Marketers work hard to gain every website visitor. Of course, website traffic alone isn’t the goal; you need to convert those visitors.
We hate to say it, but most traffic arriving on your website won’t immediately convert.
According to WordStream, the average website conversion rate is only 2.35%. At the same time, top-performing websites convert at 5.31%, nearly double the average, proving that a focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO) makes a real difference.
As the pandemic increased digital adoption and moved traditional brick and mortar sales online, optimizing your website to improve customers’ experience and drive conversions is more important than ever. But, improving conversions isn’t one-size-fits-all – it must be centered in measurable goals.
Ask yourself: what’s the next step I want the visitor to take, and what will they get out of it? Then design the page to clearly demonstrate the value the customer gains by taking that action.
To kickstart your CRO success, improve your website and its most important pages to motivate customers to act.
Homepage Conversion Tips
Your homepage may not be where visitors convert, but improving the homepage experience guides and motivates customers to take their next action.
Visitors arrive on your homepage with different goals in mind, so make it easy to find information or products with an intuitive navigation (fewer than seven categories is ideal). Highlight important information that answers common questions or needs, such as contact, returns, customer service, and shipping.
The visual hierarchy should be clear, using visual cues like headlines, photography, color blocking or other indicators to separate one section of information from the next – just be sure to include a single clear CTA per section. A simple and impactful design beats clutter (clutter causes confusion and frustration).
Landing Page Conversion Tips
Unlike your homepage, landing pages are specifically built to convert customers. Focus the page around completing the desired action (for example, completing a webform to receive a demo or download a piece of content), and remove miscellaneous or distracting content.
Increase conversions by improving your webform. Be thoughtful about the length of the form and what information you require users to complete. Every extra field works as a barrier —the more work you make visitors do, the less likely they are to complete it. So, keep it simple and focus on the critical information you need to take appropriate action.
Keep in mind that the more sensitive information you require, such as a phone number, the less likely they are to complete it. Case studies have found requiring a phone number can reduce conversions by up to 47%. To reduce friction, consider making more sensitive information optional for form submission.
Include helper text to ensure visitors understand what they’re being asked to provide and in what format, and make sure the field container size is reasonable for the expected length of user input.
Don’t stop there! Include specific error messaging for submission attempts, specifying the action users must take to properly submit the form. For example, calling out the date format or the field missing required information.
Product Page Conversion Tips
Product pages must be detailed and comprehensive to move visitors across the finish line from browsing to buying.
Consider every question a consumer might ask and proactively answer those questions on the page (inclusive of search-intent-driven keywords).
Product descriptions, product customizations (materials, color swatches), specifications, warranty information, use cases, and photography can all help users understand your products, address their questions or concerns, and visualize themselves with the items. Include multiple high-quality photos and videos to show products from different angles, in-use, and in-scale.
Don’t forget to highlight reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content. Each of these compelling sources of social proof lends credibility and trust, ultimately, increasing conversions. In fact, in one study of the apparel industry, the addition of user generated content can increase conversions up to 161%—207%.
How do you up the ante? Add AI-driven product recommendations to aid product discovery, increase conversions, and increase average order value. AI algorithms get smarter over time, learning which products to serve up to individuals based on a variety of factors (browse history, order history, complimentary products, and more). When visitors see similar or related products on the same page, it can increase conversions 288%.
Set Your Website Up for Success
Optimizing critical webpages will drive iterative improvements in conversions, but the overall website experience must be good to aid that goal. Here are a few steps to improve your website’s foundation to ensure customers stick around long enough to convert.
Make sure your website loads fast.
Nearly a third of visitors will bounce if a website takes more than a couple seconds to load and research has found that conversion rates start to drop after 5 seconds. Google’s recent Page Experience algorithm update even factors site speed into search rankings.
Get in the habit of compressing your images using plug-ins like Smush or tools like TinyPNG to increase your site speed. You can lazy load images, so visitors see the most important information on the page first. Additionally, reduce the number of third-party plugins, using only the essentials, to improve page load time.
Prioritize an Effective Mobile Experience
Almost 50% of all ecommerce sales in 2020 were on mobile devices. It’s important to make sure your website is easy and enjoyable to use across the most used devices and browser types, or you risk losing out on a huge conversion opportunity.
Review your website across mobile devices and complete the actions you want customers to take. Make sure content is legible, images are optimized and high quality, buttons are clear and clickable, and webforms can be submitted from tiny screens. Complete your checkout to ensure the cart experience is optimized for mobile and triple check modals or popovers to make sure they can easily be closed.
Invest in Security
Security may seem like table stakes, but it’s critical. An SSL certificate provides an extra layer of security for your website, which protects your visitors and brand reputation, while giving users peace of mind when providing personal information.
Concerns about payment security is one of the top reasons people abandon carts. Consider adding secure, consumer-friendly payment methods, like PayPal or Apple Pay, and popular security seals, like Verisign and BizRate, to make it easier to buy and put shoppers at ease.
Test and Improve Over Time
While general CRO best practices are worth following, nothing is as effective at improving conversions as testing. Pay close attention to your data to see what your visitors respond to.
Set up A/B tests to try out specific hypotheses you have and improve your website based on the results.