No matter what your product or service offering is, the landing page of your SaaS website is most likely the customer’s first point of contact with your brand. When you create a SaaS website, it has to be customized for optimizing the user’s interactions, promoting lead generation, and aiding the culmination of the user journey by effective conversions.
According to a research report by Microsoft, the average human attention span is less than a goldfish, which means that your SaaS website has less than 8 seconds to grab the attention of the users that visit the homepage and compel them to convert.
The question arises, how can you create a SaaS website that boosts the conversion rates?
Here is a detailed guide to creating a high converting SaaS website. Let’s dive right in!
Distraction Free Design Actually Works
When it comes to creating a high converting SaaS website, simplicity is actually a key element. Our brains are wired to avoid complexities and naturally favour simple and easily comprehensible designs.
According to a study at Google, an average person takes less than half a second to form a reliable first impression of a website. With a time frame so small, it is no wonder that simple design and layout are found to be much more appealing to users as compared to visually complex designs.
Another interesting study is the theory of cognitive fluency, which essentially means the subjective experience of the ease, or difficulty in completing a mental task.
A person is more likely to prefer something that requires significantly lesser mental strain, to a task that is complex and involves significantly greater mental processing. Cognitive fluency directly relates to conversion optimization as well. The easier the design is to understand, the greater the conversion.
A distraction-free UX design that works on the principles of minimalism and follows familiar placement of elements that users frequently encounter in other SaaS websites is the key to capturing user attention and making a stellar first impression.
It no ways implies that the website should end up looking like a ton of other websites out there. Instead, it comprises of having the key elements placed where the users would generally expect to find them, for example, a logo on the top left corner, the headline and the call to action button above the fold and navigation bar on the top right.
This prevents the users from spending precious seconds looking around for the content they need and helps to build trust in their minds subconsciously.
Cognitive fluency plays a subtle yet significant role in decision making, and if utilized properly by the software developers you hired, it can boost the conversions for your SaaS website. Focus on avoiding distractions and promoting a sense of familiarity in the design in order to attract and eventually convert the customers.
Designing the Layout of the SaaS website
The landing page of your SaaS website has to effectively communicate your brand message as well as your product offering, aid the customer movement further down the sales funnel via a sales CRM and ultimately convince and convert them. The design of the layout of the website as well as the elements to be incorporated has to be while keeping conversion optimization in mind.
A SaaS website functions on the power of persuasion and every element of the website has to work together to attain the goal of conversion optimization. Here is a list of things that need to be kept in mind while designing the layout of your SaaS webpage.
1. Make it Visually Appealing
Strong visual cues go a long way in having an impactful SaaS website. They are subtle elements that are useful in diverting the customer’s attention where you want it to be. Use of contrasting colour gradients, graphics and eye-catching design elements for directing user attention where you want is a great tactic to boost conversions.
A spaced out layout is essential for making a visual impact on the customers the first time they visit the webpage.
Adding too much information which the customer may not need/want on the first visit just ends up cluttering the website and retracts the focus from key areas that should actually be within the customer’s attention spectrum.
The UX/UI elements also play a role in the visual appeal in the SaaS website. The font colour, font size and the lettering of the actual content have a significant impact on the readability. You want to be able to communicate what you do in the most effective manner possible.
The placement of other elements on the website should act as facilitators and not detractors to the content. The background colour, design elements, visuals and graphics that are used along with the written content should be cohesive and should not take the focus away from the content.
2. Focus on above the fold design
All the essential and relevant information to be conveyed to the customer should be placed above the fold. It should be accessible to the customers as soon as they land on your website. No scrolling should be necessary to reach this info.
The space available above the fold is limited due to the screen dimensions; the question that most frequently arises is what elements should be included above the fold? Those that you want the user’s attention to be focused on, including the headline, the value proposition and the call to action button should always be placed above the fold.
Another aspect that is sometimes overlooked during the design process is optimizing the SaaS website for navigation on mobile devices. The digital consumption trends in recent years are overwhelmingly leaning towards mobile devices. According to a recent report, smartphones account for 62 percent of share of digital minutes consumption.
Above the fold design may feel different when the website is accessed through mobile devices and hence design optimization for smartphones is a must for creating a high converting SaaS website.
3. Make the Hero Section Engaging
The main banner which the users encounter as soon as they land on your SaaS website comprises of the hero section. It forms the first impression of the landing page in the customer’s minds.
The hero section can comprise of a static image, animations, graphics, carousel or video.
