So you’re a great designer, right? You create amazing sites that your clients fall in love with. But let me ask you something…what’s the conversion rate of the last website you created? I’m sure not many designers would be able to answer that question.
“We’re designers. That’s not a part of our job,” some of you might be thinking. Okay. But you do understand that people do not make websites just for the heck of it. Right? I mean, except for the reputation management clients who care no more than aesthetic appeal of the site, almost every website has a purpose. They want profits.
This purpose or conversion goal of the website can be anything from lead generation through form-filling, free-trial signups, and download brochure to direct sales from a website, like in the case of eCommerce websites.
The point is – if your design is in any way not doing a good job of helping people accomplish this conversion goal, no matter how beautifully designed your website might be, its value to your client decreases.
You must be thinking, why you should be bothered about the conversion rate? You’ve done your job after all!
Well, mainly because often there are loopholes in even the best of designs that reduces the conversion rate of a website. And if you really want to justify your fees to the client, showing them only the awe-inspiring designs will not steal the show for you. Throw in some numbers and boast about conversion rates of the sites you’ve recently created and see things turn in your favor. When you tell them how your design will make a difference to the bottom line of the company, persuading them would be a cake walk.
So let’s say, you have a deal. You convinced your client and made a great design for their website. Now what? The next step is to define a conversion funnel in the Google Analytics. It’s pretty easy. This article shows how simple it can be.
Now what exactly is this conversion funnel?
Conversion funnel is nothing but a series of steps that a potential customer takes to complete the conversion goal on your website. Now this funnel is unique for every website, but often there is a set pattern that is usually followed. Like, for an eCommerce website, a typical conversion funnel will be something like this:
- View Product Page
- Start Checkout
- Complete Checkout
Or, for a lead generation website, like a college website that’s seeking applications from potential students for various courses, it can be:
- View Course Details Page
- Submit the Form
Of course, you can tweak in these funnels according to the needs/pages of your website. And don’t forget that people can also enter your conversion funnel in between these steps too through the search engines or any other referral.
Once you’ve defined this conversion funnel in the Google Analytics of your website and have designed these pages, wait for some time until the site starts to receive good volume of traffic.
Soon you’ll begin to notice that there are drop-offs at each step of the conversion funnel.
That’s precisely the reason why it’s called a “funnel.” It narrows down as visitors get closer to the final conversion page. Now scrutinize the Analytics data to identify the exact page where you’re getting the highest percentage of drop-offs. This is the primary page that needs to be fixed first.
Although there can be tons of elements where you might be going wrong, the most common ones that can help you analyse your conversion funnel and fix the problems are listed below:
What site is it? How is it helpful to me? What should I do here? Is this what I’m looking for? Yes, the homepage is usually the most frequently visited page of a website and if it doesn’t answer any of those questions for visitors within, say 6-10 seconds of their visiting the site, chances are they’re not going to stay there for long.
Now these questions can be answered easily, if you know the intricacies of your design well. Like if you’ve designed an eCommerce website, list view vs. grid view can be a common question you might wonder about? No! It’s not something you decide instinctively.
You should know that a grid view is a better choice for a site where people are more concerned about the pictures of the product than the product details, as it is the case with clothing websites. Here you also must make sure that the pictures of products should be large and of extremely high quality to ensure higher conversions. Here’s a case study that shows how larger product images increased sales by 9% for an eCommerce site.
On the other hand, list view is more suitable for websites that sell gadgets, where people are okay with a small picture of the product but are more concerned about the features.
You may even want to consider removing superlatives, such as “the best flowers in town,” “the easiest designing tool you’ll ever find.” This is passé and people rarely fall for these types of statements. Say something more believable. Statements like, “Timely midnight flower delivery guaranteed” or “the designing tool for technically-challenged” should help you convince people better.
For those whose primary conversion goal is the completion of some form that is displayed on the homepage, reducing form fields might help. You can read this case study that talks about 35% increase in form completion goal by reducing form fields.
KickOffLabs eliminates the name field for their customers to sign up for their free trial. Check out with your client if their payment processor really requires customers to submit their name.
