Customers are bombarded with options. We no longer live in a world where you go to the store to buy a simple toaster. We live in a world of infinite choices. When consumers want to make a purchase, more and more often they are going online to do their research, and more importantly to make their purchases. This is great for consumers. Who doesn’t want choice? But like many things in life, this is a double edged sword. For the retailers who are trying to survive in a marketplace that is filled to the brim with competition, how do you stand out? How can you make a website that will convert a visitor into a customer?
The most important thing to do is to fully understand your customers and your goals. Who is your target group? What do they want to see? What do you want them to do? These are all questions that you need to ask in order to ensure that you are optimizing your website for your customers. If you do not have informed answers to those questions, you cannot make informed choices about your website.
2: What are your Pain Points?
Once you understand your customers and your goals, you need to identify the problems. After all, if there is not problem, then there is no reason to make a change. Do you want more people to sign up for your email blasts? Do you want to increase sales from your product page? Are customers abandoning their shopping carts? Once you understand the problem, you can tailor a solution to your customers AND your problem.
3: Track Everything!
Install Google Analytics. This is to my knowledge the best, free tool to monitor how people interact with your site. It will allow you to see where you traffic comes from, where they are going on your site and most importantly where they drop off. Once you see where they are dropping off, you can make adjustments to those pages to make them more appealing to your users.
4: The A/B Test
One thing that very few people do is to try different layouts. I previously wrote a blog about A/B Testing email blasts, but the same concept, and rational, applies to your website. Trying 2-column and 3-column layouts on your site. Experiment and have some fun with your website. Don’t feel limited by just the layout. Images, colors, fonts, sizes are all open game. Consumers are fickle, you may be surprised how a simple layout or design change can affect your conversions.
5: Usability Matters
Get a usability test done on your website. With all of the options that your customers have, if there are pain points in the usability of your website, they will often find a competitors website that is easier to use. These tests are not very expensive and can pay off for a long time.
People say that website users give a website on average 15 seconds to hook them. For consumers they want to feel secure in doing business with you and establishing trust in that first 15 seconds is crucial. Show your phone number. Have consistent branding on the website. Make sure your website isn’t “gimmicky”, and that includes never using pop-ups or pop-unders.
7: Is it Broken?
Confirm all of the functionality of your website. There is a disturbing number of websites out there that have broken and sometimes even missing functionality. This looks bad and will make your consumers run to your competitors.
8: Remove the Redundancies
Remove unnecessary fields. If you don’t use the information, don’t ask for it. When people go yo a contact form they want something from you, but they don’t want to spend all afternoon giving you their life story. If you don’t need to know their fax number, don’t ask for it. Also consider how aggressive your form validation is. Is it not more important that you can contact a customer with a valid email or phone number than have them enter a valid postal code?
Make sure your call to actions are clearly defined. Tell the user what they will get when they push that button, and then make sure to deliver it! Don’t use bloated adjectives, and never lie. Give your CTAs some space, and make sure that they can be seen and look nice overall.
10: Silence is Golden
Lastly, the most important thing to me personally. Turn off the music. If you must have music on your site, put it into a media player and give the user the option to turn it on AND off. 15 years ago, we lived in a world where people were usually doing one thing at a time with their computer. That hasn’t been true for a long time however. People often have music playing, talking to friends on Skype or might be watching NetFlix on a second screen. Nobody likes to land on a website that interrupts their favourite song or catching up with friends.
Attention spans have shortened, choices and decisions are everywhere, and technology is ever-changing. You need to be doing all you can to transform website visitors into paying customers in order to convert. Follow these ten techniques I’ve outlined, and you’ll be converting in no-time!