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8 Tips to Boost Your Business Website’s Conversion Rate

Business, How To | Mar 11, 2011

There’s a phenomenal focus on generating traffic in the online marketing world. Businesses fight for clicks, stage immensely competitive bidding wars and spend thousands of hours pushing their websites to the top of search pages.

Top-ranking websites and prominent ads, often on auto-pilot, generate thousands of dollars a day.

But is this the most profitable way to secure clients online? The amount of traffic running through a website isn’t directly tied to the amount of income that the website generates.

A more apt measure of success might be the number of conversions that the website produces from its pool of traffic. More conversions means a quantifiable increase in sales and even an increase in the number quotes you provide to potential clients. It’s not just a measure of traffic.

The eight tips below won’t exponentially increase clicks to your website or push it to the top of search results. However, they will help make the most of traffic that comes your way, which is often more important than quantity. These eight tactics will help turn visitors into customers, drastically increasing your website’s conversion rate.

 

1. Use Google Website Optimizer to Split-Test Pages

Long-term income isn’t tied to the results of a search. By using Google Website Optimizer, you can easily track the causes of your sales, how visitors interact with your website and what variations of your pages are most effective.

It’s testing on a whole new level. If you’re pleased by how much income your advertising is generating but unaware of the cause, then Google Website Optimizer will help you understand.

 

2. Add a Direct Phone Number to Your Header

This simple addition can significantly increase sales, especially if you operate a service-based business.

Web designers, developers and consultants would all benefit from offering a direct line of contact, often to the tune of several thousand dollars a month in extra projects, increased interest from prospective clients and phone-driven sales.

Funny as it is, an accessible phone number can increase the conversion rate of a website even when calls are routed to voicemail. It is often enough to distinguish your business from the crowd.

 

3. Simplify Your Quote and Order System

An alarming number of emails, inquiries and sales are lost as a result of poor ordering systems.

From buggy WordPress emails that lose data to confusing multi-field forms, many potentially lucrative sales are forfeited because an order page has failed to help a customer complete their order.

Make your sales page-whether it’s a product order form, quote generator or email address-as simple as possible. With enough traffic guided to your simple order form, seemingly inconsequential tweaks could instantly increase the conversion rate of your website.

 

4. “Productize” Your Design Services Into Packages

As a web designer, you offer a service. Apply some basic productization and marketing principles to it. Learn to predict how clients search for a web designer. What are the most important factors in evaluating a web designer? How do clients make their decision?

Simplicity and clarity are important factors. Designers who are completely clear about what they offer are hired more often and expand their client base faster.

Offer a variety of product-like web design packages. This will make everything clearer for clients and increase your conversion rate.

 

5. Add Image-Based Testimonials

Direct marketing expert Gary Halbert has helped hundreds of online businesses increase their profit, mostly through a combination of persuasive sales letters and slick marketing tweaks. One of his best suggestions is to replace overused and largely ineffective text-based testimonials with a selection of image-based testimonials.

Forging authenticity is easy online. From fabricated testimonials to tacky corporate logos, a company’s reputation could be based on lies.

Image-based testimonials are not easy to fake. They add a personal touch to websites.

 

6. Can’t Finalize a Sale? Try to Get an Email Address

Regardless of how optimized your website is, not everyone will become a buyer. Some clients, particularly those with small businesses, like to shop around before committing. While this might be frustrating, you can use it to your advantage.

Instead of giving visitors only two choices-buy or leave-give them a third choice: to submit their email address and receive information directly from you.

Some visitors might not want to buy immediately, but with their permission you can email them and demonstrate why they should hire you, how you can help them and which of your packages they should choose.

 

7. Beef Up Your Contact Page to Increase the Trust Factor

In the digital world, you need a footprint to build trust. Big companies benefit from their exposure both online and off. They use their large network of offices and stores to demonstrate their reliability and accountability to potential customers.

Your job as a designer is to build the same reputation for your online business without the offline footprint.

Here’s how: add an address to your contact page, add a phone number to your order forms, and offer links to previous customers who value your work. Add links to your LinkedIn profile, your other social networking profiles and your portfolio. Increasing your footprint increases the trust factor, which can boost your conversion rate.

