Image: Cleaner by atomicjeep.
Half a year ago I compiled a huge list of CRO (conversion rate optimization) resources. I think it was a bit too much for most of you. This time I decided to make it easier for you.
This list encompasses 30 conversion optimization techniques that are simple and quickly implemented in most cases but can significantly improve your conversion rate. I focused on six of the most important factors in web design, SEO and CRO and offered both “quick and clean” improvement suggestions for
- shopping carts
While you can improve the first five you have to employ the right metrics in the first place to make sure you don’t overlook conversions.
It’s not a surprising fact that buttons are key to converting your visitors to customers. The button often determines whether a user takes action at all. Thus you combine buttons with effective calls to action.
- make them bigger, bolder and add some striking color.
- Add a short and clear call to action reflecting the desired action
- make the step smaller (instead of “buy now” just “start now” or “try for free”)
- Display just one button/option to minimize choices and avoid confusion
- Remove negative options like “delete”
In case you have read the influential book “Web Design for ROI” you know that forms are the most important element on a website, not the homepage. Forms are not means of excessive data collection but ways for your users or customers to interact with you. Act accordingly simplifying and streamlining forms.
- don’t make people register or log in to buy or otherwise convert, make it optional
- highlight the active form input
- don’t use conventional captchas with garbled letters and numbers for spam protection
- don’t ask for sensitive data like gender or birth date unless you really need it for the conversion
- in case you offer options to select be it with buttons or drop-downs always add and else input for options not listed
Copy as in copy writing still gets associated with sales copy. On the Web copywriting does not mean to overwhelm the reader with mindless corporate hogwash or keyword stuffed SEO content. It needs to be useful and support the visitor at whatever task s/he seeks to accomplish.
- quit using “marketese” with all the blown up adjectives like “revolutionary, leading, biggest”, be matter of fact and try staying neutral
- don’t say “we”, say “you”, focus on the customer’s point of view not your own
- keep it short and highlight the options available for quick navigation inside the copy itself
- be consistent throughout your landing page, don’t use different modes of speech (formal/informal, matter of fact/funny)
- use natural language with synonyms instead of keyword stuffing (repeating the same phrase over and over)
Shopping cart abandonment reaches often catastrophic levels. Sometimes two thirds or more of potential customers abandon your cart during the checkout process. There are several common reasons for this situation you can easily fix.
- display badges of industry associations, trusted third party entities (press, government, NGOs) and security certificates
- show shipping costs up front, otherwise people wil star the check out process to find out
- show available payments methods up front and display the respective logos (PayPal, Moneybookers, Amex, Visa etc.)
- email people who have stopped in the middle of the check out process after adding their personal data, they may have experienced technical issues and not even remember the URL they were on
- remove hidden fees/charges and “small print” conditions, nobody likes to get fooled
While web designers often tend to use typography to beautify websites in SEO and usability we focus on readability to convert visitors.
- use web safe fonts not fancy ones, some of the new fuzzy “anti-aliased” fonts are barely readable, font replacement techniques often are buggy (flicker before loading)
- make fonts large enough to read and small enough to read, the eye can’t see tiny letters but huge letters will be out of focus
- add more overall white space on your page for the eyes to rest beside the text
- display text in a one column layout without distracting sidebars or other items
- make sure your line-height, letter-spacing plus margin and padding are appropriate and the text doesn’t conflict with other site elements like images and graphics
Sometimes you can’t improve conversion because you don’t measure them correctly or at all. There are many ways to define a conversion in the first place so that you can actually notice when a site goal has been been reached. It doesn’t have to be a sale.
- track “micro conversions” like comments, returning visitors, high engagement visits (10 pageviews +), Twitter retweets or Facebook likes
- divide your check out process into several small conversions, for instance , “adding email address”, “choosing payment method”, “accepting TOS” would be three conversions. This way you also see easily where in the check out process people refuse to go on.
- “make love” to your direct traffic aka type in, returning visitors and subscribers, don’t just focus on first time visitors from search, social media and other referrers
- don’t solely rely on Google Analytics which can’t measure several factors like canceled items after a sale
- track the questions people ask to reach your site and answer them on your site if you haven’t already
Most of the improvement suggestions combine usability and CRO advice found elsewhere and my own attempts of advanced onsite optimization. So I may err in some cases. Feel free to question my techniques where your experiences differ from mine. Also add more simple ways to optimize for conversions if you like.
To test your new buttons, forms, copy etc. you need to use A/B split testing tools.