Is your great looking site performing as it should to convert visitors into customers?
It’s worth having a look to see how many people are visiting your site. Google Search Console and Google Analytics are well-known tools that can help you to understand your visitors' needs and behaviours. Some web hosting packages will come with tools, like AW Stats, that provide basic visitor statistics, and give you an idea of your conversion rate. Generally speaking, the average conversion rate is around 2-3%.
Simple tweaks to your website content can make all the difference in helping convert visitors into customers. Finding the right formula may take some experimentation, so it is an opportunity for continuous improvement. Trial and error is part of the process – not everything you try will work, but it’s important to learn from any mistakes and move on quickly.
On your homepage, impact is key, so be ruthless and get rid of things that don’t matter.
Critiquing your website content requires imagination and objectivity. You have to look at it through someone else’s eyes – a user within your target audience. It may be worth asking a friend or two, whose opinion you can trust to be honest and constructive, especially if they are they kind of people your website is designed to entice.
There are online services that can test your site for you, but their advice may not be consistent with your target market, so be wary of going down this route.
Here are a few points that I think are worth considering when critiquing your content. (I have written an actionable checklist at the end of this post for quick reference):
Is your homepage overwhelming or underwhelming?
Your homepage should be an introduction designed to capture just enough interest to make people stay and explore the rest of your site. This is where you begin to convert visitors into buyers.
There are 4 core questions your audience needs answered straight away:
- What do you do?
- What makes you special?
- Why can you be trusted?
- What do you want them to do next?
Here’s a checklist of ideal features for your homepage:
- Your logo and brand elements
- Accessible and concise navigation
- Brand proposition (explained below)
- Calls to action – What do you want them to do next? See your portfolio/get a quote?
- Current promotions
- Shortcuts to significant pages
- Shortcuts to recent or most popular blog posts
- Clear contact details
- Social media links
- Newsletter sign-up
Is your brand proposition enticing?
A brand proposition is a catchy statement that clearly identifies your purpose and the benefits that a consumer can derive from your brand. People will make a quick judgement, within a few seconds of hitting your site, so get to the point – don’t get all cryptic and mysterious on them! Your proposition needs prime position and should be visible without scrolling.
Does your branding and visual content have impact?
Keep your header simple for maximum attention grabbing power. Visitors are as prone to overstimulation as they are to boredom or confusion, so too many slides and complicated messages may increase your bounce rate. (Bounce rate refers to the frequency that visitors leave your site without looking at any pages other that the one they landed on).
A brand proposition ultimately aims to assure visitors that they are in the right place.
Of course your branding is a vital contributor to visual impact. Do you have a professionally designed logo and branding elements? Are they a proud representation on you and your brand? Are your brand colours attractive and appropriate for your industry? Is there sufficient contrast between text and background colours or could the text be hard to distinguish for some people? Are your fonts working well together and are they easy to read?
Is your branding something I could help you with?
Consistency is key, across ALL pages, galleries, buttons, image sizing, spacing, fonts and so on. Your web designer should provide you with all necessary details, so make sure you follow their advice when uploading your own content.
Does the visual content look professional? Invest in a professional commercial photographer and graphic designer for photos, video and graphics, or if you are on a shoe-string budget, use high quality, relevant and non-generic stock photos – be very selective. The technical and aesthetic quality of a photograph, video or graphic sets a tone and you want that tone to be positive and professional. Your web designer should be honest with you about whether or not your visual content works with your branding and site design, and it is worth trusting their judgement.
Is the language clear and setting the right tone?
If you sound too business-like, your content will be generic and forgettable. Your personality is what differentiates you from competition. You don’t need to be a writer, just be you.
Focus on content that educates your visitors about who you are and how you can help them, with language that evokes trust. A good starting point is to write down the questions your visitors might have, so that you can make sure they are asked and answered.
Create content that resonates, captivates and engages your visitors.
Believe it or not, about pages are often the most visited page on any website, so make yours count. Remember that you are trying to convert visitors into customers, so don't self-indulge. Let them know that you are here to help them.
Design your pages for skimming. Most people scan a page rather than reading word for word, so allow them to do so whilst still picking up on the things that you most want your visitors to take notice of. Here are a few examples that make it easier to skim read a page, but bear in mind less is more:
- Use concise and informative lists
- Break up blocks of text with relevant subheadings
- Use short paragraphs
- Put keywords and phrases in bold or a different font family
- Section a key sentence off entirely from the rest of the paragraph
Keep your messages informative and to the point. Blog posts are the exception – they’re purpose is to explore a subject in more depth, but that is whole other topic, which I intend to cover soon.
Also, no keyword stuffing! The best way to lose a visitor’s interest and trust is to sound like a robot.
Just a thought - The last impression is as important as the first impression. Make sure the footer content is memorable and that your contact form success message is personalised, to make a positive, lasting impression.
Does your website take an age to load?
Another major contributor to bounce rate is slow loading time. It is well worth testing your website speed using the free Pingdom speed tester, or Google Pagespeed Insights. Although reducing your page speed is important, don't get too caught up in chasing a perfect score with speed testing tools. As with everything, there is a rule of diminishing returns as you get closer to that elusive '100'. You may end up giving your visitors a poorer user experience just to get higher page speed numbers. Balance is key.
The most common culprit is oversized images. Your web designer should advise you on optimum image size for each section of your website, and please trust their advice! (Yes, I know I say that a lot)! Social media widgets can also increase page load times, so don't stuff your site with widgets for all your social media avenues - limit yourself to one that you use regularly.
Incidentally, the quality of your hosting may also be slowing your site down, so do as much homework as you can before settling on your web host and the type of hosting you are using.
Your website is your shop window. Its success hinges on your content - an enticing introductory homepage, attention-grabbing branding and imagery, and memorable, trustworthy language is the winning formula. I know there's a lot to consider, so take it one step at a time. I've compiled a downloadable actionable checklist below to help you do just that. Just writing this post has inspired us to make a few changes. Will you be trying any of my suggestions? Please let us know how you get on!
Actionable checklist | convert visitors into customers:
- Review you visitor statistics using Google Search Console, Google Analytics or AW Stats.
- Does your homepage answer the 4 core questions?
- Does your homepage include the suggested ideal features?
- Get rid of any excess features on your homepage.
- Is your brand proposition clear, enticing and in a prominent position?
- Is your header simple and impactful?
- Is your branding professional and effective or is this something we could help you with?
- Is all your visual content consistent in terms of sizing, spacing and so on?
- Do you have professional photos, video and graphics?
- Does the language used express personality and evoke trust?
- Does your wording focus on who you are and how you can HELP THEM?
- Write down the questions your visitors might have and make sure you answer them.
- Is your about page engaging and memorable?
- Break up blocks of text into short paragraphs, with keywords and phrases highlighted.
- Is your content too keyword heavy?
- Is your footer content memorable?
- Is your contact form success message personalised?
- Test your website speed using Pingdom.