12 Simple Design Tweaks to Improve Conversion Rates on Your Website

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The following post was written by Peter Ellington. Peter has years of experience writing about internet marketing issues and enjoys sharing his knowledge with those new to the industry. He also knows how important the right business education can be, which is why he also works for a Singapore tution site.

If you're getting plenty of traffic but not enough sales - you're not alone. It's actually a common problem many blogs and websites face. When I started my first blog - I was getting plenty of traffic but I couldn't work out why hardly anyone was spending money on my site. After years of trial and error, I'm finally in a position where I can call myself an internet marketing expert, and I'd like to share what I learnt along with way with you.

These simple tweaks to your site should be enough to start making more sales straight away. Here's what I did:

1. Keep all calls-to-action clear and above the fold

Far too many websites bury their opt-in widgets or other calls-to-action. Whether you're looking for subscribers to a list, clicks through to an affiliate or a direct sale - make it clear. Don't have people guessing what they're supposed to do on your site - direct them to the right place effectively.

Use sticky widgets so that opt-in panels stay at the front no matter how far down your visitors scroll.

2. Reduce distractions

Similarly to the last point - reduce distractions from your main offer as much as possible. Additional adverts can be ok for a bit of extra cash - but the more distractions and opportunities you give people, the more likely they'll be to click away on to something else and miss what you really want them for.

3. Offer value at every stage

You might have been able to get away with spamming people or tricking them into signing up in the past - but it's not that easy any more. If you want people to opt-in to your list - offer them value to do so. I like using free reports or ebooks.

The next important step is to continue to offer them value after they've signed up. If you just start spamming them as soon as you've got their email address, people will unsubscribe in a heartbeat. Offer value and people will enjoy getting your mails and will open them more often. That means you'll have a captive audience for a few choice special offers when you're trying to get a sale.

4. Target active keywords

Not all traffic is created equally. Actually, some keywords like those with "free" in them might be giving you more of the sort of traffic that's less likely to make a sale.

Alternatively, you can target active keywords that deliver visitors who know they're about to spend some money - terms like "discount". Make sure the keywords you target are delivering you the right sort of visitor that isn't looking for a free ride.

5. Consider exit pop-ups

You've got to be careful with pop-ups - and entry ones are probably too much these days. But a carefully placed exit pop-up could be your last attempt to make a sale, so use them wisely.

6. Make your offers seem urgent

If people think that they can come back any time, they won't have a reason to act now. Most will leave and never come back. Make sure your offers are time sensitive - like with "limited" discounts and deals. These can be combined well with exit pop-ups to give people a reason to act immediately.

7. Make forms as simple as possible

Too many websites try and be clever by making people jump through hoops in their message forms. This actually turns visitors away, especially people who have requests that don't fit into the fields specifically. Make your forms as simple as possible. Just an email address is enough to get started.

8. Use testimonials to your advantage

If you've got some people saying good things about your site or product - make it clear. People have more faith in something when they know it's recommended, so don't bury your positive testimonials. It's even better if they're from recognizable sources or relevant authorities in your industry.

9. Make a clear and compelling argument about the benefits

Some sites assume people know why the offer is good for them. They don't. Spell it out for them. Make a compelling argument as to why what you're offering is right, and why your visitors should act now.

10. Offer a money-back guarantee

Money-back guarantees have almost become a staple in the online marketing industry. If you don't offer one - you could be turning potential customers away. The reality is that very few customers will request a refund - but the extra peace of mind they offer could be enough to make a sale.

11. Test alternative layouts

You can't assume that you know which layouts convert the best without knowing for sure. Try some A/B testing so that you really know that your site design is working as best it can.

12. Use custom landing pages for different sources of traffic

If you've got different sources of traffic that you'd rather direct to different pages or offers, then customize your landing pages accordingly. You could send your main traffic to the main site, people searching for a discount to a discount funnel and other keywords to something specifically relevant to what they searched for. Make sure your site is working efficiently for every visitor.

Understand Why You’re Changing Your Website

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Changing your website is a good thing. Generally speaking, you will be rewarded for making regular updates/improvements to your company’s website. Google likes a site where content is regularly updated, and will favor you for it.

That said, there needs to be a reason for your changes. Changing your website for the sake of changing it – because you’re tired of the way it looks or you have nothing better to do – is not a smart strategy.

Getting to the Why

The “why” will help you determine the “how”. The “why” is/are the underlying goal(s) you set for your redesign.

For example, you may be updating your website in order to convert more visitors into customers. Your “why” is conversion rate optimization.

Some other why’s include…

  • Modernizing the brand
  • Improving website navigation
  • Improving SEO
  • Adding products/services
  • Rebranding
  • Appealing to a new target audience

Once you understand why you are changing your website, you can more easily communicate with the team making the changes. The designers and the developers will be able to see the larger picture, grasping the end goal before they start to work.

Without the “why”, you don’t have a strategy.

Improving Conversion on Your Website: What You Need to Know About the Data

Conversion is the most important statistic of relevance to any online business. Traffic is great and important, but converting that traffic into sales and actions are keys to the success and longevity of your business. For many businesses, conversion is simply not optimized and businesses are suffering due to that fact. The facts on website builder reviews reveal that a series of straightforward hacks can boost your conversion and, in conjunction, your business’s bottom line.

Simple and easy-to-implement changes, like boosting website loading speed, changing up the layout or optimizing the checkout process, can make the world of difference online. Using real-time data, analytics, tested design and psychological elements - a system of tried, tested and perfected conversions hacks - have helped countless brands and businesses turn their visitors into customers.

