Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
For marketers, website conversion rates are one more of a handful of metrics critical to a business’ success.
Conversion rates are a key building block, but an often overlooked element, of a digital marketing strategy. A great indicator of your marketing success, conversion rates can trigger cues as to whether your site is impactful, the copy targeted to the right audience, and the overall site design and aesthetic fitting.
For example, if your website has 5,000 visitors per month, but only 10 sales, your conversion rate is less than 1 percent – which is incredibly low. However, this may be understandable if you are a new business, in which case the growth trajectory of your conversion rate is a better indicator. If after three months, your visitors are up to 10,000 and your sales are up to 100, that means that your conversion rate is at 1 percent and on the rise – still not where you want to be, but headed in the right direction.
On the flip side, if you start off with a high conversion rate, but that rate begins to taper off, you need to change something in your strategy.
Regardless of whether you are looking to invigorate a stale or failing strategy or to launch a new successful one, there are a multitude of things that you can do to boost website conversion rates in no time.
This one probably sounds odd – after all, video is a great way to showcase a product or service – however, in some cases, video can actually hurt conversion rates. A recent test by Device Magic found a 33 percent conversion rate increase by using image sliders. To test your website and market to determine which gives you a better conversion, do some A/B testing on your homepage. Version A will have the video; version B will have the image sliders. Route traffic in to randomly land on either version and measure conversion rate results over a specific period of time.
Visitor segmentation is a great way to reach different audiences the right way for them. For example, your service or product may be relevant to all ages – but teenagers likely won’t respond to the same thing as their grandparents. Landing pages that speak to the proper audience will garner far higher results.
An outdated website is a quick way to lose business to the competition. In fact, companies like CloudSponge have increased conversion rates by 33 percent by just introducing a new site design. Modernize your site and reap the rewards.
One of the easiest ways to boost website conversion rates is to make it easy for people to purchase from you. Bad user experiences are a quick way to deter clients, whereas making some simple tweaks to make it user friendly can do the opposite.
Need proof? PyramidAir.com boosted results by 25 percent just by improving their checkout page.
In business, time is money – and a slow website just takes time. In fact, Amazon lost $1.6 billion due to a one second delay in load time. For more information about how to speed up your site, click here.
Opt-in copy has a tendency to either get lost in the other checkbox options or get over looked. Simply making your opt-in copy stand out with optimization factors, such as thumbnail previews or bold copy with images, you might be able to increase your conversions –Tourism British Columbia improved theirs by 12 percent with this trick
Add trust signals such as lowest price guarantees, contact info, and after sales support guarantees at check out. Earning the trust of your potential customers has endless rewards and things like guarantees, a direct line to contact you, and warranties are great ways to earn it.
Often times, no matter what your whitespace / copy balance is, words can get lost on your Web page.
One way to beat this is to use large, colorful buttons to draw attention to pricing buttons and the call for action. For example, rather than simply adding “contact us for pricing” within the copy, add the words “Pricing information” to a large, colorful button. It enhances the user experience and is known to increase sales.
Consumers tend to be leery of sites that come off as advertisements – and banners have a tendency to make that negative impression. Although they can be a revenue avenue, they may be doing your site more harm than good. Increase your conversion rates by minimizing the banners and instead using larger versions of helpful, relevant images.
But short is best, right? Not necessarily if your landing page doesn’t tell your story.
Take MOZ, for example – by optimizing their landing page to more accurately and fully tell the story, they were able to increase revenue by $1,000,000.
Your headline is your first impression – make it worthwhile. Different tactics resonate differently with different customers, so you need to find the combination that works for your market. For example, by playing with the wording, one company increased conversions by 30 percent. For more headlines writing tips, read my 35 headline hacks for bloggers.
Your call to action is one of the most important factors for your conversion rate – it’s what lets the reader know what to do and motivates them to take a certain action. One interesting lesson learned by a company called Highrise is the impact of the word “free.” Simply removing the word “free” from the call to action – think phrases like, “free trial” – increased conversions by 200 percent. This word which seems so helpful can actually detract clients for fear of some commitment or catch.
Online attention spans are short, so your landing page has to make the most of just a few seconds. Making your landing page interactive is a great way to hold readers’ attention, as RandomActofKindness.org found – doing so increased conversions by 235 percent
A picture is worth 1,000 words – so make your images count. Try updating the images that correspond with your copy; make sure that they are eye-catching and relevant.
Sometimes, things are just too complicated. Make things easier for your visitors by offering defined paths and limited options – as Gyminee’s found, providing fewer homepage choices increased sales by 20 percent
Sometimes, simply changing the way that you phrase your requests can do the trick. For example, many companies include a link to their Twitter page from their website, often linked through copy such as, “follow us on Twitter.” This phrase is okay, but you may be able to garner higher results by including a more direct and action-requesting statement; this worked for Dustin Curtis (his article was removed) who increased his conversion by more than five percent simply by rewording the phrase.
When signing up for things on the internet, users sign up from top to bottom – not left to right. They also refer more to column labels on the left side of the field, rather than above or below it – it is just easier for them to read. By following these rules and keeping your form in one column instead of two, you are more likely to have users finish the sign-up form rather than abandon it.
Make your website different – sure, it’s easier said than done, but by providing visitors with an unexpected layout and visual, you will intrigue them while also helping to set your company apart from the competition.
Anyone who has taken an advertising or journalism class knows that all of the important content happens above the fold… but what if it doesn’t? A recent case study found that moving the call to action statement below the fold increased conversions by 304 percent. We are not sure quite why, but intuitively, it seems that by moving the call to action below the fold, your organization seems more like a credible resource, rather than someone looking to sell – so people landing on your page actually read through your content and have the opportunity to see what you offer with an open mind, rather than being on the defense from that immediate sales component.
Behavioral marketing ads may still be ads, but they make the offering relevant to the reader by pairing the content with something likely relevant to them, causing a positive association. Madison Logic did this in Webinar reminders, pairing the reminder email with a behavioral targeted ad – the group (in A/B testing) that received the targeted ad had a 30.4 percent higher attendance rate than the group who did not receive the targeted ad. Expand the theory throughout your site to increase your conversion rates across your website.
Many of the above are easily doable things like changing button sizes and moving the location of copy elements. However, strategizing and implementing some of the more complex items may seem a bit daunting at first.
Website Optimization Tools
Luckily, there are some great tools out there to make boosting website conversion rates all the easier. To name just a few of my favorites – Web Engage, Olark, Click Tale, and Gaze Hawk. Additionally, for those of you who are using WordPress, Rochester wrote a great tutorial to get you started with A/B testing on your WordPress site.
A Little More On A/B Testing
Several of the above refer to A/B testing – a practice which involves testing two or more options to determine the one that is best performing. Though you can do manual A/B testing, there are several programs out there that will help you to easily set it up, conduct the tests, and measure the results. By finding what works for your site and implementing it, you are able to reach your consumers in the way that they best respond..