While there are countless sites on the web that are making good money, more often than not sites are not performing as well as they could/should. They aren’t living up to their potential. If these websites were employees, we’d probably fire them.
So, what do you do when your website isn’t living up to its potential? Give up? That is one option. But a better option is to sit back and do an honest assessment of your site.
So what are some of the things you should look at? I’m glad you asked.
Here are some key things to look at if you feel your site isn’t being all that it can be.
Start by analyzing your web stats.
- Figure out how long people are staying on your site.
- See which pages they are leaving from most often.
- Look at the keywords they are using to find the site – if they aren’t coming in on targeted keywords that it isn’t that surprising that they aren’t converting.
Identify a few actions you want people to take on your site (place an order, sign for your newsletter etc) and go to your site yourself and go through the steps it takes for people to complete those actions.
- Was it easy?
- How many clicks did it take?
- Did the text compel and guide you along?
It’s sometimes hard to determine this for yourself since you are so familiar with your site, so ask a few friends or colleagues to go through the exercise and give you honest feedback.
Your most important info should not be more than a click or two from the homepage.
But don’t forget, people could be entering from pages other than your homepage – so if your special offers and newsletter sign up aren’t on every page, people may miss them.
You may want to find a way to list your special offers (or at least a banner mentioning that you have special offers) as well as your opt-in on every page of your site. Not everyone wants to do this and sometimes it’s an intentional strategic decision not to (maybe you want to keep the pages simpler and not have anything to detract from the particular call to action on that page) – and that’s OK. As long as you understand and knowingly decide that.
What can you do to get people to come back to your site?
Create a plan for content addition – keeping your site current with fresh content is good for the engines and your site visitors. People need to see your site as a resource so they have a reason to keep coming back. Give them interesting, important, funny, newsworthy info and you’ll see your repeat visitors start to increase. The more times someone visits your site, the more likely they are to buy.
Beware of Broken Links…
Test your site for broken links and errors – nothing scares site visitors off like a site that isn’t well maintained. Check for typos and spelling mistakes. Look for broken images. Remember people will make snap judgments about you and the quality of your product or service based on how your site looks.
Test your shopping cart often to make sure there are no errors that are causing you to lose sales. Make sure it is easy to use and if possible, keep reminding people of the benefits as they go through the sales process. You don’t have the sale until they click the final submit button. If your cart has a lot of steps, you could lose people along the way so keep them engaged and wanting the product.
Don’t waste your thank you page – make an up-sell offer on your thank you page. People have already bought from you and should be open to other offers, plus they already have their credit card out and ready!
School may be finished, but you aren’t done with testing!
Test, test, test. You should be split testing or multivariate testing your pages to improve results. The littlest things – a blue header versus a red one, the word girl versus woman can make a BIG difference (I know this because I split test everything!). So get testing – test colors, headline text, calls to action, different photos. With Google Website Optimizer testing is so easy.
Prominence is key.
Make your opt-in box prominent and compelling. Building a list is vitally important to your business. If your site converts 4% of your site’s visitors into sales, then the other 96% of your traffic is wasted – but if you capture their contact info and can market to them on an on-going basis, you will very likely get more sales!
Blah, Blah, Blah and other Common Copy mistakes
You don’t want to be boring and drab. You need to excite and compel people. You also need to guide them by the hand and get them to take the action you want.
Don’t use too much jargon or confusing language. Talk to your site visitors in a language they will understand and relate to.
Website copy is truly an art and the right words make a big difference. Make sure you have compelling headlines and strong calls to action. Don’t assume because your product is good people will want to buy it. They don’t know it’s good yet – you need to convince them!
Check out load time on your site. No one has the time or patience to wait for a slow loading site, so they may be outta there if it’s too slow.
Busy, Busy, Busy.
Make sure there is enough white space to make the eye comfortable. Too much text and graphics can be very busy looking and it makes people uncomfortable.
There is a lot more we could talk about – including some specifics on how to write more compelling text but a girl can’t reveal everything right away! So, for now, I’ve given you some stuff to think about and a place to start. Stay tuned for next month, I’ll talk about some copy tips and give samples of good copy and bad copy.
As always, I welcome questions, comments and anything you want to share!