Interested in boosting the performance of your website? Assuming so, it’s time to start concentrating on conversion rate optimization (CRO). Instead of setting up a marketing campaign to drum up traffic, a CRO campaign uses targeted website updates to contribute to business goals.
With conversion rate optimization, your priority should focus on taking existing website traffic and encouraging specific actions. When you can make the most of your current web traffic – which already includes prospects interested in your product/service – you can reap the benefits tied to an optimized conversion rate in terms of increased business and revenue.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization might sound a bit technical, but its main goal is focused on efforts to improve existing rates of conversion through your website. On the whole, CRO can be thought of as a marriage of good design, persuasive language, proper positioning, color choice and a host of other factors working together to help boost conversions on a website.
Often, when you can shorten the number of clicks required for site visitors to take a particular action, you can improve your existing conversion rate. A few such actions, or conversions, include:
- Viewing a specific page
- Submitting a form
- Commenting on a blog
- Making a purchase, or
- Downloading a whitepaper
While shortening the steps required to take certain actions on your website is one way to optimize the conversion rate, here are five additional tactics worthy of your review:
Enhance Your Website’s Conversion Rate by Stripping Out Guesswork
If you want to improve your conversion rate you should make it straightforward for site visitors to understand the actions you want them to take on your site. For example, if your website’s main goal is to increase the number of volunteer sign-ups, you should have a clear call-to-action and/or form that makes it easy to declare interest in volunteering.
In support of this goal, your CTA or form should also:
- Use clear and concise words to describe the actions you want site visitors to take, i.e. ‘Submit Your Contact Details to Join Our Community of Volunteers’
- Be designed as a recognizable button, graphic or shape that cannot be ignored
- Live in a plain site on each page of the website
Rather than abandoning ship over confusion about what to do next or how to act, you can help site visitors take action and make easy choices when you strip out potential areas of confusion, ultimately helping boost your site’s conversion rate.
Improve CRO by Minimizing Distractions
Alongside efforts to minimize confusion, your CRO tactics should also aim to minimize distractions. In doing so you can help focus attention on desired actions. A few of the different ways that you can minimize website distractions are to:
- Eliminate any automatic movement on the site such as carousels, sliders or automatic video players
- Simplify competing design elements throughout the site so that site visitors don’t suffer from sensory overload
When a site visitor is ready to click on a ‘buy now’ or ‘submit’ button the last thing you want to happen is to have their attention diverted away. Whenever possible, widgets, ads or non-value add design elements should be (re)moved so that they do not compete with key actions tied to your website conversion metrics.
Augment Conversion Rate Optimization Efforts With Meaningful Messaging
While hemming and hawing over every word on your website may not be the best use of your teams’ time, you can contribute to an uptick in your website’s conversion rate by making sure that you give proper attention to:
- Call to actions, and
- Other site directives
Site visitors often scan through each web page by skimming over page titles, larger heading treatments, bulleted lists, buttons and imagery. Therefore, use of captivating language that is easily scanned, yet supports desired actions, can play a large role in a successful CRO campaign.
When you can clearly communicate the action you’d like site visitors to take, using language that resonates with their education and motivations, you’re also supporting efforts aimed at ‘stripping out the guesswork’. Whenever possible make sure your site’s copywriting, especially for more prominent messaging, supports your site’s desired conversions through actionable and benefit-based wording. In other words, use wording to inspire action by reminding users of the benefits they came to your site looking for in the first place, while guiding them to take specific actions.
Responsive Web Design Can Contribute to Positive CRO Changes
Upgrading your site to a responsive web design can also augment your conversion rate optimization efforts by aiding site visitors in the decision making process, no matter their device. When it comes to CRO, a responsive web design will ensure that the presentation of your website, including the organization of web design elements and content, are always delivered to site visitors in an optimized manner.
Such efforts can benefit prospects and your website’s conversion rate measures by:
- Minimizing user frustration through a usable interface
- Delivering a consistent brand experience
- Making the most of already favorable web traffic
Using Color to Boost CRO Efforts
While many website color decisions are based on a company’s logo, use of additional colors can have a strategic impact on a site’s CRO. For example, color psychology dictates how certain colors can lend themselves to the various emotional states or cultural meanings which can affect click-throughs and conversions. Additionally, color choice can determine contrast and thus the amount of attention a design element or area of the site receives.
These considerations are important factors relating to conversion rate optimization endeavors as color selection, especially for buttons and phone numbers, can play an important role in any increase or decrease in desired conversion goals.
Simplify Your Web Forms to Generate CRO Gains
When a prospect submits a form on your website, it’s understandable that you’d like to have well-rounded details about their name, company, website, availability and how they arrived on your site. But, by asking for so many details in a single form you run the risk of annoying your leads and sending them packing. Even if the majority of form fields are not required to submit the form, the sheer length of the form can act as a deterrent simply because it looks overwhelming.
When optimizing your website to improve the conversion rate, best practices suggest that you pare down form fields either through consolidation or removal entirely. For example, consolidating separate ‘first name’ and ‘last name’ fields into a single ‘name’ field can help minimize user effort tied to submitting the form.
By gathering only the bare minimum details through your website’s forms you can offer a simpler, more pleasurable experience for prospects, ultimately leading to an increase in submitted forms and CRO gains. Remember, you can always ask more detailed questions once a form has been submitted and you reach out to further qualify the lead.
Conversion Rate Optimization Requires Some Trial & Error
Practicing CRO is a great way to dedicate resources to improving your website’s performance over time. And, by making small scale changes over time you can do a thorough job of identifying which efforts result in a measurable impact, instead of making guesses.
While the CRO methods outlined in this post provide some fodder to kick-start your own CRO push, it doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to see results. After all, each site is unique in terms of its starting point, industry and audience.
However, if you want to take your existing site traffic to the next level, CRO represents an opportunity to strengthen your current marketing activities. The benefits, in terms of increased leads and new customers month over month, simply cannot be ignored.