11 Tips for a Website that Converts
Most business owners understand that they need to have a website for their business. Sometimes this is part of a very clear marketing strategy, other times its a vague understanding that people are searching for goods and services online, and therefore they need to be there – wherever “there” is.
In order to get the most out of your website, we’re going to share 11 tips for creating a website that converts traffic into sales or leads.
1. Have a professional website
When you decided to get into business, you probably didn’t think about all the hats you might have to wear as a small business owner. From book keeper to CEO, from sales person to digital marketer, small business owners find themselves wearing multiple hats throughout their day. It can be tempting to try and do everything yourself, but the simple truth is that it will save you money if you hire the right people for the job, freeing you to focus on what you love and are good at.
While there are lots of free tools you can use to create your own website, unless you are trained in web design, it will probably not look professional. Aside from design issues, it will also likely mean that all the following points are not addressed properly. This may all result in loosing sales or leads. Remember, your website is your online shop front, and you want to put your best foot forward. You don’t want people remembering you for the poorly designed website they stumbled across and left quickly.
If you are unsure, most website companies will offer a free audit of your website. This audit should let you know which areas need to be addressed – or perhaps the best solution is a full rebuild. Listen to their advice, and if you are unsure, canvas several companies to compare their recommendations and prices.
2. Make sure your website has a crystal clear message
If you were to ask someone to look at your home page for 7 seconds, would they be able to answer the following questions?
- What do we do?
- What problem do we solve?
- What action do we want you to take?
If not, clarify your message until those 3 very important questions can be answered after just a 7 second review. It’s a great idea to ask friends or family to do this for you and write down their answers. This will help guide you to write better content to make those messages clear.
3. Have clear calls to action
A call to action is where you tell your customers what you want them to do. Maybe you want them to phone you, or buy your product, or submit a lead form. Decide what your most important lead type is, and then add very clear calls to it throughout your website content.
4. Make sure your website is mobile friendly
Having a mobile friendly website should almost have been the second point on this list. As of 2017, New Zealand had 3.8 billion mobile phones with active internet connections, and that number is rising constantly. Google says that 75% of smartphone owners turn to search first to find answers. Some of our clients have more conversions and traffic now from mobile phones than they do on computers. So it is more important than ever to ensure your website is mobile friendly.
If your website is not mobile friendly it will not display in a clear and easy to read way on a mobile phone. But its more than just mobile phones you need to consider. Your website needs to have responsive design which means it will adapt and display clearly on any device – whether that is a smaller monitor, an iPad or tablet, a mobile phone or an laptop.
Google now penalises websites that are not mobile friendly in search results, giving preference to websites that are mobile friendly.
5. Optimise your website for search engines
Now that you have a professional website with a clear message, clear calls to action and is displaying nicely on all devices, you want your website to start ranking in search engines. This means when someone types a search query relevant to your business into Google – for us this might be website design company in Christchurch for example – your business comes up in the search results.
You need to aim to have your website within the first couple search results, but definitely on the first page. You can also dominate those first positions with local rankings and Google Ads.
6. Set up statistics and conversion tracking
As part of your digital marketing strategy, it is vitally important that you track and measure. Google offers a range of amazing free to use tools including Google Analytics for statistics tracking and Google Tag Manager so that you can set up and track conversions. You will need to install your Facebook Pixel as well.
Statistics will help you understand what your customers are doing on your website, where they are coming from, how long they spend on your website, what pages they look at and so much more. Conversion tracking will help you understand which marketing strategies are working.
Don’t spend a penny on marketing your website until you have statistics and conversion tracking in place.
7. Keep your website updated
Producing regular, engaging content can seem like a “too-hard” task. But at the very least, its important to ensure that your website is kept up to date.
Just today I was speaking with a colleague who mentioned researching for a service and finding that the websites were all outdated with staff who no longer worked there or the practices had closed altogether. She said she gave up looking because it was just too frustrating.
If you have staff changes, changes in your opening hours, or changes in products or services, then update that content on your website. Check it regularly to ensure that your message and content is correct and current.
8. Use proper grammar
If you came across a website that had poor grammar, spelling errors, punctuation errors or was just plain hard to read, how would you feel about doing business with that company? Would you be confident that their products and services were top notch? Or would you question that their services or products might be as low quality as their website text?
It’s not hard to put your text into a spell check – in fact CMS website builders like WordPress even have a built in spell checker. Using the Flesch-Kincaid readability score can help you determine if your content is easy to read. We all make mistakes, but aim for perfect grammar.
9. Optimise your website for speed
Slow to load websites will lose you customers and get your website penalised in search results. Your website needs to load within a few seconds.
Some of this process is hard and you may need to hire an expert, but some things you can easily do yourself.
Reducing the size of your images is a really big one – don’t upload images straight from your camera. They need to be reduced to the size they will display, and reduced in quality so that they are a small file size that can load quickly.
Don’t include more external resources than you need to.
For WordPress there are great tools like WPRocket that you can install and will instantly speed up your website. You can connect your website to a service like Cloudflare for even more advanced caching and faster loading.
10. Make payments easy
Do you operate an ecommerce store? Or offer packages or services that people can buy online? If so, it is really important that the payment process is as simple as possible.
For every extra step or field you add, you will loose customers. If you operate a hotel accommodation business and don’t have a booking system with payment, you may loose bookings. If you sell products and there is no way to buy your products online, you may lose sales.
11. Test everything works
This might be our last tip, but it is one of the most important! Test everything on your website works! This includes links, your calls to action, contact forms, sales processes, downloads. If anything doesn’t work, ensure it is fixed immediately or you will lose customers.