Business owners often come to us frustrated and wondering, “Why is my website not bringing any sales?” Their website just isn’t producing the sales or leads that they had imagined. I hear a variety of reasons but most of them fall into one of two categories: either their site isn’t getting any traffic or their visitors are just not compelled to pick up the phone and call or click on the buy button or whatever.
So why isn’t your site increasing your revenue? The first place to look is in your traffic stats. Do you have Google Analytics installed? If you do (I would bet your web designer put it in there) then you can log in to your account and see exactly how many people are hitting your site every day.
Let’s say you’re getting 50 people a day to your site. Is that a good amount of traffic? If you own a gas station in a small town, that’s phenomenal. If you’re running flowers.com and it’s the day before Valentine’s Day, you’re in trouble. If you’re getting sufficient traffic but your revenue isn’t reflecting that, then you have a conversion issue.
Now you may be thinking, “What can I do to increase my website’s conversion rates?” That’s a good question. There are a million things that can contribute to low conversions. Let’s start with first impressions. If your site looks unprofessional or out of date, it’s likely you’re losing potential customers within seconds of them hitting your site. Back to your Google Analytics, you can look at your “Bounce Rate” and see the percentage of people who hit your home page and bounce back, meaning they clicked the back button and didn’t go deeper into your site. If that number is ridiculously high, like 85%, you know your site isn’t attracting the right kind of people, or if it is, then they’re rejecting it by clicking the back button. That’s probably the best way for you to know if you have a conversion issue.
Conversions issues generally fall into 3 categories:
Simply put, if you have a crummy design, people will leave. If the design doesn’t lead the viewer through the page, they will leave. If the design is crowded and doesn’t have enough white space for the reader to rest, they will leave. If the design is amateurish, they will leave. Studies have shown that viewers make up their minds within 50 milliseconds of seeing your site (that’s 1/20 of a second) whether or not they find your company credible enough to become a customer. With split-second decisions like that, you have to make a good first impression with great design.
People can take in a lot in 50 milliseconds, but odds are, they won’t have even read the first word on the page in the first 50 milliseconds. Content is secondary to design. Am I saying that it’s not important? Absolutely not! It’s critical. It’s just not absorbed and processed in the first moments, like the design is. If you put all of your efforts into your content and neglect the design, people won’t stick around to even read your great content.
I only mention development because load times are so important. If your site takes a long time to load, people won’t even bother waiting around to see what your design looks like. They’re impatient and they won’t give you more than about 5 seconds before they hit the back button. Make sure it loads quickly. I use http://www.webpagetest.org/ to see how quickly a page is loading.
Once you have a great design that loads quickly, then it’s time to look carefully back at your content to see if it’s not to blame for low conversions. There are a number of things that cause content to fail. One of the best ways to increase your conversion rates is by tweaking your content, little by little and measuring the difference. Change a word in the headline and see if you get more calls. If not, change another word. This sort of incremental change is the only way to know what works and what doesn’t work.
We’ve used AB split testing on our sites for years and have amassed an amazing list of things that we know work better than other things. The best little trick that I’ve probably mentioned a time or two is that the word “learn” seems to have a negative effect on people. People hate to learn things as opposed to discovering things. So make your call to action say, “Discover more…” rather than “Learn more” and you’ll see that your results might be significantly different.
Hope that helps.