Your business website isn’t just for show. It is more than a fancy business card or digital brochure. The purpose of your website is to convert visitors. The starting points and end goals can differ, but, in each case, you want to take them from point A to point B. In order to do that, you need to understand the ins and outs of website conversion.
Many people equate conversion with purchase, but a website conversion can take different forms. At its heart, a conversion means a visitor has taken an action that you want them to take. This could be a purchase (usually that is the end goal), or it could mean that a potential client gives you a call or signs up for your email campaign.
Visitors will take different paths on your website depending on how familiar they are with you and your products or services. At each point along the path, you will prompt them to take an action. Each successful conversion helps move them along the path, strengthening your relationship and ultimately leading to a transaction.
Conversions happen all over the web. If you write a particularly compelling ad that people click on and end up on your site, that’s a conversion. As is getting users to join your Facebook group or share a post. Each of those is a type of conversion, but they are slightly different than website conversions.
Website conversions, specifically, are those that happen on your own site, and that’s important because it’s where you have the most control. Your site is where you can make the largest impact in affecting your audience’s behavior.
Once you have visitors on your pages, how do you lead them along the right path? How do you get them to take the actions that you want so they move from visitors to followers, followers to customers, and customers to fans?
One of the best ways to improve your conversion rate is to build trust with your visitors, and as much as you can brag about yourself, it is more effective to have someone else brag about you. By including customer testimonials, you allow your biggest fans to sing your praises. When you do so, be sure to link your testimonials to specific product pages. That creates a direct link in the reader’s mind between the purchase of a product and the nice things previous customers have to say about it.
No matter how high-quality your content is, it won’t work for website conversion if your customers don’t see it. In the digital world, you have to get the viewer’s attention as soon as possible. That means your highest converting content should be seen without needing to scroll down the page. So catch the visitor’s eye quickly then keep their attention as they move down the page.
You want a healthy mix of features and benefits on your website so your audience knows how your product or service will make their lives better. What’s the difference between the two? Features focus on the product. Benefits focus on the user. For example, telling us a laptop has a two terabyte hard drive is sharing a feature. And it doesn’t really mean much unless you know your specs.
The benefit, on the other hand, is that the user never has to worry about running out of space for photos, music, documents, and movies. That is something that could make us want to buy. When in doubt, try to include more benefits because they tend to move readers to action.
Another way to increase website conversion is to simply know your audience and not just their problems, but how they describe their problems. The more they can see themselves in your copy, the easier it is for them to trust you as an authority. It shows your visitors that you understand where they are coming from and that you can help.
When you write copy for teenagers, for example, it should sound different than copy written for grandparents. Even if you are pitching them the same product, you will take a different angle to get there. Also, try to stick with active verbs when possible. Instead of, “The bicycle is fast,” try, “The bicycle whips in and out of traffic.” This keeps your copy engaging, which leads to visitors reading more of what you have to say.
When you’re asking for a visitor’s information (for an email list, for example), you want to use as few fields as possible. Users can easily be overwhelmed by a long form and decide to just move on. So if the email address is all you really need, consider skipping the first and last name fields. Or find other ways to make the sign up as seamless as possible.
When it comes time to put money on the line, you want your customers to feel confident that they are making the right choice. No one likes buyer’s remorse. We hate to think that we’ve just been suckered by some slick sales pitch. Whenever possible, reduce this risk by offering a money back guarantee or some other refund or return policy. Even if your customers never plan to use it, they are more likely to make the purchase knowing that the offer is there.
Website conversion strategy is one key to the success of Zappos. They understood that customers were worried about buying shoes they hadn’t tried on, so they made it easy to return product, thereby reducing the risk of purchase.
This is actually another form of reducing risk, but it’s especially important for email sign-ups. In this case, the risk is that you will receive loads of unsolicited offers, or, even worse, that your email address will be sold to some spam peddler who will flood your inbox. Be clear about what your audience should expect when they give you their email. Of course you’re not going to spam them, but spelling it out clearly reassures them and leads to more sign-ups.
Sometimes a hyperlink is all you need for your call to action, but a well-designed button will make the action feel more official and trustworthy. This is especially important when your customer submits sensitive details like payment information, or when you’re asking for contact information. You want to make it clear that you have put time, effort, and money into your site. This attention to detail helps build trust and increase conversions.
For landing pages in particular, you want to ensure that the page loads quickly. Those hi-res images might look great, but if they take too long to load, your visitors may click away before they even see what you have to offer. Take a look at your graphics and photos to make sure the files aren’t too large. Just a few seconds doesn’t seem like much, but it can be the difference between a bounce and a conversion.
Your website conversion rate is one of your most important metrics. It tells you if you understand the visitor’s journey and how to direct them along the correct path. By making a few small changes, you may actually see a big difference in your website conversion.