21 Ways To Increase Your Conversion Rate

If you're reading this post then chances are you’re involved in running some sort of website, an e-commerce website, a consulting website or even a blog. There's also a good chance that your website is meant for visitors to take an action, such as buying a product, picking up the phone and calling you or even clicking on a banner.

This action is also known as conversion and the percentage of visitors taking this action is called conversion rate. If one of your goals for 2010 is to increase your conversion rate, here are 21 tips to point you in the right direction...

Trust factors:

1. Show 3rd party accreditation - Accreditation which is listed clearly on the homepage and landing pages, especially one which is known, is helpful to create trust. It can vary from a professional industry body to a yellow pages icon (which is linked to your page on yellow pages) and even a PayPal symbol can be considered as a type of accreditation.
 
2. List your privacy policy - In recent months, the subject of user privacy has been a hot topic, affecting companies from Facebook to Google. Listing a privacy policy is important, perhaps more than ever for appearances sake. The Direct Marketing Association is offering a privacy policy generator which is simple to use and free. Once uploaded, place the privacy policy in a visible place such as the page footer.
 
3. Add a physical address - If you haven't already, you should add your physical address as soon as you can and register it with Google Local for added value from organic search. Websites with a physical address are considered more trustworthy.

4. Add a contact phone number - Similar to adding a physical address, adding a contact phone number will increase your trustworthiness as visitors are able to query details before and after a sale. If you're concerned about the cost of buying a phone number, look at VOIP vendors such as Skype who offer a land-line number which you can take with you. 

5. List your terms and conditions - In addition to visibly showing your terms and conditions, also allow visitors to download and print this document. If the functionality to download a document does not exist in your CMS, simply upload the document to a service such as Box.net and embed the folder on the page.
 
6. Pay attention to language, spelling and typos - Grammar will have a profound effect on your conversion rate. Spelling mistakes and typos will instantly discourage visitors from reading on.

Merchandising offers:

7. Ensure product relevancy - Go with the flow and offer products or services which are in demand. Don't be too surprised if sales for a particular products are down, because the market has moved forward. Look at online tools such as Google Trends or even Twitter Trends to establish what's hot and what's not. 

8. Ensure price competitiveness - If your competitors are offering better prices, visitors will find them. Price match your products vs. your top competitors. It’s very easy to loose track and miss their price reductions.

9. Check stock availability - Poor planning which results in out of stock products means you will loose revenue. When products are out of stock, consider listing when they due back in stock and offer to email back visitors when stock is available again.

10. Delivery and shipping costs - Delivery costs are one of the biggest reasons for consumers not completing sales because they know when you're trying to make a buck at their expense. Make sure delivery cost is as low as possible. To see a real effect on your conversion rate consider free delivery.

11. Introduce product offers - Similar to your local store, product offers work everywhere. To really get the most out of your website, consider doing the same and improve your offerings. Offers such as buy 1 get 1 free, sale, reduced to clear and many more will help you convert more visitors into active buyers.

12. Clarity of product descriptions - Clear descriptions can aid in the sale process by alimenting questions marks associated with the products. From time to time look at your support emails and enhance the product description.

13. Don't forget imaginary - Images are a fantastic visual aid which can really make a difference, after all 'a picture is worth a thousand words'.      
 
User experience factors:

14. Place a clear call to action - On the product or service level, ensure that you are always directing visitors to take action. For example, 'add to cart' if you are selling online or 'call us now' if you are selling a service.

15. Optimize website speed - If the website is loading too slowly some visitors will go elsewhere. To test how quickly (or not) your pages are loading and to view helpful suggestions use a page analyzer or for those using Firefox, try Google Page Speed extension. 

16. Ensure full browser support – A couple of years back most visitors used IE, but today Firefox and Google Chrome are becoming more and more mainstream. Test the appearance and functionality of the site in multiple browsers using browsershots.org to ensure every visitor is a potential buyer.

17. Fix poor navigation - Try and place your top sellers one click away from your landing pages (i.e. home page or category page). If you’re struggling to visualise how it should look, try the free wire frame tool from mockingbird to play around with your website navigation before coding.

18. Fix error pages - Track your error page in your favorite web analytics software and fix these pages as soon as possible. If you’re using Google Analytics it’s a breeze to track them otherwise use Xenu’s Link Sleuth utility.
 
Checkout factors:

19. Make the checkout process short – Size matters when it comes to converting visitors to customers. If your site has a lengthy checkout process you’re asking for trouble. Only capture the most relevant fields needed to complete the purchase because you can always follow up later and ask for more details.

20. Try a guest checkout process – Many customers will tell you, they’re tired of opening another account and having to remember another username / password. Offer a one page checkout process which captures customer details, but does not open an account. You’ll make yourself more attractive to a lot of people I know.

