The internet is full of nice looking websites that don’t convert. Why? Because no one paid attention to conversion rate optimisation in the site builds! If you’re building a website, or your current website isn’t having the impact that you had hoped for, this guide to improve your website conversion rate should be helpful.
Note if you run an eCommerce website – I am not specifically focusing on eCommerce websites in this guide, more ‘information’ style websites where the goal is usually for a potential customer to get in touch with the business. That said, the tips in this guide should still help with improving your website’s conversion rate, but I’d suggest checking out this article for more points related to eCommerce.
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) for websites is one of the services that we offer at Site & Social, and we also apply all our CRO best practices behind the scenes with every website that we build. If you are looking for help building your website, you can read more about our web design & management services here.
Whether you are looking to build and manage your own business website or outsource, I think it’s beneficial for everyone to have some understanding of basic conversion rate theory.
First things first, define your target success metric.
What is a success metric?
Having a success metric is essentially a way to measure (with an actual number) how well your website is working to serve its purpose.
This then makes it easy for you to see exactly where you’re at, and then see if changes that you make have a positive or negative impact.
For example, if you have an appointment-only kitchen showroom, then the primary goal of your website is likely going to be to get potential customers to book an appointment.
If you have a ‘book appointment’ CTA that leads to a form (that people can fill in to book an appointment), then you should construct your success metric around that form. For example, ‘form completion rate’ (ie no. web visitors who complete the form / total no. visitors).
Of course, to accurately track a success metric like that, you will need some analytical tools setup such as google analytics, and perhaps even a premium form plugin such as TypeForm.
That said, even if you aren’t going to actually track your success metric, just by creating one you are getting in the right mindset for optimising your website’s conversion rate.
6 conversion rate optimisation points to consider for your website
1. Page Speed
Google research has shown that the chance of a bounce increases 32% when page load time increases from one to three seconds. This then goes to 90% when page load time increases from one to five seconds!
So, how can you improve your website loading speed? Well, this article gives you 7 easy ways to improve your website’s speed. Breaking down the points listed there, you have:
Compress your images
Image files are likely the biggest files on your website, and these have to be loaded every time someone visits your website! Use a tool such as compressor.io to quickly & easily reduce the file size of your images without compromising on the quality.
Host videos elsewhere (eg on YouTube)
Unsurprisingly, video files are even bigger than image files! If you have any video content that you want on your website, don’t host it yourself!! Instead, use YouTube or Vimeo and simply add the video window to your website. This stops your host having to load the video, thus speeding up your site!
Get rid of unnecessary plugins
Plugins are important, but each one slows your site down. If you have any that aren’t needed or are inactive, get rid of them!
Caching massively speeds up loading speed & is really simple to set up (for self-hosted WordPress sites). Just install and set up one of the many cache plugin options, such as WP Rocket.
Reduce HTTP requests
This is all about cutting down the number of different parts of code your server has to load. Many cache plugins will also allow you to reduce HTTP requests.
Better web hosting
Every host has different pros and cons, but one of the most important features to bear in mind when choosing a hosting provider is the loading speed & bandwidth power.
At Site & Social, we have tested a number of different hosts through various different websites and are confident that SiteGround offers the best solution here. If we build your website for you, it will be hosted through SiteGround!
This point is a bonus! – Get a CDN (content delivery network).
A CDN is a network of servers all over the world. When someone visits your website, the website content will be loaded from the server located closest to them, thus speeding up the loading time.
So for example, if you have someone visit your site in Sydney, they will be served your site by a server based in Australia. If someone visits from London, they’ll be served your website by a UK server. This can massively improve loading speed on your website, and thus we install and set up a CDN on every client website that we build.
2. Trust Signals
By trust signals, I essentially mean bits of content on your website that are there to highlight your legitimacy.
If you make changes to your site so that more people have trust that your website is real, your business is genuine and that you are an expert in the field, the conversion rate on your site will naturally increase.