Top Ideas that Work

Some of the best ideas to implement that has seen, in some cases, triple-digit percentage jumps to conversion are pretty straightforward. Using video is one such example. Vidyard increased conversions by 100% by using a video on their homepage, and Candlemakers increased conversion by 166% after adding video testimonials to their site. Media is a huge driver of business and as media becomes more saturated in the marketplace, visitors are beginning to expect it on your site. Voices.com increased their conversion by 400% by implementing demonstration videos of their product.

Another top conversion tip is to simplify user experience. Having customers fill out lengthy questionnaires and forms makes them look for more streamlined options. Imagescape, for example, increased conversion rate by 160% after reducing contact form fields from 11 to 4. Simplifying the checkout, navigation and form filling process can help shift your conversion rate positively.

Conversion is the number one driver of your online business and you no longer have to trial and error your way through to optimization. The data has been compiled for you and is readily available to change your high volume of viewers into sales and converts.

Top Web Design Blog Posts

Online marketing starts with your website. And so web design is a crucial part of marketing. While marketers should not be expected to be designers, they need to know enough about what makes design effective in order to set their companies up for success.

We went back over all of our web design blog posts for the past few years and grabbed the ten highest read titles. Here they are:

  1. Mobile First Web Design
  2. 3 Tips for Better Readability
  3. How to Use Design to Guide the Eyes
  4. Top 5 Website Usability Fixes
  5. Three Easy Ways to Improve Your Homepage
  6. Powerful Web Design Tips to Transform Your Website into a Conversion Driven Success
  7. Testing Form Fields
  8. 3 Ways to Improve Your Buttons
  9. Limit Your Navigation Options
  10. Designer vs. Marketer

3 Minimalistic Homepage Tips to Effectively Give Visitors Room to Breathe (Guest Post)

Lucas Miller is a freelance blogger, content marketer and advocate for what he likes to call, "Editorial Entrepreneurship." When not working to strengthen Echelon Copy and Green Splatter, he's busy reading, writing or running alongside the Wasatch Mountains mountains in Provo, Utah. Also, for what it's worth, he claims to have an incredible head of hair.

Like it or not, the quality of your website will often determine the success of your business. Even if your products or services have nothing to do with web design, it’s the first thing customers see. As such, it plays a paramount role in helping them form their first impression of your business.

Because of this, your website’s homepage forms one of the most important parts of your online business—truth be told, it’s a digital storefront of sorts. If your products are the book, your homepage is the cover, and it will usually be what either hooks or loses site visitors.

Remember, people make decisions emotionally, and then justify their decisions with facts. The buying process is no different. Your homepage should evoke enough emotion in your customers to make them want whatever it is that you offer. From there, you can show them the facts and figures on secondary pages once they’ve decided they’re fully onboard with your brand.

Odds are, most of the companies you buy from have effective homepages. A common theme that runs through these successful websites is that the vast majority of them employ some sort of minimalistic homepage design. These designs are simple, but effective. This is because they don’t bombard visitors with products or information; instead, they warmly welcome them in.

Here are a few tips you can use as part of your site’s homepage design:

1) Use Negative Space

It can be tempting to try and fill every bit of available space with information or graphics in order to keep visitors interested. As effective as this might seem, though, don’t do it.

Most successful websites make full use of negative space. The people who design these websites know that, to make an impression, the customer has to be immediately drawn to a core offer.

For example, when advertising a product, that product should be the focal point of the page. It should be the first thing the customer sees, and there should be nothing to muddle or complicate their view of it. This leads us to an important principle of homepage design—blank space is not necessarily wasted space.

* Whos Doing It Well? Apple

2) Vivid Photography

Your space doesn’t have to be monochromatic—it can be full of pictures, graphics or art, as well. If you feel that miles of blank space, a la Apple, doesn’t fit your company’s style, mood or tone, experiment with visual imagery to fill said space.

This can be especially helpful in giving your customers an idea of who you are and what you represent. Let’s say you make hiking gear, for example. A photo (or photos) that brings about a sense of adventure will get your customers feeling what you want them to feel, and will give them a good first impression of your business—don’t overdo it, though.

Essentially, these photos show your product in the environment that will most powerfully resonate with your customers. They see situations they want to be in, or people doing what they want to be doing, and this makes them feel that your product is the one they want to buy.

* Whos Doing It Well? Stance

3) Guide Your Visitors

Whether a product or a service, if you’re offering something that might be somewhat new or unique to potential customers, you need to make sure that they know who you are and what you do. You can effectively do this by making your homepage easy to navigate and by using it to bring visitors up to speed on your products or services as quickly as possible.

Negative space helps site visitors focus, so don’t do this by filling every bit of space on your homepage with information. Instead, make sure your visitors know only the most pivotal points of your company’s offering, thus enticing them to navigate onto other webpages.

This can often be done quite simply by just spreading out important information. And don’t worry—it’s okay to have a homepage that requires some scrolling to get through. As long as your content is both concise and reader-friendly, you can tell your visitors a great deal about both your company and offering on one single page.

* Whos Doing It Well? SellMax

Needless to say, as you follow the tips mentioned above, you’ll draw visitors in and get them to take the emotional steps necessary to purchase your products or services—they just need some well-deserved breathing room to make it happen.

You’ve worked hard to develop a product or service that can help make people’s lives better. Don’t let that hard work go to waste by pairing it with an ineffective homepage—do this right.