21. Offer alternative checkout gateways – There’s a lot to be said for using the likes of PayPal and Google Checkout. Putting their fees aside for a moment, there are a lot of customers who are more likely to pay like this vs. giving their credit card details to a site they have never heard of.
 
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Guest article by Michelle Strassburg Co-Founder at Wood and Beyond.  Michelle has over 10 years experience managing online marketing and is an active blogger.

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Christian Fager says:

    When adding the physical address to google, wouldn't that show up when people search for local stores actually? Wouldn't want someone driving to the physical address for a website.

  2. Hi Lynn and Michelle,

    Thank you for very interesting post, as always :)!

    I have a question. I’m running my business from Lithuania, but for US and Canada visitors. So my company’s physical address is in Lithuania, the same as phone number. Don’t you think that showing these details on my blog will not increase my trustworthiness? Moreover in my opinion visitors will not trust me at all?

    Bets regards,
    Vicky

    • Do you already have satisfied customers in the US and Canada? You can always showcase their success stories and testimonials for your products on your site.

      I'm sure being upfront about your business location will increase your trustworthiness. You don't want to be hiding these facts in business. Your customers or clients have access to all these information nowadays and if they don't, they will know it as soon as they start doing business with you.

      By being upfront and honest about your business and products, the trust that you can create among will be far more greater than trying to hide and let your visitors find out soon after.

  3. If you don't have a WordPress theme with a 404 error page template, what is the best way to create a 404 page with relevant information that will get the customer redirected instead of losing them?

  4. Useful tips. @Christian Fager we had the same concerns, but no one ever showed up on our premises so the value outweighs the concern.

  5. This is a great post. So many people are concerned about rankings, but they really need to focus on conversion rates.

  6. Robert Love says:

    Thanks for the extensive list there Lynn. The privacy policy generator is a handy resource. As boring as testing sounds it can make a huge difference for your audience and it is something that I think most of us overlook sometimes.

    Thanks again, your efforts greatly appreciated.

  7. i think sometimes people try to do too much with their website and have too many ads which is confusing for the user!

  8. Wow, what an extensive list! Thanks. I'm always leery about putting my personal address or phone number on my blog. I sell information products and nothing "physical". Any suggestions?

  9. Those are some useful tips. I think one of the biggest "conversion" tips is simply being real, truthful and honest. When you're genuinely trying to help people, it shows.

    - Alan

  10. I disagree - Only display shipping deals (such as "free shipping on all orders over $25!"). That way it tells people that there is shipping without them analyzing the fact. There is plenty of research to support this.

  11. try clicktale to improve conversions, helps by tracking vistors by heatmaps and real time videos.

  12. Great info as per usual, thanks again. im going to try and keep my website simple, and see if I get a better conversion rate

  13. This post is excellent and can be used as a checklist when reviewing a post or sales page. There are so many "little things" that we often overlook. Having it put like this makes it easier to just go through and check them all. And so many different resources- love it!
    All the best,
    Eren

  14. Rick Watson says:

    Great information. One thing that was not on the list that I have found to increase the conversions of my clients is using video on their websites. Reduces the skill of writing persuasive copy and gets a nice personal feel across.

  15. Awesome points, truly. Being in direct sales myself, this should certainly come in handy.

    For those worried about a physical address, try something like the UPS store if there's one in your area. :)

  16. Good post and great points. Google webmaster is also a great tool to use to correct errors and try to find dead links etc. Thanks for sharing

  17. very good and informative list... thanks for sharing..

    I thinking the User experience factors depends more than anything else.. for increasing conversion rate...

  18. product relevancy and price competitiveness is the two most important factor for conversion rates.. and definitely the User experience factors..
    neway very good listing... thanks

  19. Thank you Lynn - this is something that I need to pay some attention to, so your list and advice is great for me!

  20. Excellent resource, marketing is becoming increasingly important for all business types, even traditional ones which largely relied on location or word of mouth

  21. Jennifer says:

    This is a good list. Internet marketing is always changing so its good to keep researching and keep on learning new things. This way you will keep yourself up to date with all the current techniques and methods to get the best conversion rates possible.

  22. I agree totally with the problem with lengthy checkout especially. I have abandoned many a shopping cart due to exasperation!. Very helpful post, thank you.

  23. After panda changes from Google some of my blogs took it hard and I am trying to rank for really broad terms by using 100's of keywords. Conversion is the most important thing so I use regular daily blogging with original content on topic and also core conversion plugin which gives me 100% conversion. The cool part is that Google does not see that plug in, only content and onsite links+links to authority sites like wiki.No affiliate links at all. CC plugin has rotator with many affiliate links and it goes over, full screen option.That is all my visitors see.Sales page or sign up page. I am building my site for Google and on the other side, promotion and conversion was never better.

  24. That is a very nice list you have put together, but I was wandering... when trying to gain the customers trust, would it be wise to add social network icons at the end of the page? Would that help my business? I see a lot of people doing this...

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