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9 Best WordPress Plugins for 2021

There are few if any good reasons
not to choose the best of the bunch when you’re looking for useful WordPress
plugins to take your web design or business to the next level.

The problem is, how do you go
about finding them?

For several categories of best WordPress
plugins, the answer is simple, and that is to just keep reading.

The WordPress plugin market is
never static. It just keeps getting bigger, and in most instances better. New cool
WordPress plugins that show great promise are continuously being added. The
more established plugins continue to improve.

You’ll find some of both types here, and whichever you may chose you won’t have to worry about bugs or bad coding.

That said, have at it!

1. Amelia WordPress Booking Plugin

For fitness centers, beauty salons, training, and similar business types that rely on efficient and effective appointment booking systems – Amelia is an ideal solution – an affordable, feature-rich booking manager.  

  • Amelia is easy to set up and does not require any training to use
  • Amelia can manage an unlimited number of appointments and events for an unlimited number of clients and employees.
  • Amelia can serve multiple locations
  • Clients and employees are presented with smooth and shiny UIs to work from
  • Clients can access Amelia 24/7 to make, change, or cancel appointments
  • Employees can connect to their Google and Outlook Calendars to avoid overlapping appointments or interference with personal commitments or events.

The list can go on,
but the message is this:

  • Customers don’t have to be put on hold to make an appointment.
  • Business owners have an instant and accurate overview of current and future appointments.
  • You can sell packages of appointments in Amelia by group appointments of the same service or various services in a bundle for a single price. This way, you can increase your profit and sales.
  • Amelia provides all parties concerned with the error-free appointment and event booking.

Click on the banner to learn more about this best-in-class WordPress plugin.

 2. wpDataTables

Unless you have the right tools at hand, creating a table or chart can be a time-consuming task, and even then, it can sometimes be difficult to incorporate every feature you want.

Data volume alone can
cause some table-building tools to come to a grinding halt, not to mention any
requirements you might have for formatting or responsiveness.

wpDataTables – No1
table and chart plugin out there can:

  • Manage huge amounts of data (thousands upon thousands of rows) and provide results in seconds or minutes instead of hours.
  • Accepts data from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats, including real-time MySQL data.
  • Tables and charts are responsive and front-end editable. Once online, a table or chart can still be corrected or updated.
  • wpDataTables filtering and conditional formatting capabilities allow users to color-code or highlight essential information in a table or chart.

Click on the banner to
find out about wpDataTables other features.

3. WPC Product Bundles for WooCommerce

WPC Product Bundles not only allows its users to create bundles of products, but to go a step farther and allow items from different product lines as well as variable products to be bundled together.

WPC
Product Bundle is RTL optimizable, completely WooCommerce compatible, and also

  • Manages inventory, shipping, tax, and invoicing associated with
    creating a product bundle
  • Shows discounts as amounts or percentages and manages coupon
    control
  • Items or whole bundles of items can be customized in terms of
    quality
  • Can be combined with Product Timer, AJAX Add to Cart, and other
    WPC plugins for a better UX and improved performance

Click
on the banner if product bundling is one of your marketing strategies.

4.
Logic
Hop – Content Personalization for WordPress

It’s a fact, personalized websites perform better and Logic Hop is the best personalization tool for WordPress. Features like geolocation, dynamic text replacement  and integrations with WooCommerce and Gravity Forms are just some of the many reasons you see Logic Hop on everyone’s list of favorite plugins.

Logic
Hop offers unlimited personalizations for a fixed low price. No hidden limits,
no per user costs. Add Logic Hop to your arsenal of plugins today – You won’t
be disappointed.

5. Slider Revolution

If you’ve always wanted to jazz up your websites with special effects but have never had the wherewithal to do it, you’ll be able to exceed your wildest expectations with Slider Revolution.

Slider Revolution –

  • Saves you hours, even days of work on every project
  • Provides 200+ responsive templates to get you
    started
  • Includes 2,000+ design elements and 25+ add-ons to
    help you complete the task

Click to find out more.

6. LayerSlider

LayerSlider is not just for sliders. It is in fact a web designer’s dream tool for animation and content creation and is the perfect remedy for spicing up a website that lacks variety.

  • LayerSlider offers an intuitive editor that is easy to use and does not require coding
  • This popular plugin features a selection of professionally-crafted templates including sliders, galleries, popups, and more

LayerSlider is SEO friendly and responsive.

7. Flow-Flow Social Feed

Flow-Flow has transformed the activity of engaging your website’s audience with social proof from a mix of feeds from an ardent wish to a feature you can implement in a few minutes.

  • Flow-Flow is easy to customize
  • No code is required during setup
  • Admin permission is not required to get Facebook and Instagram
    business page posts

Flow-Flow
Social Feed is Envato’s best-selling social media plugin.

8. Heroic Inbox

Heroic Inbox allows a customer support inbox to be managed right inside WordPress. This would apply to any affected department, e.g., sales@, support@, etc.

  • Heroic Inbox makes it
    easy for staffs to collaborate and achieve a desired Inbox Zero condition
  • Key metrics are
    tracked to measure inbox management performance
  • Heroic Inbox combines
    a user-friendly UI with smart workflows

9. Ads Pro Plugin – Multi-Purpose WordPress Advertising
Manager

The top ad manager for WordPress? Ads Pro takes the prize here, by giving is WordPress users a better online experience than they were previously capable of.

