If this is you, don’t panic. I hear this a lot and am here to help. About 10 years ago, marketers were completely focused on the conversion rate of the overall site but now a website’s overall conversion rate isn’t really that important.
Ever since the emergence of great content and its important role in SEO and brand building, conversion rates have actually decreased considerably because many consumers are doing more browsing before they buy. The choice available means they’re far more choosy about where they spend their money. It’s common for shoppers to visit a website seven or eight times before making a purchase. This can play havoc with your site’s overall conversion rate.
Conversion is still important but only when you study it at a more granular level. Instead of viewing the site as a whole you need to look at conversion on a page-by-page basis because this will tell you what is and isn’t working.
Where do I start in improving my website conversion rate?
The conversion process starts before people land on your website and continues all the way through to the final sale or action you want them to take.
Here are some areas where you can improve your site conversion rates along the customer journey:
Better conversion by attracting the right customer
First, if you’re attracting the wrong type of customer to your website then they’ll never convert. Lots of traffic and very little conversion probably means your online marketing and on-site content is targeted towards the wrong set of keyword terms and ultimately, the wrong customer.
Take a look at your Google analytics and Webmaster Tools to see what phrases your website is ranking for and where your customers are coming from. Is this a true reflection of the products and services that you sell? If not, carry out keyword research to see what other terms and phrases people are using to find what you sell. Once you have this information you need to implement the changes into your meta data and on-site content and start to focus your marketing efforts on promoting these areas.
Bad content that leads to poor conversion
If you believe your site is well optimised for the correct keywords then we need to look further under the hood to understand how people are navigating through your site, identify the best and worst performing pages and find out at what point people are leaving your site.
If you look in your Google Analytics under Behaviour > Behavioural Flow you will be able to see the visitor journey funnel which shows you where people are going once they enter your site. You may find that they’re entering your homepage and then leaving on a particular category page before they navigate to a product page. This would indicate that your category page has issues like being too wordy, has unclear navigation, lacks a call-to-action or takes too long to load.
Or the content on the page may not be engaging to the user which means they’ll leave because they’re not inspired to go further. Remember, every page should have an end goal, whether that is to send users to another page, to capture data or convert into a sale.
Under the behaviour tab in Google Analytics you can also look under Site Content > Exit pages to see what pages have the highest exit rate from your site. This will enable you to quickly identify where you are losing valuable traffic and do something about it.
Poorly converting homepage
Of course, many sites have a high bounce rate on their homepage which indicates they are either attracting the wrong type of customer or that the messaging on the homepage is unclear. Remember, people have a very low attention span when browsing the web so you need to make it clear within a couple of seconds what your site sells and what it stands for. Your logo, heading or strapline should act as your elevator pitch and tell the visitor what you sell or offer within a couple of seconds. If this is poor then people will navigate away, probably leaving you with a cost from the campaign where they came from.
Your promotional banners should also be clear and sell the benefits of your products rather than just the product itself. Remember people won’t buy your products if they don’t know they need them! Make your messages clear, enticing and also include free products or shipping where possible.
Stop poor conversion on mobile websites
Websites that are not mobile friendly also affect your conversion rates because it is too difficult to view the site properly and navigate the way to checkout. Google is now really clamping down on user-experience so you need to make sure that your website works perfectly on a mobile phone. You will probably find that about 30% of your site’s visitors are using a mobile device and this is only going to increase with 50%+ likely within 18 months.
This could be a reason for poor conversion but also high bounce-rate on many of your web pages. So make sure you check how your pages appear on a mobile device.
Improve poor conversion on products pages
Many online shop owners are so focused on the homepage and promotional offers, that the product pages often get overlooked. When someone lands on your product page they’ve effectively landed on a ‘money page’. You need to try doubly hard to convert them into a customer. All your marketing efforts and spend have gone into getting customers this far so don’t waste it.
The most important parts of a product page that will aid conversion are:
- Product Titles – You product titles should be clear and precise. Strong titles are also good for SEO if tagged with an H1 tag.
- Images – Make sure your product images are large, clean and clear. Product photography is relatively cheap so invest to get the best you can afford.
- Product Benefits – Make sure your opening statement contains the product benefits. Don’t waffle. Tell your customer why they need it and what it will do to change their life.
- Product Features – Don’t flood the page with text because people haven’t got time to read it all. Use bullet points to get across the features of your product in a quick and easy way.
- Product Description – Your main product description can be more detailed but don’t be too wordy or it’ll result in poor usability. Break up your information into bite-sized chunks and get to the point. This will help your conversion considerably.
- Buy Buttons – Your ‘buy buttons’ should be clear and in a bold colour that jumps off the page and encourages your visitors to click it. Don’t use red. Psychologically, red means danger or caution and will prevent people from clicking on it. Green, blue and orange are the most effective.
- Video – Instructional demo videos will always help with conversion because they enable people to get a better feel for the product in someone’s hands. These don’t have to be ‘Hollywood blockbuster’ quality but should be shot in high quality, be non-shaky and edited cleanly. Video is worth investing in.
- Measurements – If the product you’re selling is an item of clothing, luggage or something where size is important then make sure this is clear. Unclear and missing sizing information will result in lost sales or a large returns problem.
- Shipping Information – When viewing a product on a page you should easily be able to tell how much the shipping is and how long it will take to arrive. Free shipping will encourage people to buy and so will express delivery. Slow delivery and high or missing shipping charges will discourage people from buying.
- Returns Information – While you may have this somewhere on your website, you should have it clearly stated on every product page as well. Your customer shouldn’t have to go hunting around your website to see what your returns policy is. In many cases, returns are an essential part of the buying process because they give customers confidence in your service.
- Product Reviews – Unbiased product reviews really help conversion, especially if you’re an online retailer. You can easily implement independent customer review engines like Feefo, Trust Pilot or Review Centre into your site.
Improve website checkout conversion
OK, so you have a tonne of customers adding your products to their baskets but they’re not converting and completing the purchase. Why? Your shopping basket is the final step of the buying process so it’s crucial you get it right. Customers can leave your site at any time so you need to make sure the checkout is as quick, easy and efficient as possible. Some areas to focus on are:
- Mobile friendly checkout – hopefully by now I’ll have convinced you of the need for all your website’s pages to be mobile friendly. A checkout that can’t be used on a smartphone is next-to-useless and will result in lost sales. It’s useful to take a look at some larger companies to see how their checkouts work.
- Too many fields – Don’t ask for too much information. Extra questions just for the sake of collecting data are not worth it at this point. You can collect more data after the sale. If they don’t need an account then don’t force them to open one. Don’t risk losing them!
- Easy payment options – Debit and credit cards are relatively straightforward but PayPal improves your conversion rate by up to 10%. The reason is because PayPal’s mobile interface is fantastic and people also have more trust in using that form of payment. It may have some small commission charges above your card providers but the uplift in conversion will be worth it.
- Additional products – We all want to maximise our basket value but be careful how hard you try. Don’t add irrelevant products onto the page. That will just annoy people. Keep any cross-sells relevant and low cost so customers can quickly add them to the basket.
So there you go. I hope these pointers will help you to improve the conversion on your online store. I’ve implemented these methods on the websites of many of my clients who are now reaping the rewards through better conversion and improved sales.