40+ Essential Conversion Optimization Tips for Your Website
If you’re looking for that magical formula that transforms your website into a money-making machine, I’m sad to say there isn’t one – or at least, not one single one that does the trick. It’s more of a combination of techniques that you’ll undoubtedly have to tweak as you go – and then test according to your customer’s online behavior.
If you’re looking to better convert your site’s visitors into customers, you’re going to need to work on your CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization). In this article, I will be giving you a fortune of insightful ways to enhance your website to drive traffic and push your conversion rate.
Keep Calm & Test On
Underscoring every modification you make to your website is the constant mantra, “test, test, and test”. What boosts sales through the roof for one company might have your site stepping backward, so you should take time to test every single aspect and function of your site to see what is working for your product and your potential customers.
Be forewarned: testing is going to be a running theme throughout this post!
“Testers don’t like to break things; they like to dispel the illusion that things work.”
- Kaner, Bach, & Pettichord
Consider the Human
A 2015 study by Imperva Inc. found that almost half of surfing online was done by bots (48.5%). 29% of those were “bad” bots, but 51.5% was done by actual humans. This should give some credence to the issue of making sure that your website is human-friendly.
You, yourself, know what makes you scan, skim, or click away. Sometimes, in the moment, you may not be completely aware of what is putting you off about the site in question, but your brain is picking up information one nanosecond at a time that either turns it on or off. This has a fancy term: it’s called neuroaesthetics. Based on neuroscience, neuroaesthetics is the drive behind “neuromarketing” tactics.
According to Darren Bridger in his latest book “Neuro Design", it’s the next evolution in site design. Using these techniques, you will be providing a design made specifically for your customer’s brain. It’s literally the bridge between brain function and your product design, taking a deep, scientific dive into our marketing efforts, and will undoubtedly be a new frontier in advertising and brand creation.
What Do Humans Like?
Face it, we’re all addicted to the web. We are scrolling, liking, clicking, and buying online, ad nauseum. And what do we really love about our favorite online hangouts and sites?
- A good first impression
- An intuitive interface
- Mobile friendly usability for any device
- Well-written, easy to understand content
- Ease of use
- Beautiful, clean design
- And perhaps a little something special just for me
What We Don’t Like
- Jargon: big words that say absolutely nothing. Completely meaningless terminology.
- Ad box casino: More ads than the Las Vegas Strip. So many flashing lights, so counter to the message you are trying to convey.
- Chaotic design and layout: too many products, links, and offers. You don’t know where to look first and what action to take.
Give Your Site’s Visitors What They Want
What do website visitors want? They want their problems solved and their issues handled. Your visitors want content that actually relates to them. They want to read content that they can understand – and they want it quickly. They clicked on your promising link, but once there, you didn’t keep your promise, so ultimately, they still don’t know what you are all about. This is known as relevance. If your visitors navigate away, you likely don’t have any.
Visitors want things to be clear and easy to follow. Are there enough great visuals? Can your visitors understand everything easily? Is there a call to action that they might actually take you up on? Visitors like deadlines too: give them a timeline to follow. They want to do things NOW. Your visitors love a bit of urgency (like when Amazon tells us we will get free shipping if we order within 25 minutes).
Visitors don’t want to feel anxious. Earn their trust and don’t make them doubt your credibility.
Making it Simply Irresistible with These Essential CRO Tips
What elements really pull our attention? What things are simply impossible to resist? Here’s my list of essential conversation rate optimization tips to start testing!
- Big bold action buttons in contrasting colors to the background.
- Left-justified headlines for your pages that contain a direct and clear message with your most important keywords.
- Multiple step forms that allow us to fill out one thing at a time, making it all seem so easy and simple and fast.
- Reviews or testimonials from real people (or from real companies) with real photographs.
- Big bold product images that let you zoom in on every feature.
- Ethical bribes (eBooks, guide, webinars, etc.) that we want to read, hear, or watch.
- Videos because it’s easy to watch and most people prefer it.
- Fewer choices to keep it simple.
- Product images with action captions because we love a good CTA.
But don’t just take my word for it … TEST IT FOR YOURSELF.
“To an optimist, the glass is half full. To a pessimist, the glass is half empty. To a good tester, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.”
The experts have been saying these things for quite a while, mostly because they work:
- Check out the competition: what are they doing right and wrong? Stalk them. Watch the changes that take place on their sites over time. Watch and learn.