Videos are becoming more and more mainstream in 2019 and can be used to make the landing page an interactive as well as immersive experience for the user.
Static images which feature humans are also a popular choice for the hero section. Not only does the image more engaging, but it also adds a human touch to your SaaS website.
Other popular elements in the hero section are quirky animations and graphics that can be used to illustrate what the service offering actually is, in a creative manner. Whatever you choose, it should help in customers engaging and connecting to your brand and eventually converting.
4. Communicate the offering with an effective headline
The headline is basically the shortest version of a product pitch to your customers. It should be catchy and engaging and convey what the users can do with your product.
Coming up with an effective headline can be based on either of the two strategies. Outlining what the product offering does and the problem it solves, or stating what the customer can do with your product. Depending on the nature of the SaaS offering, either of the two approaches can be used for curating a catchy one-liner.
An ideal headline comprises of 10 words or less with an average being 6 words, though headlines as short as mere 3 words are also prevalent when it comes to SaaS websites. The main purpose should be to make it as compelling as possible to instantaneously capture visitor’s attention. When it comes to text, less is more. It just needs to be engaging enough.
5. Draft a compelling value proposition
Your brand’s value proposition includes the unique selling point of your business summarized in a line or two. It communicates what the product offering on your SaaS website is and what service are you actually providing.
A compelling value proposition should include two things about your SaaS offering- ‘what is it that you do’ and ‘how do you do it best’.
The value proposition can be used to further elaborate on the heading, with the focus on making the product more clear to the visitors on your SaaS website. In one or two lines, the customers should be able to get a gist of what the product does and what they can do with the product without any ambiguity.
When it comes to drafting a value proposition as well the headline, it is always best practice to shortlist 3-4 alternatives and then A/B testing them to figure out which yields the optimal conversion. Once you have figured out what works the best for you, go with it.
6. Strategic placement of CTA
A call to action is a button on your SaaS website landing page aimed at guiding the user towards your conversion goal. The designing of the CTA button, the text it contains, its colour as well as number, all play a role in determining your conversion effectiveness.
If your SaaS website has just a single CTA, it should always be placed above the fold. In case of multiple CTAs, at least one should be above the fold. The Call to Action button is the point of conversion and thus arguably the most important part of your SaaS website.
While the importance of the location of the call to action button for conversions is debatable, there is no doubt that the message that the CTA contains is crucial for bringing about conversions. Freebies work really well with visitors. If you have a product offering like a free demo or free trial, make sure to include that in the CTA message. Ideally, the text should be less than 5 words long.
Secondary CTAs can also be added next to the main CTA but with less visual emphasis. If your SaaS offering caters to both entry level as well as enterprise level businesses, a secondary CTA would work out great for you.
Another recent trend in this spectrum is using inline forms alongside the CTA button. A form asking the user for information such as the email address has to be filled before clicking the call to action button.
While the step may feel counterintuitive to making the sign-up process seamless, it is actually quite beneficial. It eliminates the need for entry of the same information in the next step. It also results in lead capturing in case the user drops out during the sign-up flow.
Irrespective of what strategy you decide to pursue, you have to make sure that your call to action buttons are designed to optimize conversions. Just as in the case of the headline and value proposition, it is advisable to perform A/B testing of the CTAs to figure out what works best for you.
7. Add social proof
Social proofs in the form of customer testimonials and case studies should be an integral part of your SaaS website. It promotes the feeling of confidence in the user. Having tangible proof that the product has already worked for others instils a sense of trust and eliminates hesitation before the actual buy.
A great way of adding a human touch to the social proofs is by adding actual pictures and videos to the testimonials and user stories. The conventional method of just using the company logos is no longer a credible source for the users now. The users now want to read real customer stories for having faith in your product and convert.
8. Make the navigation intuitive
Browsing through the rest of the webpage after the initial customer contact should be a seamless experience. A navigation bar helps smoothen out the user experience during the exploratory phase and allows them to go through the website and learn more about the offerings.
Navigation tabs should clearly communicate where they lead to, for systematic exploration of the SaaS website.
You also need to make sure that the navigation panel, though easily discoverable, should be discreet enough to not take the attention away from the main elements that you want the visitors to focus on.
A sitemap at the bottom of the webpage is also a great idea to help customers further along their journey of discovery. It lets the visitors explore the site without the need to scroll all the way up to the navigation bar.
The same can be accomplished by having the navigation bar stay on top of the page, preferably with a change in colour to give visitors the freedom to explore at their own convenience. (Something we implemented successfully on our own website).
