One of the most common questions I get in the office is, ‘why isn’t my site making me any money?’
The trouble is, is that you could have 10,000 unique monthly visits to your site but if none of them are converting to sales or even a sign up, then that 10,000 might as well not be there. They are worth nothing to you.
The measure of your success is through your conversion and nothing else. Your site conversions should be mean everything to you. You should be obsessed with them.
So, in this post, we are going to help you improve conversion rates for your website. These are the things you NEED to be doing to improve your conversion rate right now. Even if you’re site is currently on zero, there ARE ways you can turn that around on a 50p piece and you can start that process today. So, let’s go through these one by one:
1. How are you making them feel?
The conversion is all about them feel. Don’t forget that a transaction can STILL take place even when no money is exchanging hands. Mark Joyner goes into further detail about this in his magnificent book The Irresistible Offer.
The bottom line is that you need your traffic to feel something to make them act quickly. As humans, our actions are always in direct proportion to how we feel. If you’re not making your traffic feel any positivity towards your site, they will move away never to return. On the flipside, if you make them feel negatively towards you, the same will happen! More on that later!
2. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. Give value instantly.
It’s more common than you think to have a site that gets traffic but no sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re flogging a brand-new Kindle Fire for a tenner or a 1000 point cut diamond that only the elite can afford. If you’re not PRE-SELLING, then no one’s going to touch you.
More importantly; no one is going to like to you, trust you or buy from you. The PRESALE is vital for any conversion to take place. If you are promoting a site that isn’t giving anything in return to the visitor, they will quickly sniff this out from you and leave.
Give them value the very second they arrive. The way to do this successfully is offer a free white paper or download relating to the keyword or topic you have targeted them to see when they arrive. That might be a blog post or article on how to do something.
Exceed their expectations the second they arrive. Then you always will exceed in their eyes, even if you don’t.
3. Know where you are right now and where you want to go next.
Christopher Columbus never decided to set sail somewhere without checking where he and his crew where sailing from, what the weather was currently like and what troubled waters they had to cross first.
If sailors and explorers alike didn’t know exactly where they were before they set sail, the oceans would be full of little ships sailing round and around in circles.
In other words, if you don’t know where you are before you set off, how on Earth do you expect to get to where you want to go?
The first thing you need to do is understand fully EXACTLY where you are right now.
Make a note of your current traffic figures, email sign ups, current sales and where they are coming from to get to your site, current keywords, ads, your current expenditure on AdWords and what you’re putting in so far, to get that traffic. (You can do the whole lot through Google Analytics or through WordPress plugins if you are a WP site that are easy to use.) THEN, you can map out where you want to be in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years etc. It will be a heck of a lot easier.
4. Understand the difference between a good conversion rate and a bad one.
There is a lot of banter around about what’s a good conversion rate and what’s a bad one, but the general rule of thumb is that anything around 3% is what we should all be aiming for.
Less than 1% and you need to seriously look at your copy, your ads and your current marketing campaign.
Remember: there is no such thing as a bad website, just one that’s isn’t working as well as it should. Any website that wants to have a protectory to aim for should be considering a conversion rate of around 5%.
Of course, the higher the better, but it is always best to start with a realistic expectation. 5% for any site is achievable.
In terms of financial return, that’s down to you. If you’re selling that 1000 point cut diamond we talked about earlier, then you know you can retire any day soon.
5. Do you know your good leads from your bad ones?
Now this might surprise you. There ARE such things as good leads and bad ones. What do we mean by this? Well, a good lead is a buying lead. It is a lead that is ready and willing to buy/convert.
They are there, with credit card in hand, hanging on your every word.
In short; they are leads who have already made up their mind to buy, they just might not have thought about buying from YOU.
What you need to do is make sure you are right in front of their noses the minute they decide to buy. More on this later.
On the flipside, bad leads are ones who will what I call ‘site hop.’ They are reasonably interested in finding out some information, but they are not ready to convert and even if they are, they will sign up to your newsletter or your download simply because it’s free and it gets rid of the irritating pop up box on your site. 6-9 weeks later, they will be on your unsubscribed list on your email provider.
Sites will always have bad leads that come and go. Take no notice of them. They are no worth worrying about. It is the good ones you need to spend your time and energy one cultivating a long-term relationship with.
