How to Optimize Your Design Agency Website

Arttu HelkeArttu Helke
Last edited: January 26th, 2024

How to Optimize Your Design Agency Website for Improved UX and CRO

As a design agency, you should have no problem designing an aesthetically pleasing and functioning website. However, there’s a big difference between your website looking great and how it functions and your users’ experience with it. 

That’s where having a solid UX and CRO strategy helps. Both work in tandem to guide prospective customers through your website and toward a purchase. 

It’s pretty obvious that the easier your design website is to interact with, the more enjoyable the user experience will be. 

In this guide, we’re going to be looking at the best ways to optimize your design agency website for improved UX and CRO to keep those leads flowing. 

First, let’s clarify a few things.

What is UX design?

Before we jump into UX design, UX (user experience) is the journey the user experiences when interacting with a product or service. 

UX design, on the other hand, involves creating products and services that provide meaningful and unique experiences for your users. 

It’s about humanizing technology and covers everything from branding and design to usability and functionality.

UI design, by comparison, is the actual interface of a product – specifically, the visual and interactive elements. This includes color palettes, animations, typography and even buttons.

Ultimately, UX focuses on the user journey, whereas user interface (UI) focuses on the product’s aesthetics and functionality. 

What is CRO?

CRO (conversion rate optimization), is the term used to measure the percentage of users who complete a specific action on your website. This could be anything from completing a contact form to purchasing one of your products.

You should always be aiming for a high conversion rate. The industry average for agencies falls between 2%-4%. But to achieve a high conversion rate, your design agency website needs to pair up with UX to create a professionally formatted and visually appealing journey for your users.

The easier and more logical your website layout and the faster you can get your users to their desired goal, the better your conversion rate will be. 

Testing your website load times, identifying pages getting 404’d or weak copy, and improving anything that frustrates your user from completing a task or achieving the intent of visiting your website should be high on your priority list to address for improved CRO.

To help you nail your CRO, you might want to utilize these 9 Actionable Strategies.

How does UX impact CRO?

UX and CRO need to work hand-in-hand for the best results. 

Your design agency’s website needs to have a seamless UX to make your users’ experience as positive as possible. 

This means fast load times, logical menus, mobile optimization and clear call to action, to name a few. All of this needs to be tied together with recognizable and consistent branding – which should be no problem for your design agency.

These elements provide logical stepping stones to help guide your users to their desired goals. Whether that’s buying your product or into your service, how good your site’s UX is determines your users’ end goal.

Let’s break this down a bit more.

Great UX keeps users on the page

If you want users to convert, you’re going to need them to hang around.

Great UX should grab a user’s attention immediately the moment they land on your website. The longer they stay on it, the more it reduces your site’s bounce rate (good in the eyes of Google and other search engines.)

As a design agency, you should have no problem creating visual appeal, intuitive navigation, and relevant content that help contribute to extended user dwell time, providing several opportunities for engagement.

Reducing bounce rates is particularly important for CRO as it indicates that users are finding value in the content or products offered. 

Users who are more engaged and interested in what you’re selling are more likely to explore multiple pages, increasing the chances of conversion. So, in essence, great UX design is crucial for reducing your bounce rate and maximizing the potential for conversions.

Better navigation increases the chance of users buying into what you’re selling

Think of it this way, when users can effortlessly find the information or products they are looking for, the path to conversion becomes clearer.

Detailed product information, simplified checkout processes, and strategically placed calls-to-action are all elements of UX that contribute to better navigation.

Users who have a smooth and straightforward experience are more likely to complete the desired actions, whether it’s making a purchase, filling out a form, or subscribing to a service.

UX vs customer experience: what’s the difference? 

While UX focuses on the interaction between users and a specific product or service, customer experience (CX) encompasses the entire journey a customer has with a brand. 

This includes every touchpoint they have with your brand, from the initial discovery and purchase phases to post-purchase interactions, customer support, ongoing engagement and future conversions.

In short, UX focuses on user interactions with your offerings, and CX focuses on their journey with your brand. 

We dive deeper into this topic in our article covering the differences, similarities and importance of UX and CX.

Leveraging reviews for improved UX and CRO

Reviews play a huge part in enriching your users’ experience with your agency website and guiding them further down the sales funnel. 

Let’s look at a few of the most effective ways to use reviews on your design agency website to improve UX and CRO.

Enhanced trust and credibility

Considering that users usually read 10 online reviews before they can trust a local business, reviews need to be in your UX and CRO strategy. If you want users to convert, you need to build trust and credibility quickly.

