It’s not uncommon to tend to think you need more website traffic to drive sales. And to do that, you need to focus all of our time and resources into traffic tactics like SEO, search engine advertising, display advertising, and social media. However, what if you took your focus away from those and focused on increasing your conversion rates instead? Well, if you were able to double website conversion rates then you would immediately double your sales without investing more into traffic! Again, this is likely a huge leverage point in your marketing if you’re already generating leads and sales from your website.
Doubling your website conversion rates should be one major goal for your small business. First of all, when you increase your conversion rates, all of your marketing efforts instantly become more profitable. You’ll begin to generate more leads and sales with absolutely no increased investment in driving traffic to your site.
If you are to focus on increasing your web conversions, you need to make sure your website is conversion ready. Here is what you need to do to be ready…
Ease of Navigation
When thinking about how your small business website will look and be used, make sure that the menu bar is easy to find and is clear. Use headings that aptly describe the information they contain. Also, don’t try to be overly creative or innovative in a way that makes people confused when they come to your site. Stick to what has worked for other websites and try to make your site look (in general) like the majority of other sites out on the web. For instance, have the menu along the top of the page or on one of the sides. Don’t try to be creative and put it on the bottom of the page or make your headings unclear; this will only confuse and aggravate your visitors.
The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important. Plan out your navigation based on your homepage. All sites have a home or “root” page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content.
Most Important Information Above “The Fold”
Make sure all the important information is visible when a visitor first arrives at the home page. A good number of people will not scroll down to find the important information.
What is “the fold”: When broadsheet newspapers are laid out for sale, they’re folded down the middle and only the top half can be seen. The bit that’s on show is said to be “above the fold”. Newspapers are designed to have their major headlines and photos in this top half of the page, so that people are drawn to them and pick up the paper. The newspaper’s branding also appears prominently in this top half, so people can recognize it immediately.
In web design, the term “above the fold” is used to refer to the first screenful of content. It’s what people can see without having to scroll the page, so it is their first impression of your website. It’s essential that your website’s identity or branding, and its navigation, appear above the fold. By having multiple columns of text, you can also start several different stories above the fold and invite people to click to read more or scroll down the page to finish reading.
Of course, the fold doesn’t appear at the same place for everyone. It varies depending on the screen resolution, browser used, and the number of browser toolbars in use. If you’re assuming a minimum screen height of 768 pixels, a good place to think of the fold is being 575-590 pixels down the page. But remember that this is the minimum and that people will see lots of different sized screenfuls.
Tip: Organize and formulate a layout for the information you’d like to include.
Elements to include “above the fold”:
- Company name and logo
- Contact Info
- Tagline (a memorable one sentence summary)
- Main and sub-navigation
- RSS and email subscription options
- Social media buttons/icons
- On-site search box
Correct Sizing of Pictures
Compress your images. Readers tend to get annoyed when they’re waiting for a 2MB image to load when it should be only 20k instead. Graphics software like Photoshop can compress images so they take up less space in your hard drive, which in turn take less time to load into your visitors’ browsers. The best recommendation is to get a graphics software and shrink those file sizes.
Tip 1: You can see the dimensions of your image in pixels by hovering your mouse over the file name in your computer’s window browser. To calculate the size in inches that an image will be when printed divide the number of pixels by the print resolution. To calculate what size your image will be on screen divide the number of pixels by 72.
Tip 2: When cropping and resizing an image, to work out the correct size multiply the number of inches by 72. This will give you the dimensions in pixels which is the numerical value used in html code. For example, if you want a 6×4 inch photo, the pixel width and height will be 432 x 288.
Tip 3: Whenever resizing your images for use in websites, never overwrite the original image, just in case you need it later for print. Instead, give it a new name. Images can always be downsized but never upsized – they become pixelated and of poor quality.
Tip 4: If you want to show a larger version of an image, you can always include a link to the original image. If the image belongs to you and you do not want someone else claiming it as their own, add a watermark of your name on it.