Ads
Pro features include –

  • 20 different advertising displays and 25+ responsive ad templates
  • An ad management Admin Panel and a Frontend User’s Panel
  • Geographical Targeting Spaces and other devices
  • 3 Billing modules and 4 Payment methods

Click
to learn how to manage ads more effectively and earn more.

 *****

These essential WordPress plugins are not only great tools for adding and extending functionality to WordPress. They are best WordPress plugins in their respective categories for doing exactly that.

Any one of them can turn a so-so
website into a barely under control moneymaker. Or at least to one capable of
bringing smiles to website owners and their clients’ faces.

The post 9 Best WordPress Plugins for 2021 appeared first on WebAppers.

7 Creative Landing Page Ideas to Inspire Your Next Campaign (With 14 Examples)

Shower thought: Where do marketers’ *best* landing page ideas come from? Wait—do they get them in the shower?

While some marketers might have their own personal muse, mantra, or go-to sources of inspiration (a lucky shampoo, maybe?), the rest of us are just kinda hoping for something to come to us. And although inspiration can strike at any moment, we don’t always have the time to wait around for it to show up.

So, rather than hoping your next big landing page idea will manifest on its own, we decided to put together a list of creative approaches you can try for your next campaign. Whether you’re looking for the next big design trend or just a cool idea to get you thinkin’, we’ve wrangled seven interesting landing page ideas that can help your business stand out and drive action.

But first! Let me walk you through three tips to make your brainstorming session that much better. 

Why should you care about bringing creative, surprising, or even unusual concepts into your landing page design? Doing something different helps ensure your page packs the punch it needs—both to leave a long-lasting impact on your visitors and, most importantly, get ‘em to convert.

3 Things to Remember When Brainstorming Your Next Big Idea

1. Just like your ads, your landing pages aren’t for everyone (and that’s a good thing!).

Your landing pages shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Rather, they should offer a snug, perfect fit for a very specific audience. In fact, niching down your campaign is actually better for qualifying leads. 

Here’s why: Only targeted customers who identify with the unique messaging and design of your ad are going to click it. This self-vetting process ensures those who do reach your landing page are into what makes you (or your one-off campaign) a bit different—which means a higher likelihood of sales, clicks, and conversions. 

2. It’s A-OK for your landing page ideas to be a bit “out there.”

Unlike a core page on your website, landing pages provide an opportunity to play with unique designs, colors, and even messaging that might not fit the rest of your brand. Whether that means getting loud and flashy or trying out some new tagline, there’s nothing wrong with taking some calculated risks!

3. Variants can help you find the best approach.

If you have a few different ideas and want to find out which approach is best, you can run A/B tests on several versions of your landing page to see which converts best. But what if (as is often the case) certain types of visitors respond better to one version than others? That’s where Smart Traffic comes in.

Using AI, Smart Traffic learns and tests different landing page variants to determine which one will most likely convert a specific type of visitor. So when someone new arrives on your page, they’ll be instantly routed to the variant that’s the best match for them. In other words, running multiple variants at once can help you drive the right message to the right person, every time.

7 Landing Page Ideas to Inspire Your Next Campaign

Ready for some serious inspo? These seven landing page ideas will help get those creative juices flowing. Don’t worry, we’ve also included plenty of unique examples to help you visualize your next masterpiece.

Hungry for more examples?  Check out the Ecommerce Lookbook—featuring 27 high-converting landing pages from Unbounce customers.

1. Play with contrast (darkness and light)

Just like a neon sign that stands out against a night sky, this creative landing page example from Nathan Sports places bright neon text and design elements over a dark background. 

Landing Page Ideas - Nathan Sports

Not only is the use of contrast striking, but it’s a huge step away from their online store design. The neon colors on this landing page are uniquely tied to this campaign and reinforce the importance of visibility when running at night.

Landing Page Ideas - Nathan Sports

Our next example comes from invoicing app Ballpark. Similar to the landing page from Nathan Sports, the space above the fold relies on contrast to make the text pop. Not only is the white header and green copy on a dark background eye-catching, but it also matches the concept (“Your business shouldn’t keep you up at night”).

Landing Page Ideas - Ballpark

But scrolling down reveals the use of gradient to tell a story. The further you scroll, the brighter the page becomes. It’s oddly satisfying, and visitors may feel compelled to keep scrolling out of pure curiosity—what’s this page building up to? (Spoiler: it’s a well-lit call to action.)

Watch how the page unfolds as you scroll:

2. Embrace a world of color

There’s a big, bright, beautiful world out there—why shouldn’t your landing page be part of it? Color can be used as shorthand to communicate the emotion behind your message, draw visitors’ eyes to a particular element (like a call to action button) or just create visual interest.

Plus, as we saw with the Nathan Sports example above, your landing page is the perfect place to experiment with different colors or designs that aren’t typically associated with your brand.

In this example from SnackNation, color takes center stage. They use playful colors to set the tone for their product and brand (because snacking ain’t a chore—it’s something people do to treat themselves).

