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How to improve your website conversion rate

A big part of what we do here at Creative Click is focusing on making sure our client websites get better results.

That means we need to make sure that we get more website visitors completing whatever action it is we want them to complete (like subscribing to a newsletter, or making an enquiry, or buying a product). That action is what we call a conversion.

What does "conversion rate" mean?

At its most basic level, your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that take the action we deem to be a conversion.

So if you had 1,000 website visitors, and 200 of those completed the desired conversion action (eg. they filled in your contact form), then your conversion rate would be 20%.

In order to track your conversion rate, you will need to be able to track your total visitors, and how many complete the conversion activity.

What's a good conversion rate?

This is almost impossible to say, since so many factors come into it.

We have some clients extremely happy with a 5% conversion rate, and then others who are getting a 25% conversion rate.

It will depend on your industry, service offering, and your audience.

Conversion rates in different industries
A graph from WordStream showing average AdWords conversion rates across different industries. Source.

How do I improve my website conversion rate?

There are a large number of tasks you can do to improve conversion rates, and how far you go depends on how highly trafficked your site is.

I mean, let's say there's something that could increase your conversion rate by 1% (eg. going from 20% to 21%). If you're getting 100,000 visitors a month - an extra 1,000 conversions is definitely going to be worthwhile! If you're only getting 100 visitors though, one more conversion might not be as valuable.

How far you go is dependent on how much traffic you get and how much a single conversion is worth to you.

Ultimately, you improve your conversion rate by increasing the motivation for visitors to take action, and reducing any friction in the way.

Motivation vs Friction
Motivation versus Friction. Source.

Basic Conversion Rate Improvement Tasks

No matter how many visitors you get, here are some of the fundamental requirements to have a website that converts.

Have a clear value proposition

First and foremost, you need to make it super clear that when someone lands on your site, they can figure out how you help them.

They should be able to quickly identify what you do and why it matters to them. Don't make them think!

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.

Source: Copyblogger

This means your headlines have to absolutely nail it! Your value proposition should be crystal clear on the benefits your customers will receive, what problem it solves for them, and how you're different to your competition.

The worst thing you can do here is talk about being high quality, or that you care about your customers. Hate to break it to you, but that isn't unique at all. You need to spend just a bit of time finding out what your customers like about your business (hint: one of the easiest ways to find this out is by asking them).

Be relevant to your audience

Something I often see is when the content on a website isn't really relevant to the audience. It's either way too generic, or it's written for the type of demographic.

While "boring" language might work on a high end lawyers website, it probably wouldn't be as useful on a tech company that targets a younger crowd.

Think about it - you go on a website, and the content doesn't really seem to be for you. What do you do?

You will definitely exit and try find something more relevant.

So why would you expect your potential customers to be any different?

In order to help your website convert, make sure the content is highly relevant to the audience.

Make sure you are visually appealing for your target audience (not you, your friends, or your family)

While the design of your website does need to fit your brand and your personality, it also needs to visually appeal to your audience.

Many business owners make the mistake of focusing on a design that they love, without factoring in whether what they love will be what the audience loves.

Now if you're the exact same demographic as your audience, there's a chance your tastes might align. But this isn't always going to be the case.

The good thing is there is plenty of science around this sort of stuff. For example, here's an infographic on how different genders respond to different colours.

There is already a lot of data about how design interacts with demographics (such as gender, location, age, education, income, and much more). Making sure you factor demographics into any creative design brief, and that your designer factors it into their work, is a key part of a successful design.

Don't forget, design isn't just about "art" and being "creative" - science and data are huge factors too!

Remove any distractions on the way to conversion

My friend Adam Lacey at Split Hero said it best: "Distractions are Deadly."

When it comes to making sure people take action, the last thing you want to do is give them other things they could do.

Any time you distract them from the primary goal, it's a chance you're going to lose them. And the more chances to lose them, the more likely it is to happen.

So go through your page, and take away anything that isn't going to help make that visitor convert.

Keep it focused on your conversion goal.

Add social proof

If you want someone to take action on your website, you're going to need them to have some level of trust in you.

The bigger the action, the more trust and credibility needed.

A key part of conversion rate improvement is adding elements to the page that prove trustworthiness and credibility.

Testimonials. Reviews. Trust Badges. Client Logos.

A number of different trust badges
A number of different trust badges. Source.

Anything you can add that shows your visitor that you're legitimate is worth including on your site.

Make next steps easy

If you want someone to take action, make sure they can do that really easily.

Imagine you're browsing a website for a product, and you decide you want to buy it. But no matter where you look, you can't find any option to actually do that.

If you're really interested, you may put some effort into looking around and trying to find a buy button. But odds are, most people won't try that hard.

And worst of all is when you're interested to learn about something, but then you need to fill in a massive form with heaps of details before you can access it.

The golden rule is to make it easy for people to take action. That means:

  • Make the action area stand out, and easy to find.
  • Remove any unnecessary steps or form fields.
  • Make sure the language used is clear, concise, and compelling (eg. a button saying "Get Free Quote" rather than "Submit Message").

Advanced Conversion Rate Improvement Tasks

For higher trafficked websites, even small conversion rate improvements can bring fairly large financial benefits. In this case, it's usually worth putting even more energy into some advanced tasks.

Traffic Analysis

By looking over the website analytics, we can see which pages get traffic, which pages people enter from, which pages convert most, which pages people exit from.

Example data from Google Analytics
An example analytics report showing top landing pages.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Your website analytics has an absolute goldmine of data that can be used to make decisions around your website.

For example, if we see that your about page is one of the most visited pages of your website, but doesn't get any conversions, we know that it's worth investing in helping that page convert more.

Heat Mapping

By using heat mapping software, you can actually see what website visitors do on your website.

It's pretty interesting to watch - you get to see what actions real visitors take on your website. Where they scroll to, what they click on, which pages they visit.

An example heatmap
An example heatmap from HotJar.

This kind of data allows us to focus on improving the user experience on your website, which naturally leads to better conversions.

Split Testing

Even more than design, the content on your website has the largest impact on your conversion rates. The job of your design is to help people actually see and consume the content - but without good content, no amount of nice design will help. Design and content has to work together.

The language you use and the message it conveys makes all the difference between your message converting the visitor, or falling flat and tanking your conversion rates.

As part of an ongoing conversion rate optimisation strategy, we often use Split Testing Software to test different variations of headings, paragraphs, images, form fields, and even button labels.

The way this works is we have version A (usually the original) and version B (usually with the changes) of the page we want to test. We use the software to funnel traffic alternatively between version A or version B, and then see which version converts better. The winner becomes the new main page.

Split Test results page
An example split test result page from Split Hero.

We can even use split testing to test different layouts of the page. This is very useful when we want to see whether adding more content to a page will get better results or not.

What next?

Focusing on improving your conversion rates can have a dramatic effect on the overall benefit of your website. If you're not really getting much from your website, this could turn that around for you.

And if you are getting results from your website but want more, it could be worth talking to us about your conversion rate optimisation strategy.

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