On the flip side, it’s fairly common sense to think that if someone visits a website that looks and feels dodgy, chances are they’re going to leave, in a hurry!
Make sure that your website looks professional, safe, and properly introduces your business/products.
Some essential trust signals that can increase your website conversion rate are:
- HTTPS set up
- Social Proof (Testimonials, Reviews & Case Studies)
- FAQ section – This can also save your business time answering common questions
- Social Media links (Link to your Facebook, LinkedIn etc business pages)
- About page – Take your time with your about page. Treat it like a 3 act play. Act 1, Problem (motivation to start the business), Act 2, Action (What we do to solve the problem), Act 3 Resolution (Social proof (ie. reviews/case studies etc) that your business solves the problem).
- Awards (If you’ve won any, shout about them!)
- Images of you/your staff – People trust people. I have found that adding images of real people (ideally you/your team) to your website helps increase trust signals
3. Reduce distractions
A core piece of conversion rate optimisation theory is – make sure everything on your website has a clear purpose. Unnecessary content will reduce your website’s conversion rates because it distracts users away from carrying out the action that you actually want them to take (ie get in touch, buy a product etc).
Every piece of content that you want on your website should have a good reason why it is there. If it’s unnecessary or contradictory to the goal of your website, then it is probably going to do more harm than good.
When I am planning out the design for a client’s website page, the first thing I do is write down the main goal of the page. 9 times out of 10, that goal should be for the user to take an action that either carries out, or gets them closer to, converting.
I then keep the page goal at the front of my mind while planning out the layout of the page.
Once your website is built and live, you can use tools such as HotJar to see how website visitors are interacting with your page. If parts of a page are being ignored, delete them! A fully optimised website should subtly guide the users to the point of conversion, and a lot of that comes to basically getting rid of unnecessary content.
4. Mobile & Tablet optimised
Web design has come a bit of a backward process in that sense that you build and manage a website on a computer, but most of your traffic will likely be from mobile users!
Whether your website is not functional, just functional, or fully optimised for mobile devices is one of the biggest factors in determining how well your website converts.
Mobile & tablet friendliness is also a ranking factor for SEO, so doubly important!
Google has a free mobile friendliness test that will score how well your website is configured for mobile devices. I’d recommend making sure, as a minimum, that your website passes this test.
The norm is to design a website for computers that also is kind of usable on mobile… If you want to optimise your website further (and assuming that the majority of your traffic is from mobile! Do check your analytics first!!), you should actually consider flipping this way of thinking. Design your website not just to work on mobile, but to be made for mobile.
Of course, if you are using a website building plugin such as Elementor (or you have used a drag and drop site builder such as Wix), you will be able to redesign your site to appear differently on each device.
5. CTA sections
CTA stands for call-to-action. So, when I say ‘CTA section’, I mean a section on your web page that is there solely to get people to take an action.
This can be filling in a form, subscribing, clicking a button, buying a product, and so on.
Make use of CTA sections! This is often the most important part of any web page.. You want clear, compelling CTAs on your main web pages.
If you don’t have a CTA section on page, you aren’t making it as easy as you could for visitors to move closer to the point of conversion. Thus, CTA sections will improve your website’s conversion rates.
6. Consistent Messaging
Consistent tone of voice & messaging are important across all digital platforms.
For example, if your CTA is ‘get a free quote’ on one page ‘call us’ on another and ‘book an appointment’ on another, it confuses people and reduces trust signals.
If your main CTA is ‘get a free quote’, then this should be mentioned across your whole website. Every CTA should be consistent with that message.
This should also apply beyond just your actual website. For example, if you’re running social media marketing campaigns, use ‘get a free quote’ as your campaign CTA.
How to Improve Your Website Conversion Rate Summary
While conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a profession in its own right, the 6 tips in this article are a great place to start and will help you build a solid platform for your business’ website.
If you are looking for help building a fully optimised website for your business, get in touch for a free quote and proposal!