Landing Page Ideas - SnackNation

SnackNation also uses complementary colors to highlight important information. (Top tip: A yellow CTA will always stand out from a purple background!) But our favorite part of this page is the bright burst of confetti coming out of the snack bag. This adds an extra pop of color and movement—and reminds us that color doesn’t need to be realistic or functional to work for your landing page.

Our next example isn’t a landing page, but it’s certainly a source of design inspiration. 

Landing Page Ideas - Stripe

Stripe gets a lot of praise for this web design (and for good reason!). The idea is simple enough—a changing gradient background that flows through different colors—and the execution is brilliant.

The fluid animation brings high-tech, sci-fi vibes to Stripe’s home page, but the colors are warm and inviting. The result is a futuristic-yet-accessible animation that reflects what Stripe’s brand is all about: Modern payment solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes—from local mom n’ pop shops to Silicon Valley VIPs.

3. Make a bold statement with your copy

Sometimes, a bold statement can be simple. Other times, it requires copy that’s a bit more attention-grabbing. In either case, because standalone landing pages exist for a specific campaign (and don’t live on your website), they’re a safe place to play around with messaging.

This landing page from Trade Coffee features a strong headline next to a (presumably) strong cup o’ joe. No lingo, no buzzwords—just a bold statement about their product. 

Landing Page Ideas - Trade Coffee

“Damn Good Coffee.” It even kinda smacks you in the face like a shot of espresso. 

This example is also a good reminder that landing page headlines don’t need to be complicated or clever to be impactful. They can be simple, proud statements about your brand, service, or product.

Another place you can play around with bold or unexpected copy is your call to action. Take this unconventional CTA copy from an Awayco landing page, for example. 

Landing Page Ideas - Awayco

We’re loving the call to action—“I’d Like to Ride That”—for two reasons: Its risqué play on words totally grabs the readers’ attention, and the use of first-person pronouns helps visitors envision themselves riding this board. 

Further down the page is another CTA that asks visitors to “Free the Funk Today,” which plays on the name of the featured surfboard (“Free the Funk”) and still works as a very clear call to action. This copy ties into Awayco’s brand and speaks the language of their target audience—rock on, brah!

When coming up with new landing page ideas, don’t be afraid to go a bit “off script” with certain elements of your copy. Look for little ways to inject your brand, personality, and creativity, whether it’s in a headline or part of an actionable CTA.

4. Set things in motion 

Call me crazy but your landing pages don’t need to be static. Video content, GIFS, moving backgrounds, and little animations can help bring your landing page to life. With the right landing page builder, there are plenty of ways to integrate movement into your design without doing anything too fancy (or hiring a developer).

For instance, simply embedding video content gives you a much bigger opportunity to provide information quickly—without bogging down your page with never-ending text—and that’s exactly what our next example does.

As a marketing video platform, it’s only fitting that Promo would feature a bunch of videos on their landing page. 

Landing Page Ideas - Promo

Not only is the header background a video, but there’s an entire gallery of videos further down the page. By giving visitors the chance to press play on whichever videos catch their eye, they’re inviting engagement, while also allowing visitors to explore the page and content at their own pace.

Landing Page Ideas - Promo

So, we’ve looked at embedded video and galleries, but what about animations? The possibilities are endless—from animated headers and button effects to moving backgrounds to … surprise bears?

Landing Page Ideas - TunnelBear

This is a really fun example from TunnelBear where the bear pops out of the tunnel. The animation is a short, one-time effect that only occurs when someone arrives on the page. It’s simple, quick, and most importantly, memorable. Even though it’s somewhat silly, it’s very on-brand—and it helps you remember their name.

5. Pull visitors deeper into the page—literally

The creative web page from AB Architects is enough to make visitors re-evaluate how they interpret online “space.” Unlike a typical vertical page design, scrolling pulls visitors forward into the page. It feels like you’re walking down a long hallway—or moving through a gallery—with pictures from their “Living Services” portfolio on either side.

Landing Page Ideas - AB Architects

We love this entire concept because it challenges visitor expectations in such an unusual, engaging way. Since this example was created by NextPage for an architectural firm, we can’t say we’re completely surprised—but we are completely impressed.

Of course, it’s not always feasible to reinvent the landing page, but this example serves as an important reminder that the best online experiences can be immersive and engaging.

6. Let visitors play with design elements

There’s something special about websites that provide interactive design experiences. 

This example from Jigsaw uses a spotlight effect that requires visitors to move their cursor over the headline to reveal what’s hiding in the dark. This is directly in line with their messaging about creating a safer internet, but it’s also a very memorable experience for visitors.

Landing Page Ideas - Jigsaw

We see a similar effect on Glyphfinder’s website. The background header comes to life with floating tiles that react to mouse movements. This allows visitors to first have fun and interact with the landing page, before scrolling down to learn more about the platform (without distraction). 

Landing Page Ideas - Glyphfinder

We love that both of these concepts are immersive, interactive, and plain old fun. But be mindful that your creativity doesn’t overpower the site’s functionality. The spotlight effect used by Jigsaw and the scattering effect on Glyphfinder website are both really cool—but for visitors on an older device or slower internet connection, it could lead to a frustrating, negative user experience.

7. Ask for audience participation

Interactive elements come in all shapes and sizes. Short surveys and quizzes, for example, are simple additions, yet bump up visitor engagement by several notches (and can score you some valuable customer data).