 

8. Update Your Portfolio, Revitalize Your Copy, Fix Spelling Mistakes

A single spelling mistake can ruin an otherwise fantastic business website. Similarly, an aging portfolio can do more harm than good to an otherwise great design firm. Keeping your website up to date will attract interest, even if you don’t actively advertise.

Every six months, review your website for conversion killers: misspellings, awkward phrasing, pixelated images, broken links, amateur-looking portfolio pieces, etc. There is always room to optimize a website and boost sales.


Written exclusively for WDD by Mathew Carpenter. He is an 18-year-old business owner and entrepreneur from Sydney, Australia. Mathew is currently working on Sofa Moolah, a website that teaches you how to make money online. Follow Mathew on Twitter: @matcarpenter. Follow Sofa Moolah on Twitter: @sofamoolah.

What other other methods do you use to increase your sales and boost conversion rates? Please share your tips with us!

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  • http://www.uitmuntend-webdesign.nl J. Hendrix

    Thanks for the advice!

  • http://trafficcoleman.com TrafficColeman

    I have a live chat box where I can talk to my customers as they come in..so they get one on one help..which has help the conversion..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://www.liquidviral.com liquid

    Points 4,7, & 8 absolutely

  • http://www.fldtrace.com Lucian

    For freelancers, the phone number at the top might not always be the best option but a text saying “For hire”, linked to contact page might do wonders.

    I would need to implement my own advice too.

  • http://www.yellowthemes.com Yogi

    Hmm, image-based testimonials seems like a great idea

  • http://www.uprint.me.uk/ Angelina

    Hi,

    I got the best way to boost conversion rate for a website! Website owners can have a live chat option with a real person. This improves conversion much faster than other things.

    You have made good points and I would like to implement these points in my next projects.

    Thanks,
    Angelina

  • http://vitomavrak.com/ vito mavrak

    Really good info! wow…I need to apply some of these….right about now :)

  • http://www.webdesigntipsonline.com Steve Hall

    Nice advice on conversion optimisation. Some of the smaller websites I have worked with have been difficult to get a reliable result from Google Conversion Optimiser because of the small amount of traffic. Interested to hear what you think is a reasonable amount of traffic to be able to use this effectively.
    Great idea about the image based testimonials and some of the comments have mentioned live chat also which I think definitely help with conversion.

  • http://wordpressapi.com Sony

    This is very correct. This tips are really helpful for e-commerce sites. We should use this kind of seo techniques in our website. really helpful article.

  • http://digcms.com John

    really great post for corporate and commercial sites. You always give the really nice tips for SEO.

  • http://cotysmith.com Coty Smith

    I work for a live chat service company, and I haven’t seen a tool directly impact conversion rates and values like live chat does. I work with a lot of customers directly to see how they use chat to influence their traffic to buy and there are many factors that I observe. These range from the knowledge of the chat operator, the placement of the chat button, and the use of behavior-based invitations. In most cases, we tend to see conversion rates increase from 10% – 35%.

    TrafficColeman and Angelina, what successes can you directly relate to having live chat on your site?

    • http://theflyerpub.com Matt

      I completely agree.

      I have no idea why live chat wasn’t created years ago.

  • http://pixelclouds.com Pixel Clouds

    Really great article! Will try some of the tips :)

  • http://www.onyxsolution.com ONyX

    any good examples of image based testimonials?

  • http://twitter.com/ryanbradley Ryan Bradley

    I’ve actually noticed a difference in conversions from placing a number in the footer as well. Before I just had it in the footer and contact us page. It definitely works.

