Are your website visitors turning into leads and sales or are they taking a look and disappearing again? It’s a common problem and, fortunately, fairly easy to fix – if you know how.
So You Want To Improve Your Website?
Getting traffic to your site is just the first step on the journey. The ultimate goal is to get those visitors to DO something. That may be to buy a product (or service), book an appointment, download a case study, sign up for more info or… well, pretty much anything else that’s good for your business.
Yet many businesses still focus on getting visitors to the site, then sit back as though the job’s done. Wrong! The job’s only just started. Conversion rate optimisation is the art of knowing how to improve your website to turn as many of those visitors into customers as possible.
The best thing about conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is that it’s free money. You’ve spent money getting traffic. You’ve probably paid a web designer to create your site, or at least spent many hours building it yourself. Then there’s time and money spent on SEO to make sure the site’s visible in search results. Add to that content marketing, social media, paid search (Google Adwords anyone?), PR campaigns and a host of other traffic-driving expenses to boot.
CRO focuses on what you can do on your site without spending any more, to get the best value from the traffic you already have. Free money.
Now before we go any further, let’s just accept the fact that many visitors are going to drop off regardless. No-one in the history of the web ever has, or ever will, converted 100% of their traffic. Average conversion rates are around 1.5%-3%. That percentage makes up the current total of your online sales… so if you could boost it by a percentage point or two, what would that look like on your bottom line?
All Traffic Is Not Created Equal
Not everyone who visits your site actually has the potential to turn into a customer. Every site has a proportion of poor quality traffic mixed in with the big spenders. The trick is knowing which is which and where the good stuff is coming from.
For starters you need to be all over your Google Analytics. Knowing, for example, which keywords and keyphrases are driving customers who ultimately convert will help you cut out the ones which are driving the chaff. And, by extension, allow you to develop those which are driving quality visitors into a more important element of your site content.
What does that actually mean? Here’s a great example. We’re a digital marketing company so, when we started our website, we wrote a whole bunch of content based around the keyphrase “digital marketing” – makes sense, right? Well, that’s what we thought.
How wrong we were…
By looking at which of our visitors actually downloaded any of the guides we had on the site, we found they weren’t coming from “digital marketing” keyword searches. Nope. Those were mostly other digital marketing companies checking out their competitors.
Our biggest converters were coming from searches related to “better blogging” and similar terms. So we scaled back on writing articles and posts about digital marketing per se and wrote a whole bunch more about how to be a better blogger. Lo and behold, our overall conversion rate went up as a result.
Study your visitors. Learn what they want to achieve. Understand what problems you can help them solve. By knowing who your high quality visitors are, you can orient your website to fulfill more of their needs and convert more of them into customers.
That’s conversion optimisation at its finest, folks.
Write On The Money
If you want to improve your website user experience quickly, one of the first places to focus is the content. As that last section hints, web copy can have a huge impact on conversion rates. We see far too much copy that’s written from the point of view of the business – instead of the customer.
Everything on your site should be focused squarely on the customer and that includes the copy. Here are some top tips for writing copy that converts customers:
- Avoid jargon, it’s meaningless outside your industry and adds no value;
- Don’t waffle, visitors want facts not fluff;
- Focus on your key messages, i.e. what do you need people to know?
- Read it as a customer and see if it makes sense – they don’t have the inside knowledge you do;
- Make calls-to-action compelling and meaningful;
- Don’t try and be too fancy, you’re writing web copy not a Brontë novel;
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it fun, playful or entertaining. Think about what you’d want to read if you were in their shoes. Then get your friends and family to read it too.
Start with a few key pages first before committing to a complete re-write. Make sure your new style has the desired effect on conversion rates before going any further. Measure how many more conversions you get through those pages and then roll the changes out to a few more pages, measuring each as you go.
Create Relevant Landing Pages
Now you understand what’s driving high-converting visitors and you’ve adjusted your web copy to suit them.
But are you giving them what they want when they arrive?
Arguably the most critical factor in how search engines rank your website is relevance. Not having relevant content on your site will result in two disastrous consequences:
- Google will relegate you further down the search results pages;
- Visitors will spend less time on your site and won’t convert.
The second of these – known as ‘bounce rate’ – shows why relevance is essential for conversion rate optimisation. Online attention spans are short and there’s almost certainly another website just a click or two away which can offer customers a similar product or service. So if they struggle to find what they’re looking for, they’ll be gone.
So how do you find out which pages are working to convert browsers into buyers and which aren’t? It’s not like you have checkout staff to ask them if they found everything they were looking for. Well, actually, maybe you do…
Back to Google Analytics…
You can very easily start to improve your website by analysing your bounce rates, conversion rates and much more for any given page on your site using GA. Once you know which are the worst-converting pages on your site, you can set about optimising these for better results. Take some cues from the best-converting pages to guide you as to what to change. As always, be careful not to change too much in one go, otherwise you won’t get a clear picture of which changes actually made the difference.
- Ensure the content on the pages matches the search terms we looked at earlier – nothing drives visitors away faster than searching for one thing and landing on a page discussing another
- Experiment with the placement of calls-to-action (CTAs) – are they prominent and compelling enough to let visitors know how they get to a download, signup or sale?
- Have you given visitors clear signposts? If the page they land on isn’t exactly what they’re after, have you included clear links to other related information?
If your landing pages aren’t performing they’re losing you money.