In the example below, we can see that Warby Parker nudges website visitors through the funnel with a quiz that helps them choose the perfect frames. Not only is this a fun, helpful way to interact with their audience, but the survey also functions as a retargeting tool for potential shoppers.

Landing Page Ideas - Warby Parker

If you’re not looking to create a whole survey, you can still incorporate audience participation as part of your campaign. Take a look at this screenshot from Monday.com for another idea of how to collect visitor data and personalize their on-site experience without using a traditional lead form.

Landing Page Ideas - Monday.com

Any sort of prompt or field that requires input to unlock the next step can help you convert high-quality leads and reveal valuable insights about their goals or needs.

Border Buddy simplifies this concept even further by presenting only two choices for visitors who are ready to move forward.

Landing Page Ideas - Border Buddy

However you decide to engage with visitors—a survey, form, quiz, or even an interactive flow chart—you just made your landing page more valuable to you and your audience. Not a bad day at the office.

Let’s Bring Your Landing Page Ideas to Life

Now that we’ve got those creative juices flowing, you’re probably itching to take off and create a landing page of your own. Whether you start from scratch or use one of our handy landing page templates, it’s time to make your dream landing page idea a reality. Let’s bring those shower thoughts to life!

Fresh Inspiration For March And A Smashing Winner (2021 Wallpapers Edition)

More than ten years ago, we embarked on our monthly wallpapers adventure to provide you with new and inspiring wallpaper calendars each month anew. This month, the challenge came with a little twist: As we announced in the February wallpapers post, we’ll give away a smashing prize to the best March design today.

Artists and designers from across the globe tickled their creativity and designed unique and inspiring wallpapers for this occasion. As usual, you’ll find all artworks compiled below — together with some timeless March favorites from our archives that are just too good to be forgotten. But first, let’s take a look at the winning design, shall we? Drumrolls, please…

Submit your wallpaper

Did you know that you could get featured in one of our upcoming wallpapers posts, too? We are always looking for creative talent, so if you have an idea for a wallpaper for April, please don’t hesitate to submit it. We’d love to see what you’ll come up with. Join in! →

And The Winner Is…

Botanica

With Botanica, Vlad Gerasimov from Russia designed a wallpaper that beautifully plays with color, shapes, and texture to give botanical illustrations a modern twist:

“It’s been almost a year since I published a wallpaper. 2020 has been tough! Anyway, this is something I made just to get back in shape. And, I’ve been trying a new drawing app, Pixelmator Pro — excellent so far. Hope you like the picture!”

Congratulations, dear Vlad, and thank you for sharing your artwork with us! You won a ticket for one of Vitaly’s upcoming online workshops (Designing The Perfect Navigation, New Adventures In Front-End, or Smart Interface Design Patterns) — we’ll get in touch with you shortly to sort out the details.

More Submissions

A huge thank-you also goes out to everyone who took on this little creativity challenge and submitted their wallpaper designs this month. We sincerely appreciate it!️ So without further ado, here they are. Enjoy!

March For Equality

“This March, we shine the spotlight on International Women’s Day, reflecting on the achieved and highlighting the necessity for a more equal and understanding world. These turbulent times that we are in require us to stand together unitedly and IWD aims to do that.” — Designed by PopArt Studio from Serbia.

St. Patrick’s Day

“On the 17th March, raise a glass and toast St. Patrick on St. Patrick’s Day, the Patron Saint of Ireland.” — Designed by Ever Increasing Circles from the United Kingdom.

Spring In Moscow

“If you think of Moscow, you think of winter, snow… but why not spring?” — Designed by Veronica Valenzuela Jimenez from Spain.

Smells Like Spring Spirit

“We’re looking forward to springtime and cultivating a better future!” — Designed by Milica Aleksic from the United States.

Colorful March

“I used bold colors because it makes people smile and I integrated a handmade touch to humanize my wallpaper.” — Designed by Guylaine Couture from Canada.

Earth Hour Day

“I think this is an important date, and this year there’s going to be more activity on social media during this hour. Climate change affects us more and more, so every important day that reminds us that we only have one planet and that we should do everything to help it is important.” — Designed by Pedro Gonçalves from Portugal.

BatPig

“BatPig isn’t as fast as Batman. That’s why there are so many messages on the Bat-Signal.” — Designed by Ricardo Gimenes from Sweden.

Stay Home

“The character is the Dungeon Master from the old TV series ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. The show focused on a group of six friends who were transported into the titular realm and followed their adventures as they tried to find a way home with the help of their guide, the Dungeon Master. He is happy because these days everybody says ‘Stay at home’.” — Designed by Ricardo Gimenes from Sweden.

Learn To Fight Alone

“I believe it’s very important that your family/friends lift you up in moments of success and in moments of doubts. The bond you create with them is very special. However you can’t rely on them to help reach your goals. You have to fight alone and this is how you become stronger every day.” — Designed by Hitesh Puri from India, Delhi.

Tacos To The Moon And Back

Designed by Ricardo Gimenes from Sweden.

Spring Awakens A New Hope

“With March comes spring, nature awakens, and along with it comes new hope that soon we will leave this difficult period behind and replace masks with smiles.” — Designed by LibraFire from Serbia.

