Getting visitors to your store is hard work. From the hours spent tapping away on your next great piece of content marketing to the painstaking time spent inserting you products into Google’s complicated product listing advertising system, all the effort it takes to get people on your site goes to waste if they fail to convert.
So what do you do if you are in this situation? Well failure to do anything spells certain ruin for your online business, so it is imperative that you act! Fortunately, improving how well your site converts can be done with small and simple tweaks. Massive site overhauls are rarely needed.
In this article we take a look at five of these simple tweaks and why making changes to your site is a good idea. Happy tweaking!
Speed up your site
Site speed is more important than ever in 2014. As internet connections around the world get better and better, people are becoming less tolerant of pages with long load times. While it is fair to assume that making a site load faster can be a difficult and technical task, the initial stages of “speeding” your site are relatively simple and will make dramatic improvements.
Firstly you should install a caching plugin. Caching plugins are fantastic because they let you make significant improvements to your sites speed without having to compromise on things like image quality or the number of interactive elements.
Caching plugins change the way your website works so that instead of serving users a live version of your website, they are sent a static html document which is much less resource intensive. This is similar to the way your internet browsers back button works, showing you a local copy of the website you just visited instead of downloading the page again.
A speedier site means a lower bounce rate and, ultimately, more conversions.
Always be A/B Testing
A/B testing is vital to the success of any online business. It allows you to tweak your site with confidence, knowing that the changes you made have, without a doubt improved, the performance of the site.
A/B testing does this by showing your users two versions of your site at the same time, with half your user base being shown one version while the other half are shown a different one. This allows you to monitor which version of your site is best at converting visitors.
You can run A/B tests on practically anything. From the colour of the checkout button to the headlines of your content marketing effort or the location of website elements, it is worth running A/B tests on as many parts of your site as possible.
One way to do this is to use a plugin. While the best plugins cost money, there are several available on the WordPress plugin directory that will allow you to run simple tests for free. Check them out here.
Survey your customers
Once your customers have moved through the checkout process and parted with their hard earned cash, that’s the end of the story, right? Well, not exactly.
Getting feedback is vital to making improvements on your site. No one has more suggestions to make than those who have just made a purchase, and the information you could secure from them could be more valuable to your business than their transaction ever could be.
However, asking for feedback can be a risky game, and bombarding users with surveys at the wrong time could turn them off of your business for life. One way to avoid this is by using dynamic survey plugins. These will allow you to only show your survey to customers who have already converted, leaving new site visitors (who won’t have too much to say anyway) in peace.
You could also use email blasts to secure feedback. Emailing customers offering them a discount on their next purchase if they fill out a survey is a great way to get feedback, and might even generate new business along the way. Mail Chimp is a great bit of software for sending email blasts, and taking surveys from your customers on your webpage is made simple by plugins like iPerceptions.
Everyone loves a bargain, so offering discounts on your store can be a great way to get people to convert. However, if you are going to be taking less profit from a transaction, you need to be sure you are getting something in return.
As mentioned above, valuable feedback can be gained by offering discounts to visitors who fill in a survey, but there are other things your customers can do to “earn” their discount.
The concept of “paying with a tweet” has grown in popularity recently, and many stores are offering discounts to customers who share purchase with their social network. Not only does this make your customer excited about their purchase (because of the discount and their friends reactions) but it brings additional social traffic to your site, letting Google know that your site is worth talking about. Recently, so called “social signals” have been playing more and more of a part in Google search algorithms. This means that the social buzz these discounts bring could actually give you a leg up in the search rankings!
Plugins that will implement this functionality on your site can be found here.
If you are serious about success in the online commerce world, you will need to be incredibly comfortable monitoring and reporting on your sites analytics data. Bounce rates, site entry points, user behaviour and on site searches are all invaluable metrics for working out where your site can be improved. If, for example, you find that a lot of visitors are leaving your site from one particular page, there is a strong chance that something on that page is cause frustration or confusion and should be fixed immediately.
Google Analytics is the most widely used analytics platform, and its integration with the wider landscape of Google products allows for reporting on non-traditional web metrics like age, gender and even detailed location data (down to the individual city). Other analytics platform which might be of use to more established businesses include ResponseTap, who provide call tracking and telephone metrics by generating unique phone numbers for each page of your site, as well as for each of your off site promotional activities. These numbers then let you know exactly which pages of your site are generating telephone calls.
Web analytics can be as complicated or as simple as your business requires, so check out Google’s documentation on the subject to get you started.