25 June 2014
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Attracting visitors to your site, via paid, organic and referral traffic, is all well and good – but why aren’t they converting into customers, leads, sign-ups or sales?
Here is a guide to ensuring your website is working as hard as possible, whatever your goals.
The first steps to understanding how your visitors interact with your site lies in your Google Analytics data.
Knowing your bounce rate from your conversion rate is essential for getting to grips with onsite behaviour, especially if you’re tracking events and goals. If your site takes payments, read around the purchasing funnel and check your cart abandonment rate. Even if sales are going up, your abandonment rate might be doing the same, which means you’re losing more potential sales.
Do you know how your audience, their behaviour and their needs have changed over the years? Or what they like and don’t like about your site?
Now is the time to profile your current and target audience and watch them interact with your site. For example, are they visiting the delivery information page after viewing a product? Maybe you could you enhance their experience by including P&P details on the product page instead.
Or, if you want to gain insights immediately, monitor visitors’ time onsite and the overall user journey in Analytics.
Due to competitors being only a click or two away, online retailers need to make the USPs and benefits of shopping with them very clear — and not just the transactional ones, such as free delivery and returns.
As well as communicating your professionalism, knowledge and experience through copy, do so with clear layouts, easy navigation, and smart design.
Thinking about your site like an in-store conversation helps us to decide what sort of information your visitors want, and when.
Customer service staff don’t immediately shout at anyone who walks into a store or force them to purchase straight away, so think about the right moment to say certain things. No-one wants to feel pressured to make a complicated purchase decision: people want to browse at their leisure and feel welcomed by your brand’s presence online.
It’s sometimes hard for business owners to differentiate between what they like and what their customers will like.
So, whether you’re going for a complete redesign or are making minor tweaks, listen to the data and trust the preferences of your audience. It’s hard to encompass everyone’s ideas into a single website, so be patient, as it’s often the small tweaks that produce the biggest results.
‘Keep it simple, stupid’ has been part of any marketer’s repertoire for years, and the same mantra should apply to online marketing too. Visitors can assess a site or page’s relevancy and value almost immediately, so it pays to ensure you are engaging with your audience as quickly, clearly and simply as possible.
Although your site is the perfect opportunity to flaunt your creativity and ethos, don’t forget that its primary aim is to be functional.
Try to work with customer expectations, as opposed to against them. For example, put the internal search bar where they would expect to find it, rather than choosing an experimental layout. When making minor adjustments or major site overhauls, it’s important not to ignore how and where your customers will look for information.
This may sound like a silly question, but when was the last time you used your site and tried to perform basic functions, such as searches, orders or bookings?
Is your best-selling product shown first on the category page or does it default to alphabetical/view-by-price listings? Imagine you’re viewing your site for the first time and critiquing your product page — is it detailed enough? Can you find all the information you want to know before making a purchase? You could even try to enter misspellings into the internal search bar, just to put your site through its paces.
If you’ve made major transactional changes to your site, ask friends and family to complete various actions, such as a simple product search, add to basket and complete purchase. This way, you can check for any bugs before letting your site loose on the general public.
It can be easy for them to get carried away and start passing comments on design and colour, but unless they fit your customer demographic, it’s important not to let their feedback affect your web design. And remember, you can’t please everyone.
Although it can be tempting to implement multiple site changes at once, it’s best to refrain and make small, incremental updates instead.
If you alter too much at once, it’s hard to know what worked and what didn’t. As previously mentioned, the smallest adjustments often have the biggest impact, so step away from the blanket changes and be patient.
We hope you’ve found this top ten useful! To get your FREE conversion rate optimisation audit, contact us on email@example.com or call 0191 404 0100.
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