Editors note: Catherine Park is my guest blogger of this article (which I love and fully endorse). Catherine Park is a content writer presently working with BrandPacks. A writer by day and a reader by night, she loves working in the ever-changing world of technology and is fascinated by the role content plays in today’s marketing.  — Barry Edwards

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As the old adage goes, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. The same is true with your website visitors. All too often I see website owners preoccupied with generating more traffic, rather than converting the traffic they already have.

In other words, they’re focussed on the two birds in the bush over the bird they already have in hand.

Visitor numbers on a vanity metric

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking more traffic is better when mostly, visitor numbers are just a vanity metric.

“If only I had more traffic, I’d hit my revenue goals” or “I should buy more ads to hit my lead targets”. I hear these comments all the time, and as website owners, we’ve all said things like this at some point.

Far more important than visitor numbers is your conversion rate. Improving the conversion rate of visitors you already have is often easier, cheaper & more cost-effective than increasing the number of people visiting your site.

Doubling Our Conversion Rate

Over the last 6 months, we’ve been working hard to take our conversion rate on BrandPacks from just 2% to over 4%. We’ve done this with small design tweaks that anyone can replicate.

In this article, I’ll share with you 11 key lessons we learned along the way and how you too can use them to improve your conversions.

Whether you’re looking to increase revenue or your incoming leads, each of these tips will help. Some of them may seem obvious, and some may seem so small they’re hardly worth bothering with, but believe me, they each add up.

1. Increase Website Speed

Whether you’re looking to increase sales, leads, user engagement or time on site, speed is essential. The slower your website is, the more likely users are to leave and go elsewhere.

Studies have shown that for every 1 second in additional site load times, websites see a 7% reduction in conversion rate. In a similar study, an additional 1 second in load time showed Amazon could lose $1.6 Billion dollars in yearly sales.

Now, you may not be dealing with revenue losses in the billions, but shaving off a few seconds in load time could make a significant difference to your bottom line. Not only will it improve your on-site conversion rate, but you may see an increase in search engine traffic as Google openly uses site speed as a ranking factor.

Plugins like WPRocket, faster web hosts & CDN services like Cloudflare can all help to improve your site speed, without the need for a developer.

2. A simple, easy checkout

A simple & easy-to-complete checkout is essential for any store looking to increase conversions. The quicker customers can complete checkout, the less likely they are to have second thoughts and leave.

Here are some quick tips to optimize your checkout:

  • Reduce the number of fields customers are required to fill out
  • Offer guest checkout options if you can
  • Keep your checkout to one page, if possible

For more tips on optimizing your checkout, see this fantastic article on the Shopify blog.

3. Use cart abandonment software

No matter how well optimized your checkout might be, you’re still going to see customers abandoning their carts. Luckily for you, there are now dozens of cart abandonment softwares which can help you recover lost sales by emailing customers after they fail to checkout.

My favorite cart abandonment software is Jilt. They integrate with most popular ecommerce platforms and they have a free tier for you to get started and try them out.

Bonus tip: Include a discount code in your cart abandonment emails to further persuade customers to complete their checkout.

4. Offer multiple payment gateways

Offering multiple payment gateways can help increase website conversions by enabling customers to use their preferred payment option.

Furthermore, payment gateways like PayPal, Amazon & Apple Pay save users payment details. This makes it convenient for customers to checkout with a simple click versus filling out lines of credit card details.

5. Ensure you’re using an SSL certificate

SSL certificates help keep your website and your user’s credit card details secure. With an SSL Certificate, the address bar in your browser will show a padlock icon next to your domain name, sometimes in green. This reassures customers that your website is safe to order from, and should make them trust you more.

(For some payment processors, like Stripe, you are actually required to have an SSL present on your website.)

Most good website hosting providers now offer SSL certificates free of charge, via services like Let’s Encrypt. There’s no excuse to not have one!

6. Security Seals

Security seals are proven to increase customer confidence and improve conversion rates. Some studies have shown that the simple presence of a security logo increased customer trust by 75%.

These security seals can simply be the logo of your payment processor or a third party security service like McAfee.

7. Include Social Proof

Social proof helps you sell, this has been proved time and time again. In fact, showcasing positive social proof elements is more effective at increasing conversion rates than discounting products.

You needn’t be a social media rockstar to use social proof. If your social profiles aren’t that strong or you don’t have many reviews, showcase your own customer count or email subscribers instead. Any number that shows other people trust your website is ideal for social proof.

Here’s some easy social proof numbers you could show:

  • Email subscriber count
  • Number of customers who’ve purchased from you
  • social media Likes, followers or Facebook group members
  • Download numbers
  • Number of products shipped
  • Monthly site visitors

8. Clear support options

The more trustworthy your site appears, the more comfortable a customer will be purchasing from you. But customers also worry about what happens after they complete their purchase.

What happens if they need help using the product? Can they track delivery? Who can they contact for support?

Ensure answers to these questions are easy to find, and that your customer support policy is clearly displayed.

9. Refund policies

Just as your customer support policy should be clearly displayed, so should your refund policy.

Do you offer returns? Do you offer a money-back guarantee? If you do, this should be clearly displayed, especially on your checkout page.

If you don’t currently offer a refund policy or display one on your site, you should seriously consider doing so. Here’s why.

10. Testimonials

Testimonials are particularly influential when it comes to online sales. 85% of people trust online reviews, and 91% of people check online reviews before making a purchase.

Placing testimonials throughout your site, on sales pages & even on the checkout is a great way to reassure customers that your website and your product are safe to buy.

Here are some incredible testimonial statistics that’ll show you just how powerful testimonials can be.

In my experience, adding testimonials to our sales page on BrandPacks, and our checkout page on DesignerCandies, increased page conversion rates by an average of 42%. Impressive, right?

Testimonials tips: Don’t just post generic testimonials. Show off testimonials that highlight specific benefits for specific customer profiles. Try and include one testimonial for each customer profile type.

11. Create your own discount codes

When digging into the abandonment rate for our checkout pages, we used a tool called Hotjar and found that customers would click on the discount code box, then leave the site.

We suspected that customers were leaving the site to try and find a coupon code, but as we’d never given any out, there were none available in Google for users to find.

To ensure customers came back to the site and completed checkout, we created our own discount code page which guaranteed customers came back to the site and finished purchasing.

Discount tip: Help customers complete their checkout by adding a checkout link under your discount code.

Conclusion

Most of these tips are small and very easy to implement. Adding a trust seal or testimonial can seem trivial, but it’s this exact list of small changes we’ve implemented on BrandPacks over the last 6 months.

In that time, without a change in traffic flow, they’ve more than doubled our conversion rates. Those small changes really do add up. Try them for yourself and let us know how you do!


 Article by Barry Edwards of EdwardsCom.net– helping businesses become more profitable online. Also see my sister site, Over 50 Starting Over – a DIY resource for the not-so-technically inclined that want to create their own lead generating online presence. 

Over 50 Starting Over marketing tips for the middle aged entrepreneur

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