You might be wondering, what is a conversion-optimized website?
That is a website that has been optimized or tweaked to produce conversions. So we’re talking about things you can do on your website, ways of putting it together and building it, that are likely to result in more conversions.
Now, what’s a conversion? Well, it’s whatever action you want to your site visitor to take on your site, whether that is to fill out an opt-in form, complete your contact form and submit it, sign up for a webinar, or buy a product or service.
Whatever it is, you want your site to encourage visitors to take that action, right?
Here are 10 ways to optimize your website to turn visitors into contacts and customers:
1. Clear Messaging
You may have heard of the 3-second rule? The phrase was coined by Eban Pagan years ago. When a Google searcher comes to your website, you have 3 seconds to tell them some vital information – What this is, Who this is, and What’s in it for them. And the only way to do that is through messaging on your website.
Your home page messaging is of course the most important, but keep in mind that visitors may arrive at your site for the first time on other pages. They may have been guided to a blog post or your About page, for example. So it’s vital that you answer those 3 questions at the top of every page of your website, through visuals and text. Keep your audience in mind and give them clear, easy to understand copy with an image or two to back it up.
2. Clear Call to Action
Along with clear messaging, a clear call to action is going to help drive your visitors to the conversion action you’re looking for. Someone once said “a confused mind never buys”, and it’s so true. Sometimes when there are too many choices, your brain gives up and you end up doing nothing. I love going to the Cheesecake Factory, but when I go there, I only order from the appetizer menu. The reason is that I know if I start looking at the full menu, it will be hard to make a decision, and I don’t want my brain to have to think too hard when I’m out for dinner! So I just ignore most of the menu.
If you have 2 or three calls to action on your website, your potential customer isn’t going to know which one they should take. Try to keep your site to one primary call to action, and then secondary calls which lead them to the primary one. For example, your About page might have a call to action that leads to your examples page, which then leads to your contact page to make an appointment. You also will want to pay attention to the wording of your CTA. “Contact” isn’t the most descriptive of messages. What specifically do you want them to do? Make an appointment? Download a free resource? Request a quote? Whatever it is, be specific.
3. Clear navigation
Are you sensing a theme here? It’s “clear and simple”. You want to make it as easy as possible for visitors to get to the main sections of your website. If you only have five pages, it’s easier – just place all five navigation links across the top of the page. But in sites such as blogging sites and informational websites, you may have 20 or 30 or more categories of information.
If you are building an e-commerce store, you may have even more categories and sections in your store. Having a store menu at the top of the main e-commerce page is a good tactic, so visitors can find the types of store items they’re looking for quickly.
On the main pages of your site, don’t have more than 7 navigation items at the top of the page. You can use drop-downs as long as they don’t drop down too far. If you are stuck you can also try implementing a mega-menu, which lays everything out for the visitor in a panel when links are hovered over. This is most appropriate for a technical or heavily informational site where your audience is likely to have varied interests within your niche.
4. Simplified colors and typography
When you’re designing your website, it’s very easy to get carried away with colors and fonts. I know because I’ve done it many a time, and paid the price. You can end up with a mish mash of colors and too many font styles that make your site look cluttered and unorganized, even if you think it isn’t! Stick to 2 colors with another one for “pop”, and 2 fonts at the most.
You can use a single font family with several styles to give the site some variety between headlines, subheads, and body copy. Or you can choose a font pairing like a serif font for headlines and a sans-serif font for text. The idea is to keep it simple and not to distract from the message. Font and color choice will also vary depending on your target audience. Choose what you think they will resonate with, not just what you resonate with.
5. Signify trust.
If your visitor doesn’t trust you, your visitor won’t buy from you. This is why Amazon is so successful. The bottom line with Amazon is that you know you can trust them to deliver your stuff, usually within the time frame they specify. For solopreneurs, the trust factor also needs to be there. One way to establish trust is simply by being a reliable business that delivers what it promises. Over time, your reputation will precede you!
Placing a photo of yourself on your website is important as visitors want to know who is behind the website. A photo of yourself also indicates that you stand by your work. The aforementioned messaging will also go a long way toward building trust. Speak directly to your potential client’s pain so they see that you understand them. If you do that, you will have their trust and a much better likelihood of them taking action on your site.
