9 Keys To Increase Website Conversion Rates – Business Review Center

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On December 5, 2012
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Summary:

Did you think my quest to increase website conversion rate ended with the last post on conversion optimization? If so, you don’t know me really well.

At the time I wrote it, I had been working to create a process of auditing my website conversions.

Ultimately it turned into a blog post about capturing attention online. As you know, without attention there would be nobody looks at your links, your compelling content, images, and videos.

And certainly you won’t get any clicks without people reading your content. People read your content online, and click the links to follow.

However; you want qualified prospects to click on your links, visit your site and consume your content, but you don’t want just any click.

Let’s be clear. To help you increase conversions, getting attention is only part of the equation, but it does not automatically equal to conversion.

For those who don’t know why qualified traffic is important, let me just say that this is crucial in case you want to increase conversions of your landing page or your ecommerce store.

Now, let’s see…

What is a Conversion

To the return on investment of a marketing campaign, how does the value of a conversion relate?

A conversion is basically an action a user takes on your website that has value to your business.

Typically, it is just a sale, however, it can also be a newsletter sign-up, viewing of a video, a download of a file, or a request for more information.

In fact, it will be easy to calculate your return on investment (ROI) for just about any marketing campaign, if you know how a conversion is worth to you, and the percentage of traffic visits your conversion page versus the traffic that do convert (the conversion rate).

conversion-rate-and-ROI-calculation

You may think that from the calculations above, you just need to increase conversion rate (CR) right if you want to increase ROI?

You’re on the right track but that is not the entire story here. That’s because conversion rates typically depend on two factors:

  1. Qualified traffic – The only goal is to capture traffic that is more likely to convert. This is where direct marketing is used to gain the attention of the visitors heavily. There are a few ways you can use to obtain qualified traffic such as a valuable piece of compelling content, recommendations from social media channels or a paid search ad.
  2. Landing page – A specific area of your website where traffic is specifically sent to prompt a certain action or result, via links from organic search results, online advertisements, social media or email. (Check out for Social media traffic). And, it is important that the links you use to send traffic to your site are relevant to what your traffic is looking for, just because any visitor usually lands on a page after clicking on a link. In fact, you will likely get a low conversion if it is not what people are looking for. That’s because once on your landing page, it is basically a tactic of one-on-one selling.

There are tons of strategies to get qualified traffic such as SEO, paid search, email, display, affiliate, etc.

But, to help you increase website conversion rate, today I’m going to look at things that you can do to your website. These tips below are quite easy to implement and can start improving your results immediately.

Keys to Increase Website Conversion Rate – Turn Visitors into Customers

I’m going to give you my recommendations and also want to share a few principles that I believe to be important in building a website that can attract thousands of high quality links.

Remember that for your landing page audits, the following steps can also be used.

To quickly determine what you may need to do to increase conversion rate, use a simple scorecard format. Below is an example of a landing page score card.

landing-page-score-card

1. Know Your Audience

To know who you’re targeting and tailoring your content for is the most important thing that you can do to increase your conversion rate.

When a visitor lands on your site for the first time and clicks on a link or goes to a product page, but doesn’t fill out any lead form or buy anything, then you’ve probably lost them for good.

I found that addressing your message to a specific demographic can bring you a nice life in conversion, that’s in my own testing.

In fact, I tend to get less clicks and low conversions when I tried to cover much features and benefits because of thinking that’s just adding value.

2. Focus on Positive User Experience

A landing page is often the first page a visitor sees when clicking on a link. It is tailored to fit your specific call to action. The challenge is to ensure that you are producing high ROI (return on investment) and also optimizing an exceptional online experience for visitors.

So what is an exceptional online experience?

It basically provides visitors with accurate, useful and  relevant information to meet visitors’ needs. However, in order to differentiate yourself, do it in an entertaining and engaging way.

None of the hype or bait-and-switch tactics that’s under-delivered and overpromised.

 positive user experience usually focuses on a strong call-to-action single message that are written with no more than 7-12 words in plain language.

You should focus on the highest value outcome, but not make the mistake of trying to combine all the benefits and features of your offer.

After having a clean and precise message, you can make it credible with branding elements such as logos and security icons (verifications from third-party) or use stories and testimonials. These will certainly give confidence to the visitor as well as put a positive impact on conversion.

Perfecting, or at the very least improving, as the ultimate corporate brand reputation and PR, then customer experience has replaced their loyalty.

Putting in your visitor’s shoes to ask yourself these questions below: “Why would I click here, and Would I scroll down to read this?”, and “Should I fill in the form and give my personal information?

3. Cater to Online Reading Habits

“What does not get read does not get clicked on” is a simple logic that many online marketers failed to recognize a fundamental difference between people reading offline and online.

Accordingly to eye tracking studies by Dr. Jakob Nielsen, people scan the web page, picking out individual words and sentences, but not read the page word by word.

Unlike what he calls “linear media” or traditional media, such as print and TV, people expect you to construct their experience for them. In fact, readers are basically willing to follow the author’s lead.