You may even include a descriptive label with every form field to make it clearer what needs to be filled in that field. Descriptive labels outside the fields are the best. You can read this article to understand this better.
Product Page/Features Page:
Often times, playing around with price display and call-to-action buttons have seen to make a big difference in conversion rates. So check in your product/features page if your CTAs and pricing details are optimized well for conversions.
Remember that following the best conversion practices may not always work for your audience type. While placing CTA above the fold is a good practice, many times it may not be good for your conversions. “Above the fold” is nothing but a myth. This is especially true if the offer is something that requires people to know more than simply click the “buy” button. You also need to be very conscious to keep people focused as they move down the funnel.
The lesser you make them think, the higher your conversions will be. So if you’re offering them more than one link on the product page, you’re making them think. One clear and contrasting CTA (call to action) usually is all that you want them to notice on this page. Sometimes you need to get over your typical mental image of associating red with danger or stop and green with a go ahead and that’s okay. Right contrast is all that matters for button color.
If a particular product is not available, make sure you mention it here. Going through the entire process only to know that the product is not available is plain annoying.
In many cases, testimonials from customers are often displayed on this page. But these days, it’s no big deal to have testimonials on a website. Anyone can write them, and everyone has them. This is why it’s important that your customers are sure about the credibility of these reviews or testimonials.
Adding video testimonials or pictures and full name of customers who submitted them is a common practice. But if this is not an option, you can follow the footsteps of Express Watches who added the customer widget by Trust Pilot to display reviews on their website and increased sales by 58.29%.
Providing a visual confirmation when a product is added to cart is also a great idea you might want to utilize, if you’re not already.
Start Checkout/Submit Details
Guest checkouts or a 1 or 2-step checkouts are powerful. Form-filling is such a mundane task, plus not many people might be interested in submitting their email IDs. Mostly shopaholics are not interested in any long-term relationship with websites; if they are, they will sign up for your newsletters themselves. Give them a clear opt-out of your newsletters at the registration page. They will appreciate that you respect their privacy and will not bombard their inbox with spam mails every day.
Another concern here is submitting the credit card or bank details that often cause buyer-anxiety in visitors, making them abandon their cart. Although it’s highly recommended that you use some security seals like Versign and others on this page to ensure customers that they have nothing to worry about when they are submitting information on your website, but too many trust badges may also suggest otherwise. This is because fraudsters often use these tricks to fool people.
Another common mistake you can look for on this page is the coupon code box that you so happily offer on this page, thinking that it will make people buy more from the website. The truth is this is a good enough reason that distracts people. How? Think about it.
You are proceeding with a purchase but suddenly you realize you can save money if you have the coupon code. So most people would go and Google it and maybe they find coupon to some other site that might be more alluring for them, so they abandon the cart on your website. Simple. Of course, you don’t want to distract them. This is why you must provide a coupon code right below the coupon code box that says something, like “View available coupons.”
One more way you can reduce buyer anxiety here is to make it clear for them where they are in the buying process. Never leave them wondering about how much time it will take or how many steps are still left for them to complete the purchase.
Finally, when the customer finally confirms the purchase, use your thank you page to engage them more and explore the site further. There are so many elements that you can analyse on each of these pages and even add a few things to improve the overall conversion of the website.
Please note that while each of the elements or practices mentioned above have proven to be true in many cases, it may or may not work for your unique target visitors. This is why it is important that you do not make any snap judgements and see the results for yourself after A/B testing them on your website, before you make those changes permanent.
In order to take note of how each change is increasing or decreasing the conversion rate of your website, you must utilize a reliable A/B testing tool and wait until statistical results are achieved for your website variation.
At the end of it all, it comes down to how clear and focused your design is. Analyzing your conversion funnel will help you figure out so many technical and designing issues and will also broaden your horizon as a web designer. It may take some time for you to get a hang of it, but don’t hesitate in giving it a shot. Seeing how your efforts interpret to direct revenue figures give you a high of its own. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on this experience.
About the Author:
Smriti Chawla is a Content Marketer with Wingify, the company behind the success of Visual Website Optimizer, which is a popular AB testing tool in the industry. For more useful information related to conversion rate optimization and A/ testing, you can follow them on Twitter @Wingify.