15-Point Conversion ChecklistPosted on Monday, 07 January 2013
Are you happy with your online business marketing efforts? Do they bring in a lot of traffic to your site? Good job, if the answer is yes. How many of these website visitors convert into customers on your site? Is your site conversion-friendly? Read on to know more about various essential conversion factors. After all, if your website is not optimized for conversions then any amount of SEO or paid marketing simply does not matter.
Make sure your website fulfills these points on conversion rate optimization and you are good to go.
Customize Your Conversion Optimization Strategy
You must follow tips and advice that conversion experts or conversion articles, such as this, give you with discretion. Use your own knowledge and experience; no one knows your customers better than you. Customize conversion factors on your website according to YOUR target audience. These tips will guide you and give you a general checklist. Utilize them to conceptualize how you could customize them for your own website.
Test, Test, Test
Compare your website to a chemistry project; it takes time to come up with the right formula to create the perfect end product. How do you derive this formula? Testing; trial and error. If chemistry fails to intrigue you, maybe this will:
Two forms of tests are available for your website. One is for those with small to medium daily visitor traffic; A/B testing, and the other is advanced testing for websites with large daily incoming traffic; multivariate testing. Without testing different versions of your website you will never know how to increase or modify your current conversion rates. Think of all the dollars you spend on marketing your web business. It will not bring in profit unless you spend at least a fraction of that on website testing. You can do this with Content Experiments in your Google Analytics. Here is a post that illustrates how to use it. Give it a try, or if you would prefer, here is a more advanced paid software, available online.
Your website is analogous to your child. For instance, you probably love it the way it is and thus might overlook some of its shortcomings. It is a different story for outsiders or site visitors. Usability is all about designing site elements to give enriched user-experience. Pretend you are a customer and try navigating your site to reach a goal, for example, to make a purchase on your site. Is there anything you would change?
You could also ask a stranger to use your site and test how quickly they are able to figure out your site purpose and how to get something done. Another option is to use a FiveSecondTest on your site with a community of online strangers that help you get a third-party perspective on your site’s usability.
Keep these factors in check for your site’s rich usability:
- Fast page loading times (free testing tool – WooRank Website Review).
- Cross browser compatibility (free testing tool – BrowserShots).
- No broken links (free testing tool – BrokenLinkCheck).
- Custom 404’s (learn more).
- Avoid pop ups and splash pages.
- Use conventional navigation standards. (Check popular sites in your niche.)
- No spam, phishing or malware threats. (View Site Report at SiteAdvisor.com.)
- Clean URLs (free tool – WebConfs).
- Prominently placed search bar (free tool – Google Search).
Call to Action
The color of your call-to-action (CTA) buttons (Add to Cart, Sign Up, Download, Buy Now) is not overly important. People click on the buttons because they have been convinced to make a purchase by the site content and not because they look attractive, although a noticeable color is best.
What really matters is where the CTA is positioned on your site and what it is offering your site visitors. Your CTA must always be above the fold, i.e. on the part of the site that is visible without scrolling. A soft call-to-action, such as Watch a Demo or Take a Tour often works better than a hard call-to-action, such as Sign Up or Buy Now. Create a sense of ugency in your CTA scripts by asserting a time limit; Buy Now and Get 20% Free, Sign Up Now to Get a Free Sample, Buy Now – Limited Tickets Only or Free Samples for the First 100 Subscribers.
Never underestimate the power of client testimonials. The ideal way to convince a new site visitor to trust and buy your products or services is to show them a genuine testimonial from a previous buyer. Video testimonials are well known to create higher conversion rates. There are sites that offer video testimonials for money but we definitely recommend requesting your real customers to give a testimonial on camera so that it is natural and authentic. If you cannot afford a video testimonial, display text testimonials with client details. You could even highlight feedback screenshots from your Facebook Business page or reviews from online review sites.
Best Selling Products
Provide a shortcut on your home page to a list of your top three to five best-selling products or services. Doing this makes the customer’s job of choosing products/services much easier, which will encourage them to buy more.
Your site is your sales person. You need to convince visitors to navigate your site thoroughly by impressing them in the first few lines of your site content. Make sure your content highlights what the site visitors get (the benefits) rather than what you have to offer (your features). Short bullet points on your site’s main USP (unique selling proposition) in the first few lines can grab your site visitor’s attention immediately. You can do this with points like free shipping or 90-day return policy. Imagine a visitor enters your site and immediately asks “why should I care about what you have to offer?” Provide an answer to this question in the shortest and smartest possible way in a prominent place on your website.
Here are some important points to remember when structuring your site content for better conversion rates:
- Use bold or italics to highlight important words (but do not overdo it).
- Use hand-drawn annotations, arrows or pointing fingers to emphasize important content.