Websites are considered as “non-linear media“, where the rules reverse. Your users want to construct their own experience, so they piece together content from multiple sources, emphasize their desires in the current moment.

In fact, while conducting an eye-tracking study, Dr.Jakob found that people tend to read in F-shaped patterns when reading web content.

F-shaped patterns

This is the reason you should use attention call-outs such as headers, paragraphs, subheads, and bullet points with words that make users notice when they scan down the left side of your content in the final stem of their F-behavior.

So, layout your content is the good idea here to make the readers want to read. However, remember that the F-pattern should be considered descriptive, not prescriptive. That’s all about to give you the highest chance of grabbing attention.

4. Develop Value Proposition

Basically, a value proposition is your offer.

What are the key selling points, and why should the visitors buy right there and then?

It sounds pretty obvious to you, but the foundation to your conversions is a clear value proposition.

Your landing page should address the top questions and concerns prospects about your offer, and usually goes back to the marketing’s 4 Ps: product, price, place and promotion.

Obviously, many marketers focus too much and too often on “promotion” instead of combining the other three Ps.

After studying the competition, for example, you may find that increasing or decreasing your price is likely to result in better conversions. Perhaps there is a distribution channel (for instance the social networks or email marketing) you have not fully integrated into your marketing mix.

And of course with products, developing a new product or re-package an existing one may provide a lift to your overall website conversion as well.

If you have a value proposition that pushes the visitor to take action with your offer, then you are likely to increase the chance of conversion.

Whether your landing page can help people make their decision?

If it’s not, why should people do what you ask them? (Sign up for newsletter, purchase a product, or request a demo…etc.)

Keep in mind to research your competition then you can know how your value proposition stacks up.

The new consumer-led digital revolution is about exceeding customers’ expectations via influence, so simply put, influence is website conversion rate.

5. Create Compelling Copy with Informative Headlines

After landing on your page, the first thing every visitor reads is your headlines.

You may bore or confuse your visitors into leaving if your headline is anything less than informative, clear, and compelling.

On the other hand, with a well-written headline you can drive your visitors to take a closer look into content even if it’s just text.

Have you ever noticed that some landing pages are super long?

Well, these pages are called “long-form” sales letter. Typically, this kind of page consists of a title, subtitle, bunch of paragraphs, testimonials, images, and a few buy buttons on a plain-looking page that you need to scroll on and on.

Let’s think about it…. Why would there be so many long-form landing pages online, if it does not convert well? 

The truth is that people only wish to read what they are interested in even if it appears to be too long.

The key is to do so in an engaging way, which can even be fun and entertaining, will connect with your audience.

Using the five W’s and one H technique is one of my ways to start creating engaging copy. Here is an example in which you should tell them:

  • Why they are about to read the page
  • Who is it for
  • What is in it for them
  • Where they are at or where they can get it
  • When they can get it (i.e. limited time offer)
  • How it works or how it relates to them.

The main goal is to focus on things that you think will push them one step closer to take your converting and nothing more.

Make sure you get to the point to tell them what to do next with actionable content that focuses more on the outcome rather than the feature.

In addition, you should know what your customer want if you know them well enough.

At the beginning, focus on wants but not needs.

6. Leverage Rich Media or Image to Direct Attention

Videos, images, or testimonials can motivate visitors, trigger emotions, and can have a positive impact on viewers to encourage them to read more about your product and explore your site longer.

Studies have showed that when there are images of people on the site, the viewers perceived websites as more “professional” or “trustworthy”.

However; I think you don’t want to take and load up just any stock photos that relates to your message on your site.

So, just use images that can effectively change visitor behavior substantially.

According to a Bunnyfoot’s study, subtle changes such as using the right images can direct the visitor’s eyes to where you want them to go.

visual-eyes-tracking-study

As for me, this was an interesting study that you should consider when adding images to your landing page.

When using images and videos, you should ask yourself whether that pieces of content will draw attention away from your persuasive message or add to it.

7. Create Content with SEO in Mind – SEO Copywriting

To integrate your copywriting with search engine optimization is a great tactic that you should put in practice.

This is a technique that tries to optimize your website around a keyword phrase that can send you organic search traffic. Done SEO copywriting right, you can even turn research-intent traffic into converting traffic.

The objective here is to gain search engine rankings for a relevant phrase around what you try to rank for that can bring you “qualified” traffic.

For example, if someone is looking for “email list building program review” and your online web-store happens to have a blog with articles comparing all the latest mailing list building programs on the market, then this visitor may read your article and decide to bookmark and come back later. Or better yet, he reads the article ended up buying this product from your online store.

Obviously, in order to rank for keywords you need to know or research the keywords that your audience uses.

Also, by using Google’s Keyword Tool, you can get an idea on the competitiveness of your keywords to see which phrases are popular as well as the volume of searches on them globally and locally.

Once you have those relevant keywords, simply use it in your content in addition to HTML areas such as your title tag, meta-tags, anchor text in links, and permalinks.

In any example of SERP result, the keywords you need are always bolded to highlight in the title and description.

If you use WordPress platform (also what I use), then you can use WP free installation service and you are set.