Sail The Night Sky

Designed by Hannah Joy Patterson from South Carolina, USA.

Oldies But Goodies

Birds singing, flowers blooming, the great unknown, and, well, pizza — a lot of different things have inspired the community to design a March wallpaper in all those years that we’ve been running our monthly series. Below you’ll find some almost-forgotten favorites from the past. (Please note that these wallpapers don’t come with a calendar.)

Bunny O’Hare

“When I think of March, I immediately think of St. Patrick’s Day and my Irish heritage… and then my head fills with pub music! I had fun putting a twist on this month’s calendar starring my pet rabbit. Erin go Braugh.” — Designed by Heather Ozee from the United States.

Wake Up!

“Early spring in March is for me the time when the snow melts, everything isn’t very colorful. This is what I wanted to show. Everything comes to life slowly, as this bear. Flowers are banal, so instead of a purple crocus we have a purple bird-harbinger.” — Designed by Marek Kedzierski from Poland.

Ballet

“A day, even a whole month, isn’t enough to show how much a woman should be appreciated. Dear ladies, any day or month are yours if you decide so.” — Designed by Ana Masnikosa from Belgrade, Serbia.

Queen Bee

“Spring is coming! Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, bees are flying… Enjoy this month!” — Designed by Melissa Bogemans from Belgium.

Questions

“Doodles are slowly becoming my trademark, so I just had to use them to express this phrase I’m fond of recently. A bit enigmatic, philosophical. Inspiring, isn’t it?” — Designed by Marta Paderewska from Poland.

The Unknown

“I made a connection, between the dark side and the unknown lighted and catchy area.” — Designed by Valentin Keleti from Romania.

Spring Bird

Designed by Nathalie Ouederni from France.

Spring Is Inevitable!

“Spring is round the corner. And very soon plants will grow on some other planets too. Let’s be happy about a new cycle of life.” — Designed by Igor Izhik from Canada.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

“March the 2nd marks the birthday of the most creative and extraordinary author ever, Dr. Seuss! I have included an inspirational quote about learning to encourage everyone to continue learning new things every day.” — Designed by Safia Begum from the United Kingdom.</p

Awakening

“I am the kind of person who prefers the cold but I do love spring since it’s the magical time when flowers and trees come back to life and fill the landscape with beautiful colors.” — Designed by Maria Keller from Mexico.

Marching Forward!

“If all you want is a little orange dinosaur MARCHing (okay, I think you get the pun) across your monitor, this wallpaper was made just for you! This little guy is my design buddy at the office and sits by (and sometimes on top of) my monitor. This is what happens when you have designer’s block and a DSLR.” — Designed by Paul Bupe Jr from Statesboro, GA.

Let’s Spring!

“After some freezing months, it’s time to enjoy the sun and flowers. It’s party time, colours are coming, so let’s spring!” — Designed by Colorsfera from Spain.

Pizza Time!

“Who needs an excuse to look at pizza all month?” — Designed by James Mitchell from the United Kingdom.

Sakura

Designed by Evacomics from Singapore.

Keep Running Up That Hill

“Keep working towards those New Year’s resolutions! Be it getting a promotion, learning a skill or getting fit, whatever it is — keep running!” Designed by Andy Patrick from Canada.

Never Leave Home Without Your Umbrella

“I thought it would be cute to feature holographic umbrellas in a rain-like pattern. I love patterned wallpapers, but I wanted to do something a little fun and fresh with a pattern that reminded me of rain and light bouncing off an umbrella!” — Designed by Bailey Zaputil from the United States.

Colorful

“In some parts of the world there is the beauty of nature. This is one of the best beaches in the world: Ponta Negra in the North East of Brazil.” — Designed by Elisa de Castro Guerra from France.

Daydream

“A daydream is a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake.” Designed by Bruna Suligoj from Croatia.

Building User Trust In UX Design

Building trust is one of the central goals of user experience design. And yet trust is a concept that’s very hard to define in a precise manner. We all know it when we feel it but often fall short of putting it in words. Being able to turn the elusive and intangible into actionable and concrete steps, however, is exactly what makes UX so crucial in the modern business ecosystem.

Although a product experience that is useful and coherent is what fundamentally builds a sense of security and satisfaction, there’s a lot more nuance that goes building it. That’s what this article is about. We’ll take a deeper dive into users’ trust and how we can use UX to build a lasting relationship with your clientele.

Instilling trust goes beyond the bare visuals of a product. Ideally, a UX designer’s work starts well before the first lines are drawn and long after designs are deployed.

Being more present allows us to achieve a comprehensive view of the whole customer lifecycle, which also encourages us to borrow tools and approaches from marketers, product managers and developers. Being well-rounded in the product development activities is yet another aspect that we’ll advocate for throughout the piece. As a result of dabbling in non-design activities, we can gather an in-depth understanding of all areas where trust is vital.

Think About The Customer Journey

A central competency of UX design is a good understanding of your users’ needs, preferences, and emotions. Therefore, overtime we, designers, need to develop a wide array of skills to improve our understanding of our users and their interaction with our products.

