Is Your Website Doing Its Job?
In short, your website needs to turn visitors into action takers. It needs to convert.
Granted website conversion is not an easy task, but it is very doable.
It requires some thought, planning and an understanding of exactly what your visitors want or need to stay engaged.
How to Turn Your Lackluster Website into a Conversion Machine
Website conversion has some moving pieces – none of which individually are very difficult.
- Compelling copy that speaks to your audience in a way that they are moved to read, to subscribe, to take action.
- Website design that is simple to follow and easy to use
- Website technology that works flawlessly – buttons and links that work, fast downloads, readable on smaller screens, etc.
To accomplish your goals for your website, you need to get these pieces working together like a well-oiled machine. That’s the tricky part. Here are some steps you can take to evaluate your own website and determine how it can be improved.
1. Start with a Clean Slate
We all have our built-in biases expressed in the colors, words, shapes we use and prefer.
But if you want to turn your website into a conversion machine, you have to drop these biases. Start with a clean slate and let your website visitors fill-in the blanks for you.
Ignore what your competitors are doing. Forget about what that hot shot guru told you.
None of it matters if it doesn’t work with your audience. If it works for them, keep it. If not, toss it out the window.
2. Know Your Audience
Before you can turn your website into a conversion machine you need to know your audience inside and out.
- What makes them tick?
- What are their fears, wants, short-term goals, deepest desires?
- What are they really buying when they purchase your products?
- What language do they use when they talk about your products?
The answers to these questions should guide all of your website content – the copy, the images, etc.
3. Figure out What is Not Working
If your website isn’t meeting your goal, then you have to figure out what is not working.
Dive into your website analytics (Google Analytics, Clicky, etc.) to figure out what visitors are actually doing on your site (e.g. how long are they staying, which other pages are visited, what led them to that page, etc.). What is the data telling you?
Walk the path your visitors take when they visit your website. What are they seeing? What are they ignoring? Identify the problem areas as if you were a first-time website visitor.
4. Ask yourself “Why”
Now that you know what isn’t working, ask yourself “why” isn’t it working?
It could be for a range of reasons and you’ll need to explore each.
Build out possible scenarios as to why your visitors are not responding the way you want and come up with some viable solutions. You may determine that …
- the copy is all wrong
- there is not call to action (CTA)or it isn’t strong enough
- the CTA button is in the wrong spot, the wrong size or the wrong color
- you need more internal links to other pages to keep them more engaged
- the page is too cluttered and needs to be simplified by removing the sidebar, etc.
5. Test Your Solutions
Step into your changes one at a time. If you make a lot of changes all at once and you see some positive results, you won’t understand which change had the greatest impact.
Change one element and monitor it to see if it is working. If it is, then go ahead and make another change and so on.
If you begin to see negative results, undo and test another change to see if it produces more favorable results.
6. Give Your Tests Time
You want to give your change sufficient time to achieve results. This means – dependent upon the level of traffic your site currently receives – you may need to run your test for a week, a month or longer.
Ideally, you want at least 100 unique visitors to your test page before drawing any conclusions. More is better.
Once you have your results, compare it to your previous results.
7. Don’t stop
It is the nature of things. Your audience will change. They will become more sophisticated. They will want different things and, over time, they will respond to different stimulus.
So you don’t want to drop the ball. Track your website conversion results frequently and make a plan to review your website once a quarter or twice a year for a tune-up or a face lift – whatever is required to keep it converting.
You and your website visitors will be glad you did.
What other ideas do you have for keeping your website up-to-snuff? When is the last time up you updated your website? Share your thoughts below.
And feel free to pass this post along to others who might be in need of a website tune-up.