How Aesthetics Impact Conversion For SaaS Websites

Conversion Optimization🕑 Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Most people understand that design and aesthetics are impactful to influencing audiences whether in marketing, sales or product.

As a leading SaaS Website Design Agency, we will explore why design is so impactful and how we can better influence our website visitors.

Confidence Is What Drives Conversions

Building Confidence Is What Drives Conversions

Think about it.

For us to complete a form or sign up for a trial, we have to get to a point of trust and being convinced a solution fits our need.

A website visit is an exercise in building confidence through just some of the following:

Displaying customer logos is really a way to provide validation and trust as part of the visitor’s journey.

Converting on a website is a vulnerable thing to do – giving away your contact info or time – and only will happen after enough confidence and trust has been built.

Every interaction influences confidence

I always say that every step in a customer journey is a chance to win or lose that customer.

Everything they see and read.  Each click and scroll.  It all either increases or reduces confidence.

This is why it is so important that we think of the sum of the parts as we design a customer journey.  What may not be readily apparent is that design is a factor in almost all of the interactions. Presentation of any information or content is a factor of design and the aesthetics of something can change it’s consumability or confidence building.

What Is Your SaaS Visitor’s Gut Reaction & Instant Impression

First impressions set the foundation for building the confidence required to convert.

Opinions are formed in seconds

You’ve probably heard that a visitor forms an opinion in just 3 seconds. We all know this is true as we do it with people we meet, restaurants we visit, homes we tour and literally everything else we come in contact with.

It’s in our DNA and a guttural instinct to judge something instantly – a flight or fight response that helped us evolve into the dominant species on the planet.

In those first few seconds, a visitor’s confidence level is either increasing or decreasing based on what they see.

Subconsciously, they are asking themselves:

Basically, that first impression is our gut determining whether you will hurt or help me.

First impressions last a long time

The first few seconds are the equivalent of giving someone a pair of glasses as soon as they walk in your doors that determine how they will see your world.

The interactions after their first impression can significantly increase or decrease their confidence, but that first impression set the level that you start from.

Design is subjective, but best practices are universal

Design, which can be considered a derivative of art, is often subjective to every individual. What makes design different than art, is that design is focused on achieving an outcome and leverages psychology to do that.

In those first few seconds, there are a few things that will really make an impact:

Studies & Stats Support First Impression Importance

“Visual appeal can be assessed within 50 ms, suggesting that web designers have about 50 ms to make a good first impression.”

Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression!

94% of first impressions were influenced by design while only 6% influenced by copy.”

Trust and mistrust of online sites


Website Aesthetics Significantly Influence Return Visits & Referrals

For every company, but particularly SaaS & tech companies, a customers journey is not instantly transactional like a eCommerce site looking to drive a purchase.

Instead, SaaS & tech companies rely on visitors to return multiple times before converting or sharing their site with others in their organization.

Why are return visitors so important.

B2B SaaS & tech marketing rarely drives instant sales conversions. Buyers research and learn before they convert.

While an average website visitor only views 3 – 5 pages, a prospect that has converted will have visited the site 2 – 3 times before converting.

One of the most important metrics you can track on your website is return visitors.

SaaS & tech companies that do not optimize repeat visitors will see significantly lower conversions that their competitors that do.

How aesthetics & experience drive return visits

Naturally humans will avoid pain and embrace pleasure.

A poorly designed website is painful both in ways that are subconscious as well as conscious.

Conscious website design pain

Subconscious website design pain

Why are referred visitors so important

In B2B SaaS & Tech sales, it is rare that a single person is involved in a decision.  As more products move to PLG ( Product-Led Growth ) with trials and freemiums, it may be a single person makes a first conversion.

But overall, most B2B products are interacted with by multiple purchase before full adoption.

That might be someone sharing the site with their boss to get their thoughts or someone adding a co-worker as a user which drives that person to the site to learn more.

Thinking of the sales funnel as silo’d or linear is a huge mistake.

How aesthetics influence sharing

Studies show that the more satisfied a person feels with a site’s design, the higher the likelihood of them sharing it with another person.

This just makes sense, right?

If we have a bad experience or don’t have a good impression, we are not going to share with with someone else because it reflects poorly on us.

This means if our sales funnel relies on more than one person and our website design aesthetics are poor, it could significantly diminish our conversions and sales.

Website Aesthetics Make Comprehension Easier

At the end of the day, one of the most important tactics of a website is to ensure that visitors understand what you do and why they should buy.

The more work a brain has to do, the less it gets done

When it takes more effort for someone to find, read, interpret and understand what to do next they will never get as much accomplished.

Some of these points have been described above but deserve repeating:

Designing for the Mind

Do you know what makes a design good? Is it merely an opinion, or is there something more to it? Breaking design down seems like such an abstract thing. Even the designers who are able to create thought-provoking work seem purely talented and have natural abilities that can’t really be nailed down to a process. But what if there were principles that captured why design and art worked the way that they do?

See design principles