In the beginning
So your team and you created a solution that you can’t wait to share with the world. You put in months of work planning and developing it, talking to other entrepreneurs and founders about it and now, it is finally ready. You launch the website, create plugs on social media and wait for the excitement to build up amongst your readers.
Then you wait some more.
And some more.
Soon you begin to wonder: What did we do wrong? Why aren’t visitors converting? What can we do differently?
We’ve been in this situation too, and we learnt that the only way out is to experiment. But what are the right things to do? When is the right time to do them? We created a hack-filled guide which answers all these questions. Consider this your conversion optimization checklist, with over 30 ways to engage users, generate interest, and nudge them into action on your site.
The Best Practices
Looking at the best practices in the industry is a great way to start planning how to convert website visitors. Website conversion optimization is, after all, just another fancy way of saying “your website needs to stand out and really impress customers to get conversions.” The good news is, we can tell you how.
This is the most important part of building a website. Crisp, clear messaging that tells a visitor exactly what they need to understand about your brand, even if they are skimming or scanning. What you tell your visitors needs to convince them that the time they spend on your website is worth it. The site must answer the basic questions any customer will have. Take a good look at your website. If it answers the following questions clearly, you’re officially off to a good start.
- What is it?
- What does it do?
- Can it really help me?
- How much does it cost?
- How can I get in touch?
Call To Action (CTA)
A CTA is all about answering one simple question: What do you want your visitors to do? Sign up for a free plan? Check out your new blog? Buy your product? Tell them about what you want them to do and and direct them to it. Once the ball is in their court, your work there is done! The folks at UXPin got this down on their landing page, where their intent is clear: we want users to give us their email IDs and then use the product. By gating the entry to the tool, UXPin achieves their target of getting user IDs and clicks from only those who are genuinely interested in using their product – a great way to begin their customer onboarding and customer engagement.
Would you rather watch a video that shows use cases and how a product works or read about it? There’s your answer. A video is a quick, colourful, engaging way to show rather than tell your audience why your brand exists and is relevant. The KISSmetrics article on insider tips to create an explainer video is a great place to start planning and research to create your video. Don’t forget: A video requires a good amount of research, a script that clicks and patience to see it through to creation. We love this video by ZenCash that explains their payment follow up services so elegantly.
Customers aka “Logo Porn”
Let’s face it. Human beings copy each other. When a potential customer sees all the other customers that are using your product/service – they are that much more likely to use it themselves. Neil Patel appropriately christens this “logo porn” and just like food porn, it is insanely effective – and an essential part of customer engagement.
Don’t mess this up. Remember: White space is your friend, and clutter is your enemy. Nothing clutters the mind like clutter on a web page. Your goal is to guide your visitor’s eyes from one element to the next, in the order you want, with ease. Good site design will ensure that people who may have navigated elsewhere spend more time on your page and increases customer engagement. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as it sounds – but sites like Evernote and Mint are great places to look for inspiration.
Many sites have testimonials. How is yours different? Rather than showing customers professing love for your brand, get into the details. Chances are, someone reading a testimonial is looking for an experience to relate and strive to. Make sure your testimonials present a clear problem/solution situation that a visitor wouldn’t just relate to, but be motivated to act on. Entrepreneur wrote a great post on how to use testimonials effectively that would be a great place to start.
Ever wondered why Dropbox grew to be valued at over $10 Billion? Referrals definitely had something to do with it according to this article on the Referral Candy blog. Dropbox grew from 100,000 to 4,000,000 users in 15 months by encouraging their customers to invite friends, incentivising them with more storage space for every sign up. As a storage company, this engagement stayed true to their core area of data storage and worked wonders for conversion.
Quick Surveys and Feedback
Surveys and Feedback work on one simple principle: People like the feeling of their opinions being heard and valued. When it comes to your visitors, it is important to understand why they are on your website, and what they want from it before expecting them to convert or sign up immediately. In my experience, answering questions posted with tools such as Qualaroo and Hotjar helps me share my point of view, as well as interact with a business I am interested in.
Know what you want your users to do – and direct them to do it. Whether you want them to explore your pricing, sign up, watch a video or buy a product – be clear about your goal. Any landing page needs to have a clear goal.
Giveaways and Offering Value
Who doesn’t like freebies? Even better, who doesn’t like it when a website gives away something that is free and useful? Taking the time to put together a useful ebook, slideshow or even just a series of photos or an infographic makes you that much more memorable to anyone who visits your site.
A conversion funnel shows you the steps a customer performs in his journey – from a search engine looking for a solution until he reaches your website and decides to use your product or service. There are various stages in this funnel at which a visitor may feel stuck or back out without going ahead. This is where your goals come in. If your metrics tell you that visitors are hesitating to give you their email address, try to create a way for them to move ahead in the funnel without doing so (a good example would be when you are buying something on an ecommerce website and you see the two options “sign in to continue purchase” and “continue as guest”). Remember, every stage of the funnel that your customer passes through is an opportunity for engagement. Read more on the conversion funnel process in this article by Digital Marketer.
Numbers and Statistics
Not everyone understands good design and persuasive writing. For some folks, numbers do all the talking. Adding basic statistics and numbers to your website legitimizes your claims and makes your offerings clearer – helping a visitor make the decision to convert faster.
