In 2017, the average conversion rate in the U.S. ranged from 2.69% to 3.08%. Have you been looking at your rate and wanting to improve it? If so, we have good news. Making strategic changes can move the needle.
To help you understand how to increase your website’s performance, here’s a look at 11 common mistakes that hurt your conversion rate and how you can fix them.
Mistake #1: Slow loading time
According to Akamai’s research, if a website takes longer than three seconds to load, it’s probably going to lose about half of its visitors. Further, a one-second delay in load time can cause a 7% reduction in conversions.
We all know how annoying it is to wait for a page that is lagging, watching the loading symbol go around and around. And, why wait when there are other websites that will load faster?
Ideally, your page will load in under three seconds. You can find out how fast your page loads and how to make improvements by using Pingdom’s free tool.
Mistake #2: Bad First Impression
Next, bad design turns people away. In fact, before even blinking, most customers will form their first impression of your site. Being so, it needs to be attractive and send the right message.
From the layout and images to the fonts and colors, there are many aspects of design that make a website attractive. It’s important that all of the visual elements are working together to achieve your goal, whatever that may be.
Common mistakes include using designs that are cluttered, obsolete, stale, full of clashing colors, or confusing. For example, Yale University School of Art’s page is very confusing with its strange layout, random pictures, and bad font choices.
Now compare that to the website for Stanford’s Art Department which is clean, crisp, and well organized.
The first one makes you wonder if you are in the right place and is stressful to look at, while the second is useful and easy to understand. You want your site to be more like the latter.
Mistake #3: Vague or missing calls to action
Every website exists for a purpose and call to action buttons drive visitors toward specific behaviors that support that purpose. However, they need to be clear and strategic to work well.
For example, the site below doesn’t have a call to action on its home page, leaving it to the customer to decide what they should do next.
On the other hand, this website has a clear call to action where customers are directed to “Request a Quote.” The button is not only present but stands out due to its color and placement.
The second example is much more effective as it guides the visitor toward the end goal of purchasing a window tint service. Ensure your site is using clear calls to action and you will convert more prospects.
Mistake #4: Low-quality images
Images quickly communicate what you are offering and what you represent. They can be used to attract attention, strengthen your point, and increase engagement. Here’s a good example of an effective, high-quality image.
On the other hand, low-quality images will do the opposite. For example, a common mistake made in recent years is using corny stock images. Not exactly what a business wants to represent.
Modern-day consumers prefer authentic, high-quality images so don’t skimp when it comes to your visual assets.
Mistake #5: Mediocre content
Content is king. Shortly after your design forms the first impression, the audience will begin to scan your page. Content can either help or hurt your case. Strong, well-crafted content will instill confidence in your company and move visitors closer to taking action. It will use subtle sales tactics to get the reader’s attention, keep their interest, and direct their behavior.
On the other hand, poorly-crafted content will have visitors quickly pressing the back button. What should you avoid?
- Two of the biggest red flags are spelling and grammar mistakes. If a company can’t take the time to proofread their website, what else are they overlooking?
- Next, people will leave if they aren’t engaged. The copy must be concise, relevant, and have a hook.
- Lastly, it can’t be too salesy. Visitors want to be informed in a friendly manner and are put off by hard sells. They are empowered with many options, so it’s a company’s challenge to show their value without being too pushy.
Invest in good content that strategically guides visitors toward your goal.
Mistake #6: No social proof
When people visit a website, they automatically analyze whether they can trust the company or not. An effective way to work towards earning trust is through the use of positive social proof.
Here is an example:
Right off the bat, visitors know that Grammarly is used by millions of people and has a high average rating from past customers. How can you show website visitors that other people like your company?
Here are some tactics:
- Post realistic testimonials from real people
- Integrate social share counters
- Stay active on social media platforms and build a following that regularly interacts with your posts
- Publish case studies
- Keep an active blog and encourage conversations in the comments section
- Show your list of clients
- Share reviews from your past clients or customers
- List the number of clients you’ve served (if it’s impressive)
- If you’re connected to high profile companies in some way, make it known
- If a reputable company has recommended your product or service, show it off
Mistake #7: No security symbols
Along with social proof, there are security symbols which also help brands earn the trust of customers. Here’s an example from the online lender, Prosper.
By placing these symbols on its website, Prosper effectively shows customers it is established, secured by a reputable company (Norton), and an equal housing lender. These offer an efficient way to communicate with visitors.
Think about what certifications or securities would help your customers feel more comfortable doing business with you.
Mistake #8: No optimization for mobile
We passed a tipping point in 2014 when the number of global mobile users surpassed the number of desktop users. As of 2018, We Are Social; StatCounter reported that 52.2% of all global web pages were served to mobile phones. To convert the half of all website visitors that are mobile, your web page needs to be mobile-friendly.
If it could use some improvement, you can refer to Google’s Mobile SEO Guide, or hire a pro to make the changes you need.
Mistake #9: No A/B testing
We’ve come to a really great place with technology where we no longer have to make decisions based on our opinions. A/B testing, via tools like Optimizely, allows you to test variations and actually find out which are more effective. As a result, you can continuously optimize your site for better results.
Mistake #10: Confusing/poor navigation
Similar to how calls to action need to be clear, the navigation of a website also needs to be clear and intuitive. It’s best to use a layout that users are familiar with and that is easy to follow.
Why? Visitors are busy and won’t take the time to find the information they want if it’s complicated.
Look at this example. After a minute, I still don’t know whether they are promoting an airport or a 3D Mailbox. Maybe the mailbox is at the airport? The definite conclusion is that it’s very frustrating for the visitor.
Now, let’s look to MailChimp for a better example.
Simple, straight-forward, and a breath of fresh air for the user. You can sign up to get started or easily learn more about the features, pricing, support, etc. Makes perfect sense.
It is a brand’s responsibility to figure out what visitors want and to make it easy for them to find it.
11. Too many fields in your forms
Lastly, if your conversion involves a form, make sure it is easy to fill out. Too many steps or fields can cause visitors to give up.
Formstack performed research on their millions of users and found that reducing the number of form fields to 10 or less increased conversions by 120%. Further, reducing form fields to four or less increased conversions by 160%.
Slack created a one field form to collect the most important piece of information, the visitor’s email address. By keeping it simple, they are likely to get the contact information and can get the rest of the information later. Smart!
Now compare that to a long form with many fields. Visitors are often too intimidated to fill it out in the first place (especially from a mobile device) or may tire in the process, leaving you without any information.
Collect enough information to serve your purpose, but not too much. It’s a good idea to A/B test different form configurations to find the right balance for your company.
Don’t let these website mistakes hold back your conversions
When your website isn’t optimized for conversions, you’re losing customers and, consequentially, revenue. However, by learning what to do and making changes, you can turn things around. It’s an ongoing process that requires consistent auditing, testing, and improvement. But, once you start to see the results, it’s quite exciting and pays off (literally)!
If you would like help, the experts at Brightscout can provide you with a free website audit. Find out what changes we recommend, and then make them on your own or hire us to do it. We’ll help you get the most from your website, maximizing your return on investment. Contact Us[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]