How to Optimize Your Website to Drive Sales (And 6 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid)
What makes a great website?
Is it color? Imagery? Load speed?
Well, sure. All of those things can help make a website great. But even the most professionally designed, fastest loading websites fall short if they fail to deliver their true purpose: to turn visitors into customers.
Ready to make your website a traffic-capturing, revenue-driving machine? Of course you are.
Here’s how you do it:
Make sure your website is completely mobile-optimized
Believe it or not: mobile traffic accounts for approximately half of all website traffic worldwide.
If your site isn’t easily navigated from a mobile device — say a smartphone or tablet — then you’re missing out on a whole slew of potential customers.
So what can you do to make sure your website is clear, actionable and engaging from mobile devices? Here are a few ways to start:
- Make your menu items easy to find and navigate
- Use buttons large enough for mobile without the user having to zoom in — in fact, make sure your whole website is responsive to different screen sizes
- Adopt a font that’s large enough to read (12pt or higher) and non-distracting background colors (preferably black font on a white background)
- Compress your images and CSS so they’ll show up on mobile
When you’re first dipping your toe in the web design water, these more technical points can be confusing and demotivating, right? But don’t worry.
These pointers are fairly quick to roll out, especially if you have a partner platform to help implement them. Don’t suffer in silence, stressing over your CSS. Just delegate the details to someone else — it’s well worth the investment, to bring back half your leads!
Be laser-focused in your copy — and aim to convert
Here’s something that might surprise you: your website only has 50 milliseconds to make a good impression.
That’s 0.05 seconds: a unit of time the human brain can barely even consider!
Of course, you’ll hopefully hold a visitor’s attention for a little longer than that. But it’s what’s communicated in those first, few subconscious seconds that makes all the difference.
Websites with disorganized messaging, incoherent content, too much copy or — worse — no copy at all, will fail to hook a potential buyer, and they’ll simply click away.
Instead, use clear language and attention-grabbing headers and taglines. Speak directly to the reader: sell the sizzle, not the sausage. Why would they want to buy from you? What do they stand to gain?
Great website copy positions your brand as the solution a prospect’s been searching for, which leads us nicely onto the next step...
Know your SEO and put it into practice
So, by now it’s clear that your website has to work on mobile and make a great impression wherever it’s seen. But how do you actually get visitors there to see it? This is where SEO comes in.
Not all that familiar with SEO? No problem.
Let’s break it down: SEO (Search engine optimization) is the process of growing the quality and quantity of unpaid website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website (or a web page) to users of a search engine (like Google).
SEO is achieved through the strategic use of targeted “keywords” and “key phrases”. These are specific words or word groupings that you know your ideal customers are using to search for products or services like yours — and your use of those terms in your website copy and content.
For example, a florist may choose to mention “wedding flowers” on their homepage. While an insurance broker may want to target “low excess fees”.
So how do you make this work for you? Simply find out what your potential customers are already searching for, and to create content and copy that answers that question directly. This will help the search engine recognize your website as valuable to the searcher, promoting your business higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to boot.
Honestly, this is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO — and there’s a whole lot more you can do to optimize it. Again, if you need some help getting started in this department, seek out a trusted resource who can help.
Include an undeniably clear call-to-action
What’s that age-old phrase: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”?
The same is true for your website: what is it that you want a customer to do, having learned more about what you offer?
You’ll undoubtedly have noticed this from websites you visit yourself, but easily seen and readily accessible buttons — saying “get in touch”, “get started”, “order now” or “click to call” — show the visitor what they’re meant to do next. Clear any of the confusion and ambiguity away, and your website is far more action-orientated — designed to convert customers at higher rates.
Of course, this shouldn’t be the primary point of focus on your webpage. Trying to get the ‘buy’ before informing the customer about who you are is like asking someone to marry you before you take them on a date!
Instead, place your ‘call to action’ a little lower down the messaging hierarchy than your benefits: the upper right-hand side of your webpage has been proven to drive results.
Lastly, a few rookie mistakes (speaking from experience…)
If it takes 0.05 of a second to make a good impression, you know you can just as quickly leave a bad taste in a visitor’s mouth as well.
When putting the finishing touches to your website, here are some things you’ll want to avoid:
- Having too much going on (both visually and in written form)
- Using generic stock images or poor quality images
- Using confusing language
- Bad use of white space or not enough information
- Weak — or no! — CTAs (call to actions)
- Using black hat SEO techniques such as autogenerated content, useless links, or keyword stuffing
Ask friends, family, or trusted colleagues for their opinions on the look and feel of your site and be open to making edits. Remember: each day your website isn’t optimized, is another day you’re losing business.
Too busy to be an expert in your industry and in all areas of website optimization, too? That’s where we come in. Following years of experience, GoSocial has built the perfect website design package for businesses just like yours. If you’re looking for a trusted partner who can help you implement all of the things mentioned above, then we’d love to help.