Nowadays, the online market has grown to be quite competitive and saturated. That being said, attracting consumers and converting them into customers has become increasingly difficult. Still, many businesses manage just fine, despite the fierce competition.
So, what exactly are they doing right? Simply put, they are eliminating as much friction consumers come across when shopping online as possible. In other words, they are optimizing their conversion rates. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) means simplifying the process of helping and encouraging consumers to convert into full-time customers.
However, this is only possible if you truly understand your target audience’s needs, demands, preferences and expectations, among other things. If you manage to meet or even exceed consumer expectations, they’ll be more willing to convert. With that in mind, here are a few top conversion rate optimization techniques you should start applying today.
Improve page loading time and website speed
Online consumers simply despite sluggish websites. If your pages take too long to load, your website visitors won’t hesitate to bounce right off.
Moreover, they will openly voice their dissatisfaction to their friends and family, especially on social media, which results in really bad publicity for your business. You cannot hope to encourage anyone to convert if your website isn’t performing well.
Therefore, to avoid such unnecessary scenarios, you should make an effort to improve page loading time and overall website speed. That said, here are a few things you should do to boost your websites’ speed.
- Upgrade your hosting package or switch hosting providers.
- Compress and reformat images.
- Use CDN (Content Delivery Network).
- Use lighter themes (for WordPress-powered websites).
- Minify the code.
- Use data caching.
- Use fewer plug-ins (also for WP websites).
When it comes to conversions, even a single second delay in page loading time can decrease your conversion rate by 7%.
Optimize your website for mobile
The number of mobile users browsing the Internet has significantly grown over the past few years. Furthermore, mobile users outnumber desktop users by a lot. What that means is that your website must be mobile-friendly.
If not, any conversion opportunity you may come across goes out the window. If you really won to optimize your conversion rate you’ll have to have mobile users’ best interest in mind. And, if you think desktop users were picky, you’re in for a surprise.
Mobile users have very high expectations when it comes to deciding whether they’ll convert or not. The main reason is that there are still plenty of websites that aren’t properly optimized for mobile and they simply cannot provide an exceptional experience to their visitors. If you don’t want to be a part of that group, you’ll have to be creative.
Now, many websites use a responsive design to meet the needs of their mobile users. Although a responsive design is effective and easy to implement, it doesn’t offer you full control over how your website content adapts to various devices and screen sizes. If you want more control and, therefore, ensure a better experience for your mobile users that will result in more conversion, you might consider going for an adaptive design for your website.
Design each page with a purpose
When it comes to conversion rates, it all depends on the experience you provide to consumers and how effective your website is at communicating the right message to them. That said, many business owners tend to stuff their website pages with as much information as they can.
Too much information on a web page drives people away. They simply lose interest because they cannot decipher what is it that you’re trying to tell them.
For example, a web page designed to collect email information from users shouldn’t have additional forms for downloading apps, contacting sales, sharing on social media and so on. If you want email information from users, make sure you focus on that one thing so your visitors can understand what you want.
You need to be effective at communicating your message and encourage users to take the desired action. If you have trouble designing web pages with a purpose, you should consider opting for custom web development services so that you can properly optimize your pages for better conversions. As mentioned before, the key to proper CRO is to reduce as much friction as possible.
Focus on your content
It’s no secret that online consumers will take the time to do a bit of research before they decide to convert or not. This research means they’ll browse through your content and explore your products in greater detail.
If your content isn’t up to the task of providing consumers with the valuable and necessary information, then the chance of them converting drops drastically. Your content is of vital importance because it provides consumers with value. That’s why it’s crucial that you ensure your content does the job. Here are a few things you can do to improve your content’s value and ensure proper conversion optimization.
- Write detailed product descriptions.
- Leverage an easy-to-read format.
- Use high-quality images and videos.
- Use internal links to provide consumers with more content.
- Use content to highlight product features and value.
- Use proper headlines for articles, product descriptions and blog posts.
Ensure seamless navigation
The more friction consumers come across on your website the greater the likelihood of them bouncing off. In most cases, the majority of such issues can be found in a website’s navigation. If you want better conversions, you have to ensure seamless navigation.
The main reason is that you have to enable consumers to find what they are looking for with ease. That way they can quickly go from browsing products to a checkout page without inconveniences, delays and obstacles. In other words, you’re reducing the time required for them to change their mind.
If there’s friction that will hold consumers back, they will start to reconsider their decisions. Therefore, great website navigation is one of the most important aspects of proper CRO. That said, here are a few things you can do to improve the navigation on your website.
- Ensure that your products are well-organized and categorized.
- Ensure that the search bar is clearly visible and accessible on any page.
- Use SEO-friendly URLs, keywords, title tags and meta descriptions to make your product pages more visible and easily findable.
- Eliminate missing pages, error pages and duplicate content from your website.
- Include breadcrumbs for consumers to follow.
- Fix any broken links you may have.
Optimize your call to action (CTA)
Every website has calls to action. These CTAs are usually buttons consumers can click on to take the desired action. Moreover, CTAs help web owners encourage consumers to take the necessary steps towards conversion.
However, every consumer has their own unique preferences and purchasing habits. That’s why you have to optimize your CTAs so that you can encourage more consumers to take action. Of course, you cannot cater to each individual’s needs. However, you can optimize for some of the most common consumer behavioral patterns. That’s why you should have more different CTAs on every page.
For instance, a consumer wants to add items to the shopping cart but they also want to continue browsing. Having different CTAs with different purposes helps lead consumers down your sales funnel. That’s why CTA optimization is essential for good CRO. That said, here are a few most common practices for CTA optimization.
- Your CTA must be visible.
- CTAs should have a persuasive message.
- Your CTA must drive the intended purpose.
Optimize your checkout process
The checkout process is where all the conversions actually happen. However, the checkout process is also where most of the consumers abandon their carts, at the last second. If everything was going so well, why did your potential customers decide not to convert?
There are many reasons why consumers abandon their carts at the checkout process. The most common reason is that they ran into an inconvenience of some sort and they decided to give up. In most cases, you won’t be able to figure out what caused the problem unless you ask consumers directly about why they’ve abandoned their carts. Once you do find out, it’s of the utmost importance that you fix the issues as soon as possible. That said, here are a few of the most common issues on checkout pages.
- Too many fields in forms.
- The checkout page lacks HTTPS security measures.
- Not enough payment options.
- Coupon or discount codes don’t work.
- High shipment fees.
- Lack of next-day or same-day deliveries.
- The checkout page isn’t multilingual.
Conversion rate optimization is what every online business must pay special attention to. Even a slight inconvenience in a consumer’s buyer journey can result in a bounce. That means lost sales and lost profits for your company. That’s why CRO should be a priority, especially if you’re selling products through your website.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.