Your website is the most powerful tool your business has to attract and retain customers. However, in recent times, it has become increasingly difficult to drive traffic and increase the conversion rate.
One reason is that modern consumers simply have a massive selection of products and services on offer. The other likely reason your website is getting lost in the crowd is that the user experience it offers simply sucks.
Web users must never find your site difficult to load, navigate or utterly uninteresting. If they do associate these qualities with your site, you will simply lose some potential customers. People may click on your ads, visit the site, see that it is horrible, and then quickly leave. No one will stay long enough to become a customer, or at least an email subscriber.
Large companies often spend a considerable amount of resources redesigning their sites to improve the user experience. However, small and medium-sized businesses may not have the finances to undertake such an effort. Not to worry; sometimes resorting to simple steps can immensely improve your site’s user experience.
A good majority of the time, web developers only need to refrain from making certain common mistakes to attract and retain users. For example, designing a ‘90s-style website with a lot of third-party ads will drive away visitors like no other. Web sites that bombard users with pop-ups (still) will have high bounce rates.
However, ads and pop-ups are silly mistakes many web developers now know well enough to avoid. Modern site designers instead make other mistakes that can be easily avoided.
If you want to dramatically increase the conversion rate for your website by improving user experience, here are several suggestions to pay attention to:
1. Employ a Consistent Design
When you browse through a good website, what makes you want to keep going? Would you like the site or remain using it if the pages on this site were drastically different from one another? For example, a site may have a home page that looks sleek in green. However, the product description page is outdated and is blue for no good reason. This is an example of an inconsistent website.
Web design has to be consistent to make user experience hassle free. A consistent website uses matching color schemes, has text in matching fonts, the button styles are similar, spacing is consistent, and so on. If the headline of one page is Helvetica and on another, it is Comic Sans, the user will be confused. Inconsistent sites give the user a sense of browsing different sites at once.
Inconsistent web pages can make your site look spam-y to users. It will make the users confused and wonder if they have been dubiously directed. Therefore, it is very important to keep the styles, the layout, image sizes, fonts, and similar design elements consistent throughout your website.
2. Write Compelling Headings
What’s the first thing a user sees when he or she visits your site? Usually, it is the heading, maybe accompanied by a big image. The heading should be attention grabbing to intrigue a visitor enough to stay. When the heading stands out, users will remain on the page and browse.
The heading of a page plays an important SEO role as well. Search engine algorithms consider the heading more than rest of the content when ranking pages. Using a keyword in the heading can also improve your site’s overall SEO.
A heading of a landing page where users are directed to by external links should also match the content of the advertisement or blog post offering the link. A mismatch in this regard can make your site look like spam. So, spend some time writing headings that aren’t so easy to dismiss to attract your target audience. This will serve to increase conversion rates and also retain incoming traffic.
3. Summarize Advantages of Products on Offer
Obviously, the products or services your website offers to users will have certain benefits or features attached that make them stand out from other similar products available on the market. These benefits should be immediately visible to users when they browse your site’s home page or product pages.
Find a web layout with a design that already allows benefit summaries. Basically, the benefits should be shown like bullet point lists, but in a visually appealing manner. Use clear and concise sentences to deliver your point quickly without wasting time. Web users do not have long attention spans to stay and read through paragraphs of product descriptions.
4. Improve the Visual Appeal of Your Website
Visual appeal is very important for attracting attention and increasing retention. The human eye is well-trained to spot images faster than text. Web sites with great images usually get higher user experience points. However, modern web users have gotten savvy enough to distinguish a stock photo from a genuine picture.
Stock photo users might be exposed elsewhere; this decreases the trust in a website. You need to purchase unique images to build trust with potential customers and show them that your site is legitimate.
For example, Spectrum, Inc, a U.S. based moving company, experienced only mediocre retention rates where the business’s site used stock images. The company decided to replace the stock pictures with fresh photographs depicting teamwork and their vehicles.
As soon as the company replaced the stock images, the retention rates skyrocketed. Obviously, stock photos, even high-quality ones, are not unique enough to communicate your brand’s one-of-a-kind message. Therefore, show real pictures that potential customers can judge your company by.
