A positive trend in web design is the push towards focusing on the return on your investment, or ROI, as it is more commonly known. Shouldn’t that always have been the case I hear you ask? Well yes, but unfortunately for too long, and by too many, the focus was on having a pretty website, high search engine rankings or the number of people who visit your website. All important things sure, but a website that converts visitors into customers should be your ultimate goal.
There are some simple steps you can take when designing or re-designing your website to ensure that you’re able to maximise your conversion rate and achieve a positive ROI.
Be Open To Everyone
If you ran a small bricks and mortar shop and kept the door locked and the phone off the hook I suspect you wouldn’t get much business. What a silly analogy I hear you say, well not really – the number of websites that make it difficult for people to order or contact you is far, far higher that you think.
Accessibility is the term used to describe the degree to which a website can be used by a cross section of people and devices. It has become increasingly important in recent years, and is even a legal requirement in some countries. Beyond legal requirements an inaccessible website will make it difficult for customers to use your site and encourage them to go elsewhere, such as a competitor.
It is important that you talk to your web designer and come up with an accessibility plan that is suitable for your website and its goals.
Unfortunately the wide choice of web browsers available means that your website may not look the same in each one. Many designers focus solely on Internet Explorer thinking that as the majority of users use IE it should be ok. Not so. Depending on the industry you are in the percentage of visitors from alternative browsers can be as high as 50%. This means you could be turning away as many as 50% of your potential customers.
The good news is by designing with web standards your website will look the way it is intended across all web browsers.
By making it easy for visitors to view and browser your website you stand a far better chance of having them purchase from you.
Make Your Contact Details Stand Out
Oftentimes people want to contact you before placing an order online. Or they want to see your contact details to reassure them that a human is behind the site and can be contacted if need be. For this reason it is important to have your contact details placed prominently on your site. As well as a specific contact page I recommend placing your important details, such as address and phone number, on each page of your site. In the very least I suggest the following contact details:
- Phone Number
- Email Address
If you prefer one contact method over another feel free to specify it. I also recommend letting people know roughly when they can expect a response.
Have a Clear Returns Policy
If you are selling products online a clear returns policy will help you increase your conversion rate. Encouraging people to order from your website is all about gaining their trust. Sometimes, for whatever reason, someone may want to return what they have ordered from you.
Prospects will feel far more comfortable buying from your site if you clearly state what your return policy is and how items can be returned.
Offer a Variety of Payment Options
Not everyone has a credit card and even if they do not everyone wants to use it. Make your visitors lives easier by offering them a variety of payment options such as credit card, Pay Pal, electronic transfer and good old fashioned cheques. By making it easy for them to pay you you make it easier for them to do business with you.
Make Sure Your Site Is User Friendly
Not everyone is a computer whiz. But almost all people have the money and desire to purchase online or to use the internet to research purchases. By making sure your website is easy to use you stand a better chance of having your visitors stay and do business with you and not your competitors.
Navigation is the main way your visitors will move through your website Make sure that your navigation options are clear and easy to understand so that visitors are able to find what they want easily.
Easy To Read Text
It’s common knowledge that most people don’t read huge tracts of text online. To help make sure your site is easy and appealing to read it’s important that you use clear, legible type, and break up your text with paragraphs as well as using bold text and dot points as necessary.
Make Links Obvious
Online an underlined word generally represents a link. For that reason I never, ever suggest underlining a word unless it is a link. If you are wanting to highlight a word do it by using bold or italics instead.
And while we’re on about links make sure it look clickable by using a strong link colour such as a bright blue.
User Friendly Error Pages
We’re not always able to stop visitors from getting an error page but making sure that error page is helpful and talks to them in easy to understand language, without technical jargon, is vital. It’s also often worthwhile to include a search box and links to the main pages of your site to help your visitors find what they are looking for. It’s also a good idea to include your contact details so if they get really stuck they can contact you directly.
Ask For the Sale
My final step is the most obvious but also the most overlooked – ask for the sale. Add to Cart, Order Now, Contact Us – these are just three simple ways to ask your visitors to take the next step with you, whether that be purchasing something online or calling you for a quote. As well as providing information about your products or services you need these well placed Call To Actions to tell your visitors what they need to do next. Calls to Action can be in the form of text or graphics and often a combination works well. Whatever you do make sure it is big and bold so it can’t be overlooked.
By incorporating the above steps into your website you’ll stand a better chance or converting visitors into customers and thus ensuring that you get a positive return on your website investment.