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23rd September 2011


We spend hours worrying about increasing the amount of traffic reaching our web pages but in truth the real success of a good website is the conversion rate; in other words the amount of visitors who turn in to customers, enquiries or subscribers. When they make that vital click on to your page what is going to make them hang around and not head straight for the back button?

A website has has little time to engage the visitor. Before they either navigate around the site or navigate away from it.

Google analytics is a vital tool for monitoring the behaviour of your visitors and can give you a great insight in to how they are interacting with your site. Which pages have a high bounce rate? Why is this, how can they improve? How long does the average user spend on your site? How can you increase this? Look at logins vs registrations, look at returning visitors, and look at traffic sources. All of this information can give you great clues as to which areas of your site can be improved.

Below is a list of tips that could help you improve your website conversion rate:

Getting to know your visitors.

Understand what your visitors will be looking for, make sure that key information and functions are clear and easy to navigate.

Avoid concentrating all your efforts on your home page although this is important understanding where your visitors have come from will determine if it is a Google search what are the key words, what information do they want to know? Or is it a link you posted via twitter, or a link in an email campaign advertising a specific event or offer. Find out what information your visitor is expecting to find and make it clear, concise and engaging.

Say it like you mean it

Good web content is key.

Be clear and concise; try to be specific and direct with the information you choose to display. If there is the slightest risk your visitor is confused then its bye bye in around 3.6 seconds, but never be afraid to show a bit of personality.

Headlines to pages are often the first thing the visitor will read. And can often fail to deliver causing your visitor to up and leave in a second. Headlines are frequently packed full of keywords and in the ad sense this is fine, but the trick of good copy should be how it relates to your audience and not how it relates to Google.

Avoid the mundane and expected, be brave and conversational, you are far more likely to keep the attention of your visitor this way.

What makes you special?

Your USP or unique selling point, put simply this is what makes you different and better than your competitors. If you are trying to stand out against the big brands this is vital.

So what makes you different? Tell your customers, they might be impressed.

Sixth Story believe in the power of stories and in a web world where you are one click away from your competitors you need to stand out. Avoid the ad-speak and tell your story to your customers as if it were face to face, give a personable approach to your service.

Building trust

For many buying on line still carries a huge risk factor, they worry about security and quality so make sure your are reassuring your potential customer.
Avoid speaking like a robot and sterile corporate design and induce some personality.

Give an address for your business, this helps visitors to feel you are established and legitimate.

Good design is also a great way of giving people faith in you. Land on a shoddy site and you can’t help thinking either these people can’t afford a good design or they simply can’t be bothered.

The power of good design

Design is key to creating a great first impression, and many factors can help keep hold of your visitors. Investing in a good professional web design can really help you generate sales.

Colour as simple as it is can trigger an instant feeling in your visitor, get it wrong and you have immediately created a barrier. Know your customers, and try to use colour in a way that reflects their way of thinking.

Typography and legibility is also important, avoid fancy font headlines that could be hard to read, make sure your type is not too small and at the same time not too big.  Achieve hierarchy in information using different sizes and colours of text. And make any buttons or links clear and easy to use.

Resist the urge to cram everything in to your pages, quality content rules over quantity, keep your pages consistent and flowing with enough blank space to balance your information.

Resist too much flashy content, fast movement can really irritate a visitor and distract from the real content. Big images could cause slow loading times so avoid.

In 2008 Jakob Nielsen studied how web users view web pages in his book Eyetracking Web Usability he explored the ‘The F Pattern’ theory of mapping how people view your site. This offers an insight in to how eyes look at the content on the web page this should indicate where your most important content should be. He proposed that eyes read in two horizontal movements from left to right and then travel vertically down the page quickly scanning for information.

Knowing what works for you

Don’t be afraid of change or trying new things, this is the only way you are going to maximise your conversion rates. A website should never be complete but always be a work in progress. Try new things and monitor how your visitors respond.

Did adding the video of how your products work increase orders?

Was changing the headline on the home page good? Or did it make no difference?

Or did having that request a quote button present on every page help generate enquiries?