  • thus spake

    Most of this is just “common sense” that any experienced designer/developer already knows and implements. Where your youth and inexperience (in both business and creative services) really is exposed is in advocating “productizing”. There is nothing I can think of that could be worse for any freelancer or company who wants to MAKE A LIVING in design and development to try and do than to productize. “Productizing” in my part of the world is what the “drive through” ($500.00 for a full website) McWebsite guys do. On the other hand, I do “from scratch” custom design and development. That means a different IA, Visual Hierarchy, etc. for each client with different levels of complexity both in the design and development aspects as they relate to the consumption of my time. Sorry, but there’s no way to “productize” that kind of quality when it comes to creative services without being seen as being “fast food”. On the other hand when you treat clients as the individuals that they are (all with different needs) you can command a much higher price for your work. I do 12 to 15 sites a year and make way more than the Mcwebsite guys who do 10 times as many precisely because I don’t “productize” my services. In fact, I anti-productize and instead sell myself as an experienced “private chef” where the client knows they’re getting a filet cooked to order with the sides that they want that can best help their business grow and prosper. At any rate, this post just confirms to me that an 18 year old shouldn’t be writing posts about subjects that an 18 year doesn’t really have the practical, long-term, real-world experience to espouse on. Get back to me in about 10 years when you’ve actually had some business and life experience to back up what you’re talking about.

    • Susie

      Totally agree with you! You have justified for me all the reasons why I don’t want to “productize” my business.

  • http://www.orcharddesigns.com Orchard Designs

    Your forgot one of the best working conversion strategies for websites.. VIDEO.

  • http://www.icebluebanana.com mark

    Your point about creating an email list (#6) is, of course, a classic technique for creating opportunity over a period of time. The best thing about it is that is allows you to market multiple products to your audience with minimal effort required on their part.

    I do kind of wonder if templating everything you do is a good idea. In #4 you mentioned putting together packages. While I can see this being good, or even preferable for smaller clients, it is likely that the higher paying clients tend to want more & won’t really fit into a ‘package’. At least, in the industry I work in, that is surely the case. I only do a tiny bit of web design, so I could be way off here, but I would say that #4 is good for people who have not yet landed their first big client. After they do, word of mouth is really effective.

    Like ONyX, I am wondering what an image-based testimonial really looks like. I was on-board until you said that they are harder to fake. I just don’t know what that means. An example of this would be great.

    Have a great day!

  • http://www.kooldotshosting.com/ KoolDot

    Cool Idea on this tip: “Add a Direct Phone Number to Your Header”

    I generally put it the ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages and the bottom of the page content along with our products store’s URL.

    Do you (or an other commenter’s) recommend the phone #, be place on each header place in the site or on the ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages?

    Thanks for the tips,

  • http://www.albruna.nl Martin

    I don’t see the point of #5: Add Image-Based Testimonials because they are not easy to fake? Why won’t they be as easy to fake as a text based testimonial? People e-mail me a testimonial and I move them to an image and edit them.

    Am I missing something here?

  • joe

    Martin,

    I think he means include a picture of the person giving the testimonial.

    It’s more believable that Hillary Clinton is quoted as saying xyz when her mugshot is right there beside it!

    Of course, get flattering mug shots and their permission.

    Joe

  • http://www.albruna.nl Martin

    @Joe

    That does make more sense:-). We’re never to old to learn;-).

    Martin

  • http://www.con-artistdesign.com Con-Artist

    Great tips. I never thought about adding a phone number to the header. And Image testimonials are a good idea as well. Adds a personal, human touch to them.

  • http://vasylmirchuk.com/ Василий

    Your steps very pleased me to success. Will use them. Thank you!

  • http://www.churchbuzz.org Patrick Steil (ChurchBuzz)

    We focus on doing church websites, and even for church websites, I believe “conversion optimization” is important. Here are some things we constantly do help engage and drive people to take action:

    1. Make sure that at the bottom of every page, we actually ASK them to take some action… how many pages on your site don’t have any call to action at the bottom of them… the page just ends… how about a simple link to go to the next logical page, or a button to sign up for your newsletter, etc…

    2. Make sure on the homepage, the user has 1-3 OBVIOUS choices as to what he should do “next”… don’t just have some text that says “We offer great web design services [link to more info]“… make that a BUTTON and make it stand out…

    If you haven’t read “Don’t Make me Think”, this is a must for all designers!

    Oh, one thing on “productizing”… If you are looking to be a freelancer forever, then you are correct, “productizing” is not the way to go. If you are looking to build up your agency into a true business that doesn’t depend on you to make the sale, create the designs, etc, etc… then productizing is necessary. I highly reccomend reading “The E-Myth” and “Built To Sell” if this is your dream… both ways of doing business are great, but that doesn’t mean that “productizing” is bad… :)

    Patrick Steil
    ChurchBuzz.org