Much effort and study has been expended to determine how a web site can better convert its visitors to paying customers. While there have been some rather profound successes in the marketplace, there still exists enough uncertainty for many business owners and web developers to hesitate before making a decision on how best to optimize their sites. The good news is there are more than a few ways to improve the chances a visitor will become a customer.
There is an old axiom that advises aspiring writers to “show” and not “tell.” This is true in business as well. Why tell someone about your product if you can give them a demonstration, and what better way to make that demonstration irresistible than to make it free? The entire shareware industry was built on this principle, and more than a few contemporary businesses from Hulu.com to Amazon use this technique to great effect.
Sites like ww1.novarad.net place their free demo button above the fold and make it as visible as possible. This is a great way to engage customers on a first visit and start working towards a sales follow-up.
One way to improve the effectiveness of even a free demonstration is to obtain a quote from an authoritative source on the quality or features of your product. Sites like www.pnmsoft.com use both general quotes from industry experts and information specific to their product to build a case for their product while the customer reviews their site. It is estimated that reviews and recommendations are responsible for a huge number of online purchases. While this is true for entertainment products as well as business to business purchases or even charitable contributions, it can be especially effective when used to strengthen the chances of that first engagement with a customer.
One of the most important elements of Google’s newest guidelines for search engine optimization is the speed with which a site loads. There is ample justification for these guidelines. Everyone involved in selling anything online is well aware of the rigidity of the “Internet attention span.” If your site takes longer than a few seconds to load, chances are your audience has already moved on to a faster site. At that point you have likely lost any chance at converting your visitor to a customer.
One of the easiest ways to improve site loading times is to use a content management system with a caching option. This will reduce the number of individual server calls necessary to load the first page and further reduce additional calls on subsequent page loads.
Sites like Mailchimp do something that can benefit nearly any site with a product to sell to a general readership: They make a clear value proposition visible at the top of the page and above the fold. Visitors to the site know exactly what product or service is being offered and what that product or service will do for them.
This happens long before any discussion of price or any discussion of details. One reason this is so effective is it instantly qualifies a site visitor as either a potential customer or just someone who is looking around. Potential customers will start following the trail towards a buying decision. People who are just looking around likely won’t. This is important because it allows a site to present the right information to the right audience, and that increases conversions.
Like all site optimization efforts, improving conversions requires patience and numerous ongoing measurement efforts. Whether this site or that site has a better conversion rate is something that is only knowable over time. However, once the determination is made, it will almost certainly improve sales.