So you’re client’s website is getting traffic, but the number of conversions is low AND/OR your bounce rate is ridiculously high. When it comes down to it, after all the work you put into the site, if you’re not converting, you’re just spinning your wheels.
We’ve collected 30 conversion-improving website tips that you can implement in a single month if you do one per day. If you can manage more than one per day, then you’ll be well on your way to improving conversions much earlier!
1. Make your website user friendly. The easier your website is to use, the higher your conversions rate will be. Run a usability test on your website to discover whether outsiders can successfully use it. To do this you can hire 4 or 5 people or ask friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to help.
Basically, you need to observe each user as he/she uses your website. In general you are looking to find out if the user understands the navigation, understands each page, and can guess where things might be found. Other things you might want to know:
→ What is difficult for people to do?
→ Where do people get lost?
→ What do people really like?
→ What do people hate?
→ What makes people feel distrustful?
→ What doesn’t make sense to people?
→ What do people see first, text or pictures on a page?
→ Are people reading all of the introductory text?
1. You might also have specific tasks that you would like users to perform such as adding items to a shopping cart, finding the blog, subscribing to your newsletter, etc. Prepare a script of questions and tasks. Keep a list of the things you need to watch for nearby.
Watch the user’s behavior during the test and note when he or she becomes frustrated or annoyed, seems to be thinking hard, hesitates, misunderstands something, and/or gives up.
Don’t answer questions or help users during the test. Remind users that you are testing the website and not them. Take notes on everything. When testing is over, write down all the problems users pointed out and the ones you noticed. This should help you to begin fine-tuning your website for better usability.
2. Optimize website navigation. What does this really mean? Users will not search your website looking for something for very long. Your navigation menu should contain links to all of your website’s important pages and it should be placed in the same position on every page.
3. Website design plays a key role in conversion rates. A poorly designed website will kill your conversion rate. Users expect a certain amount of professionalism when making purchases online. If a company cannot afford a decent website design, how important is your order to them?
If your design is not that appealing, do yourself a favor and spring for a designer.
4. Use the psychology of color. The colors that you chose for your site set a certain tone. Bright primary and secondary colors have the highest conversion rates – red, green, yellow, and orange. It’s important to choose the right colors at the right time for your audience. Test different colors and color combinations to find out what works for you.
Use contrast to make your value proposition and call to actions stand out.
5. Readability refers to how easy it is for people to read and understand your website pages and content. Is the font style hard to read? Is the size of the font too small to see without squinting? Can users quickly scan your content and find what they looking for? Is your content easy to understand?
Use white space and titles effectively to break content up into smaller sections for easy reading. Write in plain English. Use words and phrases that your target audience understands. Make use of headlines, bold fonts, and bullet points.
6. Utilize the “About Us” page. Too often website owners don’t see the importance in the “About Us” page. The “About Us” page gives you an amazing opportunity to tell your story. Readers look at “About Us” pages to learn more about the persons and/or company with whom they are about to do business. Be honest and transparent here. Try to connect with your readers on an emotional level.
Some websites also chose to post their core values and mission statement on the “About Us” page.
7. Browsers make a big difference in the way your website is viewed. While your site may look awesome to you in Google Chrome, people using Internet Explorer may not be able to load your homepage.
Look, you spend a lot of time tweaking your website design so that it looks perfect. So why not spend a couple of hours making sure it looks good and works right in major browsers? Don’t forget to test different size screens and mobile devices as well.
8. Inaccessibility is a big factor in the loss of sales. If your website is frequently offline due to server errors or your server being down, it may be time to find a new web host. There are websites that will monitor your server for free and report to you immediately if there are any problems. Most of these sites send a weekly or monthly uptime report directly to your inbox.
The majority of major web hosting companies guarantee a 99.9% uptime.
9. Speed is important to today’s busy Internet users. If your website takes too long to load, people will leave. A typical website page with text and images should load in 7 seconds or less. There are websites that will test the speed of your pages and then show you how your site’s speed compares to the speed of popular sites such as Facebook, Google, and Yahoo.
Improve your site’s load time by optimizing media. Use compression software to reduce file sizes. If you are using WordPress there are a couple of quality plugins you can install, at no cost, to improve your website’s speed.
Speeding up your website will increase your search engine rankings too.
10. Don’t waste your visitor’s time. As I said before, people are busy. There is nothing more frustrating than spending an hour shopping online, another 30 minutes signing up for an account I may never use again, and then finding out that the one item I wanted is out of stock.
11. Don’t ask for too much information. Many websites today ask for a phone number when a user is simply signing up for a free offer or account. Users don’t want to give their phone number out like this. Why would you need a phone number to download a whitepaper? By all means, ask for this information later if you wish. But make sign ups and purchases as easy to complete as possible.
12. Avoid information over-load. When creating sales copy for your squeeze pages keep it as simple as you possibly can. For instance, list benefits instead of features. While features are great, people really want to know how something will benefit them.
Too much information will sometimes cause confusion and/or distrust. You can always tell potential customers about the features after they have become customers.
13. Know your target audience. What do they do online? Do they use credit cards when shopping? Are they knowledgeable about technology? Do they frequent social networks? The more you know about your target audience, the easier it is to convert traffic.
Everything about your site should be made with your target audience in mind; from the size and style of your font to your presentation to the methods of payment you accept.