Source: BrightLocal [Local Consumer Review Survey 2023]

Positive reviews, whether it’s on your homepage, landing page or a review website can help increase the trust between you and your users. The more your users trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you – simple really!

Improved customer experience

When a user lands on your website, as a design agency, they’re going to have high expectations regarding the design and functionality of your website. 

Integrating reviews in a way where they’re easily viewable and aid the narrative flow and structure of the page is going to reaffirm the user’s trust and confidence in the brand. 

With that said, don’t try to sweep negative reviews under the rug. A lack of negative reviews can make a product or service appear inauthentic.

Just be sure you know what to do with negative reviews to make the most of them!

Better organic rankings

In the eyes of Google, word-of-mouth marketing remains a crucial benchmark for trustworthy information. Search engines like Google prioritize positive reviews so they can show users results that best align with their intent. 

For example, if a user searches for ‘best design agencies in New York’, Google reviews (and Maps, as they’re connected), will show the most positively reviewed places higher up. 

Not only does this place them higher in the ranking positions, but it answers the user’s intent as accurately as possible. 

Plus, Google reviews are great for local SEO, as they increase the chance of appearing in the Google Local Pack.

Higher conversions and sales

It should come as no surprise that positive reviews nudge users further down the buying funnel. With society placing so much trust and emphasis on social proof and reviews, using them to your advantage is a must in today’s fiercely competitive market.

A positive review in any shape or form will always be welcomed. However, longer reviews can generate as much as 14% more conversions compared to short reviews. 

Plus, think about where you’re placing them to maximize your sales and conversion rate. 

Start with your homepage, as most users will land or encounter your homepage early in their exploration of your website. We cover this in much more detail in our article on how to grow your business with reviews.

How to optimize UX and CRO for your design agency 

To give your design agency website the best chance of turning visitors into customers, you’re going to need to blend UX and CRO. 

Let’s look at the most important elements of how to optimize your website for CRO.

Optimizing page speed

Design agency websites come in many different shapes and colors (literally). Whether your site layout is minimalist or packed full of complex transitions and huge image files, optimizing your page speed is essential.

First things first, if internal resources are restricted within your design agency, consider hiring a contractor to assist you when making the improvements that will enhance your website speed performance. 

Another viable option is performance-optimized managed hosting solutions, these will often come with a team of dedicated customer support. Avoid cheaper hosting providers and opt for a trusted, experienced, and well-reviewed alternative.

Optimizing your images by enabling lazy loading, reducing the number of redirects, caching your pages and eliminating unnecessary plugins are also great ways to get your pages up to speed.

These decisions will play a major role in improving your site’s overall performance (including page speed) and the management of the project (including execution). 

Create audience-specific landing pages

As a design agency, you should have no trouble creating pages that visually draw attention to the most important elements, such as call-to-actions (CTAs) or contact forms. The next stage is creating audience-specific landing pages tailored to their pain points and needs.

For example, let’s say you offer brand strategy, digital strategy, digital products, marketing campaigns and interactive experiences. Ideally, you want to create pages aimed at an audience looking for these separate services. 

Each page should speak directly to these audience segments and there are several factors you need to consider to achieve this. Page layouts, colors, imagery and messaging need to align with the service offered. 

Combine this with your audience research and data from Google Analytics to gain insights into your audience demographics, behaviors, and preferences. From here, you can ensure each page is catered to the unique characteristics and preferences of each target audience segment.

Integrate Google Reviews

Integrating Google Reviews onto your website can be done in three simple steps. With Trustmary, you can easily embed Google reviews on any website, but WordPress users especially can benefit from our WordPress Plugin, so get downloading!

The first step is to import them (no surprises here). This works on pretty much any platform, whether you’re running on an HTML, Squarespace or WordPress website. These steps can be applied to reviews imported from other websites, too.

Next, customization. Our Plugin allows you to fully customize how you show reviews on your website. You can choose the placement of the widget, who can see it and how it looks.

Finally, embed them to your website. This involves adding a single line of code to your website. You only have to do this once, as you can make any changes via Trustmary’s admin panel. 

Simply copy the code, paste it onto your website and ensure our widget is set to ‘active’ in the Plugin hub. 

And you’re finished! 

Highlight positive testimonials 

Now you know how to integrate your reviews on your agency website, the next step is collecting and highlighting the best ones. Knowing where to place your reviews for the most engagement is important to get them seen. 

As we already mentioned, your homepage should be the first page to display reviews. Whether that’s through a pop-up, a carousel or a slider, your audience will likely encounter your homepage early on, and positive reviews are a great first impression. 