One such way entails using qualitative data and detailed analytics, which is vital in allowing us to outline a user’s persona’s most important qualities. Analytics can be used to create hypotheses and validate or discard them. As a result, you’ll be able to create experiences that will foster customer loyalty and a sustained sense of trust.

Let’s look into the stages of a customer journey and explore how UX designers can bring value to the table. You might also notice the way we suggest to structure the customer journey map is marketing-oriented. Such marketing-orientedness speaks to the purpose of this article: to give designers a broader perspective.

Below, we can see one such example of a customer journey that’s structured around the so-called “funnel” marketers and sales-people use:

Below is the classic visualization of a sales/marketing funnel. You may have come across different wordings for the stages but this doesn’t change their essence. The reason this visualization is shaped like a funnel is simple: only a small portion of people who come across your product will end up becoming a paying customer. We’ve also combined the intent and action into one stage, since in the context of building trust through good UX they’re fairly similar.

We’ve also combined the intent and action into one stage, since in the context of building trust through good UX they’re fairly similar.

Now we need to apply this funnel thinking to a customer journey. That’s exactly what we did with the customer journey map (CJM) below. This map was created for one of our projects a while ago, and was tweaked significantly to respect the client’s privacy. By focusing on the whole funnel, we were able to go beyond the product UI, and audit the whole UX from the very first users’ interaction with the product in question.

Now that we’ve talked briefly about how we can map users’ journey to pinpoint trust-sensitive areas, let’s move on to the first stage of the funnel: Awareness.

Awareness

Awareness is the stage where we should analyze how customers learn about a product or service. When devising a strategy for this step, we need to start from our users’ problems and their most common pain points. Being user-centric enables us to think about the best ways to approach potential customers while they are trying to tackle a certain pain point. The goal here is to have a reserved and more educational tone.

Sounding too corporate or salesy can have an adverse effect on a person that isn’t familiar with the product. The way we should approach the awareness stage depends on whether your product is launched or not.

In order to map a journey that is representative of real users we need real data. The ways of collecting this data will depend on whether the product in question is launched or not. Let’s go through both of these scenarios separately.

The Approach For Launched Products

A product or service that has already hit the market can learn a lot about the people it attracts. Both qualitative and quantitative methods can provide us with a wealth of valuable insight.

There are plenty of tools and techniques in the market that will help get to know your users better. Here are the ones that are used the most often:

Let’s break down the three in more detail.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a popular tool that is predominantly used by marketers, but it has gradually been adopted by UX specialists as well. It’s an excellent way to learn about the types of audiences you need to design for and create hypotheses about their preferences. More importantly, Google Analytics gives us insights on how people find you. Conversely, it allows you to learn how people do not find you.

A launched product can dive into a variety of values to better their understanding of their clientele. Here are a few of them:

  • Top Sources Of Traffic
    This allows you to understand what are the most successful channels that drive awareness. Are you active enough on these channels? Can anything be improved in terms of your online presence?

Here’s how Google Analytics present data on where your users come from:

  • User Demographics
    This provides you with data on your audience’s age, gender, lifestyle, and interests. That’s one of the ways you can validate a UX persona you’ve created with data rather than your assumptions;

Here’s how Google Analytics visualizes the data on the users’ location:

  • Keyword insights — you can use two approaches here. The first one involves the usage of Google Search Console. It shows you the keywords your audience uses to locate your page. It provides you with a wealth of insight into user pain points and can inform your keyword strategy.

The second approach is gauging the data from SEO tools like ahrefs or SEMrush to see how people phrase their search query when they face a problem your product solves.

Once you have an understanding of the keywords that your potential customers use, put them in Google. What do you find there? A competitor product? An aggregator website like Capterra or Clutch? Perhaps nothing that suits the query? Answers to these questions will be invaluable in informing your decisions about optimizing the very first stages of your custom journey.

Here’s how Google Search console shows which keywords users use that end up visiting to your website:

FullStory And Its Equivalents

There is now a great variety of UX tools when it comes to analytics engines. They help translate complex data into actionable insights on how to improve your online presence. The tool that we use, and see other designers use very often is FullStory. Such tools are a great solution when you’re looking to reduce UI friction, find ways to enhance funnel completion, and so forth.

By using such tools, businesses can learn a lot about user behavior and how they can calibrate products to their needs. Do your users read the product description you write? Do they skim it? What part of the page seems to grab their attention? Does that validate or refute your initial assumptions?

User Interviews

Interviewing your user base has a broad spectrum of benefits when it comes to understanding their motivations, values, and experiences. There are many kinds of interviews, i.e. structured, unstructured, ones that feature closed or leading questions, and so on. They all have their benefits and can be tailored specifically to your service or user base to extract maximum insight.

For the purposes of creating a customer journey map that visualizes real data, consider asking questions like:

“How would you go about looking for an X service or product?”

“What information is/was the most important while making a purchasing decision?”

“What are some of the red flags for you when searching for our service/product?”

Approach For Products Pending Launch

There’s plenty of valuable insight that can be gathered without having a launched product. Designs that instill trust from day one are bound to maximize an organization’s success in the long run.

Here are the tools and techniques you should use:

Let’s go through each of those.

Keyword And Online Research

One of the most straightforward ways to establish whether a product is fit for its market is keyword research. Often, looking for keywords is associated with SEM and SEO practices, but there’s a catch. This kind of research will reveal a lot about the most prominent needs on the market as well.