- Stick to standard font styles and size. Learn more about web typography. A black font on white background is a safe bet.
- Keep only the most important information on the home page. Show detailed information in tool-tips or in read more or learn more hyperlinks.
- Use bullets and short sentences.
- Do not use technical jargon.
- Long content (600 to 1000 words) can help with SEO but you must think of high conversions too. It is best to offer only the necessary information on the home page (which is the landing page for most websites) and keep the content at around 300 to 400 words.
Offer a Freebie
Offering something useful for free is a foolproof method of catching site visitors’ attention and cultivating interest. It shows your gratitude to them for visiting your site. It could be a product you sell, a part of a service you render or e-books, free CD’s and so on. Make sure you are transparent about any automatic billing used after the trial period. Have a look at an example below:
If your content is your sales person, the knowledge base or FAQ section of your website is your receptionist. This should answer visitors’ doubts and queries before they make a decision to buy. Ensure that you answer all possible questions that a typical user might have. Place a link to the FAQs at a prominent (main menu bar/header) or conventional (footer) place on your site’s home page.
Site visitors love to speak to a real person to get quick answers before they make a purchase. When it comes to product shipping queries, service delivery dates or execution of a particular service, it is difficult to cover every possible question in your site’s FAQs. It could also be that your site visitor is not patient enough to look through the FAQs. Live chat is a perfect solution to these quick customer questions. It is a part of customer service that can easily make or break the reputation of your brand.
Some free live chat support providers:
Guarantees and Warranties
Earning your site visitors’ trust is crucial when it comes to increasing conversion rates. You can learn more ways to earn the trust of your website visitor in our upcoming post Easy Ways to Earn Website Visitors’ Trust.
Give a trust factor to your site by displaying Guarantee or Warranty badges or offering a money-back guarantee on your services or products. Conversion optimization strategies revolve around giving the user more reasons to trust you and hence this must be one of your prime areas of focus in your website conversion checklist.
It is ideal to display your product or service pricing right below the product image. Do not hide prices or make the site visitor go through multiple clicks to find them. There are many competitor websites that offer prices right on the product/service page and web visitors will switch to their site quickly for the convenience.
A psychological factor to consider is offering rates that end with odd numbers such as 7 or 9 instead of prices that end with a zero. This generally works for websites selling products/services but as we mentioned in our very first point in this checklist, customize prices according to your website and go ahead and do an A/B testing on this element.
It has been found that visitors checking out a website’s ‘About Us’ page are five times more likely to convert than visitors who do not visit the page. Check your analytics and you will see this pattern (especially under the ‘visitor flow’ tab on Google Analytics). These five-fold conversions only happen when your About Us page is convincing, so spend some time to make it good.
Here are some ways to optimize the About Us section of your website:
- Use pictures of the people in your company.
- Post a video of your company or you speaking about your business.
- Tell a story of the history of your company or talk about upcoming plans; keep this short and humorous, if possible.
- Place a link to the About Us section on the top of your website’s home page (main menu bar/header). Make it prominent so that a new visitor finds it quickly.
- Link your social media business profile pages to this page, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter.
If you are not a big brand you can afford to display your phone number on your website. Most customers like good-old phone conversations as a reassurance that you will serve them the way they expect. You may even lose visitors if they do not see a physical point of contact displayed on the website. Live chat falls under this category but people may think they will be speaking to some person halfway around the world (the outsourcing trend has not diminished yet). Even contact forms are not personalized enough, so it is a good practice to offer a phone number, especially as a local business.
Most conversion goals are already achieved when a site visitor fills in the contact form on a website. If you mess this step up all your other conversion optimization strategies are null and void:
- Use few fields in the form.
- Ask for additional information as a second step.
A good and bad example of lead forms are shown below:
Here are some contact form conversion optimization tips:
- Add a line below each form saying “We will not spam you,” or “Your contact information will not be shared” or something similar.
- Make clear what you expect in each field. Provide ghost text in each field if you can.
- Give a descriptive, specific CTA button on the contact form such as, Free SEO Audit, Free Sample <Product>, 30-Day Free Trial, rather than one like Click Here.
- Highlight the form field that the user has clicked. In case the user gets interrupted the highlighted portion easily directs them back to where they were on the form.
- Have an auto-responder mailing system to acknowledge the submission of the form.
- Design your forms for mobile. Learn more about this on the UX Booth blog.
Optimizing your website for conversions is an ongoing process. You must utilize website testing software to check what works and what does not. There are other conversion tools such as Eye Tracking software, Heat Mapping Tools, Click Tracking Software, Visitor Recordings, Mouse Tracking Tools and so on that require a small investment in order to understand user behavior on your site and thereby optimize your website’s conversion rates. You can read more about these tools on our blog about bounce rates.