Author: Mark Birkett
So let's imagine you now have a fully optimised website, all beautifully laid out, easy to navigate and with lots of relevant inbound links helping it get to the top of Google and other search facilities. And you can see from your Google Analytics package that you're getting lots of site visitors each month.
But has all this effort achieved what you really wanted?. Are all these new site visitors actually calling you up, filling in your contact form or completing some other 'call-to-action'. In short, is your new site converting visitors into customers?
If it isn't,we need to consider why...
No matter what kind of website you have, it's important to define exactly what your desired 'call-to-action' or 'customer conversion' actually is. If you were running a news operation online - such as the BBC News website - then your 'call-to-action' is probably just to ensure lots of visitors are reading your online articles. Or if your website was primarily aimed at gathering public opinion - such as at the Daily Telegraph Readers' Letters Page - then your 'call-to-action' obviously happens each time someone offers their written opinion via your contact form.
Others websites - such as the Disasters Emergency Committee - may consider their 'call-to-action' the receipt of a charitable donation . And online retailers like Amazon clearly hope you will buy products from them.
All these are classed as successful 'calls to action' or 'conversions'.
However, most business websites are looking to encourage customer enquiries. And these enquiries could take a number of forms, namely;
This is not always easy to achieve. You may think your website is the 'all-singing-all dancing-web-design-of-the-century', but if it doesn't result in visitors actually doing what you intended then you need to figure out why and do something about it.
If you aren't achieving enough new customer enquiries, it may be that your home page is too slow to load and visitors are simply losing patience and going elsewhere - in which case you might need to reduce the file size of your opening 'home' page. For example ask yourself whether that 'cool' sliding-image gallery is really worth the longer wait it takes visitors to download in the first place.
You might even need to consider reducing the number of external-file requests your 'home' page makes before all items are displayed (for example, them having to wait too long for an embedded video from YouTube to display). You may also need to reconsider the size, resolution and number of images you have on your 'home' page.
You may need to consider how engaing your content is. If your product or service benefits can best be described in image form then you should use images. After all, a picture can often 'paint a thousand words'.
If you're presenting lots of statistical data, you should make it interesting to look at; perhaps using coloured flow charts or animated diagrams.
Online video can often tell a story far more effectively than acres of text. It is a proven fact that visitors will remember 80% more of the information you tell them if it's presented in video form.
Bottom line; your content really does need to be 'good'.
Still not enough enquiries? It may be that your website layout is confusing and visitors don't quite know how to get to the contact page, in which case why not put a contact form and telephone number on every page instead?
There is also a strong argument for putting a friendly face next to the telephone number (male or female, depending on your target audience).
Getting lots of visits to the contact form but still no enquiries? Many contact forms are badly designed - and often asking visitors unnecessary questions before form submission. So you should at least consider reducing your 'required' text fields to the barest minimum.
And don't ask unnecessarily intrusive questions either. If all you really need is someone's email address, why not just keep it at that? Were you really interested in their 'gender' and 'date of birth'?
Using Google Analytics you can 'see' what visitors are doing at every point during their interaction with your business. There are all manner of charts and display choices available which can tell you a great deal about visitor behaviour. For example, if 80% of your Home Page visitors are getting to the Contact Us page but not getting to the Thank You For Your Enquiry page, then that has to tell you your contact form has a design flaw.
Driving visitors to your website is a vital step in your online success. Converting them into customers is even more so.
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