There are a few methods of keyword research can be used to establish market fitness:

  • Mining For Questions And Answers
    Think about websites like Quora or Reddit. Are people asking about how to solve a problem your product solves? What are the ways they currently go about solving it?

  • Competitor Reviews And Descriptions
    Is there a trend on why competitors get bad reviews? Conversely, is there something that helps them get better reviews? Is there a gap in their features?
  • Social Listening
    Go through twitter, facebook, LinkedIn hashtags and groups. See if there are communities that are built around the problem you solve or the demographic you target. If so, see what these people talk about, ask them questions.
  • Keyword Research Tools
    This research method helps you learn two things. The first one is whether people have a need for your product or service. By seeing the number of queries in a given period of time you can draw conclusions about the viability of your product. The second valuable insight is seeing how people describe the problem you’re solving. Knowing how people talk about their pains, in turn, will help you speak the same language with your customers.
User Interviews

To some, conducting user interviews before product launch may seem pointless, but it’s far from being true.

By understanding who your potential customers are and learning about their needs and preferences is a valuable vehicle for building trust.

Here are a few important things you can learn from potential users:

  • Whether or not they like your design.
    The visual side of a product is a vital link, allowing to build trust. For someone to like your design, of course, implies that you already have some designs complete.
  • Whether or not they find your product idea useful.
    This information will allow you to analyze how fit your product is for the market.
  • The features that they’d like to see in your product.
    This will help you quickly adapt to the needs of your customers.
  • Whether or not they find it easy to use your product.
    This data will inform your product’s usability, which too implies having some designs complete. A prototype would be ideal for early usability testing.

Thorough and well-planned user interviews are instrumental in making intelligent business decisions. They provide you with invaluable insight rooted in feedback directly from your potential users.

Competitor Research

Understanding your competitors’ products is vital when it comes to market differentiation. It enables us to learn what customers are lacking and fill in those gaps.

Here are a few things that’ll help you conduct a simple competitor research with trust in mind:

  • Choose the right competitors to research.
    By the way, these don’t have to be digital products. For example, simple notepad is a competitor to productivity apps, as they solve the same problem: being on top of your tasks and staying productive. How does that help with trust and creating a CJM? It allows you to empathize and put yourself in the shoes of your users. Also, it helps your craft authentic and relatable messaging that resonates with people.
  • Ensure that your analysis is consistent.
    It’s important to have a clear understanding of which aspects you’re going to analyze. Come up with analysis criteria, so that your notes are structured and easy to draw conclusions from.
    Considering different options is almost always a part of a customer’s journey. You have to make it easy to understand how you’re better than the alternatives.
  • Establish the best sources for your data.
    The best source is users: either yours or someone else’s. Period. But a few google searches would certainly do no harm.
  • Define the best ways to incorporate your findings into your product at its inception.

Studying your competition will provide you with a wealth of quantitative and qualitative data that will guide your business decisions. As a result, you’ll create a product that fits your users’ needs and instills trust and satisfaction.

Consideration & Acquisition

Users that have made it to the consideration stage are interested in your product but aren’t prepared to become paying customers. At this point, they’re evaluating the options offered by your competition and assessing whether they’ll get the value they’re looking for.

There is a wide array of things businesses can do to motivate users to transition into a paying relationship through building trust. Here are a few of them:

Explain How Your Algorithms Work

If your product revolves around AI/ML algorithms, to enhance customer experience, it’s important to explain how it works.

We’re typically very sensitive about our data. Respectively, there’s no reason to think that users will blindly trust a product’s AI. It’s our responsibility to counteract the distrust by explaining how it works and what kind of data it will use.

Here are a few great ways you can outline the AI’s functionality while also encouraging them to make their own informed decisions:

  • Calibrate Trust
    AI systems are based on stats and numbers, which means that they can’t replace rational human thought. Emphasize that your algorithm is skilled at giving suggestions, but users should make their own choices.
  • Display Confidence Levels
    An essential aspect of the scientific approach is that there are no facts — there is only evidence. Make sure to communicate how confident your algorithm is of something to be true.
  • Explain Algorithm Outputs
    The results of an analysis must be accompanied by a clear explanation thereof.

Good UX & UI

A well-executed UI is at the crux of user trust. Satisfying visuals, consistency, and ethical design will make your product appear trustworthy. Lacking the above will dissuade people from purchasing your product or services.

Here’s an older design example. Would you willingly use such service, especially when the competitors’ design isn’t stuck in 2003?

No offense to Gmail’s former self, by the way. There’s a reason it doesn’t look like that anymore though.

The same could also be said about your product’s UX. Confusing user flows, poor feature discoverability, and other other usability issues are a surefire way to scare away a good chunk of new users. A good remedy to such pitfall is making sure your design adheres to the usability heuristics. If you’re dealing with legacy design, conducting a heuristic evaluation would also serve you well.

Also, stuff like fake buttons, dark patterns, and a wonky interface are guaranteed to seriously hinder your growth.

Testimonials & Reviews

Customer reviews are essential when it comes to building trust. There’s a significant body of research indicating that positive feedback can boost your sales and conversions.