Best Practices for Creating a SaaS Website
Now that you know all the elements that are essential for your SaaS website and how to design the website layout, how do you actually go about create your own SaaS website?
This is the list of steps that we swear by when it comes to actually creating a SaaS website that brings in conversions.
Step #1- Get inspiration from others.
The first thing you ought to do as you set out to create your SaaS website is to seek out inspiration from other websites. Do this in a process oriented manner and go about checking out the other websites in a systematic way.
Shortlist a number of websites that you want to evaluate, they can be from your own niche or can belong to a different niche, it is imperative to have a mix of the two.
Make a spreadsheet for evaluating how they have implemented the different elements in their layout, make note of the shortcomings if any and most importantly, figure out the elements that worked out for them.
The essence of this exercise is not to come with a SaaS website that ends up looking like a replica of any of the existing sites but figuring out what works, what doesn’t and what the recent trends are.
Once you finish with the activity, you would likely have creativity churning and would have figured out a strategy for your own SaaS website.
Step #2- A minimum viable product approach? Maybe not!
Starting out with an MVP approach is a great strategy for launching web applications, but it may backfire for a SaaS website.
While designing a wireframe and a prototype are essential steps, too much focus on creating a minimal viable product may not turn out to be the way to go for creating your SaaS website.
Unless the service you offer is extremely novel and completely unheard of, chances are that there may already be a number of SaaS vendors with similar product offerings already in the market. With the intense and competitive scenario, you don’t want to be caught off guard by not having your best foot forward.
While you may want to go for a gradual release, start out with a minimum viable product, and then go about adding more features and functionalities to the website at a later stage, this approach isn’t what would work the best.
It is recommended that you start with a roadmapping phase, build wireframes, prototype the website and launch the SaaS website when you have substantial product offerings that can make you sustain in the competitive scenario.
Step #3- Define outline and the key pages
The primary purpose of the SaaS website is to convert visitors into leads for your business. This objective can only be achieved when every page on the website works towards the same end goal in a streamlined manner. Every page needs to present a compelling offer to the visitor, incentivising them to hit the call to action button and sign up for your service offering.
Outlining of the key pages is an important part of building a website prototype. Define the number of webpages your SaaS website would contain and outline each one of them, specifying the content that would go into it. The backbone of the process should lie in understanding the buyer’s journey.
Once you have a clearly thought out buyer persona and have figured out the problem that needs to be solved, all the pages within the website and the content on them should be directed at effectively addressing the needs of the customer and getting them to convert.
Step #4- Set the metrics and KPI
Every business has different goals and needs to track different metrics but defining them beforehand gives you measurability which is essential to track the success achieved and to get to product market fit quickly.
Depending on the stage of the buyer journey, different metrics need to be tracked in order to get an accurate idea of what is working and what isn’t.
KPI stands for key performance indicator and are used to measure the success of the activity you are engaging in. Depending on your business needs, you may choose to track a number of different KPIs but it is essential to have a primary KPI to help in decision making in case of a conflict.
Along with setting up the KPIs, it is also essential to have an analytics infrastructure in place in order to track the impact each KPI has on your SaaS website. Setting up the metrics is something that should be done proactively before the launch of your website, rather than an afterthought.
Step #5- A/B testing
A/B testing is a two-sample hypothesis testing in order to figure out what works the best for you.
It is vital to test out and track the results of A/B testing in order to determine which set of elements has more favourable results or which approach to take when it comes to creating a SaaS website.
Confused about the wording on the call to action button? A/B test both variants and you can now take data-backed decisions that have visible proof.
A SaaS website is a perpetually ongoing project that requires repeated restructuring in order to figure out what strategy works well. A/B testing of all the elements is a must before incorporating or removing any feature or functionality from the SaaS website.
You don’t want to replace something that clearly works well, nor do you want to incorporate something that doesn’t really work. Testing the metrics is the best way of understanding what the customers need and providing them with it. A satisfied visitor is the one who ends up converting, and that at the end of the day is what the goal of your SaaS website is.
Develop your SaaS Website
At Arkenea, we’ve helped build some of the most successful SaaS websites for our clients. One such example is MarTechAdvisor, which went on to become America’s top marketing technology media companies and was then acquired by Ziff Davis (the company that acquired Mashable).
This is just one of the many examples of successful clients from our portfolio and a testimony to the quality of software we build. If you’re looking to develop your SaaS website, get in touch with us today for learning what’s the best approach, how much time would it take to build the first iteration and what would it cost to build it.