Chances are that your website is the most effective sales and marketing tool at your disposal.
A “good” website (one that converts at an impressive rate), will mean more sales and greater brand recognition. If your site has a high bounce rate, where users leave your page after viewing only one page, not only is this costing you sales, but your competition is likely benefiting from it.
Website design is a critical element of any digital marketing strategy. Factors such as landing pages with the proper conversion funnels, a homepage with good messaging, and strong calls-to-action throughout your site is a must. When driving traffic to your website from other platforms, whether social media channels or search engines, you want to make sure that your bringing users to a site that is going to be optimized for a great user-experience, and one that encourages a conversion.
CRO for instance is a “must” for your brand. What is CRO?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of making improvements to your website in order to increase the rate at which site visitors take a desired action, such as completing a purchase or filling out a contact form. Conversion optimization can include anything from changing the color of a button, to changing the message on a landing page, to redesigning the hierarchy of a homepage to better match the way a user approaches information-gathering.
Conversion optimization is individualized to every brand. What works and what doesn’t will, for the most part, be specific to each website. However, there are a few tried and true methods for improving conversions that have the potential to be effective for all brands. Let’s take a look at some of these elements, and some brands that truly exemplify these factors:
1. Responsive design
Implementing a responsive design, where the content of your website adapts to fit the device on which it’s viewed, is one of the most powerful changes you can make to your site to improve conversion rate. We all know how ubiquitous mobile phones have become; we’re more and more inseparable from our devices, and our time spent on mobile is growing too.
2. Clear value proposition
When a user comes to your site without knowing too much about your brand, your goal is to convince them quickly that you have the solution to whatever their problem is. It’s common for brands to feel the urge to list all the ways they’re unique and wonderful right there on the homepage. They end up cluttering up the homepage with competing value propositions or information that isn’t really critical for a user to have in the beginning phases of browsing. The problem is that when there are too many things to focus on the user will end up not being able to focus on any of them. Your company’s real value and message will be lost.
The better approach is to write a clear, focused value proposition and feature it front and center on your homepage or landing page. Make this message the hero of the page. If you pair it with a clutter-free design and an arresting image, you’ll stand a better chance of capturing the user’s attention and encouraging him to take the next step.
3. Simplified forms
Nothing is a tedious as filling out a form. This is equally true online as it is in the real world. People hate filling out paperwork, and forms on websites are essentially a form of paperwork. Your website needs to work hard to make sure forms are as simple and easy to complete as possible. Here are a few guidelines for designing forms that convert:
• As much as possible, limit the amount of fields of required information. Don’t lengthen your form needlessly by asking users to provide information that isn’t essential to transacting business with them.
• Use predictive text when it makes sense to do so. Often addresses or locations can be predicted and then auto-filled, limiting the burden on the user to continue typing.
• Provide clear error messages when users fill in fields improperly. Offer visual cues to indicate that an error has been made, and let the user know what they need to do in order to fix the error.
• Align forms vertically in single column layouts so that users can move easily from one field to the next, down the page rather than across.
4. Effective calls-to-action
The call-to-action is one of the most important steps in the path to conversion on your website. It helps guide a user from one step to the next, encouraging and reassuring them that they are on the right track.
Confusing CTAs are bad news for conversion rates. They risk alienating users who are suddenly unsure of what to expect at the next step, or who become convinced that whatever they’re going to find on the other side of that CTA is not what they’re seeking. Generic CTAs can also harm conversions. CTAs like “learn more” and “continue” are simple, but often don’t entice users as much as alternative language could. If it’s possible to be more specific, it’s a good idea to test CTAs that get at the point more directly.
The worst CTAs of all are the ones that users can’t locate because they’re too small or the button color doesn’t pop against the dominant colors of the website. Make sure your CTAs are clearly visible -- users should have no trouble locating them quickly and without searching.
5. Site speed
While not technically a design element, site speed is another factor that has an enormous impact on conversion rate, so it’s worth mentioning here. Users list site speed as the second most important website performance attribute, following ease of navigation:
Users on both desktop and mobile have very low patience for sites that don’t load quickly. You can be confident that they won’t wait around for a slow site to load -- they’ll simply abandon before it ever comes to that. Making your website experience more enjoyable by improving site speed is one of the best ways to guarantee an improvement in your conversion rate.
Improving conversion rates for your brand
Focusing on improving your website’s conversion rate is one of the best investments you can make in your brand’s online success. Small changes can make a huge difference in the way users behave on your site, so it’s important not to neglect the details.