Conversion Rates

 

13 Ways To Increase Your Conversion Ratios

Producing good conversion rates is very important for website managers. A good conversion rate is indicative of high sales volumes that may be incurred by a certain website. Thus, it is important the website owners learn some ways that they can use in increasing their conversion rates.

  1. CONDUCT AN A/B TEST

Doing tests, such as the A/B test, is very important in optimizing conversion rates. Through A/B or split testing, people can convert website visitors into customers. One good example of the application of A/B testing in determining the possible headline for a page when there are two alternate options. With A/B testing, the website owner can identify which of the headlines is more effective. In this example, the software that is used during the test will be used to test two pages containing the different headlines. Each would be receiving the same percentage of the incoming traffic. Since visiting the pages would require taking an action, the number of people who would have done something while visiting each page can be monitored.

Under optimum conditions, there should be multiple A/B test that should be run for a website. Surely, not all identified techniques or strategies work effectively at all times, that is why there is the need for website owners to constantly do tests in order to identify those that can help in increasing or maintaining the conversion rates of their websites.

IDENTIFYING THE VARIABLES TO BE TESTED

A good marketer should know the kind of factors that he should focus on and those that he should pay too much attention to. When choosing a certain factor or variable to be tested, the website owner should keep in mind of the impacts of the factors that he is considering.

In addition, when determining the kind of test that should employed, the website manager should focus on the profit that may result from each test. The tests are also ranked accordingly based on the standards set by the website owner. And as in any type of experiment, only one hypothesis should be observed during a test.

SOME IMPORTANT FACTORS THAT CAN BE TESTED IN RELATION TO CONVERSION RATES

  1. HEADLINE

The headline of a website should be strong, convincing, and emanates a hint of truth. Moreover, the headline should able to promote the main offer of the website. According to the ad guru David Ogilvy, there are as five times as many people who read the headlines as those who read the body of a page. In short, a website won’t be able to make a sale without any effective eye-catching headline.

  1. PAGE LAYOUT AND NAVIGATION

  2. OFFER/PRODUCT

It is pertinent that a customer has a clear idea of what he can get once he visits a website.

  1. ORDER BUTTONS AND PHRASING OF CALL TO ACTION

For example, for websites that offer software products, the common primary call-to-action involves the “demo/trial” buttons and not the “checkout/purchase” buttons. In addition, enlarging the action buttons can be quite helpful.

  1. USING VARIOUS MEDIA FORMATS

For example, a website may include a video showing the key points or important factors that make their offers stand out.

  1. CHANGE ASSOCIATED WITH DIFFERENT METHODS

People should be open to the idea that they can different approaches in testing or optimizing their pages.

TESTING TOOLS

Nowadays, there are a lot of available software products that people can use for testing purposes. However, when buying any type of software, website managers should check first whether a program can really help them in optimizing the conversion rates of their pages. Likewise, they should realize that the quality of a software does not really lie on its price.

  1. GOOGLE CONTENT EXPERIMENTS

This feature can be accessed freely in Google Analytics. However, this tool cannot be used in real-time and users are required to provide 2 URLs each time that they will conduct a test.

  1. OPTIMIZELY AND VISUAL WEBSITE OPTIMIZER

A lot of people recommend using Optimizely for A/B testing, whereas others claim that Visual Website Optimizer is easier to use. Moreover, small business owners may find the prices of these software quite reasonable.

So basically, website owners should never forget or forego doing tests because in case of websites, the process is quite easy, they will really learn a lot things with the results. Moreover, tests, such as A/B testing, does not take that long and people can obtain their data in no time.

  1. OFFER SOMETHING VALUABLE AND IRRESISTIBLE

The offer of a website is factor that can greatly affect the conversion rate. In fact, one could say that it is the most important variable that determines the potential of an efficient conversion.

VALUE PROPOSITION

Value proposition can be considered as the primary reason why a certain customer would purchase from a specific website. In short, people should know not only the things that can buy from a website but also the reason why they should buy a product.

When trying to increase their conversion rates, one common practice that most managers do is to make changes on their website’s page elements, including the font color and sizes, shapes of the buttons, images, incentives, etc. However, what is more important is creating a very valuable proposition to the customers.

Website owners should not settle for shallow words, such as “Welcome!” or merely state their company or their offers. These things are not enough. A valuable proposition is entirely different from just presenting a product.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD VALUE PROPOSITION

  1. It differs from what other competitors have to offer.

  2. In case of similar offers or value propositions, there should be at least one element or factor that is unique to an offer of a website compared with its competitions.

Before a website manager can create a value proposition, he must first assess his company or products and make reflections regarding the qualities that separate his company and product from those of other people. In addition, a value proposition should be relayed effectively to the customers. Thus, it is important that the value proposition is presented in a single but highly credible sentence that can pique the interest of the people.

Creating an effective value proposition requires checking whether it reflects the needs of the ideal prospect. Thus, a value proposition should be optimized as well. The optimization process for value propositions includes identifying, expressing, and testing/measuring. Moreover, people can also use A/B testing to optimize their value proposition.