💡Product pages, exit pop-ups and dedicated testimonial pages are also great options.

Yes, negative reviews have their uses, but your users want to see positive reviews to reaffirm their intent to buy. 

Test and repeat

As with any strategy, the key is constant monitoring and fixing what doesn’t work or is getting you the desired results. 

Using heat mapping tools like Lucky Orange to track how they’re interacting with your website and A/B testing tools like Optimizely to experiment with various design elements, layouts, or CTAs, you gain valuable insights into what’s working and what isn’t.

Source: Lucy Orange – Heatmaps [luckyorange.com]

Harnessing customer feedback for UX and CRO optimization

Listening to your audience and learning from their feedback is one of the best ways to improve your offering and enhance their experience with your website.

Users can interact with you across several touchpoints, such as reviews, comment sections and surveys. As a design agency, it’s your job to listen and action their feedback to enhance their experience with your website. 

The two main types of feedback you’ll want to collect are qualitative and quantitative. Both are important for UX and CRO optimization. 

Through qualitative feedback, you can better understand your users’ experiences and opinions with your website. 

For example, you could discover: 

  • Why users aren’t making a purchase
  • Find out at what stage of their journey they’re struggling with
  • Discover what they think about your product or service overall

Quantitative feedback is more about gathering data to improve your UX and CRO strategies. For example, if your design website is driving a lot of traffic, it could be difficult to gather individual responses. However, if you analyze with quantitative feedback, you can identify useful patterns to help shape your strategy. 

Tools like Lucky Orange (mentioned above) are helpful here, as you can use heat mapping to find out how people are interacting with your design website. If visitors on your agency website are scrolling up and down a landing page (possibly looking for a phone number or a contact form), you can fix this by giving them what they’re looking for earlier on in their user journey.

Then there’s answering customer feedback. Whether their feedback is positive or negative, communicating with your users is crucial to understanding their needs and experience with your website. 

56% of users change their minds about a business if they respond to their reviews. Following that, over half of customers (53%) expect brands to respond to negative reviews within 7 days, while one-third expect a response in 3 days.

Knowing how to utilize and harness reviews and customer feedback for design agencies is essential to learn more about your users and enhance their overall experience with your brand.

Conclusion

A design website without a proper UX and CRO strategy is like having an Aston Martin without an engine – nice to look at, but won’t get you very far. How your website looks is one thing, but how it functions and the experience it provides to your users is another. For your website to convert users into buyers, you must employ solid UX and CRO practices. 

Reviews play a huge part in reaffirming an audience’s trust in your brand, as well as their intent to buy. Remember, if you’re looking to put the icing on the cake for your UX and CRO strategy, you need to implement reviews and testimonials.


FAQ

How important are customer reviews for improving UX and CRO?

Very! Customer reviews are key for making improvements to user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimization (CRO). Social proof is absolutely essential to help nudge users further along the sales funnel through certified reviews from real customers. 

How does UX or CRO impact client reviews for a design agency?


If your website runs and looks the part, your customers and potential customers are more likely to hang around and even buy something. Ultimately, if the customer was able to find what they were looking for thanks to your slick navigation and pleasing aesthetic, they’re more likely to leave with a positive experience. 

Think about leaving a punchy review form that asks ‘How was your experience on our site today?’ with a traffic light system or something similar. This way, you can assess how users interacted and felt about your website and learn from it. 

How can you measure the success of UX improvements?

By tracking key metrics such as increased user engagement, longer time spent on the website, decreased bounce rates, and a rise in positive client feedback. Platforms such as SEMrush and Google Analytics are great ways to measure UX.

Can a design agency benefit from CRO without a strong UX foundation?

CRO and UX go hand-in-hand. While design agencies can rely on their website’s aesthetic to engage users, it often won’t be enough. UX is needed to ensure every task on your design agency’s website is intuitive and optimized for the best user journey and experience. Ultimately, you need a strong UX strategy to partner with CRO to provide the best website experience and drive revenue. 

 How do AI and automation contribute to UX and CRO for design agencies?

AI uses ‘big data’ (data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing software) to gather information like purchase history, viewed products and customer highlights to recommend appropriate products to your customers. 

With that said, we all know by this point that AI brings with it a number of ethical concerns and biases. Because AI learns from the information we feed it (and not all information is correct or contextually appropriate), it’s important that a seasoned designer has the final edit and say on the project.



Trustmary

Trustmary is the most effective way to convert more sales by improving digital trust.