. Mar 22, 2022 . 9 minutes read
You’ve had a new website built, painstakingly written all of your content, uploaded imagery and made it look super cool. You’ve done all the hard work, now it’s time to sit back with a brew and watch the sales roll in, right? Not always.
Customers often think that they can just throw money at advertising and it will immediately generate sales, but simply put, that isn't always the case.
There are so many factors which determine the success of a website, and whilst advertising plays a huge role, sending large amounts of traffic to a website is the relatively easy part. Making sure that customer actually purchases/completes an action can be a whole other story.
The overall average conversion rate for e-commerce websites which currently stands at 2.58%, but this varies wildly between industries, so don’t be alarmed if yours is lower as it's worth doing some digging into industry specific conversion rates.
There is much to consider when it comes to conversion rate averages, such as price point, country, age of customer, location of customer and shipping amongst other factors.
However, let’s cut to the chase. You’re probably here because your website isn’t converting so let's have a look at some of the things you should probably consider if your conversion rate isn’t where you want it to be.
Page Speed is a huge contributing factor to low conversion rates. As an internet shopper, there's nothing worse than seeing something you like on an advert, link or picture, trying to get some more information and finding that the page fails to load when you click on it.
Statistics will tell you that 40% of customers will wait on average only 3 seconds before abandoning the website and carrying on with their day. So if your page speed is on the slower side, a few simple ways to increase your page speed are:
Caching is the process of storing copies of files in a cache so that they can be accessed more quickly. In terms of a website, these assets are your pages. There are 2 different types of caching- one is web based caching, and the other is server side caching.
Server side caching provides the fastest solution for your users. This is setup when you build your website, and caches your web pages on the server - rather than the website having to retrieve its information from the database every time. It's a simple way to speed up your website.
A content delivery network (such as Cloudflare) can help speed up your website. A CDN has a network of servers around the world and effectively works by loading the assets from the nearest server to the website user, rather than relying on the user’s device to load a website and its images from the website hosting company’s server (which could be 1000’s of miles away).
With video, it very much depends on what your aim with the video is. If you have a product video for every single one of your products, we would always advise that you use something along the lines of YouTube/Vimeo.
This is because the videos (and all their data) are hosted offsite, meaning that they do not impact the speed of your website in any way.
However, if you have a fancy full homepage intro video, this isn’t always feasible as you are very limited on how you can customise the look and feel of YouTube embeds. So for these instances, we would always optimise these as best as possible (using a CDN too) to ensure faster loading times.
Redirects are how you send your users or Google to a different URL than they originally clicked on, if for example the page they wanted doesn't exist anymore or if you’ve got a new website domain.
The most usual redirects are 301s & 302s, and whilst some of these are okay and necessary, it’s worth noting that every time you redirect somewhere else, it prolongs the request, so eliminating any unnecessary redirects will speed up your website.
There's nothing worse than landing on a website and not being able to find what you’re looking for because they've named their navigation items something obscure and vague.
For example, you’re looking for a new TV but you’re not sure whether it’s in ‘household electricals’ or ‘entertainment’ or ‘audio visual’.
Make it simple and easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for because the more you frustrate them, the more likely they are to simply up and leave your website and take their business elsewhere.
Try to use the same terminology your customers use and cut the attempts at being fancy- call a spade a spade.
Check out at your competition and have a look at some of the bigger players in your industry to see what they are doing. The key here is to keep it brief and meaningful.
Make sure that you have a capable and prominent search function, especially if your website is an e-commerce site.
Predictive search functions work really well, as do intuitive searches, which give the option for you to select from categories/product level results. There are many great search tool plugins available for you to use depending on your CMS system. One of our favourites is Algolia.
More and more businesses are becoming aware of the importance of mobile usability. The numbers for customers purchasing via their mobile device grow every single year.
In 2021, 63% of shoppers in the UK purchased something via their mobiles. Whilst it does vary by industry, and of course whether your business is B2B or B2C, it always pays to ensure that your website is as effective on mobile as it is on desktop.
Ensuring your website is fast on mobile is absolutely essential.
If your users are out and about, chances are that they will be accessing the internet on 3/4/5G and not on Wi-Fi, so what they absolutely do not want is to be loading enormous videos/images whilst on a slow internet connection (refer back to the image optimisation points above).
The top and bottom of it, is that you should be serving mobile appropriate content to mobile users.
