Congratulations. Your site traffic is up. You have worked hard to get this traffic using an array of paid search, social media, directory listings and online marketing programs. You’ve optimized your site for search engines by applying all the industry best practices and white hat optimization techniques. But you’re not seeing the pay off… what’s the deal?
Think of traffic to your site as prospective customers entering your store. Great to have traffic, but what if no one is buying? Or as we like to refer to it, you’re not getting enough conversions.
What’s happening? And more importantly, what do you do about it?
1) Clarify and Rank Your Desired Conversion Activity
First off, let’s define “conversion.” This has different meanings, depending on the nature of your website. For a charity organization, a conversion may be a donation. For a consulting firm, a conversion may be an inquiry from a prospective customer. If you have an ecommerce site, an ideal conversion would be a completed sale.
In many cases, a site will have multiple types of conversion, each which may be accorded a different value. For an executive recruiter, a conversion could be either a company looking to hire or someone interested in a job. For a restaurant, a conversion may be a reservation, a gift card purchase, an inquiry for a private event, or a new opt-in to the marketing list.
Whatever your objectives, be sure to define and rank the different types of conversion you are seeking to achieve with your site. Measure each conversion category separately to identify what’s working and what’s not.
2) Don’t Make the User Guess What You Want Them to Do
Make sure that the “call to action” is clearly defined on every page of your site. If you want visitors to click through to fill out a form, make that a button that is prominently positioned. Test green versus blue versus red buttons. Test different placement for the button. If the desired action is to call an 800 number, invest in a bank of 800 numbers so you can test the responses from specific landing pages.
When viewing web pages, eye movement usually follows an “F” pattern, which means visitors start in the upper left hand corner, scan to the right and downward, then return to the starting point. So make sure the most important information and call to action appear above the fold and toward the upper left quadrant of your page.
3) Continuity is Key
If you want the visitor to start down a “sales funnel,” be sure to clearly indicate where each click of the button will take them. The best way to keep a user engaged is to minimize surprises. This means if they click on a button, they should be delivered where they expect to arrive, and not land somewhere confusing. Baffling your visitors is the easiest way to get them to hit the dreaded back button or abandon a shopping cart.
The best sales funnels provide a progress meter – “Page 1 of 4,” or “Step 2 of 6” or “You’re 25% Completed.” This gives the user a clear perspective as to how far they have yet to go.
Be sure there is a common, consistent theme throughout the process that assures the user that they are on the correct path. Graphical cues are important, but so is basic language describing what is expected from the user on a given page. Eliminate any confusion and you will maximize completed sales funnels – and minimize abandoned shopping carts.
4) Analyze Traffic Sources and Click-Through Behavior
Next, take a look at your site’s traffic statistics using a tool like Smarter Stats. Smarter Stats is included FREE with every Appliedi.net Shared hosting plan, and provides detailed statistics for your site, including where visitors are coming from, where they go when they exit your site, what keywords are driving traffic, and click-through patterns for each page. another great free tool for tracking statistics is Google Analytics, which offers a similar set of data.
Scrutinize what visitors are doing when they get to your site. If visitors aren’t clicking through, if they are leaving your site prematurely, or if they are consistently abandoning your shopping cart on a certain page, take a close look at where this occurs.
5) Never Stop Testing and Benchmarking
Invite colleagues, employees, vendors and customers to give you feedback. Have your grandmother go to your website and tell you if it makes sense. See if your kids can navigate the shopping cart. Ask your service staff to tell you what they hear from customers. Go to your site with fresh eyes at least once a month.
But don’t get caught up in your own little world. Check out competitors to benchmark their sites. Identify what you believe they are doing well and where they could improve. Go through their sales funnel to see how it operates. Adopt good practices on your own site, but be sure not to plagiarize.
These are just 5 tactics you can use to optimize your conversion rate. There’s plenty of information out there, if you want to take the time to educate yourself. Or, consider enlisting a professional SEO (search engine optimization) consultant or web agency to help you take your site to the next level.
About the Author:
Lyza Swearingen Latham is president of Acute Visability|BMO. Acute Visibility specializes in Brand Marketing Optimization – everything that goes into helping companies be found, recognized and profitable: Website Design, User Interface and User Experience Analysis, SEO, Social Media, Traditional Advertising, Customer Relationship Management, Branding, Events and Product Launches. Contact us at www.acutevisibility.com.