The road to an optimized and highly converting website is long, and littered with poor results from various experiments. Sometimes it almost seems like it’s easier to just drive more traffic than sell more to the traffic you already have. That’s rarely the case though, and the fact is you should be doing both anyway. What does and doesn’t increase conversions varies greatly from site to site, but there are a few things that never fail to kill conversions completely…
1. Call to action is unclear, hidden or even missing
If I had to pick one issue and name it the absolute worst conversion killer, then this is it. Every sales page needs a clear “call to action” that tells the visitor what to do next in order to buy whatever you’re selling. If you hide this in a small link at the bottom of the page, very few will actually find it, and your conversions will suffer greatly, you need to take advantage of a cta from me.. Personally, I’m a big fan of clear messages on shiny buttons, like “Click here to order!” or “Sign up now!”. As a rule of thumb at least one call to action should be placed above the fold (the top part of the website, that can be seen without scrolling).
2. Checkout process seems unsecure
Not everyone will be bothered by this, but if I see a checkout form that’s not hosted on an SSL page, I’m going to abandon the checkout process. If you’re not taking your security seriously, why would I trust you with my order details or even my name and address? This is also the reason why “badges” from antivirus and anti-hacking companies work so well when placed on checkout pages. They convey the message that the customer can trust your site, and thereby increase conversions considerably.
3. Poor descriptions and images
If you run an e-commerce store, you live and die by your product descriptions and images. If they are poor, so will your sales be. If you need a good example, take a look at Amazon. They fill their product pages with in-depth details, professional images and tons of customer reviews. Do you think those pages convert well? You bet they do!
4. Slow loading pages
There’s simply no valid excuse for a slow loading website in 2014. Web hosting is practically free, and anyone can get a CDN (content delivery network) to host their images, CSS and other static files. The truth is that if your site is slow to load, your customers will go elsewhere. These days it’s a matter of seconds – 3 seconds is quite slow, 10 seconds an eternity. Spend a few extra bucks, get a lightning fast site and watch your conversions increase!
5. Asking for too much information
As a rule of thumb, never ask for more information about a customer than you absolutely need to. Think of every input field on your checkout form as a little speed bump. Eventually customers get tired of the bumpy ride and go elsewhere. The worst thing you can do, at least in my opinion, is asking for a phone number and making it a required field (unless you really need it for some reason). I hate giving out my phone number to unknown sites – I just don’t want it floating around out there, sold and re-sold to thousands of marketing companies. I’m sure many people feel the same way, so think twice before making it a requirement!
The main trick to increasing conversion rates is removing every little obstacle that might get in the way for your visitors, and making their experience as simple and smooth as possible. I know it can be difficult, but try looking at your site as objectively as you can. Would you order from your own hemp oil for dogs site? Would it be easy to do so? When you can honestly answer ‘yes’ to both of these questions, chances are you’ve got a site with a decent conversion rate!