You don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s what researchers in Spiegel Research Center have to say about the importance of review:

Based on data from the high-end gift retailer, we found that as products begin displaying reviews, conversion rates escalate rapidly. The purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.

Plus, studies have shown that people use testimonials to assess how trustworthy a product is.

It’s also worth noting that people who have negative experiences are a lot more likely to write a review, rather than the ones who had a good one. That’s why you should be creative in asking people to leave reviews. Here’s how Upwork approaches soliciting feedback.

Notice that Upwork allows you to see what review a customer left only after you’ve left one. It’s fascinating how they leverage curiosity to encourage users to leave feedback.

Over 90 percent of internet users read online reviews, and almost 85 percent of them trust them as much as a recommendation from a friend. Reviews are an important part of a trustworthy online presence.

That being said, it’s important not to create fake reviews that glorify your product. Please don’t buy reviews or mislead users in any different way. People can generally sense when praise is excessive and disingenuous. Furthermore, users appreciate a few negative reviews as well.

A study conducted by the North Western University and Power Reviews concluded the following:

“As it turns out, perfect reviews aren’t the best for businesses, either. Our research with Northwestern University found that purchase probability peaks when a product’s average star rating is between 4.2 – 4.5, because a perfect 5-star rating is perceived by consumers as too good to be true.”

Badges

Trust badges are icons that inform your users about the security of your product/service. Badges are especially important if your site has a payment page.

Providing your credit card information on a website is a sign of trust. Therefore it’s essential that we not only abide by security standards but also convey the fact that we do.

Badges are also invaluable when it comes to showcasing important partnerships or rewards. For example, b2b companies often display awards from websites like Clutch or GoodFirms.

Good Spelling And Grammar

A poorly written copy is a simple way to ruin your online credibility. A few typos will certainly dissuade some people from using your product by losing their trust in it.

Think of it this way: How can you trust a service that can even get their text right? Would you trust their online security? Would you be willing to provide your card information to them?

The pitfall of poor grammar and spelling might seem obvious, but oftentimes the UX copy is written in a rush. And we designers are prone to glazing over the copy without giving it too much consideration.

You’d be surprised how many error notifications and other system messages are written in a hurry never to be reviewed again.

Blunders like on the screenshot below, in our experience, happen way too often:

Retention

Considering that a customer has made it to the retention stage, it’s fair to say that you’ve earned their trust. However, it’s essential to mention that this trust needs to be retained, to ensure that they’ll continue using your product. Moreover, whenever there are people involved screw-ups are bound to happen. That means that you need to have a plan for fixing mistakes and getting the trust back.

Here are a few things you can do to elevate user experience and maintain a high trust level:

Emails

Effective email communication is paramount to customer retention. A whitepaper done by Emarsys indicates that about 4/5 of the businesses they surveyed use e-mails to retain their customers.

As a communication medium, email is among the most expressive. It can convey emotions through text and media while also addressing customers’ needs.

A user-centric approach to email marketing is bound to keep your customers happy, informed, and engaged. That implies not spamming and providing actual value or entertainment. Preferably, both.

Notifications

Consistent and well-thought-out push notifications are also a great way to keep your customers intrigued.

First off, it’s always a good idea to welcome your users. They’ve just made an important step — they’ve bought your product or purchased a membership. It’s a simple and elegant way of thanking your customer for their choice.

Secondly, consider notifying them about exclusive offers. Sharing information on special deals allows you to provide them with extra value for merely being a customer of yours.

Finally, consider personalizing your notifications. Using users’ name or recent activity to notify them about relevant stuff will also skyrocket their engagement. However, it’s worth mentioning that being explicit about having users’ information too often or using sensitive data to personalize notifications can come across creepy.

Whether the notification above is creepy is up for you to decide 🙂

In-product Perks

There are a variety of bonuses you can offer to build trust in the retention stage. They nudge our customers to use your product actively. These are especially potent in making up for any screw-ups.

Here are a few popular ones you can look into:

  • Closed beta access to new features;
  • Seasonal discounts;
  • Loyalty programs;
  • Discounts on renewals.

Conclusion

Phew, reading this article must have been quite a journey. We’ve almost reached the end. In order to help you consolidate everything in this article, let us try to recap its contents.

Creating a successful product is all about building trust. Luckily, there are so many ways to improve a product’s trustworthiness through UX. However, it’s essential to make these practices consistent. Customers seek to interact with brands that can deliver great experience throughout all interactions and touchpoints.

One of the ways to account for each touch point is reconciling two journey mapping techniques — marketing & sales funnel and customer journey map. The funnel allows us to go beyond the in-app experience that designers often are reluctant to do while a customer journey map provides empathy, structure and the depth of analysis.

Listing all of the ways to boost trustworthiness for each funnel stage would take another couple of pages, so a simple advice would do. Empathy is the key for getting in your users’ shoes and tackling their trust concerns. For a more concrete list of guidelines, scroll up and skim through the headers. That should jog your memory.

The bottom line is that we encourage you, dear reader, to shortlist the stages your users go through before actually becoming your users. Is there anything that might undermine your product’s trustworthiness? Is there anything you could improve and nudge a soon-to-be user in the right direction? Giving definitive answers to these questions and addressing them is a surefire for a better designed product.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: