7 Simple Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Website Conversion Rate

7 Simple Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Website Conversion Rate
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The single most important component of your web-based business is your website’s conversion rate. What is a conversion? Though that will be answered differently for every company, the simple answer is that a conversion is getting your site visitor to do what you want him/her to do. Maybe you want people to buy a product, write a review, or sign up for your newsletter. Once the visitor has done that, he/she has been converted.

If your web traffic is high but people aren’t buying, reviewing, or signing up, it means you have a low conversion rate, and ultimately, your website is not performing well. How low is a low conversion rate? Hard to say precisely, because every business is different. For some businesses, a single conversion per month can mean tremendous profits. For other businesses, anything below 5% would spell doom. When it comes to conversion rate optimization, it’s best to test a change to your website, see how it drives conversions, change and test again. But testing can take a while and if done well, it should be a continuous process that you undertake for the life of your business. But to get you started, here are a few ideas that can help improve you conversion rate.

1. Offer An Incentive

Running short-term promotional sales are one good way to get your visitors to buy something right now instead of next week. Give them an ultimatum – a four-day sale or a limited supply – we’ve all seen them and probably taken advantage of them ourselves because they’re a good deal and there is a sense of immediacy. If you give people a long time to think about purchasing, they’ll put it off. But if you create a sense of urgency, they may respond quickly. You also need to make sure to promote the sales with big, catchy titles. Put a banner on the top of the screen or even use a big chunk of the homepage!

2. Create A Compelling Call-To-Action

Don’t forget to use great call-to-action buttons that tell the user specifically what it is you want them to do and make it easy for them to do it. Keep these buttons big, don’t hide them! Use a bold color that contrasts well with the color palette you’re already using, something that just screams PRESS ME!

3. Use Quality Images

Always use high-resolution photographs. Your photos should never be tiny or blurry. If you are selling something physical, try to make your visitor feel as if he can see it from every angle and as up close as he would like. Carefully select the best photographs you have. If possible, provide a zoom and rotate function. Otherwise, just be sure to have enough photos of various angles and views so your visitor can feel confident that what he’s about to purchase will arrive as expected. If you use stock photography, take time to find photos that reflect your business and stay away from tired, generic photos of smiling businesspeople and people in suits shaking hands.

4. Make Your Checkout Or Signup Process Easy

Make the purchasing process as simple and easy for your customer as possible. Keep the header and footer simple, and don’t try to sell your customer anything more unless it is directly related to the item she is buying. (For example, if her cart has a camera, it’s okay to suggest a camera case.) Do not require your customers to create online accounts. Nobody likes signing up for things against their will, and these extra steps can cause a high abandonment rate. Offer your customer the option of registering but make checking out as a guest easy to do as well. For signups, make your forms simple and never ask for more information than is absolutely necessary. Asking a lot of questions on a signup form can feel intrusive and create privacy concerns for your customer.

5. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

The websites with the highest conversion rates are usually the simplest – from the navigation to the overall design. Everything from fonts, “Add To Cart” buttons, and language should be clean and simple. When in doubt, ask a few friends to try your website and see what they say. If they have to ask what something means or does, fix it.

6. Use Trust Symbols

For ecommerce sites especially, customers are swayed by organizations and companies that they are familiar with. Therefore, if you are a member of any reputable organization, like a Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau, you should highlight this somewhere on your homepage. These trust symbols make your business look more credible, which will help put first-time customers at ease.

7. Build Your Brand

Finally, don’t forget to use your website to build your brand. Depending on your business, many customers will only ever know you and your brand through your website, so take full advantage of the time they are on it. Make sure you have a great logo and that it is placed in its optimal position and that you’ve picked colors that match the feeling you’re trying to create. Strong branding leads to more trust from your customers, ultimately leading to more conversions.

