The saying “you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” was probably never truer than when applied to online marketing. After all, you can do all you can to increase traffic numbers to your website, but without conversions the exercise can fail to generate any real ROI.
With this in mind, working to improve your site’s conversion rate can not only increase the ROI on current traffic, but also new traffic being sent to the website. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) can be seen as a daunting task by website owners, when in reality there are a few key factors that can be implemented quickly and easily to increase ROI.
Five key considerations for anyone who has a basic understanding of their website are:
1) Regular use of calls to action
Calls to action (CTA) are the bread and butter of encouraging the conversion process. The point of a CTA is to encourage the user to take an action, which can be anything from clicking a link to making a phone call.
CTAs can and should be used during key stages of the conversion process, such as:
Site entry – search results pages
Be sure to include a CTA in the meta description of each page. This will likely be one of the first interactions the user will have with your website in search results. Therefore, it should be informative and give them a reason to click through by using phrases such as ‘buy today’, ‘check us out’ and ‘visit us today’.
The pages that will initiate the conversion process on your website should include clear instructions to encourage users to convert. There are many factors to consider for CTAs on your landing pages, including positioning, size and colour.
As a rule of best practice, keep your CTA in the users line of vision and make it stand out from other elements on the page. Don’t be afraid to test CTAs in different positions and colours on various pages as a trial and error to identify which CTAs perform best.
Thank you page
After the initial conversion is complete, there are generally further opportunities on the thank you page to encourage additional conversions. These include:
- Newsletter signups
- Like/Follow/+1 social profiles
- Social sharing of their action/purchase
- Additional coupons/offers to encourage return custom
2) Replace blocks of text with bullet points
Simply improving the readability of your site’s content makes it simpler for users to digest information and make a decision during the conversion process. A quick and easy way to achieve this is by taking a block of text and breaking it down into bullet points.
The key benefits of using bullet points are:
- Highlighting key benefits/services
- Special formatting stands out more than normal text
- Easier for users to read quickly
- Strips unnecessary elements that can turn a user off conversion
3) Use Google Analytics (GA)
GA can be one of the most useful tools for judging pages that should be tweaked to improve conversions, especially as many web users already have it installed on their website.
Lines of enquiry on GA should include:
Landing pages bounce rate
Consider the difference between the pages that receive the highest and lowest bounce rates. Does the page that receives the highest bounce rate serve the user as desired? Draw on the strengths of the pages with the lowest bounce rates to improve underperforming content.
Conversion funnel exit pages
Be sure to investigate pages within the conversion funnel that receive the highest exit percentage. If there is a consistent pattern of exits on the same page, this could be the result of a stumbling block for the user, such as broken links or confusing content.
This tool within GA creates a map on top of your website that highlights key information such as the most popular clicked links and the number of clicks below the fold on each page. Use this information to restructure content to ensure the most important information is prominent on each page.
4) Get user feedback
Although many of the basic CRO tasks involve an element of trial, error and testing, the actual value of simple feedback can go a long way to helping improve your website. This can be done as simply as asking users for feedback on the website. However, there are ranges of tools available, that can help with this process.
My preferred tool is Feedback Army, which supplies your website to a worldwide audience who will then answer your questions about your website.
This method can provide a frank and honest opinion about your website. In many cases it can identify stumbling blocks hindering conversion rates, that may not have been previously obvious.
5) Place emphasis on user trust
Finally, one of the most important elements of increasing conversions is to ensure that your website firmly gains the trust of your user base. After all, would you want to buy from a website you are not sure you can trust?
To improve trust, some simple key factors to consider are:
- Don’t ask the user for any information that is not completely necessary during the conversion process
- Use accreditation logos throughout your website, such as awards and accepted payment methods
- Include product or service reviews from existing customers
- Always include contact details that are clear and easy to locate on your site
As ROI increases, the next step would be to consider more complicated methods of CRO such as split-testing served content or eye-tracking heat mapping. However, these five key considerations should help set out a firm foundation to begin increasing conversions to your website.
Tyler Sox is an account manager at UK based PR, SEO and social media agency Punch Communications, who specialise in joint up thinking across online PR, social and search. He has been working in the SEO industry for just under five years, working alongside a wide range of businesses from start-ups to established enterprises.