So your paid advertising campaign is doing its job of getting searchers to your website. That's great, but is your website doing its job? If a large percentage of people visit your website without converting, then it isn't. That's where conversion optimization comes in.
If you're having trouble getting website visitors to convert, check out our five tips to optimize your website for conversions.
But before we get started, let's define conversion rate. Your conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take a specific action, usually responding to your call to action (form fill, phone call, driving directions, purchase, etc.).
And just in case you're wondering what's normal, the average landing page conversion rate is 2.35% across industries . But we know you can do better than that. So let's talk about how to improve your conversion rate.
1. Have a strategy and a goal before you start building a page
Before you build a web page, you need to have a goal and a strategy to achieve that goal. Don't leave it all to chance and just hope to build something that looks nice.
If you've ever taken a web design class, you know that the creation of a web page actually happens closer to the end of the web design process. According to this PrintMag article, before you design anything, you should define your project, including goals and your target audience.
Once you have your target audience, you can create a few user personas. Keep the personas in mind when building or revamping your website.
We've talked about creating personas before, and it's pretty easy to build one. Here are some things to consider when building a persona:
- Demographic information
- What problems the customer is facing
- What results they might be looking to achieve
So if your business offers tutoring services for college students, your target audience would be college students, their parents, high school seniors, etc. Create a few personas based on your target audience and consider the persona's goals, pain points, and needs.
Next, work on your strategy. Figure out what you (or the potential customer) want the page to accomplish.
Whatever you want the page to accomplish, make sure it's obvious in your call to action. Use your personas to create a clear, concise call to action designed to persuade specific members of your target audience to convert.
Once you've developed your strategy, you can design and build your page - but don't jump in before you've figured out what your site visitors need as well as your goal for the page.
2. Keep it clean
If you took our advice and you have a goal for your page, make sure the goal is obvious to the searcher - in other words, don't make it difficult for your site's visitors to convert.
How do you make it easy to convert?
Remove possible distractions. If you have one specific goal, make that goal the one thing the user can do on that particular page.
The landing page for Facebook's advertising service, Canvas, actually gives users two options: get started or scroll down to learn more. But, as you see here, if you scroll down, you get a second call to action. So the second option is just another means to get users to sign up for Canvas.
And make signing up easier by giving the user options. Chances are, the user has a Google or Facebook account, and if they don't, they can sign up with their email address.
Also, use color and images wisely.
Themes Kingdom uses images to show what their themes look like, but the images aren't overwhelming because they utilize white space, and they don't go overboard by using a bunch of different colors (Squarespace also does a great job of this).
Too many colors and images will only distract your site visitors. When used correctly, though, color can help increase conversions.
This Kissmetrics blog post discusses the psychology of color. Here are a few key takeaways:
- Blue helps generate trust
- Yellow signals a warning
- Orange is fun and can make viewers feel impulsive
- Black signals luxury and value
- Primary colors are good for your call to action as they have higher conversion rates than darker colors
And while we're at it, white space is a powerful tool.
Just because you aren't covering every inch of your site with text or images doesn't mean that space is wasted. White space surrounding a call to action button can help the button stand out and increase conversions.Basecamp increased conversions by 14% when they decluttered their homepage.
Sometimes less is more. White space can help frame the important elements of your landing page.
3. A/B test everything
Any time you want to change something on your website, A/B test it.
A/B testing involves testing two options. So if you want more website visitors to fill out a form on your site, you could test either adding or removing one of the form's fields to see if the change increases conversions.
You can A/B test headlines, landing page design, button design, call to action copy, or pretty much any other part of a web page. A/B testing new page elements allows you to see how the changes affect your conversion rates.
Sure we could throw some statistics at you about how one A/B test helped one company increase conversions by just changing the color of their call to action button, but A/B testing is the way for you to figure out what works for your website.
Things to keep in mind with A/B tests:
- Test one page element at a time
- Give the test enough time to run so that you have enough data. A day or two probably isn't enough time for a small business
- Don't just test once - A/B testing is an ongoing process
4. Optimize for mobile
I'm sure you already know how important mobile optimization is. But in case you need some convincing, mobile internet usage is 75% and growing. And 60% of consumers use mobile exclusively to make purchase decisions.
Mobile shoppers also convert 160% more often on sites mobile-optimized sites.
Along the same lines, speed is important, both on mobile devices and on desktop - 73% of users say they've used a website that was too slow. And 40% will leave the page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. So don't just optimize your site for mobile. Make sure it loads and responds quickly, on desktop as well as mobile devices.
You can check your loading speed and get some suggestions for how to make your pages load more quickly, both on mobile and desktop devices on Google PageSpeed Insights.
5. Add social proof
You probably already know that adding reviews to your website can increase trust in your business, but it can also boost your conversion rate.
Here's why your website needs reviews.
- 92% of consumers read reviews
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends
- Just one review can increase conversions by 10%
- At 100 reviews, conversions can increase by 37%
Bonus: In one case study, adding a photo of the reviewer increased conversions by 22%.
This post was created in collaboration with David Diebolt.