Have you tried anything on your website that’s increased conversions for you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Pat Walton

Pat Walton

Pat Walton works for a production firm that develops websites and produces web videos. Between their video work and design efforts, they create websites that engage customers and deliver a clear, focused marketing message.
Pat Walton

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  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Pat,

    Super tips!

    Adding video to my squeeze page increased my list size and boosted overall conversions.

    Trust factor stuff. People see you are real, and trust that on a deeper level.

    Add a personal touch through video, if you are struggling to convert.

    Thanks for sharing Pat!

    Ryan

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      I’ve got to make a video, Ryan, but I keep putting it off. That means I’ll have to brush my hair ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/donna.merrill Donna Merrill

        Awesome tips you have given here. Especially adding a video. But girl, you don’t have to brush your hair! After making hundreds of videos, I became so comfortable behind that camera, it is amazing.

        Adding videos really do boost up our blogs and as Ryan says above increases squeeze page conversions.

        All you have to do is a short one. It is amazing how easy it is once we get over the hair and make up thing! Glasses, hats, angle of camera and lighting all help. I know this is a girly thing, but we need to do it. I am sure you would do so well.

        Donna

        • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

          I know I really need to start with video. It’s “one of those things”. One day I’ll do it and it will be so easy I’ll wonder why I put it off.

  • Adrienne

    I agree Pat, great tips. I really hate to visit a site and it’s just got way too much stuff on it and I can’t even locate where the heck I’m suppose to buy the product. Oh yeah, I’ve seen those sites before.

    I definitely agree with everything you’ve shared here and I definitely have nothing else to add. I guess now we just all have to get to work.

    ~Adrienne

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      Sometimes it’s all about the little details! I think we all better get to work :)

  • carolminarcik

    Good morning Pat. Yes I feel simple is better. I am in the process myself of changing my website. It was designed by “The IN NETWORKING marketing plan” but I want something more subtle also. We will see how it goes. Thanks for the information.

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      Good luck with the redesign! I think it took us 2 years to do our last one because we kept changing our minds. We’re our own worst clients :)

  • http://www.wonderoftech.com Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    Hi Pat, You’re right on all of these. So often when I’m shopping on the Internet the pictures of the product I’m considering isn’t a high quality image. The site is asking me to take a leap of faith and buying something I can’t touch. If I can’t see it either, then how am I supposed to know what I’m getting?

    Thanks for these great pointers!

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      You know what’s funny? Sometimes when you click on the “enlarge” button you get a photo that’s actually smaller. You wonder who did that while they were sleeping!

  • http://twitter.com/SylvianeNuccio Sylviane Nuccio

    Hi Pat,

    Those would seem like basic must have and dos, but you go to those sites and you’re realize that they are missing out on a few of them.

    Thank your for this valuable list.

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      Agree! Sometimes it’s the simple things people miss.

  • http://www.blognetworking101.com/ Jeevan Jacob John

    Great tips, Pat.

    I like the most important part is that we keep it all simple (don’t try to make it all shiny and stuff – keep it simple and at the same time, deliver our message and build the trust).

    Images are a great way to communicate ;) I prefer creating images myself (or as I have planned for my upcoming blog – taking images) instead of buying images or getting them for free online (if we have a good camera, things can be really easy!).

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      I agree that simple is best! And if I had the time and something interesting to take a photo of I would LOVE to use “real” photos on my blog. I think it adds such a nice touch.

  • http://twitter.com/LogAllot Sonia Winland

    I agree with Jeevan about keeping it simple. I can’t stand squeeze pages that look cheesy and never have an ending. I get that I am being sold something, but for god’s sake, get to the point.

    Those types of pages lose me real quick because everything is screaming at me when the video I just viewed told me what I needed to know. You provided some awesome tips Pat and they are excellent reminders for any website needed conversions.

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      I know what you mean, some of those pages are like they crammed a whole website on a single page and it goes on forever and every now and then it says “buy me”. I don’t know if they work but heaven knows you see them all the time.