For the longest time as a Calgary web developer I believed that once you got your website on the first page of Google the rest is easy. It doesn’t matter what your website looks like or what it says, as long as your there customers start pouring in and you live happily ever after right? Many clients I meet have this same assumption which still gives me a chuckle to this very day.
I don’t blame them for thinking this however as I believed until my website company hit #1 on Google and then….well…nothing much happened really. Make no mistake about it a top ranking in search engines is crucial to any website’s success but simply being there is merely getting your foot through the front door.
How your website performs once traffic finally arrives to your site is what determines whether or not you get the occasional phone call or your phone is ringing off the hook. A good website has the ability to convert visitors into leads or sales which needs to be the focal point of any online marketing strategy.
This is called your “conversion rate” or the ratio of people who buy your product or service based on the number of visits your website gets. Without the ability to convert leads into sales all the traffic in the world won’t be enough for your website to reach it’s full sales potential.
If your website is struggling to performing up to expectations here are 10 basic tips that will help improve your conversion rates in 2016 and beyond…
1.Create a Clear Call To Action (Or Several): Many business websites will simply list their phone number, address and email link assuming people will take action if interested. Never assume this as it’s important to try and inspire a more immediate response from your customers. If you want your users to “call you for a free consultation” or “click here for a price quote” make sure you tell them in places clearly visible on your page. There is nothing wrong with having your call to action in multiple locations as long as it’s not distracting from your website’s content. Remember converting hits into sales means getting visitors past your home page and to your main landing page(s) for maximum results.
2.The Return Factor: It’s great to have customers visit your website once but users seldom buy anything on their first visit alone. It’s important to create a reason for customers to come back multiple times until they trust your brand and inquire about your services further. Just to be clear there is no one right way to create a strong return factor for your website it can take on various forms. It could be an interesting news or events calendar, a blog or embedded twitter feed, a regularly updated photo gallery, a monthly coupons page ect. Try to think about what makes you want to revisit your favourite websites repeatedly then try to incorporate one (or more) of these features into your own.
3.Stand Out In The Crowd: One thing I always notice about websites in almost any industry is how much “they all look the same”. Each website is trying to do what their competitor is doing and their isn’t much unique from business to business. Paying attention to what your competition does well IS important and you don’t want to try and reinvent the wheel just to be different. Try however to include something on your website that is different enough to make people remember it over others. Whatever that is doesn’t have to be ultra flashy, simply something that sticks out in people’s minds after they leave your site. This may require a little thought and creativity but the effort will pay in the response you get from your customers.
4.Unique Selling Point: Your unique selling point is what your company has to offer that your competitors don’t and the reason they want to do business with you first. You want to convince customers that you are not just one option they have but the BEST option when buying your product or service. Price is always one factor but remember people don’t want cheap they want value for their money. Think long and hard what you can give your customers that provides great value over others. If you find a good answer to this question you’ve just taken a huge step forward in terms of improving your sales.
5.Track Your Results: Have you ever heard the phrase work smarter not harder? This is one of my favourite sayings as it’s often the difference between a website with average results and a top performer. There is no point in spending money on internet advertising or other advertising without understanding how to track your results first. Many people check the number of hits their website gets per month and that’s where their research ends. You need to know more such as what web pages are most popular, how long do people stay on your site, what keywords are they using to find you, who is linking to you and the list goes on. Most hosting packages allow you to view this information through cpanel and Google Analytics is free to install with a gmail account.
6. Don’t Be Afraid of Change: Once your website is up and running you may find some of your ideas work great while others (that made sense at the time) aren’t getting a good response from users. There is nothing wrong with changing the gameplan to your website, even multiple times over, until you are getting the results you want. This could mean changing various design elements, certain interactive features, or the entire navigation structure. Making major adjustments to your site as needed is not admitting defeat it is merely reacting intelligently to your customers needs. Very rarely does sometine create a perfect website on the first attempt, it may take several tries before you get it right.
7. Build Trust & Credibility: Until a customer believes you are trustworthy, even if they ARE interested in your services they may be hesitant to contact you. That’s why your website must present a strong first impression that assures customers you’re company is reputable. Simple things like adding a testimonials section, an faq (frequently asked questions) page, your return policies or a list of former clients all build credibility with consumers. Online reviews are also huge through websites such as Yelp, Google My Business and Yahoo Local Listings and also help boost your local SEO ranking. If people strongly believe others are doing business with you already they’ll likely jump on board much quicker.
8.Keep It Simple: Websites will often try to do too much or add things that aren’t necessary just to put on a show for their audience. There is nothing wrong with trying to impress people but you should try to avoid content on your site that doesn’t serve a clear purpose for your users. Remember customers aren’t there to see how fancy your website is, they are there to get the information they need as quickly and easily as possible. Always ask yourself with every aspect of your website (pages, images, additional bells and whistles) do they serve a worthwhile purpose for being there? Also make sure the most important parts of your website are the most visible and easiest to access from your home page.
9. Speak to Your Audience: Copyrwriting or content creation is one of the most important (yet most ignored) aspects of web design. The problem is often made worse by website owners who aren’t a fan of writing but still insist on doing all the written portions of their website themselves. The strength of your we copy is what will leave the biggest lasting impression with new customers, whether that be postive or negative. When reviewing each page of your website make sure you’ve included enough detail and relevant information for people to care. If you are to busy you’re probably wise to pass off the copywriting responsibilities to another employee or hiring a freelance writer.
10. Update Your Website: People tend to disregard the simplest things when improving their website and updating your site frequently is an easy way to make sure people have a reason to come back. Updates could fall under “The Return Factor” paragraph listed above but also serve other useful purposes as well. Search engines don’t like websites that are stagnant and are always looking for the newest and freshest content. Customers also don’t like websites that stay the same for too long as it’s probably a sign that their business isn’t very up to date. You should aim to update your website once a week but at minimum once a month.
Jeff Moyer – Advance Web Solutions Owner & Project Coordinator