You’ve done everything right — you hired a web developer to build your site and a marketing company to draft high quality, engaging and user-friendly landing pages. Your site contains strategically placed CTAs and contact forms, and you update your blog frequently with fresh and relevant content. As a result, your site enjoys a great deal of traffic. However, prospects just aren’t converting. If this situation sounds all too familiar, it may be time to perform conversation rate optimization.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization refers to the systematic process of increasing the rate at which visitors take the desired action. The desired action can be a number of things, be it filling out a form, signing up for your monthly newsletter, contacting your office or, as it is for many businesses, processing a sale. CRO involves figuring out how users move through your site and identifying the barrier that’s preventing them from moving onto the next step: Conversion. Now that you have your answer to, What is CRO in marketing?, it’s time to learn how to optimize your website so that it converts visitors into paying customers. Read on for seven best practices for doing just that.
Check Your User Flow
One of the best ways to understand why users are dropping off is to identify both from where your traffic is coming and on what pages they’re leaving. To do this, login to your Google Analytics account and check user flow. What areas are underperforming compared to industry metrics or other pages on your website? Are there pages in particular on which visitors are routinely disengaging? If so, these are the problem areas you should consider optimizing.
Before you change anything, however, make sure to check where your users are coming from. For instance, you may sell noise vibration solutions for aerospace and automobile manufacturers. However, due to a fluke in keyword selection, a referral’s link or what-have-you, you may be receiving traffic composed of consumers who are looking for a cheap way to dampen the noise of their exhausts. This would be good to know before you go and change up your website.
Use Your Content To Convert
Your messaging and design can play a huge role in the success (or lack thereof) of conversions. When crafting copy, use the following tips to make sure it sells:
- Write in a clear, concise and accessible manner. If your content is too technical or full of jargon that only industry professionals would understand, it’s not going to impress prospects, but rather, deter them
- Speak to your target market. Use the lingo of key decision-makers in industries you want to target. Not only will doing so make you more relatable but also, it will put their minds at ease that you’re qualified to handle their projects
- Talk to your readers. Don’t use “he,” “she” or “they,” as this is impersonal and makes the visitor feel detached. Instead, use “you” and “your.”
- Incorporate reviews from satisfied customers into the pages of your site. Doing so will reassure visitors that your brand is legitimate.
- Use bullet points, line breaks and numbered lists to retain plenty of whitespace and make your content easier to read.
If you’re not sure if your content sounds cold and detached or warm and inviting, have an objective third party ready through it. His or her verdict should reveal whether or not your content is the problem.
Your content itself is not the only factor that can make or break engagement. How you choose to display your content plays a huge role in how well it’s accepted. Though there are no hard and fast rules regarding font size, color choice or placement, it should go without saying that your text should be legible. Avoid curly fonts that are hard to read, dark on dark or light on light color schemes and minuscule type.
Check Page Load Times
Slow and steady may win the race in storybooks, but in the digital realm, it can break you. Not only will Google ding you if your pages take too long to load but also, you risk losing the customer if your pages take any longer than three seconds to load. That’s right — three seconds.
According to Neil Patel, the average site takes 15 seconds to load. However, 53% of mobile users leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to show up. Additional findings show that a one-second delay in page load times can result in a 7% loss in conversions and 11 fewer page views. If you operate an online store that earns $50,000 a day, on average, that one-second delay can result in a $1 million annual loss.
You can check your page load times by running a site-speed test or by viewing your page speed insights through Google Analytics. If your pages are slow to load, try boosting the load speed by doing the following:
- Shrink your images to save valuable space and load time.
- Use a cache plugin so that users’ browsers don’t have to dynamically generate your pages every time they visit.
- Consider using a content delivery network to spread the server load across a number of locations, and to ensure a server closest to a user is the one delivering the content.
- Look into what redirects are active on your site and simplify them as much as possible.
There are other, more technical ways you can boost page and site load speed, which a savvy developer and marketing team should be able to implement on your behalf.
Ideally, your contact forms should be above the fold and as easy to fill out as possible. If your system gives you the option to do so, automatically fill in information for visitors. It is not uncommon for users — mobile users, especially — to click away from a form because they’re too lazy to fill out all the fields.
Once upon a time, best practices dictated that website owners put contact forms on the right-hand side of the page, but that’s no longer the case. There is no data that says that a form situated on the right performs better than one situated in the center of the page or vice versa. Test form placement to determine what works best for your visitors.
Eliminate the Clutter
If your site is visually off-putting, you’ll be lucky to get visitors to stick around for more than a page or two. However, say a visitor did want to convert but due to all the clutter on your page, he or she couldn’t find the CTA. Trust us, this has happened before.
If your page has a lot going on — whether “a lot” refers to a lot of text, a lot of links, a lot of visuals or a lot of everything — go through and decide what’s important and what’s not. For instance, do you really need a side menu when you have a drop-down menu across the top? What about the blocks upon blocks of text? Is there a way you can reduce all that text to a few short yet concise blurbs that say the same thing in a much more powerful way?
If, like a physical hoarder, you’re having trouble paring down your website, work with a professional who can advise you on what’s important and what needs to go. Eliminating the clutter can go a long way toward fixing issues you may not have even realized you have, such as slow load speeds, high bounce rates and less than stellar rankings.
Finally, test your site. You may think the issue lies with one element of your website, make what you believe to be are the necessary changes and then discover that wasn’t the problem at all. This can be frustrating, time-consuming and costly.
A/B testing allows you to compare certain versions of selected elements of your pages to see which performs better. By testing elements in this way, you can make informed decisions regarding the messaging and design of your site.
While you may be tempted to build entirely new web pages to compare to your existing ones, don’t do this, as this would be a massive waste of your resources. Instead, start by changing up small elements, such as CTA verbiage or form placement. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that changing your CTA from passive to active voice is all you needed to do to increase the rate at which visitors download your whitepaper.
Work With a Digital Marketing Agency
Though there’s a lot to be said for going the DIY route, sometimes doing so is more of a hassle than it’s worth. If you’ve been messing with your website for quite some time in the hopes of boosting conversions, your time and resources may be better well spent by outsourcing your optimization efforts to a digital marketing agency that has the tools and talent necessary to create and maintain a high performing website. For a cohesive digital marketing solution geared toward generating unrelenting results, contact Momentum today.