Multiple Calls to Action
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are one of the key lead generation elements, and they should be used in each and every one of your marketing tactics: emails, social media updates, press releases, trade shows … the list goes on. In fact, whenever you want to ensure your team is moving in the right direction, pose the question, “What’s the call-to-action we’re using to drive people’s behavior?”
This question will guide you in thinking through each of the steps in the sales cycle, from brand awareness to purchase. Before you produce a marketing video, for example, ask yourself what you want viewers to do after watching it. Before you post an update to Facebook or Twitter, consider what options for engagement you are giving to your fans and followers.
Naturally, the call-to-action won’t always be to purchase your product or service. It can certainly lead people in that direction, but it will rarely follow as a direct result of an isolated marketing tactic. That is why you should view your marketing as an integrated system that combines different channels and assets.
Having the CTA buttons on each page of your website is great, but you need to position them in convenient ways. It can be slightly irritating for readers, who spend time scrolling through your content, only to discover that they have to scroll all the way back up to the top to find the link to your contact information or your products. However, you do want to include prominent CTA buttons above the fold that will immediately catch a visitor’s eye.
Add calls to action at the bottom of the page, and, if you have a large amount of content, add one halfway down the page as well. If you have side columns, leverage this space for your CTAs.
Depending on the advanced level of your website, you may be able to keep the side column still, as your reader scrolls. Often times, you have two or three competing actions that you would like your website visitors to take. For instance, you might want them to request a consultation and try your product. Or you might want them to sign up for your email newsletter and download a whitepaper. Decide which call-to-action has higher priority, and give it more prominent placement and a bigger size. Also, keep in mind that the context of your page will affect click-through rates, so make sure there is a clear alignment between your call-to-action and the content around it.
Following are the steps you take to build your CTAs:
Step 1: Make it Clear What the Offer Is
Your CTA should clearly describe what the offer is. If you’re giving away a whitepaper about getting more Twitter followers, you may want to say something like “Download the FREE Whitepaper on How to Get More Twitter Followers.”
Step 2: Make it Action-Oriented
Begin with an action verb like “download” or “register” that makes it very clear what action visitors will be taking on the subsequent landing page.
Step 3: Keep it Above the Fold
Make sure your site visitors can see your CTA without having to scroll down the page. Our data shows that this will increase your click-through rates.
Step 4: Make it Stand Out
If your CTA blends in with the rest of your page, you won’t get much traffic to your landing page. Make it contrast with your website’s color scheme so that it stands out on the page.
Step 5: Make it Match Your Landing Page Headline
The CTA should match the headlines on your landing page. Testing has proven that the more consistent you can keep the two, the higher your landing page conversion rate will be.
Step 6: Place CTAs on the Most Relevant Website Pages
Aside from your homepage, place the most relevant CTAs on each of your website pages and blog posts. For example, HubSpot has created blog posts about Facebook and SEO. On the Facebook blog posts, you’ll see a CTA advertising a Facebook whitepaper. On the SEO blog posts, you’ll see a CTA advertising a SEO whitepaper.
Step 7: Test, Test, Test
You should implement the first 7 steps as best as you can, but you must test your CTAs to see what will resonate well with your audience. Test varied messaging, colors, and placement on your pages, and see if you can get more page views on your landing pages.
Ensure that all text on your website is search engine optimized with strategic use of keywords and avoid duplicate.
Tip: Make sure each page in your website has something valuable to offer.
Though this doesn’t really relate to design, it’s actually more important than design, which is why it’s the very first tip. You may think that style is all that really matters. But let’s step back a minute and realize that fundamentally a web page exists to provide something that’s useful or interesting to visitors. If your page doesn’t have that, then you must fix that problem before you worry about how to present it.
What are you offering to your visitors? Why is it worth their time to visit your site? Please focus on that before you move on to how it should look.
Tips for Quality Content:
- Choose a good writer – preferably someone with industry expertise.
- Choose a compelling title that gets attention and then use a subtitle to describe in more details what your content will discuss and/or what the reader will learn.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread!
- Professionally design your content. Include images and graphs
- Consider using mini case studies or stories that illustrate what you are writing
- Don’t be promotional.
