Do you sell directly from your website or you use it to generate leads and enquiries? Is your site working hard enough to convert visitors into customers? Often just a few basic tweaks to a website, focused on the user, can lead to a significant increase in your conversion rate. And even small increases in your conversion rate can have a significant impact on your bottom line due to the uplift in enquiries or sales. In the current climate (and at any other time for that matter!) it is vital that you are making the most of the traffic your site is receiving. Remember, there is little value in increasing traffic from search engines, or any other source, if your site then fails to engage visitors and ultimately turn them into customers.
Website optimisation should focus on users, not search engines, because as lovely as those search engines are they will not fill in your enquiry form or buy your products; but human visitors will. And often by getting the user-experience right many aspects of SEO are taken care of anyway. Take a look at the tips below and see how your site compares; could it be working harder for you?
Try to keep the layout of each page in a standard format
Visitors want to find the information they seek as quickly and easily as possible. So be consistent and present your information in a way that is easy to identify and quick to read.
Use consistent intuitive navigation
Internet users have an expectation of what a website should look like and how it functions. Don’t confuse them by doing something ‘creative’, it will only lead to confusion and dissatisfaction, and ultimately the user going somewhere else.
Write for the Web
You need engaging and useful copy, but remember to break it up into easily skimmed topics. People will read a newspaper from front-to-back but tend to skim and jump around on a website. Make it easy for them to find what they want and get more info.
Include clear and concise ‘calls to action’
Visitors to your site need to be told what you want them to do next. It’s up to you to lead them through your site so they end up where you want them to!
Always have a consistent link to the home page
Include a link back to the homepage from every other page on your site.
Build a Site Map
Yes, people do use them! The bigger your site, the more you need one. And they also help search engines find all of the content on your site.
Phone number/contact details
To help build trust between your site visitor and your company, make sure that you are easily contactable. Not only include a ‘Contact Us’ page, but include your telephone number on every page of your site. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to talk to a company, and not being able to find a number!
Make it easy to buy/enquire
Don’t over complicate the end game. If you have an ecommerce site, limit the buying process to the smallest number of clicks possible and don’t ask for personal details unless you give the user a good reason for doing so!
Similarly if the purpose of your site is to generate leads and enquiries, don’t ask users to fill end endless forms online – they won’t.
Keep the buying process as light and simple as possible
After I give my credit card number over to a website I do not want to see “something interesting and cool”. I want to see my purchase processed in a “normal” and secure way. You can vary it a bit and make it look nice, but people usually don’t like “cute” when it comes to their finances being handled by strangers.
If your site just isn’t doing the business consider implementing changes geared towards improving the user-experience. And remember, optimisation is an ongoing process. Using data available from free stats tools, such as Google Analytics you can see how visitors are interacting with your website and make ongoing tweaks to continually improve user-experience and therefore your conversion rate.