You’ve likely heard the buzz term ‘conversion rate’ used when discussing website performance. In the digital sense, conversion rate describes the proportion of visitors to your website who perform an action such as sign up for a newsletter or fill in a contact form. There are many factors beyond your site aesthetics that can deter visitors from making that crucial conversion. Short of giving your website a complete overhaul (a lengthy process that requires a dedicated budget), here are some simple changes you can make to improve your conversion rate.
Streamline your site’s navigation
If you’re looking to improve your conversion rate it is likely that you want to get visitors to their desired destination (which is often where you want them to be) as quickly as possible. A poorly organised site with confusing navigation complicates your visitor’s journey, which can cause user frustration and can deter them from spending more time on the site or from making any future visits. But not only that, a poor navigation is damaging for your SEO ranking as it can make it difficult for search engines to crawl through your site and understand where content is located and why it’s relevant.
One simple rule to follow is ‘don’t bury valuable content deep within your site where no one can find it’. The ‘three-clicks rule’ has been around for years but still holds true. It states that no important information should ever be more than three clicks away from the homepage. For very large corporate sites that isn’t always easy to achieve but, regardless of the site’s size, streamlining its structure and content can significantly reduce the risk of your users getting frustrated at not being able to find what they are looking for and, ultimately, can help increase your conversion rate. Consider changing menu structures, reducing internal links within pages, and even reducing content, all of which is usually actionable in the backend of your CMS.
If you’re not sure about how your current site’s navigation fares, Google Analytics can be used to give you an indication. Metrics in the navigation summary report can give you an overview of the paths or journeys users are taking and ultimately whether they are reaching the desired destination, or giving up before they get there.
Review your content and keep creating
Creating dynamic, highly engaging content for any site is vitally important. Your content is what draws users to your site in the first place so it has to be fresh, exciting and relevant. However, once your site is launched, your work is not done. In fact, it has only just begun! To maximise user’s time on site and conversion rates, regular reviews of your content is essential. Is your brand proposition still accurate? Is your content clear and concise? Your visitors should be able to understand what your business is all about without having to explore your entire site so consider what information and pages are pertinent for your visitors, what can be condensed or moved and what has lost value and can be removed.
If your site has been professionally developed, Google will be doing its best to index your content and list your site pages within its search results – driving traffic to your site based on the relevance of your content against the user’s search term/s. To maximise your position within search engine results, your content needs to be visible, with concise headlines that accurately reflect the nature of the content. Google and other search engines are far more intelligent than just five years ago meaning there are now very few shortcuts. If you want to do well with your SEO, you have to put the effort into your content and its ongoing creation.
Additionally, as a further step towards increasing engagement and conversion rates, spend some time thinking of how you can introduce more persuasive content such as videos, testimonials or customers reviews to draw your audience in and motivate them to act. Videos are proven to increase engagement and we have written specific articles on the value video can bring and how it is now affordable for every business.
Improve your CTAs
Calls-to-action (CTA) are cues or instructions that encourages your visitors to take an action on your site, common examples include “Sign up for our newsletter” or “call now”.
If you site currently suffers from a low conversion rate, it is worth reviewing what is impacting the effectiveness of your call-to-actions. Prominent and well-positioned CTAs can engage your visitors and influence the journey on your website. According to research , CTAs that are placed below the fold (or the point where your user needs to scroll) are less likely to perform as desired when compared to ones that are more easily visible. However this does not always translate into reality, user behaviour is constantly evolving and adapting to new technologies, and as such testing should always be conducted to support changes.
Through A/B testing, or split testing, different groups of users are delivered different layouts for a period to determine which version performs best. By conducting this kind of testing you can determine what tweaks, if any, are needed to give you the best results. Heat map research can also be indicative of how your users are exploring your site, although this is often a lengthy and ongoing process to give a valuable insight and can incur noticeable costs.
Give your users what they want and don’t overcomplicate things
With any website, there are a few areas which can have a disproportionate impact on conversion rates. Your contact area is one of them. Firstly, users expect to be able to find a contact page immediately, so add it wherever you can and don’t put it in your footer at the bottom of a long page. When they reach the contact page, users expect to be able to find a telephone number, email and ideally, a physical address. Sites which only offer a web form and no other routes to contact are basically saying; ‘we know you’d rather call us but we don’t want you to so instead, waste your time filling out this form. For many users, this alone is enough to find another site/business to reach out to.
On the topic of forms, we’ve all experienced them and likely at some point been irritated by them – especially forms that ask for too much. Forms with too many fields can appear daunting and frustrating to users and, if all they want to do is receive a newsletter, having to list their full mailing address can feel unnecessary. This can lead to scepticism about how the information will be used, and if the invested time will be worth the effort. So simplify your forms by minimising the number of fields to the core, required information for your marketing or sales team. Any additional information can be gathered later through direct contact, if needed.
Clarifying how data will be used, for instance to contact them at a later date, should also be indicated to the user. In addition, the value exchange, or what they are getting in return, should be defined for the user – whether it is a white paper or requesting a callback. This inspires user confidence in your site and makes a conversion much more likely.
Additionally including multi-media content such as video or images can help stop your website appearing too dominated by text. These visual media elements are more engaging for your visitors.
It has to be mobile
We may be stretching the recommendations which can be actioned before it counts as a ‘website overhaul’ but if your site is not responsive, pretty much everything listed can wait until it is. Depending on your business type, sector and audience, your mobile traffic is likely to already be between 25% and 50% of your total traffic. If a user arrives at your site and it isn’t optimised, they are significantly more likely to immediately ‘bounce’ because few things turn off a user more than text which unreadable and links so small even the most delicate fingers feel like the BFG trying to set the TV to record Bake Off.
Get data smart
The final tip is to ensure you are regularly reviewing the data that is available to you through Google Analytics and other providers. Performing ongoing analysis ensures you have a comprehensive understanding of which traffic sources are bringing in more conversions. You can then use that information to reduce marketing spend on poor performing channels and increasing spend on better performing channels.
You can also invest in more detailed tracking code to give you an even greater insight into how your audience is using your site. Analytics can enable you track everything from the number of specific PDF downloads or number of users who reach deep links within a specific page, all of which can and should be used to justify investment and see what is already working for you.