- Give concrete examples and action steps for your reader – educate them.
- Provide a detailed “about us” at THE END of the content. This is where you can be promotional.
Trust. It’s a simple word, representing a fragile bond you build with your customers.
It is very important to secure trust logos for your website to help gain confidence from your potential customers. They may have liked you on your Facebook page, but do they really know you?
As the success or failure of your online business depends largely on trust, it’s critical to determine how shoppers perceive the trustworthiness of your website, your brand, the quality of information you provide and the products and services you offer. Failure to address any gaps in trust will surely lead to unsatisfied customers, lower site conversions and lost sales.
Displaying logos that are “familiar” to your site visitors help instill credibility and confidence. Examples can be the Better Business Bureau, association logos, editorials, awards, seal of approval from trusted brands.
While overall consumer trust in conducting business online has been gradually eroding over the past several years, trust can be regained. But it will take the proper investment of time and resources to improve specific areas of customer trust that will directly impact your online business
Here are some of the issues customers often want answers for before they decide to trust and transact with any online business?
- Is this site legitimate?
- Will my personal information be safe when I give it to them?
- Will they share my information with other sites?
- If I purchase from them, will my credit card information be safe?
- What’s my guarantee that I will receive my item after I make an online purchase from their site?
While it is helpful to address the above-mentioned in text form, people would expect to see visual proof from a 3rd party entity or institution that will give them the guarantee that your site can be trusted.
Ensure All Links Are Working
Broken or dead links in your website will waste your efforts in reaching the top of the search engines. The more a search engine spider or worse your visitors reach a broken link, otherwise known as a 404 error page, you risk losing the spider or visitor.
Test your links. Make sure your site works! Load your site in a browser from the Internet (not from your hard disk), make sure all the images appear correctly, and click on all the links.
If you’re using a link checker that’s built in to your web editor and your site is framed, then you can’t depend on the link checker, because it can’t check for framing problems (e.g., pages load into wrong frames, clicking a link results in frames within a frame, etc.). Check it yourself.
While manually checking your site for broken links are effective, there are broken link checker tools online that serve the same purpose. Let’s face it. Broken links, missing anchors as well as referenced objects lead to many issues.
Here are a few online link checker tools that you can use to check your site for broken links:
The steps on how to check for broken links on all of the above mentioned sites are all pretty much the same:
- Go to the link check site
- Enter your site’s URL
- Click on the Check Now or Go button to check for broken links
Also, remove dead external links periodically. If you link to any external sites, some of those links will almost certainly stop working at some point as the sites move or become extinct. Don’t waste your readers’ time by forcing them to follow broken links. Check your links at least once every few months. You can use software to automatically check your links to external sites to see if any of them have gone dead.
Optimize Your Keywords
Use keywords that are 2-3 words long
Keywords that consist of two or more words tend to be more specific and therefore may speak better to what a potential customer is searching for.
Use negative keywords
Negative keywords keep your ads from appearing for searches that aren’t likely to drive business your way (e.g. queries including the word ‘free’).
Use the Keyword Tool
The Keyword Tool helps you discover new keywords and potential negative keywords. To find it, go to the Reporting and Tools tab in your account or go directly to adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
When optimizing your web pages for search, there are two factors to consider — the structural (such as ﬁlenames and title tags) and the written (primarily the web page copy)
- Title tags. Title tags are one of the most important element on the page. Search engines use the text within the title tag to determine what the content of the page is about. Limit your title tag to 65 characters or less (search engines wonʼt display more). Be mindful when creating unique title tags for each page of your website. If you are using a CMS, like WordPress, you can install a plugin that lets you customize your title tags, meta descriptions and meta-keywords.
- Files names. If youʼre using a CMS, your ﬁle name will be automatically generated from the title of your page or post. You may want to edit the ﬁlename so that it is shorter and includes a keyword. WordPress and other CMS include tools that help with this.
Other Factors To Consider
- Easy to read fonts
- Centered layout
- Use the right amount of white space (don’t cram, but don’t leave too much space)
- Use video on your website
- Include customer testimonies/reviews
- Photo of the owner
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