content, 100% of the time. A great example of someone who understands this is Seth Godin. His typepad blog will never be featured on a design-savvy website, but that’s not what we recognize him for either.

    Rather, his ideas and authority is what stands out. And at the very least, typepad is so damn simple that it’s pretty hard for it to look bad, regardless of browser or screen size.

    So while CRO is important, start by creating good content, linking out to authority sites, and getting valuable content on the web first.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      January 15, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Hi Sarah. No need to apologize. To be honest, I don’t think we disagree as much as you think we do. CRO isn’t about fancy designs or complicated sites. It’s about creating great content that persuades people to take whatever action they should take next and building enough trust that they’re willing to do it. I agree that a simple site does that best. Thanks for reading… and especially for taking time to share your opinions. 🙂

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