Sometimes the simplest website changes can produce the most rapid Return On Effort. One of the easiest ways to make your site convert better is to make it easier for users to read.
In fact, a whole category of website conversion heuristics is based around making your content easier for website visitors to digest.
Here are seven ways you can increase your website conversion right now:
- Increase font size. For example, change 10 or 11px body text fonts to 13px. Some people find these larger fonts “childlike”, but our tests have conclusively shown that larger fonts can increase conversion significantly (especially where the original font size was very small to start with). Graphic designers often specify smaller, “cute” fonts, but you should remember that text content is primarily a means to convey your selling message, NOT a design element.
- Avoid large line widths. The human eye just isn’t designed evolved that well for reading text on a screen. One of the things that tends to slow people down when reading is moving they eyes from line to line. And the longer the line width, the more difficult it is for the eye and the brain to hook up with the next line. That’s why shorter line widths of 600px or less generally help conversion. Test 600px vs 900px and you’ll see what I mean.
- Increase colour contrast. Another thing graphic designers seem to love are font colour choices based on design sensibilities rather than communication and legibility. Light grey text on a mid-grey background appears to be a designers’ favourite. On the web, as in print, poor colour contrast = decreased legibility = decreased sales. By increasing colour contrast (good ol’ black text on white background is my boring-but-effective favourite) you will boost sales.
- Shorten paragraphs. Long paragaphs make it harder for the eye to navigate text. Anything much longer than 7 lines and you’ll start to put readers off. Where your paragraphs are longer than this, break them into two or more pieces. The occasional one line paragraph can also work well.
- Give “texture” to long copy. Many of these tips are centred around breaking the monotony of long, “blocky” tracts of text. One way to do this is by adding “texture” — creating varying areas of white space around lines and paragraphs. For example, you should always leave a “ragged right” edge on paragraphs (i.e not fully justified). The ragged edge helps the eye navigate. Indenting the occasional paragraph with a <blockquote>, or placing content in a centred box achieves the same effect.
- Break the monotony. White space is one way to break the monotony of dense text content — another is to use headlines, sub headlines, colour, “callouts”, bullet lists, numbered lists and text effects (bold, italics, underlines, strikethroughs etc.). These elements help to focus the user’s attention on key selling points and create variety that keeps the brain engaged.
- Add diagrams, graphs and images. I believe that copy is the main tool in your persuasive toolset on the web. But other types of visual content can be a very useful way to augment your central sales argument. Use images, graphs and diagrams appropriately when they make your point better than text.
This Is NOT A Long Copy vs Short Copy Debate
Please note that this has nothing to do with the long/short copy debate (if you could still call it a debate – the long copy folks won that a decade ago online, and a century ago in print).
This is about recognising that text content can be daunting when presented the wrong way. By making your text content as legible and digestible as possible, you’ll get higher readership and more leads and sales. And isn’t that what we all want?