Building Webpages That Convert
In my last blog post, I talked about 7 things more important than SEO in determining your website’s success - one of the seven was having webpages that convert. Because conversions are so key to the success of a website, I’m going to talk more about it here.
As a refresher, a “conversion” is the term used in the web world for desired actions that website users take, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a mailing list. Conversions can vary greatly depending on the industry you're in and what your organizational goals are, but here are a few common examples:
- making an online donation
- filling out an online form to get more information about an organization or company
- registering for an online course
- signing up online to volunteer with an organization
Know what you want people to do – maybe one of the actions listed above is the type of conversion you’re seeking or perhaps it’s something else entirely. Either way, it’s a good idea to clearly define what you want your users to do. And these goals should link closely to your overall goals for the website. Once you're clarified the conversions you're seeking, you can also think specifically about how many you’re after. For example, if you want users to sign up for your mailing list, is your target to have 50 people complete this action each month? 25? 100? Or if you're seeking donations, do you want to raise $25,000 through online giving during a specific period? Or 5,000? It’s good to be ambitious in setting your goals, although you also want to be realistic and make sure they’re achievable.
Keep things simple – people are more likely to complete desired actions if there’s not too much work involved. So, it’s a good idea to only ask your users for the info that you truly need. Five or six fillable fields on an online form is often plenty. This is especially important given how often people use their mobile devices to go online. Answering a long list of questions on a smart phone can quickly become pretty tedious.
If you plan on following up with a person anyway, just ask for the bare minimum and then you can follow up in a more personalized way, by phone or email, to get any additional info that you need.
Use website testing – I’ve written in past blog posts about the benefits of doing user and A/B testing and these strategies will be helpful in achieving your site conversion goals as well. A/B testing uses an analytics tool such as Google Analytics to test which version of a webpage gets better conversion results. And by asking website users the circumstances in which they would be most interested in performing certain actions on a website, you can tweak webpages to better meet your users’ needs.
Track your results – as with A/B testing, Google Analytics is your best friend in tracking your overall success toward your conversion goals. Reviewing Analytics data regularly will let you know how you’re doing and armed with this info, you can decide what, if any, tweaks are needed to stay on track to meet your goals.
Being clear and specific about what you want users to do on your website will help you stay focused and will also help drive the focus of the site toward the things that are most important. Rather than spending time developing site content that doesn’t actually support your priorities, staying focused on your goals will help you create a site that’s clean, uncluttered and that achieves results.