An error page may not be essential to convert website visitors, but having error pages that are funny or humorous act as an ice-breaker and make your site look like less of a dud. This ensures that visitors don’t dismiss you without giving you a chance when they see your error page.
Keep your website simple to edit and test
No matter how great your website is, there is always room for improvement. Remember to keep your site easily editable and testable so you don’t waste time every time you need to make a big change to your site.
Retargeting users is without a doubt one of the most effective ways to convert a browsing visitor into a paying customer – but the consequence is that your ads follow them around the interwebs haunting them at their every click. Is there a way to do this without being creepy? Tom Goodwin suggests ‘Pretargeting‘ in his article for Ad Age. An In-app messenger would also be a great way to retarget users whenever they are on your website or app using content they were previously interested in.
Okay, maybe your site looks great and is convincing visitors who chance upon it to convert and give your product a shot – and maybe it isn’t. Either way, there is always room for improvement. Measuring statistics on your website and visitors is as essential as – and linked to – your testing plans. The results can also come in handy when you are talking to investors and founders to grow your business.
Page Bounce Rate and Site Bounce Rate
A website page bounce occurs when someone gets on your website but navigates away to another site without a single click on your web page. A high page bounce rate means you need to create more prominent engagement or CTAs to ensure visitors stay on your site longer. Measure your page bounce rate with Google Analytics here. Takeaway: You need to make your site more engaging.
You need to have clear goals in mind for your website. Your goals can be as simple as getting someone to leave their email address in a pop up form, or as complex as getting someone to sign up and start using your SaaS tool. Either way, use a program like Mixpanel or Google Analytics to track goal completions, and implement changes based on what you see.
Heat maps tell you which areas of your website attracted the most number of hovers and clicks. It shows the way a visitor navigates your website and derives meaning out of it. See which parts of your website visitors are interested in, and which part they completely ignore. There’s no point using that picture you really liked on your landing page if it is putting people off.
Attention Span/Average Time on Page
Fact: Attention spans are dwindling. If you have a lot of content on your website, but your ‘average time on page’ seems fairly low, chances are nobody is reading said content. Testing and retesting with different content will give you insights on how to increase the average time spent on your page.
Sometimes, less isn’t more. Creating different options for your website will always be useful to test relentlessly until you find the version that works best. You can experiment with changing a number of elements on your website:
- Introductory/Hero Statement
- The placement of CTA buttons
- Fonts and content
- Contact Forms
- Mobile Site
Change it all around and see what works best. You can use Optimizely to test your results, but watch out: their free plan covers testing of only the bare essentials!
Be clear about how you can be reached. If you want someone to pick up the phone and talk to you, leave your phone number. The advantage of having your email address on the website is that you can find out a lot about an interested customer or visitor when they email you. Test with both and see what happens.
Conversion Rate Optimizers
Picking up where the number and statistic bar left off, motivators bring a new dimension to your website. This is a creative way to engage a visitor and grab their attention. Mentioning something as simple as the various signups as and when they happen on your website shows your visitor:
- The frequency of sign ups on your site.
- The different geographies in which your website is popular
- That number of people that trust your service
- How they might be able to use your service.
After all, if others are doing it, it must be worth a try – right?
Whether it is the Contact/Pricing/Blog/Log In or any other primary landing page connected to your website, using a floating bar that a visitor can use to navigate from at any point increases the chances that they will explore your website, and eventually convert.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora and more are your friends. Do your research to find out which social network your audience spends the most time on. Make social shares a part of your website’s strategy to promote content and offer something special to anyone who shares your website.
Live Chat is clunky, live chat doesn’t offer the best user experience and live chat is now officially on its way out. An In App Messenger reinvents the way chat can be used to engage your visitors and customers. Once you integrate the messenger into your app or website, you can
- Engage website visitors
- Be Available for customer support
- Onboard customers
- Send customers relevant, timely messages
- Trigger messages based on user behaviour
- Reward loyal customers
An In-app messaging tool is great to boost conversions, for customer onboarding, engagement, marketing and support. This article on the retention rates of apps that use in-app messaging offers an interesting introduction, perspective and numbers on the world of in-app messaging.
Even the best websites have flaws
Watch out: The best ideas and site designs can go wrong when you don’t think of a few essential user experience/user interface angles. If you can’t afford to hire a UI/UX designer, use a testing tool to tell you what could be better on your site.
You know those landing pages so overloaded with information that you end up scrolling down further and further until you forget where you started or what you are doing there? And to top it off, you are stuck because there is no navigation to anywhere else in sight? Yeah, don’t do that.
Unresponsive Mobile Version
If you are promoting your website, there’s a good chance whoever ends up seeing it is doing so on their cell phone. Mobile compatibility should be an essential part of your designer’s skill set, repertoire, and testing plan to avoid any unexpected misalignments and errors. A bad mobile landing page is a sure-fire way to ruin a customer onboarding or conversion experience.
Don’t make your user feel like an idiot.
Granted, a pop up like the one below, with choices like “Yes I Want this” and “No, I don’t know what I’m doing” might increase clicks on your website, but in my opinion – it is in bad taste. Don’t make your visitors feel like they are idiots. That is never a good step towards converting website visitors.
Have more ideas for hacks that we can add to this list? Leave us a comment below!