Please help! I have lots of visitors but my website conversion rate is poor. What do I do?
If this is you then don’t panic. I hear this a lot so you are not the only one and I’m 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 it’s important role in SEO and brand building, conversion rates have actually decreased considerably because many consumers are now browsing more before they buy. The sheer number of choices available means they are far more choosey about where they spend their money. It is very common for shoppers to visit a website 7 or 8 times before they make a purchase and this obviously plays havoc with your site’s overall conversion rate.
Conversion is still very 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 what isn’t working.
Where do I start improving my website conversion rate?
The conversion process starts from before people land on your website and continues all the way through to the final sale or action you want them to achieve. Here are a few areas where you can improve your site conversion rates along the customer journey.
Better conversion by attracting the right customer
Firstly, if you are attracting the wrong type of customer to your website then they will 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, then carry out some keyword research to see what other keyword terms and phrases people are using to find what you sell. Once you have this in place you need to implement the changes into your meta data, on-site content and start to focus your marketing efforts on marketing in 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 where people are leaving your site.
If you look in your Google Analytics under Behaviour > Behavioral 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 are 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, it lacks a call-to-action or it takes too long to load. Alternatively, the content on the page may not be engaging to the user and that means they will leave because they are not inspired to go any further. Remember, every page should have an end goal, whether that is to send users to another page, to capture data or to 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 value traffic and to 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. You 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 that people won’t buy your products if they don’t know they need them! Make your messages clear, enticing and also includes free products or shipping were 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 your site properly, then to navigate and buy. 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 current site visitors are on 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 all of your pages by using a mobile device.
Improve poor conversion on products pages
Many online shop owners are so focused on the homepage and offers that the product pages are often overlooked. When someone lands on your product page they have effectively landed on a ‘money page’ and that is why you need to try to 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 as follows:
- 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 tons of text because people haven’t got the time to read it all. Use bullet points to get across the features of your product in a quick and easy way.
- Product Description – You main product description can be more detailed but don’t upload a huge amount of text because it will lead to poor usability. Break you 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 really gain a 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 are 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 – Whilst you may have this somewhere on your website, you should have it clearly stated on every product page also. Your customer shouldn’t have to go off hunting around your website to see what your returns policy is. In many cases, returns are a vital factor of the buying process because it will give your customer confidence in your service.
- Product Reviews – Unbiased product reviews really do help conversion, especially if you are 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 ton of customers adding your products to their basket but they are not going on to convert and complete the purchase. Why is this?
Your shopping basket is the final step of the buying process so it is vital 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 – by now you should realize that all the pages on your website should be mobile friendly. A checkout that can’t be used on a smartphone is next-to-useless and will result in lost sales. Checkout 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 maximize our basket value but be care how hard you try. Don’t add a ton of irrelevant products on the page that just annoys 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 have implemented these changes with many of my clients and they are now repeating the rewards through better conversion and improved sales.