What Makes A Good Webpage?

January 29, 2021

What makes a good web page? A good web page converts visitors into customers. This can mean a download, a product sale, or a lead generation.

Conversion Rate Optimization is not just a bunch of technical strategies related to fonts, colors, placements and buttons. CRO is sales. Its psychology!

Think about it like an analogy of a salesperson on a sales call. Yes, the salesperson's shirt color, hair style, smile, punctuality and sales material matters. But you know what matters way, way more? The salesperson's words. And the words on your website are of crucial importance for conversions.

Do you know what matters even more than that? The salesperson's personality. The way a website presents a company's "heart" is of critical importance.

Do you know what matters even more than that? The sales person's ability to listen. This is where it gets tricky though. How can a website listen to a person? It can't really. Chat can help. Feedback forms can help. But the job of listening to your customers comes down to setting time aside from the needs of the company to try to predict what the customer might want or need.

Keep this analogy in mind when building out your web pages and I think it will help you realize that your goal is to make your web pages more HUMAN.

How long should a web page be?

That's a bit like asking how long a Blog article should be. The answer is, long enough to satisfy the requirements of the topic. There is no predefined way to determine the length of a web page. You can't simply say "create 8 to 10 sections". Because while that may be a good rule of thumb, it doesn't work very well for all types of business. So here is how to determine how long to make your page.

This chart was created by the folks at marketing experiments. And it's based on their knowledge of the cumulative results of over 20,000 conversion rate tests. And it simply states this: The more complicated, 

expensive, or risky an offer is, the longer the page needs to be. If you're selling search engine optimization services, for example, a longer page is generally going to convert much better than a shorter page. SEO Is risky, expensive, and complicated. Of course there are no hard and fast truths in CRO. So you'll want to create multiple pages and split test them against each other.

The trust tribunal

At some point on a web page, for most businesses, trust will become a deciding factor. I call this "The Trust Tribunal" and its borrowed heavily from Dr. Flint McLaughlin who calls it "The Trust Trial".
Its important to understand that this tribunal usually happens late in the conversation. This is because trust is not a factor until many other things have first been established. For example, that the product or service will solve the customer's problems.
Most businesses do not do enough to establish trust. They throw up a few reviews and testimonials, and maybe a few customer company logos, and call it a day (if they even do that). This is not good enough, especially when there is substantial risk or time/monetary investment involved. When attempting to establish trust, it is perfectly acceptable, if not preferable, to go overboard and overcompensate for the built-in doubt that most customers are going to have.
The topic of trust is complex and tied to the brand image, and many other factors. It's definitely worth an in-depth discussion. But it's important to note that one extremely well designed testimonial video will do far more to establish trust then a hundred trust icons and faceless reviews.

The first 5 seconds

The first 5 or so inches of your web page need to answer these three questions, and each one is more important than the last. Most good sites I see answer the first two questions. But its extremely rare that I see a website that even attempts to answer the 3rd question. Why would a visitor to your website do business with you rather than your competitors? If you don't answer this question, they'll have no reason to stick around and review the rest of your web page.

The heart of a great web page

The heart of a great web page is the value proposition. And yet, over and over I see smart people, and great companies create home pages and landing pages without anything close to one. So, what is a value proposition and what makes a good one?

Your value proposition should be the first thing your visitors see, and it should generally consist of:

  • A powerful and attention-getting headline that gives the end benefit of what you’re offering in one sentence.
  • A subheading or a few paragraphs that give a specific explanation of your offer, who it’s for and why it’s useful.
  • 3-5 bullet points listing key benefits.
  • A hero shot of your product. A picture that paints a thousand words and grabs attention. If your photo reinforces your main message, then you have a better chance of hooking your target customer. Avoid stock photos if possible.
  • Avoids hype or sleaze or any type of unsubstantiated proclamation.
  • Clarity. Every word is chosen carefully to be as precise in the messaging as possible. No corporate jargon.
  • Can be read and understood within 5 seconds.
  • Tells the customer the concrete result they’ll get from using a product or service.
  • Communicates how the company is different/better than the competition.
Do the sections of your web pages have a logical flow? The sections of your web pages should connect meaningfully, from one to the next, in an unfolding story that gradually pulls readers into a compelling conversation. This "conversation" should be informative, free of claims (unless they are substantiated by an independent third party) and present value in the form of benefits and problem solving that will relieve pain that will result in positive feelings.

Here is a way to avoid this conversion-killing methodology:
  1. Create a list of all questions and objections your potential customers might have.
  2. Prioritize the list.
  3. Restructure the sections on your web page and create content that addresses the most important questions and objections.
  4. Create "bridges" that connect the content of one section to the next so that your new web page unfolds like a cohesive story.

What I usually see on web pages is a disjointed group of sections that often bear no relation to each other. It's as if they were just thrown up at random with no thoughtfulness as to the psychological impact the sections will have on the reader's mind.

Robert , founder of Nimbus Marketing, with his family on the porch of their Westchester home
Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

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