People often think that the way their website looks is the most important aspect in whether or not it will perform well, but this isn’t actually the case. Yes, having a clean, modern-looking website that is in line with your brand guidelines is important, but if it doesn’t provide a great experience for the user, you may be left with a beautiful site that doesn’t actually help you to achieve your targets.
Website conversion is when a user completes an action on your site that helps you achieve your business goals, this might include buying a product or filling in a contact form, or possibly downloading a PDF that requires them to provide their contact details. These are the actions that you should be tracking the success of your site on.
We’re going to discuss what is important when it comes to running a website, and we’ll be providing some of our top tips on increasing your conversion rate, to get you closer to achieving your goals.
Setting website goals
When it comes to designing and running a website, you need to be sure why you are doing it, your website should be playing a part in growing your business as a whole. For many, their website goals are simply to increase their traffic, but what is this actually helping to achieve? If you are getting a lot of people coming to your website, but they are not doing anything whilst they are there, then what is the point?
In order to examine your conversion rate and then increase it, you need to be able to define your goals and the user actions that will help to achieve them. For example, if you want to increase your client base, having users fill out a contact form will give you new leads, taking you one step closer to your goal.
Setting clear goals for your site will help you make decisions, and it will give you direction and something to work towards.
Understanding the customer journey
Understanding the customer and their journey is extremely important when it comes to conversion because you want to ensure that you are producing content that they are interested in and that you are directing them to the next step at the correct time.
There are many different theories to describe the customer journey but generally, a prospect goes through four stages to become a customer. When they first come across you, they are in the awareness stage, they will then move onto the interest stage, the desire stage, and eventually become a customer at the action stage. It is your website’s job to guide them through this journey.
You can determine where your customer is on their journey by how they found your website. Customers that come across your site via paid ads could be in the awareness stage of their journey, so they will need to be directed towards the parts of your site that give more information about who you are and what you do. At this stage, it wouldn’t be wise to direct them towards your final conversion goal, such as a contact page, because they have not gathered enough information to make a decision.
Prospects that have found your site via social media are more likely to already have an awareness of your company and are therefore in the interest or desire stage, so you would want to direct them to content that helps them decide whether to buy from you or get in touch. These might be reviews or case studies. After this point, you can encourage them to purchase or fill in a contact form because they are more likely to convert.
As you can see, it is important to understand where your customer is on their journey, so that you can predict what they will be looking for next. This will help you to design your site in a way that anticipates their needs and guide them smoothly through the journey to conversion.
Understanding website analytics
Your website’s analytics are vital to understanding how well your site is converting, but if you don’t have a lot of experience in this area, it might be difficult not only to understand what certain terms mean but also what is important and what isn’t. Often people are most focused on how much website traffic they are getting, but this is known as ‘vanity metrics’. Although it’s great to see your traffic climbing, it only really matters if that traffic is converting.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular ways to get data on your website’s performance when it comes to conversion, as it allows you to set up goals to measure what is known as conversion rate (CVR). Other sites like Oribi can also be used to get actionable insights, but are not free. Your conversion rate tells you what percentage of people completed the desired action such as downloading content. You can look at your CVR for all sorts of segments of your audience, for example how they found your site or what sort of device they’re using. Looking at this allows you to track where the websites' conversion is best, and where areas need work.
Another term that is important to know when it comes to conversion is ‘bounce rate’. This refers to the number of people who left the website without clicking through to any other pages. Looking at this can help you to see which pages are not keeping your visitors’ attention, and therefore where to focus your improvement efforts.
It is hard to say what your website’s bounce rate and conversion rate should be. Averages are different for every industry, so what’s good for one business may be bad for another. Generally speaking, a website with a bounce rate below 60% is average, whilst a conversion rate of 2.35% is the average. It is important to remember that the action considered a conversion is different for many businesses, so you should always judge your conversion rate on your own previous performance.
How to improve website conversion rate
Once you have defined your website’s goals, you are able to understand your customer’s journey, and know how to measure performance, you can start optimising your site for conversion. There are lots of things you need to consider when it comes to optimising, and we have listed some of the most important below.