8. Test, Adjust and Repeat

To ensure you evoke a measurable, tractable response is the golden rule of any direct response marketing.

This means constant testing of your landing page uses methods such as multivariate testing or a/b split testing. Well, the concept is simple.

Well, how to increase conversion rate? You can improve conversion rate if you desire to have variations of the page to be tested on an ongoing basis.

What is an A/B split test

A/B testing is a classic direct marketing tactic, and also a method of marketing testing by which a baseline control sample is compared to various single-variable test samples so as to improve response rates. Typically, it is performed to define the better of two content variations.

What is a multivariate test

Multivariate test is a slightly more complex test, and also a process by which more than one component of a website may be tested in a live environment. Multivariate test can be thought in terms as numerous A/B tests performed on one page at the same time. You can determine which headline is more effective or what layout works better just by conducting tests on your landing page.

Below is an example case of an A/B split test on email marketing.

The goal was to determine whether removing the sidebar would result in a better overall performance. To see which one opens better, I also tested two different email subject line.

split test email

Obviously, the winner here is the control version. The result indicated that compare to the control version (email with sidebar), the new version (without sidebar) has a higher open rate but the conversion rate was substantially lower.

With testing you want to make sure that you gather enough data to ensure that your tests are statistically relevant.

Does it sound complicated?

Well, to conduct both of these tests for free, you can use Google Website Optimizer!

Or you can try Visual Website Optimizer, Monetate, Unbounce, or Sitespect for more advanced folks.

Here are some ideas for you to use when it comes to test:

  • Different headlines, sub headlines and also ad copy
  • Different version of the same logo, icons, layout of testimonials and even colors
  • Different call-to-actions and buttons (i.e. try this and buy now)
  • Different images or videos (swap image for video and vice versa)
  • Different forms (embed in different areas of the site, reduce required fields)
  • Different offers (use incentives to see how discounts or coupons work differently)
  • Long versus short sales page

For a full list of reviews and comparisons on testing tools check out WhichMVT.

For case studies and test ideas, visit to check WhichTestWon.

9. Track and Analyze Your Landing Pages

To benchmark your landing page, one simple thing that you can do is to install Google Analytics. Using Google Analytics, you will realize that it is an invaluable tool that’s again totally free!

By using GA you will know the sources that deliver traffic to your landing pages from pay-per-click (PPC), email marketing, organic searches, social media, or even offline advertising channels. (Check out how to build an email list 101).

The key to increase ROI is to know the source of your most profitable traffic.

The more detail info you get with where your traffic comes and goes, the more clear you can see how visitors reacts to your offer.

To aggregate your website data from Google Analytics, there are many ways. However, if you just want to focus on conversion rates, then start by looking at the following areas (Below I just name a few):

  • Traffic source – where are visitors coming from? Well, this is your channel acquisition strategy.
  • Visitor loyalty – How long do visitors stay? How many webpages do they visit and how many times do they come to visit between two or more times.
  • Bounce rate – How relevant is your landing page? Bounce rate measures the percentage of your single-page visits or visits in which the visitor left your site from where they landed on. The more relevant your landing pages are, the more visitors wish to stay on your site and convert.
  • Keywords – This shows you which queries (keywords) are mapped to your landing pages that brings you traffic. This is considered a good indicator of which relevant keywords your website is ranked for as well as how search engines interpret your content. (Check out guide to use SEO keyword relevancy).

When tracking your pages, there are so many important variables to consider and you can also track clicks or heat-map on your layout and navigations via In-Page Analytics section of Google Analytics or something like Crazy Egg, Click Tale, Click Density, or Attention Wizard.

Last but not least, to make sure what you are tracking matches to the story your data is telling you, then you should listen and learn from your customers.

It is easy as picking up the phone and calling the customers!

If you cannot do that, then try conducting regular online surveys or just implementing some type of post-sale customer feedback system.

increase-website-conversion-rate

Website Conversion Rates – Marketing Takeaway

In the era of engagement, consumers no longer differentiate marketing between in-store or online experience.

And website conversion rate is the vote of confident that creates personal relationships whether you make a sale in person or receive a conversion online.

That is trust, authority, likability, ultimately, and influence.

Nothing can stop you from trying to boost your conversion rates. If you do nothing, then your conversion rate obviously will normalize stays the same over time.

However; you shouldn’t lose this sight on the big picture while conversion rate is a crucial factor to the profitability of your marketing, because that builds your brand equity.

And obviously, when you gain brand equity, then you can have top-of-mind recalls.

You know, this means you command attention and your message can get a higher chance of cutting through the noise of the increasing irrelevant landscape of “push” advertising.

Eventually, your website conversion rate will reach the point of diminishing returns – when your investment yields progressively smaller profits.

That is the time you need to take your budget and put it into a higher ROI marketing vehicle.

Until then, keep testing.

Keep in mind that we don’t want to keep this wonderful info to ourselves…So, share this post with your social media crown, would you?

About Tony Nguyen

Tony Nguyen is the founder of Business Review Center. Since 2011, he has managed a team that has collected customer feedback and complaints on digital products, then tested products, and written product reviews. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, at Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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