Website conversion rate is the most important measurement that you should improve when doing an online business venture. This is defined as the number of sales/total visitors on the website. For example, if your website has 3000 visitors in one month and out of these visitors, only 3 purchase your product, the conversion rate is:
Conversion rate= 3/3000 = 0.1%
Conversion rate is not only limited to being defined with “sales” figures. It can also be used with anything that relates to the measurement of success for the website. For example, the sign-up conversion rate for your website membership or newsletter.
Low conversion rate affects the profitability and long term success of your business. The goal is to have as high a conversion rate as possible. How much will depend on your profit expectations. Some businesses may operate profitably at a 1% conversion rate, while other businesses should aim for 5%. It is, of course, always desirable to have this figure as high as possible.
Conversion rate is influenced by many factors. This is a complete checklist on how to increase your website conversion rate.
Technical and Design Related
#1. Create a professional looking website – an unprofessional image and bad website design can turn off most of your visitors. Consider hiring a professional web designer if you cannot produce a professional looking website.
#2.) Speed up the website loading – check if the landing page loads as quick as possible (within 3 to 7 seconds) for the slowest bandwidth figure. You can use this tool: http://www.linkvendor.com/seo-tools/speedtester.html to help you.
#3.) Use SSL to secure any sensitive pages – this includes pages that accept sensitive information such as payment or member info. Get an SSL certificate and protect those log-ins, payment pages, etc. Make sure your users see the SSL padlock icon in the browser and check if you have correct SSL implementation.
#4.) Don’t hide your WHOIS info – Some buyers will want to check the owner of the website domain by doing a WHOIS query. If what they see on the website (“About us” information that includes the owner) does not match with what is listed on the WHOIS (this includes the address), some visitors may not trust you that much.
*Some business owners choose to hide WHOIS info for privacy reasons, but this can sacrifice trust if visitors need to know that you really own the website.
#5.) Take advantage of auto-responders when using contact forms – some visitors’ inquiry might be both important and urgent. Using an auto-responder will assure the user that you are receiving their inquires and they will receive a detailed reply later.
Make sure to comply on any of your promises; if you say that you will reply within 24 hours, make sure you reply within that time.
#6.) Turn off programming related errors – double check that your website is not returning unfriendly programming errors when your visitor submits any of your website forms, etc. This includes broken links and mis-redirection of links.
#7.) Avoid having ads on your site – if there is really a need to put ads, isolate the ads clearly from your content and avoid using pop-ups or any annoying type of ads such as in-text advertising.
#8.) Make your site is very easy to use and navigate – difficult navigation menus can confuse your visitors and make them navigate away from your website.
#9.) Get a BBB online certificate - this is an important trust factor that states your website is certified to take care of customer privacy and places an emphasis on quality service.
#10.) Complete contact information – in your contact page make sure to include:
- Contact name or Full company name
- Contact address (physical address)
- Email address
- Phone number (private lines)
- Toll free number (e.g. the 1-800 Toll number)
- Some may use “live chat” sessions to communicate with your visitors. Make sure they are chatting with a real person and not a bot.
#11.) Put all the needed information on a single landing page – it is common to have a landing page on your website where your visitors will land for the first time and read your content. It needs to be as complete as possible. This means it should include product specs, prices, expected delivery date, etc.
#12.) Write powerful headlines – attention grabbing one-liners should be placed on top of your landing page (e.g. homepage). Make them short, direct call to actions, highlighting the benefits of your service. For example:
Sign-up now and get a 90-day free trial!
Give yourself some time to formulate a perfect headline that fits your business goals and maximizes results. For example Facebook has this tag/headline: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”
#13.) Put delivery and payment methods immediately on the homepage. If your website accepts payment for purchases, highlight clearly your payment and delivery methods. For example, you might need to put a Paypal Logo and the supported credit cards on your website sidebar. In this way, your potential customers will immediately know that you accept payments in PayPal.
#14.) Include trust graphics and logos – if you are certified with Better Business Bureau then include a BBB logo on your website. Another thing is that if you get an award from a third party agency relating to your products or customer service then include the award graphic with a link to the issuing agency or a press release.
Do not overdo trust logos and graphics, some visitors may not be even aware of it.
#15.) Include a page with “real” testimonials and users of your products – your visitors need to know that people are already using your products/services and they are happy with them.
#16.) Make a brief, factual history of your company and business – this can be included in the “about us” page. Mention how you started the business, who operates it, etc. It is also good to include office photos and of course pictures of your team. If you are a member of a reputable organization, highlight it.
Some may mention their favorite personal hobbies, past times or even photos of their families. In this way, you are actually showing to your readers that you are a real person with real interests.
Visitors are wary of websites with fictitious business owners or location.
#17.) Mention what country or geographical location you service – some services are limited to only one country; make sure you clearly state it in your website.
#18.) Add a map to your business location – physical existence of your office helps to increase trust, which then improves conversion rate. You can use Google maps service and embed it in the “contact” or “about us” page.
#19.) Double check your content for typographical and grammatical errors – a slight mistake will cast a doubt on your professionalism.
#20.) Make it easy for your visitors to validate content accuracy – include citations or references from other trusted websites in support of your content or claim.
#21.) Include a complete FAQ – your visitor might have a lot of anticipated questions, be prepared for this by writing a well-planned/organized FAQ.
#22.) Add money-back guarantees to your services - Some visitors are afraid to buy a service if it does not have a money-back guarantee. This will help increase customer confidence.
#24.) Offer something with an important value for free – for example if you are selling mountain bike parts, you may allow your readers to download a 500 pages e-book about mountain biking climbing tips, speed workouts, maintenance tips, etc for free.
#25.) Interact with your visitors and update your website frequently – its why you see a lot of website businesses having Facebook pages because it helps them interact with their visitors easily. Show that you are updating your website with quality content.
#26.) Add a well-written terms and conditions policy – include the most important buyer-seller agreement terms here. Make sure it highlights your product return policy, refund policy and delivery/shipment policies.
It is important to mention the entire cost of purchasing your products BEFORE the checkout that already includes delivery/shipment costs and taxes. Make sure you have no hidden charges in your business transaction and everything is as transparent as possible.
#27.) Shorten the conversion funnel as much as possible – customers will be tired of long checkout processes (like filling in forms which for them is not necessary) and most of them will withdraw along the way. Shorten the process – it will save a lot of time and will make them happy.
#28.) Show the success metrics in your website as part of your business – this includes showing the number of successful downloads if you are selling digital products. Or even show how many members you already have.
#29.) Test your prices – offer competitive prices fully researched according to your business cost and profitability expectations. Some also believe that testing odd prices will help conversion such as prices ending with 9: http://nicolas.gueguen.free.fr/Articles/J-Applied-Sc2005.pdf
#30.) Treat your customers nicely – a happy customer means that she/he will most likely return in the future. A simple courtesy, respect and good attitude towards your customer counts a lot.