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6 quick ways to increase conversions
  • Nov 19, 2020
  • 4 minutes

6 quick ways to increase conversions

I've tested hundreds of people in face-to-face site tests over the past 15 years and learned a bit about how and why people respond to websites. Here are six things that you, the average small website owner, can do in the morning to improve how visitors respond to your site.

First, install Google Analytics and ClickTale. You can use "find and replace" to install the code quickly and easily throughout your site. Google Analytics is always free and ClickTale has a good free trial option. These tools will help track site traffic giving you the ability to measure the effect of your changes and ensure that you move in the right direction.

Now let's look at six quick ways to improve conversions on your site.

1. Identify Your Top 3 Site Goals

What represents a "win" on your site? Is it a product sale, newsletter sign-up, visitor engagement, or information download? Next to each goal, list the site traffic statistic or business measure you might use to measure each of these.

Product sales. You would simply measure the total sale of items in dollars or units. You can calculate the number of sales as a percentage of the number of visitors to get one measure of conversion rate.

Engage a visitor. Look at page views and/or time on page in Google Analytics. An even better measure would be ClickTale's attention heatmap.

2. A 10-Second Homepage Test

Print copies of your homepage and show it to five people - though you could also sit them down at a computer. In either case, show them the homepage and then ask them to answer these questions:

"What business is this company in?"

"Why should you buy from this company?"

If visitors cannot formulate a clear answer within 10 seconds, it is time to improve your homepage's first impression. You must clearly - and immediately - define your business value. This is often called your "value proposition." It is a statement, typically placed in the header, that defines your business and why it matters to site visitors. Think of your homepage as a trade show booth. As you walk down the aisle of a trade show, can you look at a booth and immediately understand their business? Maybe the booth signage is too cluttered to understand their focus or possibly a key message may be obscured by confusing or distracting offers. Search on the term "value proposition" to learn more, but take the time to get it right. It is a crucial first step in engaging visitors. Research is clear that users often leave within 10 to 20 seconds if you lack a clear value proposition. You might brainstorm with your "test candidates" to formulate a clear value proposition, but you can use your analytics tools to test several versions.

3. Captions

Ensure that all images and photos that reveal content include captions. The next time you open a book, newspaper, or magazine, observe how your eyes go right to the images on the page and then automatically to the captions. How do you react when captions are missing or unclear? In our tests, visitors are often annoyed by sites that lack captions. Since they get so much attention, your captions may be the best messaging opportunity you have when people are quickly scanning pages. When appropriate, include links in your captions and invite visitors to engage or learn more. In the example below, you'll see two photos, one with a hyperlinked caption and another without. Adding this hyperlinked caption immediately affected visitor behavior.

4. Run a Spell and Grammar Check

47% of visitors make decisions about site credibility based upon a website's professional appearance. Our user testing bears this out; a significant percentage of our test candidates get annoyed by even minor spelling and grammar errors, which they consider unprofessional. It only takes a little time to ensure that your site is error-free. If you are uncomfortable with grammar rules, then consider hiring a content editor.

5. Test Key Tasks in Each Major Browser

Browsers change and along with these changes, functional parts of your site can break. Internet Explorer now has 21.7% of users, Firefox has 38.7%, and Chrome has 32.3%. You can't assume that because things were fine a few months ago, they are still fine. Choose a key site goal, such as a product sale. Then take a few minutes to find and purchase a product on your site from beginning to end using each of the three key browsers. Make sure that you follow the task all the way through to confirmation. The experience should be nearly identical in each browser, but you may be surprised. In fact, while writing this article, I decided to test my own site and found an important tool had broken unexpectedly! If Google Analytics shows that a significant number of your visitors use a lesser-known browser, check it as well.

6. Benefits vs. Features

Review your key products to make sure that you include both the essential product details a visitor needs to know to place an order and the benefits that your products offer the visitor. We like to know the ingredients in a meal (features), but we are motivated by reading about how tasty and satisfying (benefits) it will be. Benefits are a key motivator in converting visitors into customers. As you make changes, monitor results with your analytics tools. Website success comes from building a great user experience and these low-risk steps will move you in the right direction. Spend the morning working on these improvements and your hard-earned lunch will taste better. In fact, your site success may be increasing before dessert arrives.

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