14. Trust is crucial. The use of trust indicators is a technique used by website owners to establish instant trust. The use of logos of recognizable brands communicates trust to website visitors. If you have been featured in well known publications, on TV networks, or popular TV shows use their logos and tell visitors about it. The same concept applies if you have clients that are famous or recognized by most people.
If you have an SSL certificate, install it. If you can get an SSL certificate for your domain, do it. (If you don’t sell products or services from your site, an SSL certificate is not necessary.) If you are using an SSL certificate, make sure users can see the “VeriSign Secured” logo.
Post the physical address of your business if you have one. The same thing applies for the phone number. However, do not post a phone number if you’re not going to answer phone calls. Customer service is extremely important and almost nothing is worse than a business that doesn’t answer the phone. If you have a fax, list it also.
15. Utilize social proof. If you have numerous social media fans and followers use the appropriate buttons to display these numbers on your website. Do your readers engage with your content often by tweeting, commenting on your posts, and bookmarking your pages? Use this to your advantage by showing visitors how many tweets and/or comments a post has received and how many times a page has been bookmarked.
These numbers will show your visitors that a significant number of people find your website valuable; making it more trustworthy.
16. Testimonials displayed prominently build instant trust. Add value to testimonials by including the writers name, location, and picture. If possible use audio or video testimonials; people trust them more. Of course those that have the biggest impact are testimonials by well known or famous people.
17. Reviews are extremely popular, adding to your trustworthiness and credibility. Customer reviews actually increase product conversion by 74%. Encourage your customers to write reviews of your products or services by offering a discount or free shipping on their next order.
If you get a bad review remember, everyone gets a bad review from time to time. How you handle a bad review is what’s important. Deleting it, not responding to it, or refusing to publish it is a mistake. Instead, apologize and ask what you can do to make it right.
18. Showcase your community. Add the Facebook page Like Box to your site. The Like Box shows your visitors how many Facebook fans your website has and displays a handful of those fans’ pictures. If a visitor is logged into Facebook, the Like Box shows them the faces of friends that have liked your page. When people see friends’ faces it puts them at ease.
19. Use high-quality pictures. If you are selling products use big pictures of the product, pictures of people using the product, and close up pictures from different angles to increase sales. Using thumbnails of products in your site search and shopping cart pages also boost sales.
Avoid stock photos at all costs; especially those of men in suits shaking hands. Instead of using avatars to portray employees or team members, post real photos. People tend to trust real photos of real people.
20. Take branding seriously. Branding is what people think and say about your company when you are not around.
Your company brand is made up of your website colors, logo, core values, company vision, tagline, mascot, etc. Studies have shown that colors increase brand recognition by almost 80%. When consumers recognize your brand, they have more confidence in your company.
If branding is done well, users will remember you.
21. Check your spelling and grammar. Misspelled words, poor use of grammar, and badly written content will definitely reduce your conversion rate. An unprofessional website screams, “Don’t use your credit card here!” Internet users are already concerned about identity theft and are oftentimes leery about using a credit or debit online.
Perfect written English makes your site appear more professional and builds confidence with visitors.
22. Flaunt your differences. What is it that makes your business unique? What sets you apart from your competitors? Why does your business do what it does? Why should someone buy from you as opposed to one of your competitors? Ask yourself these questions to hone in on those qualities that make your business unique. Your USP is your unique selling point. Know what yours is and make sure to broadcast it on your website.
23. Offer a reasonable selection of payment options. Many people either don’t have a credit card or don’t wish to use one. By offering other methods of payment you will increase your conversion rates. Consider accepting online checks and PayPal in addition to credit cards.
PayPal is a popular way to pay for products and services online. If you are not familiar with PayPal, it’s a free service that allows users to pay and get paid online; without giving out financial information.
24. Use customer surveys. Ask your customers about their experience. Find out why they made a purchase and/or why they nearly didn’t. Ask your customers how they would rate their experience with your website, if they were able to complete the purpose of their visit, and what the primary purpose for their visit was.
25. Let directional cues point to your call to action. Have you seen those websites where hand drawn arrows point you right to the sign up form? Did it get your attention right away? Those are directional cues meant to guide readers. Because our eyes naturally follow the flow, directional cues can improve conversions.
26. Placement matters. Make sure that your website visitors can see a clear purpose and call to action within the first few seconds of landing on your site. Sometimes a simple change in where your call to action is placed can make a big difference.
27. Focus on customer benefit in your call to actions. People want to know how your website, product, or service will benefit them. Why do they need it?
28. Don’t offer too many choices. When people are faced with a variety of options, they will often choose randomly, or worse, give up and leave. Sometimes less is more.
If you offer a variety of products, consider adding a way for customers to sort your products by color, size, flavor, etc. Make it as simple as you can.
29. Take the coupon code field off of your checkout page. If you have a coupon code field on your checkout page it can result in customers that don’t have a code leaving in search of one. Think about filing the coupon code in automatically or giving customers a way to obtain a code without leaving your website.
30. Include a “thank you” page. Conversion doesn’t end when someone signs up or places an order. Return customers are essential to success. Have users directed to a “thank you” page after signing up or placing an order. Consider placing a free download, coupon, or discount on your “thank you” page.
Always use A/B testing to find out what works best for your website. Different techniques work for different websites. Sometimes you might see a significant increase in click-through while actual sales decrease. Pay attention to the big picture; an increase in sales is more important than click-through rates.