we all think we need – ie getting loads of visitors from the search engines. And indeed, this is important. Or the more creative of us may believe that the most important thing is to have a bea-u-ti-full website that just makes our site visitors go wow! Again, a well designed website is very important. However, there is little point in a beautiful website, that attracts tons of visitors, if these visitors do not go on and engage with you or buy your services, ie if they don’t convert – and THIS, is the real holy grail! In reality, your site needs to be able to deliver on all three – ie well designed, attractive to the search engines, and very user friendly. But unfortunately this last area of website conversion is often overlooked by small businesses in the excitement of getting a new site designed and optimised. Even though this is what will actually drive your ROI and could make or break your business! Improving your website conversion is all about focussing on all the small things that together can add up and make a huge difference. Consider the following:
- Is it obvious as to what you actually do – this sounds obvious, but so often is not the case – ask someone you don’t know whether they understand! Is it obvious as to how you can solve your site visitors problems – if they don’t get this straight away, they are likely to leave
- Decide what the goals are for your website and what constitutes a successful conversion.Then identify the steps your site visitors need to take to reach these goals and review each element that they need to engage with. For example
- is the link to your online shop REALLY obvious
- do your visitors notice the banner ad you have that promotes your free download – HINT: beware banner blindness as visitors often think they are just being sold something
- Can visitors easily find a way of contacting you? If contacting you is important, don’t just have a tiny link in your header or footer but a button that is noticeable when they first reach your site and on each page
- Are you providing your visitors with the information they need to make a purchase decision, when they need it. For example, don’t bury delivery and returns information. Make it very obvious where to go right from the beginning of the purchase process. And if you offer free returns – shout about it!
- are buttons in bland colours so they merge into the site and are missed,
- are button labels or link text confusing
- are positions of links or buttons actually illogical
- is the first step of your most important process hidden on a page below the home page
Once all the elements are identified, set about improving each one just a bit and the cumulative result can be great.
What connects the GB cycling team with website usability?
For the cycling fans amongst you, this (and no doubt the generous influx of lottery funding!) is exactly how the GB team managed to achieve such success at the Beijing Olympics. The gurus in British Cycling identified all the different elements that contribute to overall success. Be it
- a gramme or two weight for the bike
- the angle of the handlebars,
- the shape of the saddle,
- the position of the riders head,
- the material of the rider’s clothing,
- or even the mental states of the cyclists themselves.
Each element was focused on and improved just slightly (some more than others) and the overall results were, as they say, history. Be sure not to forget to measure and test, measure and test, measure and test along the way, to understand what happens and what works. Your web analytics and Google Website Optimiser can help you do this. Or if you want to find out the techniques that larger companies use, check out this post from eConsultancy. And don’t forget to ask real users of your website. You may not be able to afford full blown usability testing, but there is nothing stopping you asking friends, family and colleagues. Give them an important task to do, and see how easy they find to do it – it is amazing what this simple exercise can throw up. You are so close to your site that you may think it is blindingly obvious – your site visitors may not. Improve everything bit by bit and maybe like the GB cycling team, the overall results, as they say, can be history! If you would like help in reviewing your site for usability, then we here at CUBE4 can help . Whatever your budget, we can provide you with ideas and actions in order to improve the ability for your site visitors to convert to sales. This maybe through full blown usability analysis, or a simple expert review, whilst always keeping a watchful eye on your brand! Please contact us to discuss your needs. And if you have other thoughts of those little things to look for and improve, do please share in the comments.