5. Increase Page Speed
Google statistics show that even a half a second delay in page loading speed can cost a site as much as 20% of traffic. If your site takes 2 seconds longer to load, the abandonment rate can skyrocket to a devastating 87%. Desktop users abandon a site that doesn’t load in under 3 seconds. If your page load speeds are not optimal, you will lose customers.
The good news is that it is easy to increase your website’s speed. You can try cleaning up your code, compressing files before uploading, resizing images, and removing all unnecessary plugins. You can also choose a minimalist theme to ensure a fast-loading site. If your traffic rates have risen in previous months, consider upgrading your hosting package as well.
6. Draw Attention to Hyperlinks
Do you have hyperlinks on your website that you want users to click on? Then make them visible to users. Use underlined text, bold colors that stand out, and other tactics to differentiate hyperlinks in your content. Also, making the hyperlinks longer will make them easier to identify.
If users do not easily spot hyperlinks, they will never get to the landing page you desire. For example, if you link product pages on blog posts, the links should be very visible. According to research, users readily recognize the typical blue and underlined hyperlinks.
7. Design Eye-Catching Call-to-Action Buttons
You do not want users to browse forever your website with nothing to do. Neither do users. Your site’s homepage and other important landing pages must have prominent, visible, and compelling CTA buttons for users to click on. Good CTA buttons drive subscriptions, sales, and sign ups.
Design your site’s CTA buttons in a manner that make them stand out from the rest of the content. Use a striking color, and leave plenty of white space around the button to reduce distractions. Write an equally arresting CTA button copy with concise text with plenty of action-oriented verbs to propel clicks.
8. Make Your Website Mobile Responsive
According to data, more and more modern consumers are doing their online shopping and pre-purchase research on handheld devices. Therefore, your website should be responsive to be easily navigable on the small screens of smartphones and tablets.
Mobile responsiveness is important even to show up in mobile search results. Google now penalizes websites that aren’t mobile responsive by excluding these sites from mobile search results. So, if you have invested heavily in the mobile market, all of the money would go to waste if your site is not mobile responsive.
9. Create Social Proof
Online consumers only purchase products from sites that they can trust. Consumers are experienced and savvy enough to avoid sites that may look even a little bit suspicious. Therefore, you need to have plenty of social proof to show visitors that you are a legitimate business right off the bat.
Building trust is easy. Show (genuine) endorsements, product reviews, and customer testimonials on your homepage. Publishing real product reviews can increase site conversion rates by a solid 35%, according to a study conducted on FigLeaves. Testimonials generate similar conversion rates as well.
For e-commerce sites, proof of authenticity is highly important. You can reduce distrust commonly associated with products sold online by offering authoritative certification. Seiko, a watchmaker, boosted sales by a whopping 107% simply by showing a “certified partner” badge on a tie-in product.
Web users are spoiled. They have plenty of choices nowadays, so a potential customer will not think twice before abandoning your website for a competitor’s. To avoid this scenario, you need to improve your site’s user experience.
To improve user experience, you must first understand what undermines user experience. Slow loading web pages and inconsistent design can discourage visitors from converting into customers. Not having attractive CTA buttons and interesting headlines can also hurt conversion rates.
You can also quickly increase user experience and conversion rates by showing a quick summary of benefits offered by your products and services. Drive traffic using product links by making hyperlinks visible among text. Making the website mobile responsive will drive up mobile user conversion rates and sales. Mobile responsive websites enjoy the additional perk of not getting penalized by the Google mobile search algorithm.
Last but not least, it is crucial to get a customer to trust your site. You should do this by offering social proof. That is, by publishing product reviews, customer testimonials, and individual certification for products. Also, replace stock photos with real photos of your company, brands, and employees. Such simple steps can remarkably improve the user’s positive view of your website.
About the Author
Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer who helps businesses achieve their goals through the creation of smart content. When not writing, I geek over professional wrestling, binge on burgers, and consume copious amounts of coffee.