Planning a Conversion-Minded Site Layout

Images, showcases and buttons are all important elements for your website design, but they are all secondary considerations. See your vision come to life from begging to end by starting with a customized site layout. We'll show you how.

SiteLayout_BlogGraphic

Always start with a plan

Creating a new design for your online store may sound like just choosing the photos, fonts and colors you want. While those elements are incredibly important to establish your brand and set you apart from the competition, the very first step you should take in thinking about your site is making a plan for the layout.

The layout of your site is like the frame of a house. Before getting into things like bricks, trim style and paint colors, builders frame out windows, doors and the floor plan of a new house. Web designers do the same thing on a new website.

The picture below shows a site design at the very beginning. We call it a wireframe, and it marks out where information, photos and navigation menus will go.

wireframe

In order to come up with a good plan that will serve your business and increase conversions, you need to do a little research and ask a few questions, like

The answers to these questions can help you decide what type of navigation menu to use, what to put in the most visual places (like the top of the homepage), how large your photo areas will be and what to make sure appears in your template (header and footer) of your site so it’s always accessible.

Let’s take a look at two very unrelated businesses to see how their layouts differ based on their needs.

SideBySide1

The site on the left, Stens Parts Warehouse, sells lawn mower and power equipment parts. On the right is Delaware Valley Grown Farm Share, who works with farmers to provide fresh, local food for their customers. These merchants differ in everything from business model to target customer, so it’s no surprise that their websites would have totally different layouts.

Here are some quick wireframes of these sites without any styling or photos.

Stens Parts Warehouse

StensWire

Stens’ target customer is someone who will likely know what part they need when going to the site, so easily moving from the homepage to product page is important. Here are some things in their layout that work for them:

Delaware Valley Grown Farm Share

DelawareWire

For Delaware Valley, the target customer will probably want to learn some things from the homepage rather than jumping straight to a purchase. Informing potential customers on how farm sharing works and the benefits of buying local foods is essential to Delaware Valley’s business model, so their layout reflects that.

Keeping your target customer’s needs in mind when coming up with your site layout can help increase conversions and make your store a leader in your industry. Do the research and ask yourself those questions, and you will be on the right track to making a great plan. Need a little more help? Check out The Ultimate Field Guide to Ecommerce Conversions for more great tips on taking your store to the next level.

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