Website design is an area many talented people dedicate their life to mastering. If you own one or more websites, it’s a good idea to use professional website designers, because their knowledge and skills are invaluable. Still, just like it’s helpful to know how cars work when you take yours to the mechanic, it’s a good idea to be armed with knowledge about what works with website design. More specifically, if one of the reasons for your site’s existence is to generate sales, you can’t just hope to get results. Everything you do in the design of the website needs to feed into that goal, otherwise the leads might not come in. When planning out how your website looks and feels, you must think like a visitor, not the owner or even the designer. Just because a layout or interface looks cool doesn’t mean people will be impressed. If it makes the site load or run slow, users will leave and go elsewhere. It’s pretty difficult to get sales leads from bounces. This is why going for a simple design is always a good idea. You can often increase conversions if you take the time to declutter your website. You don’t need to be too Spartan in your approach, but keep in mind everyone enjoys the benefits of a super-fast Internet connection. Users these days just don’t have the patience to wait for images and other elements to load. Prove that your product or service is worth the price. Everyone has limited quantities of cash, so people who are smart want to make sure they’re getting a good value for their money. Your website should provide ample reasons to get these people on board. Customer reviews are good, but they have a limited effect. A person can wonder if the reviewer is being honest, or has views that would match their own. Providing cold, hard numbers is much better. You might want to do that with some convincing statistics or maybe a few case studies. The more solid numbers you can throw out, the better. Another item to consider is whether your website zeros in on the features of your product or service, versus the benefits. It’s easy to rattle off a laundry list of specs and facts, showing why what you’re offering is better than the competition. For most visitors, this will be boring and irrelevant. The reality is your need to make an emotional appeal to get sales leads. Think like the consumer and identify pain points. It might be that someone wants stylish clothes without paying too much. Or maybe they don’t have a car, but they want a flexible way to get around. Once you know what ails your target audience, craft messaging that addresses how your product or service solves the problem. Establishing trust is key as well. Most people don’t want to hand over their information online. They worry about getting spammed, having their identity stolen, etc. To overcome these types of fears, you need to be clear about who you are and what you’re about. That means having an “About” page with actual people on it, including contact information. People decide to trust websites based on some subtle factors as well, just like how they decide to trust individuals. The best policy is to take careful notes about the layout of competing sites, especially those that are popular, and try to mimic the overall feel. It might sound so simple it’s stupid, but many websites don’t ask for the sale. Anyone who’s been successful in sales knows that not asking for a sale often results in walking away empty-handed. Crafting a call-to-action that invites a specific action is absolutely necessary. If you’re looking to sell a product, having a “buy now” button is wise. When your goal is to get people on a mailing list, tell them to “sign up” can work wonders. Your CTA shouldn’t be hidden on the page, but instead should be front-and-center. At the same time, you don’t want to be annoying about asking for the sale. The whole idea is to invite people boldly, without driving them away. Amazon is especially good at finding this balance, making it an especially great example.