Allowing for an easy experience on mobile is paramount. Make the navigation clear and readable and ensure you've designed your mobile site for thumb touch as there's nothing worse than tiny call to action buttons you cannot press with your thumbs!
Always ensure you’re giving the user the option to go back a step and make sure fonts are clear and colours are accessible (ie not bright yellow on white). Think about your users who are out and about trying to see your website on their phone whilst the sun is shining!
Ensure easy to use filters. Many customers already know what they are looking for. If they know they want a men’s black jacket, don’t make them scroll through 200 multicoloured women’s and children’s jackets!
Pinch to zoom went out with the square wheel. It's 2022, and we should always be designing for mobile first. Asking your users to pinch and zoom their way around a website designed for a desktop is just not going to cut it.
We’ve all been there, sat online shopping whilst half watching Netflix. You see something you like, add it to your basket and go to checkout - and it asks for your card details. The problem is, your card is in another room and you just can’t be bothered to go grab it. You promise yourself you’ll buy it tomorrow, but inevitably you forget.
This is where mobile payment gateways come in; Apple Pay, Google Pay & PayPal can all make a huge improvement to your mobile conversion rate simply down to ease of use without the need to hunt down your physical card and enter the details manually.
Your imagery is what sells your product, which is why it's absolutely crucial that you have clear imagery which isn’t at the expense of speed. There are many image compression tools which can help you maintain a good site speed, without compromising on image quality.
You also need to keep your imagery professional, so ensure consistency when taking pictures. You may not have the budget for a professional photoshoot, but you do need to ensure that the background is clear of clutter and the image isn't blurry.
You cannot just add raw imagery to your website without first ensuring that it’s web optimised, this is a surefire way of slowing down your website.
The first step is to make sure the file size of your image is less than 500kb. If it isn’t then use an image compression software such as this one - but there are many out there that work equally as well.
Once your file size is correct, best practice is then to optimise it for web use. One of the tools we have trialled is Imager. This creates multiple versions of the image to upload, which will then accommodate different screen sizes/ devices. Meaning you will get a different version depending if you are on desktop or mobile - and this speeds up your load time, especially if on mobile.
Images are the biggest culprit for website bloat, contributing 61.3% of the download size of your average webpage. As strong imagery is becoming a big focus in current web design trends, it's imperative to know how to format your images without affecting the image quality.
In this day and age there are plenty of fake websites out there taking payments, and never shipping products. This has made consumers very wary, and so you need to prove that you are in fact a trustworthy seller. Whilst ensuring that your website looks legitimate from an aesthetic point of view, there are also additional trust signals you can use which we’ve detailed below.
One of the biggest trust signals you can have is another customer’s feedback. Some of the bigger players such as Trustpilot, Feefo etc do charge a fee for the privilege - however, if you’re on a budget, you can always use Google Reviews and pull these through to your website using an API.
An SSL certificate is a piece of code on your web server which provides security for online communications. You may have noticed that some website URLs begin with HTTP, and others HTTPS - The ‘S’ on the end stands for Secure, and this comes from your SSL Certificate.
If a website isn’t secure, any information you enter (including bank details/contact information etc) can be intercepted by a hacker. An SSL certificate hides this information so that hackers cannot access it.
Google will display a padlock icon in the URL if your website is secure, and will also display a notification to users if your website is not secured with an SSL certificate and this of course could put potential customers off purchasing or filling in your contact form, affecting your conversion rate.
Offering your customers various payment methods can increase your conversion rate. For some of the more wary customers, using payment gateways such as PayPal ensures that they are covered should they need to raise a dispute for any reason.
As mentioned earlier in the post, alternative mobile payment methods such as Apple Pay/ Google Pay can also increase conversion rates as they can seem much more trustworthy than entering their card details online.
All of the above points can ensure an improvement in your overall website conversion rate, however, there are always further improvements to be made. Once you’ve covered all of the technical aspects detailed above, you can then begin to look at the User Experience of your website from an aesthetic perspective.
Are there small on page changes you can make to help guide users towards the action you want them to take?
There are many invaluable tools out there you can use to test and roll out design changes such as VWO which allow you to create various versions of a page and see which perform better (without actually having to alter any of the actual website code). However, these types of tools can be costly, and tricky to use for non-developers/designers, so it may be worth calling on our team of expert developers to help.
Hopefully these tips have been of some help to you, but if you need to discuss your website's performance further, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and we’ll be happy to have a chat!