I read this week that only 9% of small businesses design their website with conversion in mind. However ludicrous that sounds, it is probably true because without wanting to step on any toes, many website design agencies are design-led which means conversion, together with user experience and SEO will often take a back seat in favour of fancy, bold designs and visual elements.
Now let’s clear one thing up to begin with. I am in no way denouncing the importance of visual appeal – anyone who has worked in digital marketing long enough to remember the internet before social media took off and who reminisces about the days when manipulating search was as easy and about as time consuming as making a cup of coffee will agree. Visuals are the best way to engage your audience. They make your offering sexy. And sex sells.
Being visual in your representation of what your brand offers will work in your favour. After all, you need to cater for those audiences who consume content via image, text or video and present your marketing message to each of them in a way they can easily digest.
New Website Considerations
So, you set about designing a new website – focusing on the colours, layout, styling, font, content and images. You spend all your time, and money, in creating something which is eye catching but if you can’t convert your visitors initial interest into an enquiry, then this time and money may well have been wasted.
The clock is ticking
We all have the average attention span of a goldfish. As broadband speeds increase and brand loyalty goes out the window, variety really is the spice of life for the online consumer. No longer do we have to trawl the high street, going back and forth from shop to shop to find our favourite outfit or upgrade our tech. Now we just Google it and expect Amazon (or another one of the big brands) to deliver it by this time tomorrow. This is great. But it also means we are impatient. Very impatient. If a website doesn’t load fast enough or we don’t like the look of it from that initial microsecond-long glance, we hit the back button and scroll down to the next item on the list.
If your website doesn’t captivate, retain and engage at this point, conversion is unlikely. So, what can you do to ensure your website works as hard as possible for you?
Return on your Website Investment
Before you embark on a new website design project it is first worth establishing why you need a website. For most businesses, it will be to reach the target market and increase enquiries and sales. However, some may have enough work for the foreseeable future or generate sufficient leads from referrals and simply want a website to act as an online brochure, in which case optimisation and conversion are less important.
Chances are you will be familiar with the first point and you’ll need your website to turn visitors into clients.
Tips to Improve Website Conversion
If making money from your site is important then here are a few tips to improve website conversion:
- Deliver a good user experience – if people cannot find what they are looking for (and quickly) or find any aspect of your website fiddly or time consuming you have probably lost the potential to convert.
- Be clear and concise – make your objectives clear and avoid distracting your site visitors.
- Don’t be afraid to test – A/B split testing is something we talk about a lot in the digital industry. It’s not that technical and certainly nothing to be afraid of. In fact, if you can embrace the power of testing and apply this to your site layout, wording, placement of Call to Action and even your offsite elements such as Ad text and email marketing, then you will clearly know what works and what doesn’t.
- Put the important stuff above the fold – this becomes increasingly important as time passes and the number and variety of devices we use to access the internet grows. Your website needs to say everything important to that visitor in the screen they can see in front of them, without scrolling. Whether this is on a desktop or mobile phone, if they don’t like what they see above the fold (the bit before you start scrolling) then the chances are they won’t look any further down the page.
- Behold the benefits! – at every opportunity you need to tell your audience how great your product or service is. It is all well and good presenting the features but if you don’t show people how your product or service can benefit them, they won’t see the value in making the purchase.
- Feature a clear Call to Action – your CTA will be the action you want people to take – whether this is to pick up the phone and call you, click the buy now button to make a purchase, request a free trial or fill in an enquiry form for more information. Make this CTA obvious, simple and clearly lay out the path you wish people to take on your site to prevent them from getting distracted.
- Reinforce your credibility – trust is an important issue when buying online, particularly if there is no human interaction in the transaction. This is where your website can be used to your advantage. Make sure your site features testimonials and case studies about how you have helped others so that potential customers can see the range and scope of your capabilities.
- Make it as easy as possible for people to contact you – include contact forms on important landing pages, ensure your phone numbers are ‘click to call’ from mobile devices and include your physical address to reassure everyone that you are genuine.
Your website might be your only shopfront, your only presence outside of your business’s own four walls. If it is also going to be the only way you market your business, it needs to have grown from the right concept in the first place, or all that stuff you do on top – SEO, social media, blogging and paid advertising – will be pointless because you won’t be converting any interest you generate into tangible leads.
Build your site with conversion in mind and the rest will come….well, it won’t but that’s another story 🙂
Need help with your website conversion? Speak to our experts today on 0121 308 0219.