Whatever service or product a business sells, a website for that business has grown beyond just a convenient portal for accessing information. Therefore, it’s vital to look upon visitors who land on a site as more than just traffic – they are real people, and they’re eager to engage on many levels.
With each piece of content (words, images, graphics etc.) they interact with, that person is forming an opinion about your business. If they like what they see, then they’ll make a decision about becoming your customer.
Before delving into the main points which a business should focus on with regard to CRO, let’s first discuss the major obstacle to improving the overall impression of a website.
What is ‘user experience’? To put it simply, it’s the total of all the experiences a user has on your site – visual, audio, design, usability – basically any impression that is made from the time spent arriving on the site, to making a purchase or contact.
This experience will determine the way a person will feel, think and behave while visiting your website, and it can be dependent on the type of industry you work in, and the market you’re targeting.
To create a meaningful user experience, there are a few obstacles to overcome which require you to examine the finer details about what it is you’re projecting about your business:
- What kind of first impression does the user get when landing on your site?
- What information is displayed when the user looks for a specific product/service?
- When they register interest via online forms (account creation, newsletter subscription etc.), what arrives in their inbox to enable them to interact further?
- If the user makes a purchase or registers their interest, how do you thank them?
- What happens if the product or service they seek doesn’t exist?
- How does it reflect on your business if the order isn’t completed and shipped in a timely manner?
- How do you inspire trust with your user?
These are just a handful of instances that build or shatter the impression of a business. By taking care of these points, you’re on the way to growing your online presence in a positive way.
The following list of ideas and solutions will provide a solid foundation on which to build upon Conversation Rate:
1. Get to know your customers by understanding what they want. You can study customer behaviour using online surveys (tools available include SurveyMonkey and Qualaroo).
2. Or, interact with your customers live using live chat software (try Olark, LiveChat, Kayako).
3. If your site is popular, check out what people are saying about you by reading reviews. If you’re doing something wrong, you’ll soon learn about it.
4. Research your competitors – what are they doing right, and what can you learn from their mistakes.
5. Use Google Analytics to identify top performing products or services and then focus on promoting them.
6. Perform landing page split tests using Analytics Content Experiments in Google Analytics – it’s free!
7. When you conduct your tests, make sure you have enough data – remember ‘Statistical Significance’ is what you’re looking for.
8. Use Google Webmaster Tools to check the Click Through Rate (CTR) of the keywords your business ranks for, and then use those for your Meta Tags.
9. Clearly display how customers should interact or order from you on your homepage. Small buttons won’t attract attention; oversized buttons can make your site look amateurish.
10. Different button wording such as ‘Buy Now’ and ‘More Info’ results in different behaviour – see what works for you.
11. There’s psychology behind colours, so consider the impact your button colours may have.
12. Use videos on the homepage to showcase the quality of your product or service.
13. Keep your navigation structure clear and simple so a visitor can find what they’re looking for quickly. If they have to dig around, chances are you’ll lose a customer.
14. Avoid vague category structure in your navigation links. Find out the search terms people used to arrive at your site using Analytics, and then utilise those for your categories.
15. Place your logo in the top left of the screen and keep sizing to a minimum, you’ll be wasting crucial landing page space otherwise.
16. Create an attention-grabbing tag line for your business that summarises what you’re offering to a visitor.
17. Keep Meta Tags relevant to your business. These are the doorways to your business from the Search Engines.
18. Your headings may lose you visitors because they’re misleading or not explaining why the visitor should stay on the page. Test out your H1s and H2s.
19. If you’ve got a special deal on, make it stand out.
20. Keep your USPs specific i.e. ‘Free Shipping on orders over £50’ rather than ‘Free Shipping’. The latter will annoy your customer when they hit checkout to find they had to spend £50 in order to qualify.
21. Have a search facility that works. Test your search box for accuracy and make sure to cover misspellings, singular/plural versions, and auto-suggestions.
22. Use quality images on each of your product/service pages. Avoid stock images; take actual photos.
23. Make sure your descriptions are accurate and provide two versions – a brief summary and a detailed description.
24. Try using bullet points in your content rather than blocks of text.
25. For your top selling products/services, create videos for added impact and tell the visitor why it’s worth the money.
26. Ask for testimonials or reviews, and display them on site. A good review adds credibility to your business.
27. If you provide a service, try appealing to visitors through the use of 3 or 4 pricing models. One price doesn’t always suit everyone.
28. Highlight a pricing model that you think is best – call it ‘top selling package’ or ‘most popular’. People will convert if they think it’s the best value deal on offer.
29. Guide your visitor through the contact/checkout process – don’t abandon them once they’ve shown interest!
30. Give the visitor obvious ways to contact you or to make a purchase.
31. If a form needs filling out, that information should be preserved in the event the form doesn’t validate. It’s infuriating having to retype the same information.
32. Offer help tips against each field in the form – your visitor may not understand what the field requires them to input.
33. If there’s a validation error, display it next to the field in question so the visitor knows where the problem is.
34. Be clear and specific about how to submit the form once it’s been completed.
35. When a visitor contacts you, make sure they receive an auto-responder email. Your auto-responder is the first one-to-one communication with your customer, so make sure it reflects well on your business.
36. Create a 404 error page. This is the page a visitor may see if a page doesn’t exist on your site e.g. due to migration, deletion by admin, dead hyperlink etc.
37. Best practice 404 error pages include: a friendly message apologising, a way to search for further information, contact details, links to high priority pages.
38. Offer multiple ways of getting in touch. Contact details should include: email, phone, address and social media.
39. Use social media! Visitors are more inclined to trust your business if you display your followers from Twitter/Facebook/Instagram etc.
40. Give your visitor a clear link so they can follow/like you on social media.
41. Create a quality ‘About’ page. Many people look to this page before making contact with a business, especially if it’s their first time. So, write naturally and be authentic.
42. On your about page include: your whole business history, your team (images work really well alongside names and job descriptions), facts about your business.
43. Make sure your offer a support page that includes a landline (free to call if possible) and an address. Not every potential customer wants to interact with you online.
44. Consider a usability test from companies such as Spotless or ExperienceSolutions. This will provide a real-world user experience of your site along with findings and suggestions.
45. Ensure your website loads quickly. The more time a visitor has to wait for pages to load in their browser, the more likely they are to go elsewhere.
46. Utilise browser caching – this will reduce page load time for subsequent visits, reduce bandwidth and lower hosting costs by eliminating HTTP requests.
48. Optimise your images for web so they download quicker. You can reduce file sizes without compromising quality.
50. Use AdWords Remarketing. Visitors who have been to your site and gone elsewhere can be targeted again while they look on other sites. Remarketing ads can help bring them back with custom offers and landing pages.