Your website is the center of your online presence, and the center for all your marketing efforts. Attracting potential customers is great, but once a visitor lands on your website, you need to have a strategy to convert them into a paying customer. To increase the chance of conversion, you must:
- understand your ideal customer
- understand their intent
- understand their challenges
- understand what they expect from a website like yours
Every customer's journey starts by researching online, and your brand's website must guide potential customers through that journey. Design it to tell an engaging story, highlight a problem, provide the solution, call them to action, and promise a happy ending.
In order to design a marketing-activated website that converts visitors into customers, keep these 8 best practices of high-converting websites in mind.
Design for customers, not designers
Left to their own devices, web designers will craft a website for design's sake, not necessarily for the customer. For instance, remember Flash? Now almost extinct, Flash initially turned the heads of designers and programmers as it provided immense visual capabilities. However, in the new era of SEO and mobile-friendly sites, Flash can't deliver what's required in the market. A user-friendly website has an impressive yet simple design. It's easy to navigate, quick to load, and efficient in guiding the customer towards conversion.
Place visible calls-to-action
Even the most perfect piece of content balanced with flawless SEO tactics will fail to convert visitors into customers if it's missing a strategically placed call-to-action (CTA). Visitors will read your amazing content, but without a push in the right direction, they may go to another website where your competitor will be happy to assist them. A well-placed CTA will drive visitors to take the next step. It's wise to use only one CTA per page to avoid confusion. Don't forget: the CTA should create a sense of urgency that compels readers to act.
Aim for user-friendly navigation
Simple navigation can make a huge difference in your customer's journey, and conversion often depends on whether your visitors can find what they are looking for. When designing your website's navigation, place each section where it feels natural and will be most easy to find. Try to limit the number of menu items to seven or fewer. If your brand logo is in the header (which it should be), link it to your homepage so visitors can revisit it easily.
Provide relevant, fresh content
Creating a solid content strategy is key to ensuring your website stays relevant and valuable to your audience. In order to create useful content, you must first understand the needs of your target audience. Consider creating content that answers questions already asked by your visitors. Use emotion, sincerity and authenticity to empathize and connect with your audience. Crucially, if you want your content to get discovered, make sure your posts and pages are SEO-optimized with smart keyword usage, metadata, and other on-page elements.
Don't compromise on speed
People are not patient, and slow-loading webpages will almost certainly lead to a higher bounce rate. If your page takes longer than five seconds to load, it'll frustrate your visitors and give them a reason to search elsewhere. To increase the loading speed of your webpages, consider removing any nonessentials, such as videos or large images that take extra time to load. Compressing images will also reduce loading time. Finally, utilize browser caching for storing cached versions of static resources to speed up your pages significantly.
Showcase your offerings
If you don't do anything else, at the very least, showcase your products and services on your homepage. You have only a few seconds to make a first impression, so make it count. Professional photos and spotless copy will help you put your brand's best foot forward. Product pictures and descriptions should be detailed, useful and appropriate. You may have a great website design, but if your photos look fuzzy, potential customers will think twice about buying your products. However, take care not to overload your website with graphics. Select a few good images and feature them on the homepage.
Establish trust & credibility
Communicate your value proposition
Use compelling language to convince and show readers how your brand will add value to their lives or resolve their problems. What benefits can customers expect to enjoy by making a purchase or signing up for your service? What features make your products better than what your competitors offer? If you can excite your visitors with your value proposition, you will see your conversion rates improve.
Even after you've followed all of these practices, review your website regularly to create a list of changes and optimizations. Be innovative about delivering the best experience possible, and never stop iterating. Optimization is an ongoing process, but the rewards are well worth the effort.