Getting your website to rank on the first page of Google is only the start. Even if you reach your goals in terms of exposure for your business, if your actual site is a slow, cluttered mess then you will struggle to convert visitors into customers.
Here are eight ways you can improve the conversion rate of your site.
1. Make your website load quickly
We live in an impatient world where every second counts. The web is no exception. Your website needs to load quickly in order to keep a visitor’s interest and to stop them hitting the “back” button before they’ve even given you a chance.
An experiment conducted by the Financial Times, in which they artificially throttled their site’s loading speed, showed there was not only a significant reduction in website traffic, but that those visitors who were prepared to wait didn’t visit as many pages.
How fast should your site load? A general rule of thumb is to try to keep it well under three seconds, although if you can make it much quicker than this then that’s a real bonus.
How? You can test the speed of your site in a number of places, as well as conducting your own tests using your browser’s incognito/private mode. The two places that get recommended the most are GT Metrix and Pingdom. Not only will these sites give you a full breakdown of which elements load when (known as a “waterfall”) they’ll also suggest improvements you can make.
2. Give your website focus
What is the first thing you want someone to know about your business? That’s the question you should be asking, and the answer you should be providing the minute someone lands on your website. A lot of sites have a tendency to want to show someone everything that they do within a second of landing on the home page. But that can often lead to confusion.
How? Try to think of a one-line answer, and make that bold and obvious.
- “We can give you the best haircut”
- “We build amazing extensions”
- “We fit awesome kitchens”
- “We can fix your car”
3. Have a clear call to action
Following on from giving visitors a clear focus on what your top service is, you need to then make it obvious as to what you would like them to do – we call this a “call to action”. It can be anything, but you need to think in terms of holding a visitor’s hand through navigating your website, or finding out more about your business. Staple calls to action include: “Get in touch”, “Find out more” or “Watch our video”; but it can be anything you like.
How? Make sure that your call to action is clear and obvious, using a bright or contrasting colour to attract attention and encourage clicks. Colour psychology can come into play here – you might want to avoid colours associated with danger – but the important thing is that the call to action stands out from the rest of the site.
4. Demonstrate your authority
It’s very difficult to earn someone’s trust within seconds of them landing on your website purely by telling them how amazing you are. One way you can overcome this is by demonstrating how experienced you are and what a great job you’ve already done for other people.
If you have won awards (or been nominated as a finalist), are a member of a number of professional bodies, have accreditations which show your competence or have a stack of great reviews, case studies or testimonials, then find a way to show these to your visitors. It’s known as “social proof”; the concept being that people try to conform in order to be liked. If you can show that people like what you do – or that you’ve been in business for a long time, or that you’ve dealt with a large number of customers – then this makes you more appealing to someone visiting your site.
How? Use logos from governing bodies, trade organisations or high-profile clients with whom you work to demonstrate your trustworthiness. Dot quotes from satisfied customers around your site and add a case studies section where you can write about problems you’ve solved. If you use a review site – such as Google My Business or TrustPilot – then showcase your high rating.
5. Make sure your site works on mobile
Depending on your target market, more people view your website on a mobile device than they do on a traditional laptop or desktop. So it’s vital that your site looks good – and works well, and loads quickly – on a phone or tablet.
Also worth bearing in mind are behavioural adjustments depending on which device is being used. For example, you could make your site show a “Click to contact” button on a desktop, but show a “Click to call” button on a phone.
How? Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test – as well as your own real-world testing – to see how your website behaves on a phone. Speak to your web developer if it’s not behaving the way you think it should and discuss ways in which a phone visitor might expect to see something different to a desktop one.
6. Make contacting you simple and obvious
There are so many ways you can use your website to help people make contact, there is no excuse for hiding your details or making it difficult for people to get in touch.
The most simple way is to have your contact telephone numbers displayed prominently. If you’re not the talkative sort, or you find it easier to deal with emails from a workflow point of view (ie you do stuff that means you can’t readily answer your phone at all time) then displaying an email address or having a contact form that sends you an email message is the obvious choice.
How? Some experts suggest you should have your contact form on every page. While this may take up valuable space, there are ways you can achieve this more subtly. You can use a popup (or popover) contact form, which appears when a button is pressed – so rather than being taken to a new page your visitor is presented with a form without having to wait for a new page to load (you can even add settings that allow you to see from which page the form was sent, which could give you valuable information as to what is your most popular or enticing content).
7. Add a “live chat” facility
The natural follow-on from a popup contact form is a live chat function. Visitors are presented with a panel, which usually appears automatically a few seconds after a page loads or can be opened with a button click.
Live chat allows you to engage instantly with a visitor; giving you the opportunity to try to sell, or allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge and win someone’s trust in a matter of seconds.
How? There are many ways to implement live chat on your website. One of the most popular systems is Tawk.to – a free live-chat bot with a user-friendly control panel giving you a lot of control over how your chat system operates.
8. Use social media to gain trust and traction
Not everyone (ie hardly anyone) is going to make a return visit to your site to see what you’ve been up to – unless you do something really cool. But they may be persuaded to follow your social media accounts so they can subtly be kept up to date with news from your company.
Adding buttons which link to your social media accounts is an obvious way to drive more traffic here. Just make sure you do keep your feeds up to date, and be careful about saying things which could offend. Using Facebook for business can be very different to how you would use it in your personal life.
Similarly, if you want to highlight new additions to your website then make sure you communicate this effectively on your social media channels.
How? Like contact details, display your social media links prominently using the official, recognisable logos. Then make sure you engage with your audience, keeping them up to date with any news.
Finally, make sure you measure your results
As enquiries come in, make sure you keep track of how they were generated. Whether that’s keeping a folder in your inbox with website-related enquiries, or asking callers where they found your details – don’t be afraid to try to find out where your new business is coming from. And then keep doing what works.