6. Reviews and testimonials.
Social proof now is also a way to establish trust, and is crucially important to potential buyers, especially if they don’t already know you. Try to have at least six testimonials on your site if you can. If you have Google reviews, you can embed them straight onto your website, which adds to the authenticity of the comments.
Asking for testimonials can be a tricky thing, but ask you must. Most clients don’t just put their hand up and ask you where they can leave a glowing review for you. The best time to ask for a testimonial is right after a purchase or right after you’ve completed a service. Don’t wait too long or they will forget what the experience with you was like.
You may also want to provide a survey or questionnaire for them to fill out, answering specific questions. This makes it a lot easier for them to come up with something to say. People are so pressed for time, writing a review can be a very low priority in someone’s day. Once the questionnaire has been completed, you can compile the answers into a coherent statement.
Pro tip: Don’t place your reviews at the bottom of the page. Place them about half way down the page, where visitors are more likely to see them. If you make them wait until they’ve scrolled to the bottom of your page, they may never see them.
7. Subscription with free gift
A simple e-book or infographic can be worth the price of a name and email address if you position the gift correctly. Make the information in the free gift something your visitors can use right away, and appropriate to their immediate need.
For example, if you are a wellness coach offering meditation classes, your gift should speak directly to the pain that meditation addresses. How to alleviate stress or how to make the most out of your meditation practice might be good titles. Be sure to present this offer in a compelling way such as a pop-up or a subscribe box on your web page that pops with color and a clear call to action button. Most people understand they are likely to receive emails from business owners who they have given their email address to. But you should still make it clear that they are being added to a mailing list and can unsubscribe any time.
8. Address different stages in the buyer’s journey.
You may have visitors to your website who not only enter through different pages, but are at different stages of the buyer’s journey, or sales cycle. They may have never heard of you or the type of service you offer. Or they may have heard of the service, but not you yet.
They might be investigating whether they need such a service, or they might have already decided they need it, just not who to go with. And they might be seriously considering using you and have been to your website a few times, and are just about ready to buy.
Being able to speak directly to all of these people on your website is tricky. A rule of thumb is to use your homepage as your introduction to your business, aimed more specifically at new visitors. Inside pages can be more educational for those diving a bit deeper into the topic. You might want to offer a second free gift or a webinar registration on one of these pages, that addresses a specific topic. Another rule of thumb is to include several different ways of contacting you on your contact page, including a “book a call” link where those who are closer to buying can schedule a conversation with you.
9. Keep visitors on your site once they get there.
One of the main goals of your website should be to keep your visitors interested enough to browse around your site for as long as possible. Your Google Analytics account will tell you the approximate length of your visitors’ visits. You can get even better and more specific information by installing a tool like HotJar on your website. HotJar actually shows you live vistor behaviour on your site. It’s all anonymous so there is no invasion of privacy, but the tool follows the path your visitor takes and can show you the primary places they are mouse-clicking through heat maps.
But how do you keep them engaged once they get to the site? Most of the points already presented will help keep your visitor engaged, including offering a free gift, addressing their immediate needs, and speaking in their language – using the same words they would use to describe their situation.
Another tip to keep visitors on your site is to limit social media links to the footer. You don’t want to be encouraging them to leave the website to go to your social media accounts. In fact, the goal should be the other way around. An exception to this rule might be if you are a blogger and you want your readers to share your content on social media after they have consumed it. But for the most part, keep social media links in an unobtrusive place. You want to show that you are on social media, but not encourage leaving your website.
Another tip here is to make sure you keep your contact information always available on every page, particularly for a local business. A phone number and link to a contact form or email address should be at the top or bottom of every web page.
10. Optimize page loading speed.
Perhaps this should have been in the #1 spot! If your website takes too long to load, your visitor will never get there. You can test this yourself periodically, or use tools such as pingdom.com or GTMetrix.com. GTMetrix will show you not only your overall page speed, but break it down so you can see exactly what is being loaded on the page when. Hint: it’s not necessarily in the order of items top to bottom. Sometimes you’ll find a web page loading a video in the middle of the page before loading the top banner. That can slow down the speed of your entire page, so you might want to remove the video or make sure it’s embedded instead of being uploaded, which will make it a lot lighter.
Those are your top 10 ways to increase conversions on your website. If you’re on a path to create your own website, check out my WordPress Essentials getting started ebook here.
If you’d like to talk about having a website built for you, or a current site refreshed, book a call, I’d love to chat.