Online Sales 101: The Do's & Don'ts of Web Design

By Jordan Miller

Product websites should serve one primary purpose: getting visitors to take the next step. Whether it's submitting contact information or making a purchase, you want the people who land on your page to be moving forward in the sales process as quickly as possible. If your website is seeing traffic but no crucial conversions, it's time to reassess the do's and don'ts of web design.

Why focus on design? Because you have roughly 90 seconds before a visitor has made up his/her mind about your company and products. For better or for worse, your website is your main source of credibility, and what visitors will use as the primary point of comparison between you and your competitors.

Do: Clearly articulate your offer

As soon as your website loads, visitors should have a clear, immediate understanding of what it is that sets you apart. Use bold fonts against a contrasting background to prioritize the value you aim to deliver to customers. For example, within seconds of visiting Diff Eyewear, we understand a) what they're selling and b) the benefits of the product:


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Do: Make it easy

If you have an important Call to Action (CTA) such as "Buy Now," "Submit for a Quote," or "Contact Us," place it at the forefront of your website. Anything that requires a scroll to reach will not be seen by the majority of visitors who land on your website. Check out how Ring, a company that creates video doorbells for home security, gives several opportunities to get one step closer towards making a purchase:


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Do: Reduce buyer choices

To put it simply, more is not better. The greater the number of choices you present to a potential buyer, the greater the amount of time they will take to render a purchasing decision. The greater amount of time they take to render a purchasing decision, the less likely they are to buy. Don't believe us? Check out this study!

Make it as seamless as possible for your website's visitors to land on what they want. We love the clear shopping categories laid out on the HydroFlask website, with no scrolling or searching required:


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Don't: Overload with information

What is the simplest way to create a beautiful website?

White space!

Clutter and lengthy text will distract your visitors and make them feel as if your business itself lacks organization. Between the massive paragraphs, the randomly scattered hyperlinks, and the menu that scrolls for ages, this website is a great example of how to bombard visitors with much more than they need:


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Don't: Forget to build trust

Testimonials are the social proof of your ability to deliver quality products in a professional manner. Highlighting the reviews of happy customers is the perfect way to boost confidence in new visitors, encouraging them to take the next step.

Your testimonials shouldn't block or detract from your CTAs, but they should be featured on your home page. It is always a good idea to include an image of the individual you are quoting, as this makes the reader certain that the review is coming from a real, relatable person. Finally, choose testimonials that are well-written and to the point. Try to avoid snippets that are hyper-specific to a particular customer, and may be difficult for a broader audience to find relevant. We love the visual, video-filled layout that uses:




Don't: Ignore the 8 second rule

In general, you have 8 seconds to capture a visitor's attention (this is the length of the average human attention span). This means that the headline, imagery, CTAs and colors that sit on your homepage need to work in concert to create an almost instantaneous conversion.

At the very least, always make sure that the first glance of your website includes:

  • A short, bold headline that relays your product & value
  • A beautiful, relevant image that relates to both your product and CTA
  • Large, simple CTAs that capture visitor information

Take a look at one of our favorite website designs by Rusty Surfboards:


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What makes this homepage so good?

First, it is perfectly simple. The bold fonts and high contrast colors give it an attractive "pop" that is pleasing to the eye. Second, the product offering is clear and on display. They've given us three new surfboards to choose from, and a readily available CTA to "SHOP". There is no need to scroll or search for the things we need; the short, easy-to-read menu at the top of the page takes you everywhere you could ever want to go. We give Rusty Surfboards five stars for clarity, content and CTAs!

Want some help?

At IdeaRoom, we're working to make sure that anyone who wants to can reach out to us at any time with questions about online sales, marketing or business development. Give us a shout at to talk the do's and don'ts of web design!



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