Troubleshooting and A/B testing
Looking at your website’s analytics should be your first stop for improving your website’s conversion. Analysing the data isn’t just about looking at the numbers, it’s about making changes based on what those numbers tell you. For instance, if you find that lots of people are going to your contact form page but not filling it in, it might tell you that there is an issue with the form. Maybe there are too many questions to fill in, or customers are being directed there before they are ready. The numbers reveal an issue, and you can use that to make meaningful changes.
A/B testing can be used to experiment with different variables to see which one works better. This is when you are able to present variations of website features to different users and compare how they perform. For instance, you may choose to use different text on your homepage to see which one encourages more people to navigate to different parts of your site. When you compare the data side by side, you'll probably see that one version is more successful and therefore that is the version you should stick with. The benefits of A/B testing your CTA statements are unquestionable as it has been reported that A/B tests can raise your conversions from 20 to 95%. You can run A/B tests through tools that you install on your website. Conversion Sciences has listed the best A/B test tools to help you choose the right one for you.
Make everything as easy as possible
Possibly the most important thing to consider when it comes to improving your conversion rate is how easy your website is to use because the easier it is to use, the better the user experience. This means that your website should be easy to navigate with clear directions on where everything can be found. Generally speaking, the fewer steps it takes the do something, the better.
For example, having click to call or click to email functions are great as they make it really convenient for your users to get in touch. Similarly, a button that automatically scrolls back up to the navigation menu is a small tool that will help to keep users on your website. The second that your user isn’t able to find or do something, you lose them as it is so easy for them to go and find another website. By putting yourself in the shoes of the user, you can predict their needs and make sure everything they want is easily accessible.
Use CTAs throughout
You should always be directing your visitors and guiding them along their journey. Wherever they interact with your website, they should always know where to go next, otherwise you increase the risk of them clicking away. Using calls to action (CTAs) is ideal for directing your website’s visitors. All you have to do is mention the next steps the user can take. Good examples include ‘Sign up to our mailing list’ or ‘Read about our services'.
You can either include CTAs within your text, or better yet, as buttons that stand out and catch the eye – making it easy for the user to see where they can go next.
Retargeting website visitors
Inevitably, you are going to lose visitors before they convert. The rule of 7 states that people need to see a brand 7 times before they become a paying customer, so it’s unlikely that you will be able to convert a prospect from being unaware of your company into a customer on one visit to your website. So, you need to get in front of them again.
Retargeting can help you to do that, in fact, a study found that retargeting can increase
conversion by 147%. Visitors to your website have already shown an interest in what you do and have passed through to the consideration stage – they now need to be nurtured and persuaded to buy from you. Retargeting ads can get you in front of these people again to remind them about you. They work by using cookies to track visitors to your website (learn more about cookies in our article ‘What are website cookies’), and can be easily managed through providers such as Adroll.
Although retargeting is great, it's not suitable for everybody as it does require a minimum amount of traffic to be able to do it, but this varies depending on the platform. The Google Display Network requires a minimum of 100 users within the last 30 days, but for the Google Search Network you must achieve a minimum if 1,000 active users within the last 30 days. Social media and email vary from 300 visits per month for LinkedIn to 1,000 YouTube visitors.
If you would like to learn more about getting in front of customers, read our article on the rule of seven.
Send customers to the right place
When getting customers onto your site, it is important to consider where it is that you send them. Companies often will send visitors directly to their homepage via social media or paid advertising, but this isn’t always the best choice. Your homepage is there to be a navigation tool, to get users to other parts of the site and guide them through their journey. With this in mind, what then is the point of always sending visitors there? It simply adds another unnecessary step which, as discussed before, raises the risk of visitors leaving the site. It would be better to take them to the next step of their journey, whatever it may be.
Pages that you send visitors to don’t even have to be visible, as long as they are relevant to the customer. For instance, if you have created a useful e-guide for visitors to download, you can create a landing page, a page that serves a single and focused purpose, specifically for the download. That way, the user is getting exactly what they were looking for and is less likely to click away. Unbounce is a great software to help with landing pages that aren’t coded into your site, so you can manage and update them yourself. You may need some help from an agency or developer to set up the template, but after that you are good to go.
Convert prospects into customers with conversion rate optimisation
As you can see, websites are about so much more than how much traffic they receive and how aesthetically pleasing they are. What matters is the experience that they provide for the user and how well they perform as a result of that. Optimising your conversion rate can be tricky, but it is worth it to get you closer to your goals.
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