6. Is your site responsive?
In 2018, every site owner should know what this word means. It means (if you don’t know already, where have you been??) your site needs to easily and automatically convert to a smaller, mobile screen.
If you’re checking your conversions regularly (if you have a WordPress site, I recommend a Visitor Traffic Plugin for easy monitoring on your WP dashboard,) you will know how much of your traffic is coming to your site via a mobile device.
Trust me, there is nothing more off-putting to a site visitor than must consider that swipe and pinch action use to read a site on your phone.
In fact, I give up instantly and if your site’s not responsive, so do thousands of your visitors. Once you have your responsive site up and running, test is regularly on your own mobile device to insure all text and graphics are converting to the diminished screen size.
Make sure your CTA’s are on button actions, that your text is in clear, well-spaced formatting and in short burst paragraphs making it super easy to read. It’s amazing how rapidly your traffic figures will plummet if your site’s not mobile-friendly.
7. Are you leaving your visitors hanging?
If there is no defined CTA, then your visitors will come for what they were after (free information) and then leave and never come back.
The key to a good conversion rate is to encourage each visitor to stay on your site if possible (this will secretly help your site ranking too as Google loves zero bounce rates and lengthy stays.)
The easiest way to do this is to set up a Call to Action (CTA) at the end of each task you want them to perform. In other words, once they have come to the end of any article, add the heading ‘what to do next’ and offer a recommendation of what you want them to read/do/sign up for next.
The secret is to give them one, but at most, two actions to take so they have a choice. But DON’T give them a long list or they will leave accomplishing no action at all.
8. They don’t like your site.
Traffic can leave a site instantly if they don’t like it. It’s irritating but it’s the nature of the beast. Look at your site and get some friends or colleagues to look at it too (not your family, they won’t give you an honest objective!)
The colours might be putting your visitors off. The site layout could be off, perhaps the logo is wrong. Or you might not be offering the right information or content.
Take a hard look at it and start again taking away irritating pop ups or scale the ads down a little. It’s amazing how too much site clutter will decrease your conversion rate. But don’t get down-hearted, it’s not personal. It’s just business.
9. Your site takes too long to load
It’s dreadful having to wait for a site to load because of nifty graphics and dark backgrounds.
A few years back site would try and out-do each other in moving graphics, dark, mysterious backgrounds until everyone realised that despite the owners thinking their site was a dream, traffic was bored and had left.
The maximum amount of time it should take for your site to load is 3 seconds.
Get your loading time well below this and your conversion rate will shoot up, I can assure you. Look at any code that might be slowing up your site, graphics, images and so on and get rid of it if you can.
Keep your background free from colour. Traffic prefers white backgrounds and black to dark grey text. Yes, it might look boring to you, but the site is not about what YOU like. Its focus is what your visitors want. Keep it simple and clean and this will speed up your loading times.
Visitors don’t have time to hang around these days. Even when Amazon is having an off day on their loading times, despite it being the great Amazon, traffic will leave and go elsewhere in their thousands!
10. Are you keeping to topic when they arrive at your site?
There is little more annoying than a site that you think is going to talk about one subject and it ends up being about something entirely different.
Keep to your niche or super niche and you will make your customers happy. This also goes for your branding, site layout and design.
It all needs to be speak your target audience’s language. Don’t try to cast your net too wide. You can’t please everyone all the time. Focus on pleasing the very few who will convert to sales. There is a tendency to think that if you try can cater for a wide audience, it will push up conversion. It won’t. You will simply end up with an incredibly high bounce rate.
Above all, stick to your goal. You don’t have to have a fancy digital marketing plan. All you need is a clear, well defined goal that you KNOW you can reach.
Keep everything about your business realistic and timely. That way, you won’t be making the bar to jump over too high. Once you hit that bar, you can move it but only when you reach it. Keep monitoring your traffic and your statistics through Google Analytics or through WP plugins (at least) if you have a WP site.
And, never take your eye off the ball.
What to read next…
Michelle Hatcher is the founder of TVG Productions and is the former editor and founder of the UK’s only digital vintage publication, The Vintage Eye from which its sister email newsletter, the TVG, rocked up 60,000 subscribers in its first 6 months of publication. She is an expert digital marketer and has helped hundreds of craft and vintage businesses get off the ground since 2013 across the UK and the U.S. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Michelle-Hatcher/e/B01HS7NTKK