- Try a Heat Map: It’s a very cool spy tool that shows you where people’s eyes move when they are on your landing page. You can see what catches their eye, then you can create solutions that make their pupils dilate.
- Use the right keywords: People are always searching for solutions. They are using search words and phrases that speak to their needs. Knowing those words and weaving them into your copy will bring the right people to your doorstep. Don’t lure traffic with false SEO keywords though – you want people on your site who will potentially buy what you are offering. Use the Google Keyword Tool to find the right keywords for your product or service. Using search engine algorithms, it will give you keywords and key phrases that are a match to your content.
- Personalize your message and your content: People want to feel like you are speaking directly to them. Tailor your personalized messages based on your consumer’s behavioral patterns. This means that you must first define your target audience. Keep in mind that you can’t be all things to everyone; you are going to have to choose the right audience for what you offer. All of your marketing efforts will then be aimed at those individuals who you would like to convert.
- Revisit, revamp, and re-word your value proposition: Your value proposition is the big catapult of conversion. It triggers the initial engagement. It’s the sentence or two that says what you offer and why a customer would want to buy it from you and not your competitor. It’s a unique calling card that no one else can duplicate.
- Does your website need an extreme makeover? Does it evoke strong emotions? Is it visually gorgeous? Does it look professional? Does it tell people that you can really execute your value proposition.
- Is it mobile friendly? Your website must be responsive. It must transform and change its layout for any device that is accessing the page. Most people visiting your site are doing so via their mobile devices, so responsive site design is an absolute non-negotiable.
- Maintain an active blog: Learn how to make a blog and consistently offer insightful articles that solve your customer’s problems. If you do, they will keep coming back for more. It’s a proven way to get more followers, and it provides you with shareable content for your social channels. And on that note – don’t forget to prominently display your social media buttons to encourage your site visitors to share.
More Essential Tips
- Portray a consistent brand message: Learn how to develop a website style guide for your brand to present the same look and feel across all campaigns, website, and ads.
- Improve your site’s load times: Your website must load within three seconds or less. One second is ideal.
- Write a good headline that grabs your reader’s attention.
- Don’t talk about yourself: Tell the customer what you will do for them.
- Use bullet points for easy scanning.
- Use readable fonts such as Verdana, Helvetica, Trebuchet, Lucida Sans, or Arial.
- Proof-read everything so there is no spelling or grammar gremlins within your content!
- Less filler content, more meat: Get to the point fast and stick to it.
- Show a progress bar with breadcrumbs so your site visitors can see where they are in the funnel and how much further they still need to go.
- Allow for some space in your design. Don’t clutter it up: less noise, more focus.
- ·Add live chat: Sometimes people just need to “talk” to someone about their potential purchase.
- Add “trust seals” to engage your prospect’s trust.
- Clearly display payment procedures with credit card and other payment processor’s logos prominently visible at checkout.
- Show your partners and suppliers logos so customers can see that other people love working with you. Community endorsements are also excellent, especially if you’re trying to rank for local traffic.
- Offer a demo tour of your offering that gives site visitors a taste of your user experience – screenshots just don’t do the same job.
- Keep your best stuff above the fold (top half of the page). Your best sellers should always be positioned at the top.
- Give potential customers at least 3 good reasons why they should buy your products.
- Free shipping: It’s an added value and reason enough not to click away. Include the estimated delivery date clearly on the product page, positioned right next to your return policy.
- Avoid too many pop-up ads on your site as they are spam to the customer or may not display at all if they have pop-ups disabled.
- Encourage customer surveys on your products.
- Give your customers a money back and price match guarantee.
- Offer a range of payment options.
- Run promotions when conversions rates are low.
- Always provide a FAQ page.
- Utilize A/B testing all the time.
So, now that you have a veritable smorgasbord of options to try and to test, always remember that it doesn’t matter if your website has tested off the charts with all the best bells and whistles if your customer service is non-existent.
Moving into the future, the key differentiator will be how you treat your clients and leads, in addition to your amazing sales, service, and support. We are humans, after all. We like to be treated well, and if we are, we’ll always come back for more.
Food for thought on “the next big thing” in site conversion-optimization: You will note the rise of intent monitoring this year; It’s the software that allows you to analyze the intent signal data of a buyer as they start to research buying a product – in near real-time! This means that you can put your own personalized content in front of them in near real-time and solve their problem or need almost immediately.