So traffic to your website is good, but the phone is still not ringing.  What now?  Let’s face it, unless the phone rings or you start getting emails requesting information all the effort to build a website and get traffic to the website does not do any good.  What we are talking about is the Conversion Rate.  The simple definition of Conversion Rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that do what you want them to do.  This could be place a phone call, click on a link, fill out a form, make a purchase, etc.  You have to decide what your definition of a conversion rate is (what you want visitors to your website to do).

Because the definition of Conversion Rate is different for each website and each situation it is difficult to get specific data, but let’s try to set some realistic expectations.  Typically there are three types of sites with different Conversion Rates.  Sales websites (e-commerce) range from .5% to 8% with an average of 2.3% based on numbers published by FireClick.  For lead generation sites, 2-3% is normal with a best in class of 5%.  Subscription websites have conversion rates between 1 and 7%.

So here are some areas to look to improve website conversion rates.

Trust – We recently wrote an article on 16 items to help build trust into your website.  If you want people visiting your site to do the actions you want (your conversion rate) they have to trust your site.  Some of the highlights include providing your guarantees or return policies, making sure you have a professional looking website, and publishing testimonials and third party endorsements.  Are you giving the impression of high quality when presenting your product or service?

Intuitive layout – Can people find what they are looking for on your website?  If you want to improve website conversion rates make sure people can find what they are looking for quickly and what you want them to do is obvious.  Important information or actions should never be more than two clicks away, preferably one click.  Have someone that knows nothing about your product or service look at your website.  Ask them what they would do and what they think they are suppose to do.  You will be surprised at what you can find out.  Is it obvious what you sell, what you want people to do? A good book on usability is Don’t make me think by Steve Krug.

  • Keep important elements on the top half of the page
  • Links on the Top half and Left side tend to be clicked more(this can be varied depending on landscape)
  • “Click Here” links tend to work well
  • Red Buttons tend to get clicked more
  • Eliminate Clutter
  • Place high value items on White Space
  • Deliver value propositions with Short Direct Messages
  • Have a persuasive message directly above the call to action “Join the millions that have already succeeded”
  • Softer calls to action may be better “Try it now” vs. “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now”
  • Remove ambiguity between choices

Eye Tendency Map

Eye Movement Map

Differentiator – If you want to improve your website conversion rates you need to be unique.  What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? What makes you different than all the other websites supposedly providing the same product or service?  How do you solve the problem or need the visitor to your website has? Be memorable!

Analyzing activity – It is very difficult to manage what you can’t measure.  You need to manage your website conversion rates by measuring your website conversion rates.  Several key measurements to look at are Bounce Rate(how many people that come to your site end up going to a competitor), Page Views (Is you website providing information they want) and Time On Pages/Site (are you keeping their attention).  You need to understand which pages are interesting to your visitors and are keeping them around and which ones they are determining have no relevance and are moving to other websites to solve their need.  Google Analytics will tell you answers to most of the questions you here(A couple other pay-for products are Clicktale and Crazyegg).  Try to figure out the biggest segment of traffic is looking for and cater to them.  Next use keyword phrases and links to cater to the next biggest segment.

Relevance – It is critical that you get the right traffic to your website if you want to have a high website conversion rate.  If people are coming to your website looking for cows and you are selling apples you are not going to have a high conversion rate.  Look at the keyword phrases people are using to get to your website.  Remember it is much easier to sell what someone wants than to convince someone to buy what you have.  Publish information that makes you the subject matter expert and answers the questions people have. Write Posts to answer the Frequently Asked Questions FAQ’s).  If you want to find out what visitors are thinking with surveys a couple of good programs are Survey Monkey, 4Q online surveys, Kampyle or Ethnio.

Modify – You need to make changes, but they need to be small changes and you need to track the differences these changes make to your website conversion rates.  The term is “Micro Modifications”, changing one small item and seeing what it does to your conversion rate.  This can be moving a phone number from the Header to the Body, changing a Buy Now Button from Green to Red, or changing the wording on a link from “Click Here To Find Out More” to “Find Out How to Win …”. You cannot change all of these at one time and know which improved website conversion rates.  There are some great free tools for tracking these changes.  One of the best is Google Website Optimizer.  When you make modifications for testing a good rule of thumb is a sample size of at least 1000 visitors.