You just can’t by with an “old school” website anymore. And yes, your company/brand will be judged on the appearance of your website. You also can’t get by anymore by just having a site that serves the purpose of being your “online business card”. Every company, no matter what industry, no matter what size, should have a website with clear goals. Conversion goals that is.
Conversion optimization takes all aspects of your website into consideration starting with your core business objectives. These need to be clearly defined and your website should be designed (or redesigned) to support these goals. You should also have a solid understanding of your analytics so you can set some benchmarks:
- Where does our traffic come from?
- What are our bounce rates?
- How long do people stay and what pages do they go to, leave from?
- Do visitors convert?
What happens in 8 seconds. A “bounce” is defined as a user who comes to your site and leaves in under 8 seconds. Therefore a bounce rate is the ratio of people who leave in under 8 seconds VS those that stay. Anything under 50% is pretty good. Conversion goals are different for every website but examples are capturing information like name, address, phone; a sale; a download; a phone call…you get the idea. So let’s take a look at the various elements that need to be considered when building a website that converts.
THE INITIAL HOOK
You must have a clear call to action, or a few key action points. E-commerce sites usually have promotions and offer things like FREE shipping. Everybody likes and deal and wants to be incentivized. If your goal is to get a user to download your whitepaper, tell them why its valuable and give them some incentive for doing so.
Once you have defined your goals, the site needs to be designed so that the call to action is prominent and focused on encouraging the user to act. Using larger fonts, bold colors, simple but compelling design concepts, less content, and plenty of open space usually fall under the best practices category. It is usually recommended to use separate landing pages with clear calls to action to support online and offline marketing efforts.
Notice the example below has a very clear purpose (sorry the picture is kind of small). This page is designed to bring people back to the site, capture their information, and offers an incentive to do so.
This is very important because the more user friendly your site is the better your consversion rates will be. Seems pretty obvious but can take a lot of focus to get it right for any specific site. Many times bounce rates and lack of conversions are simply due to poor functionalty, poor design, and a “sales cycle” that is just too long. Streamline the process, only capture the information you need, and keep the steps simple and fast.
You can use technology and custom tools to enhance the experience and go beyond your competition. Just remember, it all starts with defining clear goals first and then developing a plan.