  1. COME UP WITH A SALES FUNNEL

Website managers should not expect immediate results in their conversion rates. In reality, people do not buy just right away as soon as they visit a page. Most customers would take some time to contemplate whether they should take up an offer or not. In addition, with the more expensive products customers can be expected to weigh in the pros and cons of their decisions before they accept an offer.

As previously mentioned, software companies usually offer a demo/trial of their products first before asking their website visitors to subscribe or make a purchase. However, there are time when websites should take a step back and settle on building a sales funnel first to gain the trust of their customers, build a strong relationship with them, and to prove that the products that they offer are of quality.

For example, a website is offering an online DIY course. The things that the owner should do are the following:

  1. Identify what the visitors want

  2. Identify their own want, that is, to convert the customers

  3. Create a plan on how the customer can be converted

In achieving the desired goals, the process may include the following:

  1. Offer something that is valuable but is also free

  2. Act as someone that the customers can trust to give them advice

  3. State specific reasons and entice the visitors to sign up to an email list

  4. Send teaser videos of the product offer via email

  5. Provide customers with a sales copy

Under normal conditions, several attempts are made before a prospective buyer is convinced to avail of a product or service. In relation to this, the kind of relationship built in between the communication of the website owners and the visitors eventually help in obtaining optimum conversion rates.

Website owners should also take things slowly. In addition, they should offer value propositions and their possible outcomes right away. The should also not forget to create an email list so that they can constantly connect with their customers.

  1. AVOID USING JARGONS

Instead of focusing on creating something that sounds so complex, website owners should just settle on a statement/phrase that their customers will easily understand. This way, they can avoid confusing people, which can only negatively affect their conversion rates. Thus, when writing a certain content for a website, it should be written for the people who will visit the page and the companies.

Clarity is one of the most common obstacles that online marketers face. For anything that may sound confusing or incomprehensible to a normal person, such should be modified or re-phrase into a simpler sentence or paragraph. Any description should sound like someone is just talking to a good friend. Any unfamiliar word should be replaced with something that would be normally used in conversations by people.

  1. ADDRESS THE ISSUES RAISED BY THE VISITORS

Not all will bite an offer. In some cases, they will have certain reservations or objections that prevent them from taking up an value proposition.

With in-person sales, determining such problems should not be a problem. However, when it comes to online marketing the task may be bit more difficult. The only possibly thing that online marketers do it anticipate the problems right away and create solutions for them before they even occur.

Website owners can start by creating a list of the problems or objections that their potential customers may have with their offers. Then, they should the collected information in their sales copy in order to resolved those issues. For example, when people ask about how a product can solve the problem, the marketer should already include the problems that can be solved when buying the product that is offered in a website. In cases of doubts in credibility, the owner should provide the necessary credentials and proof of his expertise. When they think that people will not believe that product may work on them, marketers should include testimonials from other customers who have already used and are satisfied with their products. In terms of expenses, marketers should explain how their products are worth the money of the customers compared with other offers.

  1. BUILD PEOPLE’S TRUST ON THE WEBSITE

If a person is offered something of value at a lower price, most likely, that person will hesitate to buy the product, especially when they do not really trust the seller.

According to the sales guru, Zig Ziglar, people won’t buy from a seller because of four primary reasons:

  • They do not need the product

  • They have no money

  • They are not in a hurry to buy anything

  • They do not trust the seller

The first three reasons are hard to address, but there is so much that website owners can do to build the trust of other people on their sites. Basically, they should add trust elements that can make people place their confidence on their websites. In fact, the following elements should be included in a trustworthy website:

  1. ACCURATE INFORMATION

People can make their websites more credible by adding support in the form of citations, testimonials, articles from credible publications, and other reliable resource materials. And if possible, they should provide scientific evidence for the information that they are sharing with their visitors. Though most people won’t follow the additional links that may be included in a page, they will become more trusting to the website.

  1. AN ACTUAL ORGANIZATION MANNING THE WEBSITE

People are more apt to believe in a website when they provide some important information, such as a physical address, an image of the actual office of a company, or a listing of membership with the chamber of commerce, which can only prove that there is an actual organization working regarding the operation of a website.

  1. HIGHLIGHTS OF EXPERTISE AND SERVICES OFFERED

The website should clarify whether they have experts on their team or if they have providers with reliable credentials. Any affiliation with other organizations should also be indicated.

  1. PROOF THAT TRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE ARE WORKING FOR THE COMPANY

People can trust a website more if they see some sort of evidence which proves that trustworthy people are working for the company. A short article or a photo of the employees and their biographies may serve this purpose.

  1. CONTACT INFORMATION

People tend to trust those whom they can contact easily. Thus, for a website, owners should also provide information, such as their phone numbers, physical address, or email address, that will allow their customers to contact them right away.

  1. PROFESSIONAL-LOOKING OR APPROPRIATE WEB DESIGN

One of the things that people assess immediately when visiting a website is its design. Thus, in creating a website, special attention should be attributed to the layout, typography, consistency, images, and other elements that can add to the overall appearance of the page. In relation to this, website owners should not hesitate to hire a professional designer who can meet their demands.

  1. EASY NAVIGATION AND USE

Usability and usefulness are two important factors that can convert visitors. Thus, for web designers, they should not forget that people do not want to visit a website that just looks good, they also want something that is easy to navigate and use.

