Do Looks Matter? They Sure Do! – Why Legal Associations Should Care About Their Website to Increase Online CLE Sales
Though there may be a number of reasons as to why legal associations may be disappointed in their online CLE sales, one key reason may be the lack of marketing.
Marketing online CLE courses requires a different strategy than marketing in-person CLE sessions. For example, it’s not enough to simply rebrand all in-person sessions as “virtual” or “on-demand” without any additional information. As some members may not be comfortable with taking online CLE, let them know that it’s easy to sign up, that there’s technical support if they need it, and if offered on-demand, that they can access the CLE courses at their own convenience. For that reason, marketing is a complimentary service Vocalmeet provides to all our legal clients to help them increase their online CLE sales.
Additionally, a concrete marketing plan must be accompanied with a solid website. How a website looks and functions is every bit as important as the content itself. Your website content could be relevant and meaningful, but your members may still ignore your message if it is not designed well.
Continue reading below for our top 10 website design best practices to help drive traffic to your site and increase your online course sales. Incorporate these tips as you see fit and make your association’s website the best resource it can be!
Top 10 Website Design Best Practices
1. Set a Goal and Follow Through
When designing a website, it’s important to make a list of goals that you want your website to accomplish. Do you want it to drive membership, teach viewers the benefits of joining your association, or convince them to purchase courses? Try thinking about these goals in terms of a “call to action” to better help formulate your goals. After ranking this list in order of priority and importance, identify and implement as many ways to achieve these goals as possible.
2. Audience-Driven Design
If you want your website to attract an audience, you need to know who they are and what they like. If you have this information, you can better direct your design, tone, and content to match your target audience. Identify them by demographic. For example, what kind of work do they do, and what interests them the most? What other products and services do they use?
3. Simplicity Over Everything
A simple and clean aesthetic is one of the most effective design decisions you can make for your website. An uncomplicated design and user-friendly interface allow for clean navigation and accessible options. In general, clutter can have a negative impact on viewership and engagement. Too many options or pages, regardless of how amazing their content may be, can lead to “paralysis by analysis” for viewers – a form of overthinking that can be counterproductive for a website. As a result, websites should limit the number of overall pages, as well as design each page with plenty of white (or “negative” space) in order to give each item of content or image the space to breathe and be experienced.
4. Responsive Design
Responsive design almost always refers to the ability of a website to automatically accommodate the screen size, viewing platform, and screen orientation of each visitor. All modern websites should take into consideration a diverse array of viewers and devices. In this case, however, responsive design also speaks to a design that reacts quickly and effectively to user decisions while browsing. This means that the images, videos, and playable media of a website should load quickly. It also means that users should receive responses to their requests in short order. Additionally, organizations should ensure that all contact is met with a confirmation immediately after processing any kinds of requests.
5. Helpful Color Schemes
The choice of website colors can make or break a website. Colors can invoke specific emotions in viewers. They can help people better identify with an organization, as well as instill stronger brand recognition among visitors. It’s also important to ensure that colors are used effectively with each other. Websites should be designed in a way that has the text popping off the background color without putting too much strain on the eye. This is usually done by using a dark font over a lighter background. Try avoiding using similar shades, hues, and saturation alongside each other as well, as this can lead to a distracting effect where the colors meet.
6. Strategic Design
While common sense and thoughtfulness usually go a long way, there are some strategic choices that organizations can make for their website design. Organizations may, for example, employ the rule of thirds, which breaks the screen into a grid of two evenly spaced horizontal lines and two evenly spaced vertical lines. The four resulting intersecting points on the screen are your thirds – the points on the screen to which the eye is naturally drawn. It is on these intersections that a website’s most important features should be placed, such as the call to actions. Another option is to connect components into thematic groupings by using similar shapes, colors, and fonts. This allows viewers to subtly associate different on-screen elements with each other.
7. Proper Structure
How a website is structured can help users navigate and browse more easily. One of the most important structure elements is the header. Headers should only be used sparingly and should accurately explain and contextualize the content below them; this aids visitors in interpreting and digesting the material. Websites should also include tools like “breadcrumbs” so users can retrace their steps when desired. If your website incorporates forms, they should be clearly labeled and easy to complete. Be sure to provide clear instructions and information – assume that everyone is unaware of the typical process and new to your webpage (and organization!) as a whole.
A good website is an extension of an organization. The tone and feel of the website should be consistent with the overall brand. There should also be a consistency between the pages on the site, a natural flow that is present throughout. However, the website should be consistent not only with itself, but with the conventions of the rest of the web as well. While it can be tempting to be unique and artsy, being too adventurous and unconventional can lead to miscommunication. When using call to actions, for example, users should be able to easily identify and understand them. You may wish to follow some of the language and conventions used by major online brands, like Amazon, Facebook, or Google.
9. Avoid Automatic Media
While more of a faux pas than a rule, automatic media has quickly become a major no-no in the design community. Things like scrolling text, auto-playing sounds or videos, carousels, and sliders are more distracting and harmful to a viewing experience than anything else. Additionally, organizations should consider allowing users to alter the text and layout of a website. Locking down the text size can be very limiting for some viewers, especially those with poor vision.
10. Track, Report, and Adjust
If your goal is constant website improvement, you should use every tool in your belt. Don’t be shy about testing something new, but be sure to track and analyze how effective it was. Make sure to take advantage of website analytics; organizations can now identify how viewers find their page, where they go first, and where they stay longest. They can measure how people scroll and how they interact with the site. If an organization finds that certain elements are underperforming, they should be moved or replaced altogether. Use the available data to optimize every component of your website, and your organization will enjoy more satisfied viewers and higher conversion rates.
By taking all of the above into account, your association will have a sleek new website in no time!