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!