  1. UPDATED CONTENTS

Visitors prefer visiting websites with updated contents. That is why a blog or a news page should be updated regularly.

  1. MODERATE PROMOTIONAL CONTENT

People hate popups and blinking banners, which have been linked with spams and scams over the years. Thus, if they can afford it, website owners should avoid including ads in their pages. However, if ads are really necessary, the sponsored content should be clearly discriminated from the website’s own content. In addition, the content should be written in clear, direct, and sincere manner.

  1. FREE OF ERROR

Errors in the spelling of words or broken links are a big turn-off for people. In addition to being error free, a website should be fast and always running.

  1. MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO BUY ITEMS

A business owner’s goal should be to deal with people without any hassle as much as possible. Thus, for the visitors, a website should be very easy to navigate and people should reach the shopping cart with ease. Moreover, people should not be bother by clicking on a lot of things before they arrive to their desired page.

To make it easier for people to explore a website, the owners should do the following:

  1. PROVIDE INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE VISITORS

The visitors should be guided toward the desired action that owners are aiming for them to take. Thus, it is very important to make people think that the succeeding steps that they are taking are very crucial compared with the previous ones.

  1. GIVE AS FEW CHOICES AS POSSIBLE

According to the Paradox of Choice, people are more apt to choose nothing when presented with a greater number of choices. Thus, for a website that is offering numerous products, they should add reliable filters that will let people choose the right item for them.

  1. AVOID MAKING PEOPLE FILL IN A LOT OF FIELDS

People do not like filling up forms with a lot fields. What website owners can do is to just ask them to sign using their Google or Facebook accounts. More importantly, they should just ask for the information that are required to fulfill an order and not anything that may be just unnecessary.

  1. DO FORCE THE VISITORS TO SIGN UP FIRST BEFORE ALLOWING THEM TO MAKE AN ORDER

Though it is important that visitors sign up to the email list of a website, opting not to sign up should not prevent people from buying. They should be allowed to make a purchase as a guest, because it is not impossible that they will eventually sign up when they are satisfied with what they have bought.

  1. FREE SHIPPING OFFER

Free shipping is the greatest factor that attract consumers in the UK and the US. Thus, other online marketers should hesitate to use this strategy to gain more customers.

  1. LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE TRUE VALUE OF A PRODUCT/SERVICE

A lot of entrepreneurs fail to show potential customers the value of their product. In fact, they just settle in adding information, such as the dimensions, weight, color, and price, which really do appeal to people.

The right action that entrepreneurs should take is adding all the information that they can about a product, and if possible, including images and videos that will justify the value of a product. Though customers may read everything that they see in a page, a certain percentage of them takes their time to read and look at everything a site has to offer. Moreover, the price of an item should be mentioned after relaying the information to avoid people making decisions right away based on the price of an item.

  1. SHOW EVIDENCE

A lot of people do not believe in a thing unless they see some sort of evidence. In this case, website owners are suggested to provide the following:

  1. TESTIMONIALS FROM OTHER CUSTOMERS

Satisfied customers usually provide positive feedbacks. Website owners can use such testimonials to entice other people into availing their products.

  1. PRESENT CASE STUDIES

The before and after type of case studies is very effective in convincing people about a product’s quality.

  1. PRESENT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OBTAINED FROM EXPERIMENTS AND STUDIES

Scientific and independent studies can be used as backup evidence regarding the claims that website owners have for their products.

  1. THIRD PARTY REVIEWS

It is also worth mentioning if a product has been featured in a magazine or blog. Supplementary links to such online publications should also be provided.

  1. SOCIAL PROOF

Sharing the opinions of satisfied customers on social media or in other social circles is great way of expanding the market network of a website.

  1. PRESENT A DEMONSTRATION

People are more inclined to believe in a product when they see it in actual use. Thus, demo videos may prove useful in cases like this.

10. ELIMINATE ALL THE DISTRACTIONS

It is very important that people only allocate their attention to where it is greatly need. Thus, website managers should think of the things that could possibly distract the visitors into leaving a page. In such cases, if the visitors are plagued by a lot of visuals and too many choices or actions to take, then they are more apt to leave a page. Such kind of distractions should be avoided and eliminated as well as additional links, product options, or supplementary information that are not really needed in the website.

Some of the ways by which website owners can remove or minimize anything that can distract the visitors or do not really play a part in influencing them to take a positive action are the following:

  • Removing or minimizing the menu

  • Removing the sidebars and headers

  • Removing unrelated images

11. MAKE THE FIRST MOVE AGAINST THE COMPETITORS

Competition among similar products and services offered by different companies is inevitable. However, people are now more careful when buying things, and they tend to do some research first before they decide to purchase an item. Thus, offers coming from different companies or providers will be compared.

In most cases, people would just like at the prices when comparing products. However, for providers and sellers, they should also compare their products with those of their competition but from a different perspective.

When a product is more expensive, the seller should use this as advantage and explain to the customer the qualities of the product that caused it to be priced at a high value. In addition, the advantages of the product over the other similar items should be pointed out and greatly emphasized.

A specific product can be compared based on its specs (in cases of electronics) or in cases of added complexity, through extensive description.

