There are several ways to improve website conversions. I will discuss some of the easiest, fastest, “biggest bang for the buck,” ways to identify problems on your website and get your visitors to convert. To give you fair warning, the information in this paper is quite candid, but it will cover what you need to know to start improving your website and increasing revenue.
1. Your baby is ugly!
There, I said it. Even if you think your site is beautiful, take a detached, critical look at it. Website design, layout, color and content have a major impact on your company’s credibility. If your site looks like it was made in 1999, the colors do not match or the content is inconsistent (not just the words, but fonts and colors), it will affect conversions. Look at your site with the same critical eye that you would use for competitors, and then look at your top competitors. Given an honest choice, would you buy from your own site or from theirs?
Developers, designers and executives in the company are often too involved to critique the website fairly. Need unbiased opinions? See paragraph #3 for some more great ideas.
2. Are you selling skyscrapers or flowers? No? Get them off your site!
You are going to read these words again and again: “visual distractors.” You may think having a beautiful skyline with professional looking buildings or exotic flowers on your site increases credibility or builds trust. I am here to tell you, they don’t. In fact, these images can distract a potential customer from the real content of your site. Remove superfluous images and replace them with text or with images that are relevant to your company’s product, service or mission.
3. I am on your site. I have no idea what to do next!
I have examined hundreds of sites and it is amazing to me that this problem still exists. What action do you want the potential customer to take once they visit your site? You have about five seconds to make it clear. Where is the “buy” button? Why is your phone number buried three clicks into your site? Where is the easy-toread description of your product or service? I was just on a site where I had to scroll far down the page to see the “Add to cart” button. That button should be placed prominently next to the product image and description. If the page scrolls, add another button toward the bottom of the page.
You don’t believe that these issues exist on your site? Here is a very inexpensive tool for determining whether your site has these issues: www.usertesting.com. The site charges about $40 for a usability test. After you sign up, you will enter questions that you would like a new user to answer and submit. Begin with a minimum of three users, but no more than five at a time. The information you receive from the first three will keep you busy for weeks. The suggested questions are great, but I would like for you to use this first question: “Look at the site for only five seconds then answer the question: ‘What does the company do and what action are you supposed to take?’” You may also want to ask about finding the product or service page and ask a similar question: “What product are we selling and what action are you supposed to take?” If your visitor can’t immediately find the “Buy,” “Try” or “Add to cart” button in a few seconds, you are losing sales.
4. Who are you and why should I buy from you?
If you are a small- to medium-sized company and your competitors are larger, well-known companies, this step is very important for you.
Your visitors need to see you as a professional company that takes security seriously. They need to feel assured that you are not running things out of your garage. Do not assume they do not think that, because they probably do. If you decide to be the price leader, your visitor may think your offer is too good to be true and may not buy from you. If your price is the same or higher than your well-branded competitor, your site needs have a great explanation for why you are the better choice. Reassure your customers that their privacy is protected and will not be shared.
Have your site’s security assessed and endorsed by a recognizable organization, and post that endorsement prominently on your site. Common trust marks include VeriSign, BBB, TRUSTe and McAfee.
If others are using you with great success, so should I.
Your site should quickly and easily answer, “Why should I buy from you?” Testimonials and reviews are another great way to quickly show social proof.
5. Test, test, and more testing...the easy way.
This section could be 100 pages long; I cannot stress enough the important of testing. I will make it easy for you to start your first test.
First, you’ll need an analytics program. I will assume you have Google Analytics. If you do not, please sign up at www.google.com/analytics. It is totally free and you will need it to take your site to the next level. To learn more about using Google Analytics, you can sign up for free training from Google Analytics Academy (https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com).
The first test I want you to try is a button color test. It may not increase conversions significantly, but it is easy and will show you how testing works.
Keep in mind that if the new button does not improve conversions, all is not lost. You now know which color does not work and you simply try another. One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
To pick a color, take a look at your site. What color theme is displayed throughout the site? What other colors stand out on the page? Now, pick a color that isn’t prominently used in your site’s theme. You want to create a visual distraction; when visitors come to your site, your action button (buy, try, add to cart) should stick out like a sore thumb. You don’t want it to look unprofessional (no rainbows or anything like that), but if your site is mainly dark colors, make it an orange button. If your site has a green theme with orange sub-colors, try maroon.
For more A/B test ideas, visit www.whichtestwon.com. This site shows testing completed on various sites and the winners of each.
Al Scillitani is the Senior Online Marketing Manager for Citrix ShareFile. He has more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and optimizing websites.