Whether you’ve already built a decent-looking website for your business or haven’t even started the process, there’s something you need to keep in mind to make your website a worthwhile investment: Conversion optimization. This process focuses on improving the website conversion rate—the percentage of site visitors who take your desired action.
In most cases, that desired action is a sale. Converting website traffic to sales is especially important if you run an e-commerce store. You want website visitors to check out after viewing one or more product pages. Completing the checkout process would count as a conversion—the site visitor has converted to a paying customer.
But there are other actions you may want visitors to take. For example, you ask visitors to subscribe to your email list so you can send promotional materials and keep them coming back to your site. You also invite visitors to provide their contact information so you can follow up with them directly. Then, there’s your contact page—visitors may use the contact form to request a demo or consultation. All these actions are considered conversions, even if they don’t directly result in a sale.
Understanding the above makes it clear that it’s not enough to simply build a site that looks nice. You need to create a converting website, so the time, energy, and money you spend developing your business’ digital presence deliver a good ROI. Ultimately, the higher the conversion rate, the more improved your bottom line.
If you want to learn how to build a high-converting website, keep reading. You’ll discover several key aspects you should focus on to give your small business website the best chance at conversion success.
Want a High-Converting Website? Focus on These 6 Aspects
1. Design & Backend
When it comes to website design and backend elements, there are three aspects you need to consider:
- Load time
Mobile-friendliness means your website works just as easily on mobile phones as it does on a standard desktop computer or laptop. In fact, it pays to adopt a mobile-first mindset when designing your website. According to one study, most organic Google searches (61% to be exact) originate from mobile devices. So, it’s wise to assume most of your website visitors are using mobile phones, which you can verify with a website analytics tool.
Load time refers to how long your website takes to become available for viewing in the visitor’s browser. Today’s internet-driven consumers have high expectations for load times and little patience to wait, especially for sites they aren’t familiar with. How important is load time? One study finds that nearly half of respondents were only willing to wait for 1–5 seconds (16%) and 6–10 seconds (30%) for a website to load before abandoning it.
Reliability is also an essential factor for website conversions. If you can’t count on your website being available and performing as expected consistently, you’ll face lower conversion rates. Think about it—a visitor navigates to a product page, but the page doesn’t load or displays an error. Whether the page just doesn’t work or the visitor chooses to leave, you’ve missed an opportunity to capture their business.
You can address all the above design and backend elements by choosing a trusted, secure website hosting service.
2. Calls To Action
When a visitor navigates to a certain page, what do you want them to do? For product pages, it’s adding the product to their online shopping cart. For a contact page, it’s using the contact form to send you a message. For lead generation pages, it’s filling out the form to send you their contact information.
For each of these directives, you’ll need to have a link or visual aid to communicate to visitors exactly what you expect of them while browsing the page. A corresponding link or graphic completes the call to action (CTA).
Note that CTAs should always be clear and relevant.
Clarity and relevance help ensure visitors aren’t confused while navigating your website. If CTAs aren’t clear, some visitors will be unsure of either what to do or how to do it. If CTAs aren’t relevant, users may abandon the page entirely. For example, if a visitor is viewing a product, the most pertinent CTA would be adding the product to a cart; however, if all the visitor sees is a number to call, they’re most likely to just move on.
Lack of clarity or relevance will hurt your conversion rate.
In most cases, you’ll create a button with an action word that tells the visitor exactly what to do, along with a headline and some lead-in or supportive text. For example, the contact page would likely include a simple heading (“Contact”), instructional text (“Use the form below to contact us”), and a button that says “Submit.” Similarly, you would likely create a button for product pages that says “Add to Cart.”
3. A/B Testing
Split testing—often referred to as A/B testing because you test one variant (A) against another (B)—is a crucial ingredient of the conversion optimization recipe. A/B testing is one of the best methods for determining whether changes positively or negatively impact your conversion rate. In fact, 60% of companies believe A/B testing is “highly valuable” for conversion rate optimization.
A great website design, clear and compelling calls to action, and stunning images or video may work great, but there may be a variation of what you’ve published that results in more conversions.
You may be able to, say, come up with a call to action that is more compelling and inspires people to readily act. For example, using a video instead of a still image for certain products may result in more people adding those products to their carts.
There are endless ways you can A/B test your website, but you don’t want to get too caught up in testing every single element—sidebars, font size, paragraph spacing, etc. You could wind up spending more time on minute details than on tasks that net you a greater ROI. Just remember to take a smart, balanced approach to testing.
Adding media to some web pages can often help boost conversion rates. A key example is with product pages, where there must be some type of imagery, so potential customers know what they’ll be purchasing.
But how big should the product images be? Should text appear with the product image or separately in a mouseover box? You’ll have to decide on these aspects by testing them on your site, but you may be able to take hints from an e-commerce retailer in the Czech Republic that used A/B testing to determine larger product images with mouseover text as their best bet. The change resulted in a 9.46% increase in sales.
A similar question you’ll face is whether to use video or stick with still imagery. Consider whether a video will be helpful for the visitor. For example, will using video help potential customers understand the product better or give them a better idea of what to expect from a service? Again, you can use A/B testing to help make the final decision.
One company tested to see how video impacted email signups for their alpha product. The variation without video had a 6.5% conversion rate, while one of the variations with video had a 13% conversion rate—a 100% increase.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is probably a term you’ve heard plenty of times but don’t know much about. In short, SEO is about ranking pages on your website on Google so that when people search for what you sell, they find you (preferably over your competitors).
There are many components to SEO, including off-page and on-page SEO. Off-page SEO includes tasks that lie outside of your website, such as securing backlinks to your site from other sites and having your site pages shared on social media. On-page SEO includes tasks that tie directly into your website, such as researching and using relevant keywords you’ll include on web pages, creating and submitting XML sitemaps to Google, and using easily readable page URLs.
SEO is a very complex subject that requires a dedicated article (or several), but you can check out this in-depth guide from Moz to learn more.
6. Social Proof
If you’ve ever bought anything on Amazon (we know you have!), you’ve undoubtedly looked at reviews before making a purchase. A product review is one form of social proof whereby people are influenced by the opinions of others. Other forms of social proof include customer testimonials, celebrity endorsements, social following count, number of customers, awards, etc.
Social proof can be a powerful tool to increase website conversions. A staggering 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations, so adding customer testimonials to your homepage or reviews to your product pages can help convince visitors to choose your business and its products to address their needs. For example, WikiJob added testimonials that included customer attributions—the addition increased their conversion rate by 34%.
The thing about social proof is that it works as a proxy for determining whether a company or product is a worthwhile investment of your time and money. Having never bought a particular product before, you can’t be sure whether it will be high enough quality or fully address your needs. However, hearing from other customers who have already purchased the product can help alleviate this information gap and give you confidence the product can work for you.
Do you want a headache-free way to address the above areas and create a high-converting website for your small business? With Yahoo Website Builder, you can get started with a mobile-friendly theme, drag-and-drop editing, secure hosting, and built-in SEO.