10 easy ways for small businesses to increase their website conversion rates

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In this article I will outline 10 easy ways for small businesses to increase website conversion rates. I’ll refer throughout this article to the small businesses and their websites, but equally they apply to businesses of all sizes.

Fix 1. Social Media icons and links. The first easy fix I want to highlight in this article relates to social media and the placement of social media links and buttons on your website. The vast majority of social icons/links are placed in the header or towards the top of a site. Are they really so important that you want to put them in one of the most important elements on a page? Are you really so active on social media that you want to take your visitors away from your website? Let me tell you, you better have some really compelling social content that seeks to convert them into customers, because once they’ve clicked away from your website the chances of them returning are slim. 99% of small businesses have poor social content (including me), in fact you are better off staying away from social and remaining focused on building a strong web presence. Do you see Facebook, Google, EBay, LinkedIn or Amazon displaying their social icons in the header or anywhere prominent on the site? Absolutely not, and the reason is because social media is a distraction. It’s only purpose should be to keep in contact with your customers and to drive social traffic to your site. Not to drive traffic from your website to your social pages – so don’t make it east for them to leave your website – they won’t return. 

Fix 2. Your website has fancy background images. What purpose do these serve? They are nothing but a distraction. If you feel that your content is so compelling and conversion driven, that you can draw your visitors attention away from your important content to look at clouds or scenic backgrounds then carry on, but our studies show that performing websites are those that are functional rather than aesthetic. Get rid of any distractions and remember it’s words that sell

Fix 3. My website must be beautiful. This is a huge trap that companies fall into with their website. Few organisations need to have an aesthetically pleasing website. Studies shown by conversion rate experts indicate that functional websites consistently outperform those that are aesthetic. The only time you should have an aesthetic design is if your insights tell you that your visitors will buy more as a result. Do you think Facebook, Google, EBay, LinkedIn, DropBox or Amazon have websites that were designed for beauty, or are they functional websites?

Fix 4. Your best offering is ‘Get a free quotation’. Oh please! Is that really the most encouraging statement you can come up with to generate leads? Everyone and their dog are doing this, it does nothing to separate you from your competitors, nor does it create any sense of urgency. So what happens? They leave your website never to return. Here are some real urgent conversion statements:

  • ‘Get a quote today and save 10%’, or
  • ‘Place your order before 4pm and save 5%’, or
  • ‘Our low prices end in 4hrs and 24minutes’

Fix 5. You put your best profitable sellers below the fold. Below the fold refers to content that is below the bottom of the page that users have to scroll to find. Never put your most profitable content out of view. Instead, always put your best selling products and services above the fold in prime position.

Fix 6. Your reviews and testimonials lack conviction. We all know that reviews and testimonials are good for business. The problem for most websites is they are often anonymous reviews. In general, a video testimonial is better than a testimonial with an image, which is better than a testimonial with just a name, which is better than an anonymous testimonial. So build a page that tries to have as many video reviews as possible, at worst a mixture of all types of review formats.

Fix 7. Your ‘Review Page’ (and other pages) fails to encourage visitors what to do next. So you’ve got a long list of reviews, but where do your visitors go from here? Most websites do not lead their visitors on a journey, instead they assume that they will find their way. Part of having a functional website is to take visitors on a buyer’s journey (a logical flow). Visitors who are at your review page should then be encouraged to:

a) Take a trial of your products or services
b) Buy your product
c) Contact you if they have unanswered questions

Make sure that your review page (and all pages) have strong call to actions, and ensure that it is repeated a couple of times on the page. Lets have a look at one possible way to encourage users to take the next step in the journey:

**** What you should do now ****

If you are serious about having a great website, you should read my blog, it’s packed with ideas and suggestions to help improve your site.

If you’d like me to dramatically improve your website and bring you new customers, visit my website designs for small businesses page and then contact me for more information.

And if you have any comments or questions about this article, contact me.

The above seeks to direct visitors along a journey. It recognises that there are different types of visitors who are reading this article, some have no intentions to buy, but want to improve their own websites, so I direct them to my blog. Others, who really want me to help, can find out more about my services on the services page, and then finally if they are ready to buy, to contact me. The ‘What you should do now’ is deliberately in bold, so it stands out on the page.

Fix 8. Your website has a ‘Discount Code’ field, but you don’t use them. If like me, you never like to discount products or services because it cheapens your offering, then make sure you remove any discount code fields that your checkout process has. Very often small companies use ecommerce and shopping cart technology for their websites, but never offer discount codes. Shoppers can resent ordering when they see others get a better deal, so make sure you remove the discount code feature.

Fix 9. You fail to address common objections that your customers bring up. To do this you need to understand what are the common objections to visitors buying or choosing your company, the only way to know these is to ask your customers or to talk with your best salespeople – they will know what they are.  What repeatedly comes up? Then rank them in order and display them prominently on your product or service pages.

Fix 10. Your business lacks trust. Joe meet Dave, neither Joe or Dave know you from Adam. This is how we would describe your visitors and our company. Your visitors don’t know you, they have no idea of who you are or how well you deliver on your products or services, this means that are probably not going to buy from you. To encourage conversions, you need to build trust. There are hundreds of ways to build trust, here are some ways:

a) Prominently display your picture
b) Offer a guarantee
c) Add media testimonials, especially use the media logo’s as these are easy to recognise and allow you to piggy back of brand awareness and existing trust
d) Display qualifications & badges
e) Client Reviews
f) Expert Reviews

Read the next article in this series

What you should do now

If you are serious about having a great website, you should read my blog, it’s packed with ideas and suggestions to help improve your site.

If you’d like me to dramatically improve your website and bring you new customers, visit my website designs for small businesses page and then contact me for more information.

And if you have any comments or questions about this article, contact me.

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