22 Apr 2014

How to Make Your Web Site A Conversions Leader

There are not enough great examples of websites that convert well.  How would you like to be a conversions leader?

Whether referred to as usability, user experience, persuasive architecture, persuasive design, conversions design, customer experience design, searchability, or findability, the unifying factor behind high website conversion rates is the human to human connection.  Without it, your website will struggle to meet your business requirements.  It will fail to be remembered.  It will flounder in search engines.

Your website’s traffic  and conversions will improve when it is built for the people  you want to use it.  Do you know who they are?  Do you know what they need? Are you willing to do this research so you can leave your competitors alone in the Internet desert?


Is Your Web Site An Example of Conversions Success?

Most likely it is not.  The reasons for conversions failure vary greatly but the key excuse is that web site usability is not part of the business plan or factored in with the design and marketing budget. It is more often likely that your analytics solutions are focused on finding more keywords and investing in PPC rather than finding better ways to create sales funnels and place calls to action on your pages.

To operate a successful website where your business relies on the Internet for its survival means combining both Internet marketing strategies and user experience web design.  This includes meeting accessibility standards, mobile device usability standards and understanding the people who are expected to use your website.

Who uses your website?  Where do they come from? What devices do they use? Why did they come to your website?  Where do you want them to start? Countless websites pay no attention to these criteria.

This is why they fail.


Show You Are a Conversions Leader

There are so few examples of successful websites.   My top choice is Amazon.  Despite the fact that they are constantly changing their user interface, forcing visitors to re-learn how the web site works, I cut them slack because they are extremely customer oriented and each design change is done because they study their customers and know what they want.  This is universally not done by most websites.

To be a leader, your website must perform like one.  Here are some ideas to help guide you:

CNN ads

Don’t pick on your site visitors.  A great leader never picks on anyone.  They show respect for everyone they associate with at all times.  CNN is a website that displays no respect for their online readers by making it extremely difficult to read their content because of the overwhelming advertising.

Lead by example: There are unlimited opportunities to demonstrate what you do and know. Write an eBook.  Create videos.  Host Google Hangouts. Demonstrate how to use your services.  Invite your customers to share their stories with your services and products.  Show how customers have solved problems using your software.  How has hiring you helped someone become successful?

Listen and pay attention to feedback.  The ability to listen is a sign of a great leader.  They not only listen, but they make themselves accessible so that people can speak with them about their concerns and ideas.  Place a feedback form on your website and invite suggestions.  Show you are willing to listen to their ideas for improvements.  Another example is providing a page of people who are responsible for different activities related to your business, such as sales persons, managers, IT support, etc.  Allow visitors to contact them directly rather than throwing up barriers.

Forms as barriersRemove barriers to entry.  Barriers to entry are one of the mysteries of the Web.  Why own a website that prevents people from entering it?

The most popular barriers are invitations that appear when the landing page loads, forcing visitors to click it away so they can enter the site.  Invitations to get something are great, but not before we have a chance to see what you have.

The other common barrier is a missing call to action near a product or service, preventing a visitor from buying it.  Or, a silly call to action, like what existed on the Healthcare.gov website, with its call to action button labeled “Apply by Phone”, rather than simply putting up the phone number to call.

Remove the shackles: In an episode of Game of Thrones on HBO, Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, throws shackles into the next city she intends to conquer to signal the citizens she will free them rather than force the people into slavery and doing what they do not want to do. How can you do the same with your website?  What amazing offer can you not only provide, but demonstrate in a grand way, that your competitor does not?  The magical secret to conversions is simple.  Give your visitors what they most want.  And bring dragons.

Inspire the Masses. The way to inspiring your web site visitors’ to stay on your website is to inspire them to remain there.  If you present a website to someone and show them the desktop version and then the mobile version, there is a good chance they will not remember as much of the content from the mobile version because it is squished into a tiny screen.  Just because you have a Responsive Design does not automatically mean your site is easy to use or will convert in a mobile device.

Another important aid to conversions is keeping the conversation going by making every attempt at keeping the lines of communication between your business and you open, available and interesting.  Placing social icons in your “fat footer ” does not automatically generate conversions.  Experiment with proving reasons to “follow”, “like” and subscribe.

Website conversions are tied to human needs.  Each time a new visitor arrives to a page from your website, they have one question – “Do you have what I need?”  The best way to answer that question is to know what your visitors need and provide the path to get there.  Remove the barriers. Prove your expertise. Show respect for each person who comes to your website by making it about them, rather than about you.

Persuasive design means devoting time to understanding how people use websites.  If you don’t have the resources to find out, hire a specialist. Your conversions will increase when your website presence is optimized to be remembered, designed for effortless ease of use on all devices, accessible to everyone and finally, authentic and approachable.