Article by Luke Telford
If your website does not convert visitors into customers, you could spend thousands of dollars on advertising and still never see a sale. The key to improving a website’s conversion rate is relevance – particularly, the relevance of your site to the interests of the people that visit it.
If they can’t see something they need, they won’t become a customer or client. But if you can give them exactly what they were looking for as soon as their browser loads the page, the likelihood of their clicking ‘buy now’ or ‘inquire now’ should increase.
1. Simpler checkout
For online retailers, the most important part of a website is the checkout page. It’s the most crucial stage in the conversion, and yet it is often the part of the site that sees the highest abandonment rate.
It is best to avoid making visitors sign in to purchase online. It’s also a must to use a number of recognised options for payment processing. As a bare minimum, an online store should offer a credit card gateway hosted by a well-known bank, along with the possibility of paying over PayPal.
The first step is to have an idea of what your customers are looking for. Google offers a free keyword tool that gives users an indication of the search terms that generate the most traffic. Enter your site’s URL and some keywords you think customers might use to find your business online. The tool will show the volume of traffic these terms generate and how competitive they are to purchase in Google Adwords.
Google provides the keyword tool to help its AdWords customers improve their marketing campaigns online. AdWords is a service offered by the search company that lets businesses bid to have text ads placed in the search results for particular terms. If your business has an online presence for the purpose of generating leads or selling products, it’s a good idea to investigate AdWord.
3. Where am I?
When a visitor lands on a page on your website – be it on a homepage, category landing page or customer contact form – they need to know within seconds whether that page is relevant to them. The copy (or writing) that appears on the page plays an enormous part in this process.
Make sure all copy on your site is concise and to the point. Visitors need to be reassured your site is relevant to the search listing they clicked on, so make sure your copy outlines what your business does quickly and simply.
Don’t overlook the importance of headings. People scan web pages rather than carefully reading every word, so make sure that all the headings in your content can provide a quick overview of what the page is about. The use of relevant keywords in headings will not only anchor the eye of readers scanning the page, but it also helps with search engine optimisation (SEO).
4. Don’t load your homepage with calls to action
Calls to action (or CTAs) are essential to conversions. They are the parts of a webpage that tell the visitor to do something, like ‘Click here to sign up to our newsletter’. Once a web user has clicked on a search listing for a particular product or topic, the webpage they land on has to direct them to act on their curiosity.
Although CTAs are an important tool in the conversion process, more than three calls to action on a single page will only confuse and alienate the visitor, and disrupt the conversion.
5. Dedicated conversion pages
For a CTA to really work, it needs to be placed in the right context. If you want to turn search traffic for a particular keyword into conversions, then that term needs to have its own landing page on your site with a dedicated and unique CTA tailored to match the customer’s interests.
Treat every page as an opportunity to convert a customer. If you can put yourself into the mindset of the consumer, you’re on the way to improving the return on investment you’ll get from your website.
6. Feature a secondary CTA
Not every visitor that lands on a product page is necessarily ready to hand over their credit card details immediately – they may be still be researching. To ensure that click hasn’t been wasted, it’s imperative to have a second, softer call to action. For example, direct them to request a quote or like the business on Facebook allows for future contact with the business.
7. Contact details
Perhaps the most essential form of secondary CTA is to encourage visitors to pick up the phone. A website may be the hub of all your business’s marketing strategies, but it still pales in comparison to a brief conversation with one of your sales reps.
If possible, include a ‘contact us’ CTA on every page of the site. Uncertainty is often the only thing that’s keeping a visitor from following a search listing through to a sale. It’s in your interest to make it easy for them to ask a question.
8. Time to test
If you haven’t already, install Google’s Analytics so you can see where visitors are coming from, what search terms they are using, and at which point they leave the site. This will give you insight into which parts of your site are performing well, and which may benefit from a revision to their CTAs.
9. Improve the value proposition
While the look and feel of a site can have an impact on conversions, a simple tweak to what’s in it for the visitor can be enough to tip them into making a transaction or signing up for a newsletter.
Whether it’s a matter of revising a landing page to better deliver on the promise of an AdWords listing, or simply lowering the price of a product, it is worth experimenting with value proposition alternatives when testing.
10. Be patient
Most processes involved in setting up and running a website take some time to refine, and improving conversions is no different. When testing, it is wise to observe the effect of your changes over a considerable period of time before deciding whether they are effective or not.