12. ELIMINATE THE RISKS

One of the reasons that cause buyers to hesitate to buy a product is the risks. Thus, sellers should offer their customer with guarantees to banish the doubts of the customer in buying their products.

For example, when Hyundai suffered from bad publicity, the company started offering a 10-year warranty for their cars, and that became one of the wisest decisions that they made.

On the other hand, to erase the notion that plumbers always come late, The Punctual Plumber made it a point to meet their clients on time and they actually pay the client for every minute that they are employees are late.

In pizza deliveries, the standard practice is allowing for a 30-minute delivery time. Otherwise, the customers will get their pizza for free.

Money back and pain compensation guarantee is also one of the strategies used by sellers to ensure their customers that they are offering quality products only that they are willing to provide such guarantee just to prove this.

Likewise, companies also usually employ the 30-day money-back guarantee to entice more people into buying their products.

To test which guarantees would benefit more their products, website managers can use the A/B test to select the most optimum choice.

13. BE LENIENT WITH INCENTIVES

Sellers can possibly make people buy by presenting their product with a sense of urgency. They should provide details, such as deadlines for offers and sense of urgency because of scarcity, to imply that the customers should decide right with regard to buying a product.

The scarcity can be quantity-related or time-related. Depending on the case, a seller may offer different types of bonuses. For unlimited number of products, the seller can offer time-sensitive bonuses, for example, a free gift or a discount, as long as the customers buys the product within the given time frame.

However, when using scarcity to entice people into buying, sellers should make their offer very authentic and ensure that the scarcity that they implying is not fake. Otherwise, they are on the verge of losing important clients.

Link Types

Given that quality is more important to the users, Google has opted to start penalizing websites that contain poor or what can be considered as spammy link. Previously, SEOs did not have much of a problem when with link building. SEO companies usually utilized techniques, such as article submission and directory listing, because such methods come with very minimal risk and worked very well in most cases. However, Google has already introduced the Penguin updates, which seriously affected the techniques used in building poor-quality links. Thus, for link builders, it is pertinent that they learn the kind of links that they should construct in the near future.

  1. NATURAL” EDITORIAL LINKS

Natural editorial links can be considered as one of the most important things for SEOs. Such kinds of links need not to be ask for, because they are already provided by certain website owners. Using natural editorial links is very effective in making connections and linkages with other people. Still, it is important that people convince those they want to connect with. Moreover, they should not forget to bring up their issue with the most popular bloggers.

In this case, one good reason may be creating a great content which is then interspersed with some known bloggers. Then, as time passes by, more bloggers will come to notice the created content. However, this practice may prove to be very challenging for some, and success will not come until after quite some time. Google also has their own preference of such type of links, and they can be expected to persevere for a very long time.

  1. MANUAL OUTREACH LINK BUILDING

Manual outreach link building is possibly one of the most techniques that is practiced by SEOs, and this is especially true for those who are just starting with their business. This method includes manually reaching out to bloggers or website owners an requesting them to consider establishing linkages. In this case, a person must also be able to convince the bloggers or the website owner why they should link with him. In relation to this, a link builder should look for people who bear close connection to his industry.

  1. SELF-CREATED, NON-EDITORIAL LINKS

Not a lot of people favor self-created, non-editorial links, because they are usually associated with shady practices that try to fool search engines into thinking that they contain relevant and important information. Thus, when Penguin was introduced in 2012, Google started devaluing and penalizing such type of links.

Logically, self-created, non-editorial links have less value compared with the other types. However, they still had some use for SEOs in the past. Some of their uses include the following:

  • Unmoderated blog comments

  • Articles directories

  • Embeddable widgets

  • Press releases with optimized anchor text

  • Unmoderated directories

  • Guest post signatures

  • Advertorials

  • Embedded infographics

  • Guestbooks

  • Forum Signatures.

Though there’s no stopping everyone from using such links, extreme precaution must still be exercised. In fact, what people should do is to focus on formulating strategies that can help them in creating editorial links that can make their websites more valuable.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics 5 is an analytics program boasting of its added organization and visualization features. In fact, when they start using the program, most people will discover that there are a lot of things that they can do with Google Analytics 5 in terms of analytics information and using such data to enhance the content, conversion rate, and user experience of their website.

Some of the notable features of Google Analytics 5 are as follows:

  1. VIEWING PERTINENT ANALYTICS DATA FIRSTHAND

In the Dashboards area, people can set specific data to be available for viewing once they login in their Google Analytics account.

In addition, the users have the option to create multiple dashboards, and each dashboard may include multiple widgets. A new dashboard can be easily created by accessing Dashboards from the menu bar of the software and clicking on the New Dashboard feature. In the new dashboard, the user may start adding widgets, which should come from those that show a metric, a pie chart for the comparison of metrics, timeline for the metrics, or table displaying data regarding the dimensions of two different metrics. Moreover, the users can filter the widgets based on their types.

Users will also notice that they can edit the dashboards by changing the date range and viewing the updates of their widgets within the set range. This function is perfect for obtaining an overview of the statistics covering the traffic, completed goals, and other chosen metrics.

  1. IDENTIFY THE ONLINE CAMPAIGNS WITH THE MOST TRAFFIC AND CONVERSIONS

Most people who manage websites are expected to be curious about the status of their online campaigns. As such, they would want to identify their online campaigns that bring in the most traffic and conversions to their website. For such purposes, the advanced segments can be used.

An advanced segment can be created by accessing the Advanced Segments then clicking on the New Custom Segment from the dropdown menu. The Local Search Profiles can be used in tracking traffic that originate from local search directories. The user only need to fil in the sites that he has a profile on, for instance, maps.google.com/maps/ and yelp.com.

After entering the desired domains that will be tracked, the data on the segment can be previewed before saving. Afterward, the created segments can be viewed on the Advance Segments. As soon as they are done creating their customized segments, the users may start tracking the traffic and conversion data from the sources that they have identified and check for the which should work well with their websites. If properly customized, the segments can determine the ROI of their social media campaign and other online marketing strategies.

  1. LOCATE THE DESIRED VISITORS

With the absence of advertising done through Google, Facebook, or StumbleUpon, some website managers may find it hard to determine the market of their ads. In relation to this, it is important they know where they should focus their ad.

However, with Google Analytics, the task becomes much easier. Users only need to check out their Visitors menu to access the Location demographics of their website visitors.

With the Visitors feature, Google Analytics users can now identify where their visitors with the most conversions are coming from. And with such information, they will know where to place their ads to ensure that the goals of their site will be achieved.

  1. IDENTIFY THE VISITORS’ NEEDS

Internet users end up in websites by plugging some keywords in their search engines and accessing the results. However, it would help website manager to gain insight into the reasons why people visit or search their websites.

Thus, what website owners can do is to do their own search on their website and see the URL that will pop up. After obtaining the URL, the owners should access the setting of their Analytics software by clicking the wheel icon on the top right corner of the interface. Then, they should click the Profile Settings, and from there, access the Site Search Settings. Afterward, they should select the Do Track Site Search option and use s as the query parameter or any variable of their own choosing.

After modifying the settings, the results can be seen by accessing the Content menu and subsequently, the Site Search area. Then, under Usage, website owners can start viewing the terms searched by used in their websites, any refined search done by the visitors, continued browsing data, and information regarding the ones who left the website. This way, the owners gain insight into the kind of information that their visitors are looking for. Meanwhile, under Pages, Analytics users can view the pages that were visited by people before they began using the search feature of their websites. In addition, they will learn about the keywords that were searched by people by clicking the pages which resulted from the search.

On other hand, Site Search can be used in determining whether people are satisfied with the information that they find in a specific website. Moreover, this feature provides website managers with some ideas whether their sites lack information or whether a new content should be created for the benefit of their visitors.

  1. LEARN WHAT VISITORS TEND TO CLICK THE MOST

In websites, most visitors tend to click on some specific parts or portions of the sites. By accessing the Content menu and the In-Page Analytics feature, website owners can pull up their sites on the Google Analytics and check the percentage of clicks that were allocated for the different internal links on the site.

By hovering over the links, Analytics users may also glean on some pertinent details, and they can also access the other pages on their site for more information. This practice helps website owners in visualizing the areas that people want to access through their website and identify the parts of their websites that are clicked on by most visitors. Moreover, it can help the website owners in analyzing where they should place a link which they want their visitors to click.

  1. IDENTIFY A WEBSITE’S TOP CONTENT

Through the Content menu, Analytics users can access the Pages under the Site Content and view the pages that tend to keep the visitors on a certain website.

With such function, website managers can now identify the type of content that catches the attention of their visitors and eventually keep them on their website. From there, they can create more related content that will further hook visitors to their sites.

  1. DISCERN THE PAGES THE PERFORM THE WORST

Aside from the top pages, the top exit pages can also be accessed in the content menu of Google Analytics. This information provides website managers with some ideas regarding the pages where people tend to arrive and exit right away afterward.

Such kind of situation is more prevalent in blogs. However, in the case of other websites, people leaving as soon as they arrive on a specific page may indicate the people’s dissatisfaction in failing to find the information that they are looking for. With such kind of diagnosis, website owners may need to reevaluate their websites and identify whether certain changes must be made to meet the demands of their visitors.

  1. IDENTIFY THE POINT AT WHICH JUST LEAVE THE SHOPPING CART HANGING

For a website with a multi-step checkout process, the Goal Funnel can be used in setting up the goals. The Goals menu can be accessed through the settings of Google Analytics. A new goal can be created using the Goal Type of URL Destination. After adding the details of the basic goals, which should basically include the final URL of the checkout process, the Use funnel box can be used by the users to include the URL’s for the steps of the purchasing process.

Using such kind of set-up allows website owners to view the information surrounding the cases of people leaving the shopping cart while purchasing an item.

Thus, if visitors tend to leave the payment page, website owners should tweak their sites a bit more to entice their visitors to finish the purchasing process. The same goes for when people just leave a page before they can confirm their orders.

  1. DETERMINE THE NEED FOR A MOBILE VERSION OF A WEBSITE

There are cases when people prefer using their mobile devices in accessing the internet. Thus, to determine whether their website should have a mobile version, website should check out the Visitors menu in their Google Analytics account. Under the Mobile option, they can spot the percentage of website visits that were done through a mobile device. In fact, they can also see the specific device used in accessing their website.

In this case, the owners should compare the average time spent by the visitors on their website and the bounce rate. If the average time spent on their website is lower and the bounce rate is higher than the overall values, then a considerable mobile traffic is being lost.

Responsive Web Design

Nowadays, as people continue to hoard electronic gadgets for different purposes, it has been necessary for developers to create mobile versions of websites. That way, people will have no trouble accessing those sites whether they are using smartphones, an iPhone, iPad, or even Kindle. In addition, most mobile versions of websites can be viewed at different resolutions too. In the near future, the demand for mobile version of websites or other technological applications is expected to increase. Thus, it is highly important that developers be able to accommodate such need.

Because new resolutions and different types of devices keep popping up, it becomes very hard for the people in web design industry to keep up with all the changes. Creating websites in different versions and at varying resolutions tends to be tedious and impractical. However, this issue places the website at risk of losing visitors if it is not rendered in their preferred version or resolution. Thus, at present, people involved in web design are looking for ways to solve or at least alleviate their problem in creating websites in multiple versions.

RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN

Responsive web design is type of wed design approach, stating that websites should be developed based on the user’s behavior and environment, which is influenced by screen size, platform, and orientation. This approach involves using flexible grids and layouts, images, as well as expertise in utilizing CSS media queries. Suggestively, the website should automatically switch settings or properties once the users starts using a different electronic device. In short, the website should be created in such a way that it automatically adopts to the changes in the user’s preferences for the used platforms. Through this way, web designers won’t have to create different versions of a website for different devices.

THE PRINCIPLE BEHIND RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN

The concept of responsive web design is rooted from the principle of responsive architectural design, wherein a room or space automatically adjusts to the changing number of people inside it. In the field of responsive architecture, architects are now experimenting with various embedded robotics and tensile materials combined with different art installations and wall structures, which are capable of bending, flexing, or even expanding when a group of people passes by. The motion sensors are also meant to adjust the room’s temperature and lighting depending on the number of people inside the room. In fact, there are already companies which have been using “smart glass technology,” in which the glass turn’s opaque as the number of people reaches a specific density threshold. This way, companies are able to preserve the privacy of their meetings.

The same principle goes for responsive web design. Instead of creating a web design for specific groups of users, a website should be designed to automatically adjust to the need of the users. In relation to the advent of responsive web design, more and more people are now trying out fluid layouts, media queries, and scripts which can reformat web pages and do mark-up with less effort.

However, responsive web design does not revolve around adjusting the screen resolution or automatically adjusting the images alone. It also represents a new way of thinking about design, and such mode of thinking brings about new ideas that can be further developed in the near future.

  1. ADJUSTING THE SCREEN RESOLUTION

At present, devices now come in different sizes and thus, resolution as well. Likewise, the functions and even the color handled by the screen may vary too. in the more popular devices, including the likes of iPhones and iPad and smartphones, people can use the devices in landscape or portrait mode. With this need for quick change in orientation, web designers should also consider such factor when creating websites.

When designing websites for both landscape and portrait orientations, the different sizes of electronic devices should also be considered. Though screen sizes can be categorized, it is not easy to create a design that is flexible enough to accommodate all screen sizes. In addition, a lot of users do not maximize their browsers, and such would also add to the problem of varying screen sizes.

And with the release of more electronic devices in recent years, addressing the issue on screen size has become more pressing. Thus, to deal with the situation, web designers have come up with some partial solutions.

  1. MAKE EVERYTHING FLEXIBLE

Before, not all websites made use of flexible layouts. In fact, the only things that were flexible in a website were the layout columns and the text. In relation to this, images tended to break the layouts, and even the flexible structural elements had their limits. Basically, previous flexible designs were not the pliant, adjusting by just several pixels. In addition, they could not accommodate the change from a larger computer screen to smaller one in netbooks.

Fortunately, at present, flexibility is very achievable. Web designers can use images that are automatically adjusted and create layouts that will not break. Making websites flexible cannot be considered as the ultimate solution, but it provides people additional means to browse their websites enables them to use their devices in different orientations.

A man named Ethan Marcotte wrote an article about the issue, and he included a sample web design boasting of a better flexible layout. In his creation, people noticed the perfect combination of fluid grids, fluid images, and mark-ups, which are correctly placed where they are needed.

To give people some idea about some of the techniques that can be used to create fluid images, they should check out for tutorials showing how to hide and reveal portions of images, create sliding composite images, and use foreground images that scale with the layout.

Some online books, including the Flexible Web Design: Creating Liquid and Elastic Layouts with CSS by Zoe, Mickley, Gillenwater provide some noteworthy tutorials regarding the creation of flexible grids and layouts, whereas some of the resources and inspirations that people may find useful can be found in Essential Resources for Creating Liquid and Elastic Layouts.

However, it is not enough that people just learn how to make their websites flexible. They must properly manipulate all the factors that can affect the quality of the flexibility of their design. For example, when designing a logo and resizing it to a smaller size would require keeping the name of the website visible and not cropping it off. During the coding, the used image is then divided into two. One serves as the background and cropped to the desired size, whereas the other one is resized proportionally.

However, when using smart fixes, such as resizing images, people should remember that there is still the tendency for a layout to appear as to narrow or too short. And in such cases, designers should come with ways to correct the layout of their websites.

  1. MAKE THE IMAGES FLEXIBLE

The images are another factor that greatly influence the layout of a website. Luckily, there are various means by people can resize their images proportionately. For example, designers can use max-width of CSS as an easy way of making their images more fluid. People can use this function as long as there no other width-based image styles that can affect it. In return, the images are loaded using their original size. The image is set at a maximum width of 100% of the screen or browser width. This way, the image narrows as the percentage goes down.

Basically, in creating fluid images, the images are set at the maximum first. The dimensions of the images are not specified in the code. Instead, the browser does the function of resizing the image under certain conditions. In relation to this, CSS provides a huge help by serving as guide to the images’ relative sizes.

Another important thing that designers should remember is that max-width is not supported by IE. However, they can use width:100% when using IE-specific style sheets. In addition, when the images are resized at a very small scale in older versions of Windows, they won’t appear very clearly after rendering. In this case, people can use JavaScript to fix the problem.

However, though there are some quick fixes for images in a layout, the most important factors that people should consider are the image resolution and download times. For mobile devices, resizing an image is not that hard. However, when the original image size is measured for larger devices, the download time may be prolonged and additional space may be required.

  1. RESPONSIVE IMAGES BY THE FILAMENT GROUP

The Filament Group introduced a technique, wherein responsive images are taken into account, and images are resized properly and in accordance with the resolution of smaller devices. As a result, additional space is saved since large images are not used.

The method by the Filament Group involves the use of several files, including, JavaScript file (rwd-images.js), the .htaccess file and an image file (rwd.gif), which can be accessed on Github. HTML can be used for referencing the larger and smaller resolution images. In this process, the small image (with the .r prefix) is first clarified to be responsive before adding a reference to the bigger image using data-fullsrc.

With the use of data-fullsrc, the larger-resolution image (largeRes.jpg) loads for any screen that is wider than 480 pixels, whereas for smaller screen, only the smaller image (smallRes.jpg) will load.

An inserted base element coming from the JavaSCipt enables the page to separate the responsive images. The images are then redirected if necessary. As a page loads, all files revert to their original forms and the large or small images are the ones that are loaded.

However, when using other methods, some higher-resolution images should be downloaded. This is especially true when a certain website is flooded by images.

The Filament Group technique is compatible with the more popular browsers, including IE8+, Safari, Chrome, and Opera, and the mobile versions of such browsers. For older versions of the browsers and for Firefox, the responsive image can be resized but the different resolutions are all downloaded, which really does not help in saving space.

  1. AVOID IPHONE SIMULATOR IMAGE RESIZING

One perk of using iPhones and iPod Touch is that the web designs on such devices are automatically rescale to fit the screen. In most cases, the full design just shrinks proportionally to the size of the small browser. In relation to this, what the user should do is to just zoom in and out as he sees fit.

However, one pertinent issue has been associated with the iPhone simulators. A lot of people noticed that when a site is made based on the principles of responsive web design, the images still changes in proportion with the page despite the fact that they were customized for the tiny screen. As a result, people noticed the scaling down of text and other elements of the websites.

In resolving this problem, the Apple-specific meta tag can be used. The meta tag is placed below the website’s <head>section.

Meanwhile, when the initial-scale is set to 1, the default resizing of the images is taken over, and their width just appear the same in relation to the device’s width.

  1. CUSTOM LAYOUT STRUCTURE

When the image sizes should be changed to large degree, the layout should be changed entirely. Still, the designers may ought not to make any changes on most of the styles.

Take, for example, a style sheet having the main structural elements, including #wrapper, #content, #sidebar, #nav, as well as the colors, background, and typography. Likewise, other elements, such as the flexible widths and floats, may also be included.

When a style sheet caused the layout to appear narrow, short, expanded, or tall, a new style sheet may be used. The new child style sheet will absorb all the things that are included in the default style sheet and proceed with redefining the layout’s structure.

  1. MEDIA QUERIES

Designers are recommended to use CSS3 because it accommodates all the media types found in CSS2.1, including screen, print and handheld, but with some addition perks, such as max-widthdevice-widthorientation and color. Devices that are made with the help of CSS3 should be able to support different media features. Thus, people should consider using CSS3 features for their media queries. However, older computers that do not support CSS3 cannot be used in media queries.

In the code for media queries, when a browser displays a page on the screen that measures 480 pixels or lower, then shetland.css is loaded.

In addition, CSS3 also now include orientation (portrait vs landscape), device-widthmin-device-width, and others.

It is possible to create multiple style sheets and basic layout alterations that fit the ranges of widths. In addition, multiple media queries can be used altogether in a single style sheet.

  1. CSS3 MEDIA QUERIES

Some specific features of CSS3 media queries can be very useful with the creation of responsive web designs. Thus, it is just as important that designers learn a thing or two about them.

  1. min-width and max-width 

min-width is used for setting the minimum width size of the screen or the browser for certain set of styles or style sheet. Any value that is below the set limit is expected to be ignored.

Meanwhile, max-width does the opposite function of min-width. Any value that is higher than the set maximum value will not be used in media queries.

To utilize the media queries efficiently, the queries should be all included in just one CSS style sheet.

Under normal circumstances the min-width and max-width can be used for both the screen size or browser width. However, there are instances when the media query is specific for the width of certain device. In such cases, the min-device-width and max-device-width can be used when considering a device with specific dimensions.

For example, in iPads, the media query property, orientation, is specifically used. The values used for this feature are either landscape or portrait. In the case of iPhones, using the min-device-width and max-device-width would be enough.

Aside from using the media queries singularly, they can be used in combination. For example, the min-device-width and max-device-width can be used in defining a range for a specific style (around 800 to 1200 pixels). This practice can be used when aiming to display specific contents or entire sidebars in layout.

Designers may also link to a separate style sheet specific media queries. This is favorable when they are giving more importance to the organization of the website and not necessarily to the efficiency. However, using a separate style sheet may be better for devices which do not switch orientations or screens with browsers that cannot be changed manually.

In the case of iPad, whose orientation can be switched, the media queries may be all placed in just one style sheet, which would also prove to be more efficient in the long run.

The same goes for a standard computer screen whose browser can be resized. Manually resizing would require including all the media queries in just one style sheet in order to achieve maximum efficiency.

Still, it won’t hurt if designers choose to define their media queries in a standard HTML link tag.

  1. JAVASCRIPT

JavaScript is very useful as back up for devices that cannot run CSS3 media queries. In addition, it can be used in older version of browsers (IE5+, Firefox 1+, Safari 2), because it is already pre-installed and ready for enabling CSS3-related media queries. For those who are already using CSS3, they should just copy the library and it paste in the mark-up: css3-mediaqueries.js.

For those who prefer a more hands on method, they can try using a jQuery snippet, which can be used in detecting a browsers width and in adding the necessary changes to the style sheet.

In reality, JavaScript and CSS media queries can be used in various combinations. However, designers should not rely on media queries alone. They are nothing but just a viable option for providing pure CSS-based solutions in responsive web design.

  1. SHOWING OR HIDING CONTENT

It is possible to shrink things accordingly and make the necessary arrangements on the elements as the screen that is being used becomes smaller. However, transforming a content of a large screen to something that would fit a smaller screen does not always lead to something good. Thus for mobile environments, various practices, such as simpler navigation, a more focused contents, using lists or rows instead of multiple columns, may be used wisely.

In relation to the things mentioned above, a designer must be able to carefully choose the content that should be hidden or shown in a specific device. And such is very easily accomplished, thanks to display: of CSS.

When using display: none, the HTML blocks all the element that should be hidden in a style sheet or in detecting the browser width via JavaScript. Aside from hiding or showing content on smaller screen, the same can be done on the default style sheets when bigger screen are considered. One perfect example is replacing the hidden content with navigation leading to that content or using an entirely different navigation structure.

Meanwhile, visibility: hidden hides the contents, where display removes it. For smaller devices, designers can forgo keeping the mark-up on the page to avoid unnecessary scrolling or breaking the layout.

Hiding and showing content enables the necessary elements of a website to be arranged in a way that would fit screens of different sizes and device types. However, when the screen that is considered is smaller, the elements should be properly rearranged to fit the mobile guidelines. One way of doing this is using a script or alternate style sheet to increase the white space or substitute the image navigation sources with something that is more useful in mobile platforms.

10. TOUCHSCREENS AND CURSORS

Touchscreen devices are also now making arounds everywhere. For the smaller devices, giving them touchscreen functions is not that hard. However, noticeably, touchscreen laptops and desktops, just like the HP Touchsmart tm2t, are now also available in the market.

Logically, devices with touchscreens are designed differently compared with computers that have cursor-based interactions. In addition, the capacities of such devices may very as well. Fortunately for designers, they will have no trouble in creating design for touchscreen or cursor-based electronics.

In the case of touchscreens, the device with such capability won’t be able to display CSS hovers. A touch of the user is equivalent to a click. Thus, designers cannot use CSS hovers for defining links in touchscreen devices.

However, designers can do some research and learn some ways by which they create designs that work well for touchscreens and will not compromised the cursor-based usability of the device.

11. PRESENT APPLICATIONS OF RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN

A lot of websites today created based on the principles of responsive web design. The variety in them would be most likely in terms of structure and style. Several solutions can be used in different browsers, with some even capable of adjusting the size of the elements without necessarily having to consider the dimensions of the browser.

  1. ART EQUALS WORK

Art Equals Work is a sample website that is created through responsive wed design. The website can accommodate differing browser widths, but when the browsers becomes narrow or is accessed using a device with a smaller scree, then the layout switches, and the formal is adjusted to make the website more readable and user-friendly. Notably, the sidebar disappears, and user can access the navigation tool on the top. In addition, the text is rendered in a larger font, which benefits the practice of vertical reading.

  1. THINK VITAMIN

The approach used in Art Equals Work can also be noticed in Think Vitamin. The sidebar and top bar are absent when the site is viewed in a smaller screen, and the navigations becomes simpler and can be accessed directly above the content. The same goes for the logo of the website. Though the logo basically looks the same, it is modified to suit the vertical orientation of the device. In relation to this, the tagline can be seen below the main icon. Moreover, the white space surrounding the content is more prevalent on larger screens, but is adjusts accordingly when the site is viewed on smaller screens.