It’s one thing to drive lots of traffic to your website, but another to convert those visitors into paying customers. If you have an online business presence you’re probably doing what you can to ensure you increase traffic to your site. And hopefully you’re seeing good results.

Well-targeted, well-written content will drive traffic to your website – but once you’ve got the visitors what should you be doing with them? For a start you need to move your attention away from search engine rankings and focus instead on conversion rate optimisation (aka encouraging more visitors to do what you want them to do such as buy, sign up, or engage with your site).

The following checklist will help you convert your website traffic like the best of them.

Communicate clearly

  • Give visitors a clear message about why they should do business with you and what benefits your company can offer them. (This is just as important as the product or service you are selling)
  • Put the most important information above the fold (i.e. what the user sees without having to scroll down)
  • Make it easy for users to contact you. Include a phone number, email address, postal address and social media details so visitors have a variety of ways to get in touch
  • Provide clear and concise answers to the key questions you know your customers will have
  • Have useful information (such as a returns policy) placed clearly on your site so users don’t have to contact you

Communicate

Use persuasive CTAs

  • Include a call to action (CTA) at the end of each post or page that is bold and self-explanatory
  • Use compelling copy in each call to action. Use directional wording such as: “Download your free eBook”; “See our business plans”; “Compare our pricing”; “Pre-order today”; “Get your white paper”; “Stay updated”; and “Read more like this”. You get the idea…
  • Think about the design of your call to action in relation to the rest of the page. For example, changing the colour of the button from green to red has been shown to increase conversions by as much as 34%

Offer a great user experience

  • Try to make your site as visually appealing and as easy to navigate as possible (94% of visitors’ first impressions are based on the visual aspects of a website)
  • Make sure your site offers visitors an enjoyable user experience, regardless of the device they are using . Desktops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and wearables are being used interchangeably so constantly test how your content appears (and how users can interact with it) on multiple devices
  • Keep page load time to a minimum (anything more than 5 seconds and users will get bored and look elsewhere)
  • Check your primary content page speed insights and make sure your content isn’t causing your page to render slowly. Image optimisation and social sharing buttons are often the main culprits for slow-to-load pages Back to resource hub
  • Don’t be shy about incentivising new customers for the purpose of retention
  • Optimise your purchase funnel repeatedly, this should be the easiest and quickest route to purchase at all times. Make it intuitive for the user with minimal steps and as much auto-populated information as possible
  • Offer a variety of payment methods to convert visitors to customers
  • Keep customers informed about the whereabouts of their purchase. Letting them know when it has been dispatched and giving them a tracking number will help put their minds at ease
  • Provide in-context links to other related topics, articles, or business services. Think about the user journey for your content, where do you want your visitor to go
  • Be sure to send follow up emails with content that will be of interest to your visitors

Email

Create content that engages

  • Create quality content that is unique, educates and sells a message to your target audience
  • Use a variety of content – blog-style articles, infographics, videos, case studies and news, for example
  • Give your content catchy headlines that will appeal to the user
  • Create content that starts a conversation. Ask questions at the end of posts that encourage users to get involved and have their say
  • Install social sharing on your site to make sharing your content simple (and increase traffic to your site in the process)
  • Solve problems with your posts – provide genuine answers or solutions within your article to generate engagement and entice shares with a wider community.
  • Use keywords, informational query searches and social media to understand the questions your audience want answered
  • Keep the content on your site consistent and current by updating it regularly. This will make users want to return to your site and feel part of the community
  • Keep paragraphs short, punchy and easy to digest. Include subheads, bullet points, numbered lists, graphs and visuals wherever possible to break up your content and improve engagement
  • To generate more leads offer free content such as white papers, e-books, or guides. Users are generally happy to give their email addresses in exchange for content (as long as it is of value to them)
  • Be everywhere. Post content on the website, via email and on social media platforms to keep your brand front of mind
  • Your content needs to entertain so include popular, relevant keywords that relate to topics that reinforce your core business propositions. Keep an eye on trending topics that are of interest to your audience and your business

Trending

Instil confidence and credibility

  • Use customer case studies to convey what you do. Make sure they are recent, preferably featuring a date, a real person’s name, and a business name. Also include as many facts and markers of success as possible
  • Include logos of companies you are partnered with or have previously worked with to increase credibility
  • Include information that gives a sense of authority and trust in the footer of a page (this is where users tend to look for this kind of info) Back to resource hub
  • Make sure you display a VAT registration number, copyright specifics, links to privacy policies and terms and conditions, payment gateways, and antivirus information clearly on your site to establish reliability
  • Include an ‘about us’ or ‘our team’ page on your site to allow potential customers or partners see who they will be dealing with. A directional cue such as ‘work with us’ goes a step further in encouraging them to click a link

Collect insightful data

  • Gather feedback from existing customers by posting forms on every page – thinking about where you place them. Use this data to help improve your site
  • Use surveys (with an incentive attached) to capture information about your audience. These are easily generated with free online software such as SurveyMonkey
  • Keep the number of fields on a form to a minimum so the user doesn’t lose interest
  • Use ghost text on a form to show the kind of information you need from your audience – this is useful for both the visitor and the business
  • Keep a close eye on comments. You may want to vet them before they reach your website, alternatively you can simply respond to any negative comments in a professional, timely manner. Done well, the latter approach won’t damage your credibility
  • You want to offer visitors a well-managed, authoritative source of information. If they think their comments are likely to be drowned in a sea of spam they won’t bother
  • Make it easy for users to interact with your site. If you want them to leave a comment don’t expect them to sign in or sign up
  • Getting someone to comment first can be tricky. You might want to ask someone in your network to post a comment to get the conversation started
  • When a user inputs their email address be sure to use this data in future targeted email campaigns. (79% of people prefer to receive emails than any other form of medium)
  • Make use of online user testing services. They are incredibly cheap and provide qualitative data that is hard to pass up, they also allow you to create tasks, ask questions, and record users’ experiences

Customer insight

Think analytics

  • Use Google Analytics to measure the success of your CTAs, tracking the performance of multiple boxes in different locations to see what works best for your audience
  • Track things such as bounce rate, exit rate, time on page, content funnels – where are you taking the reader next?
  • For extra brownie points, add in-page tracking to monitor how far down a page a user gets and whether they make it below the fold
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is an on-going process of improvement. Use the results to define new goals, make new changes and conduct new tests
  • And on that note, always remember that there’s simply no point to CRO unless you test potential changes to see if they increase (or decrease) conversions

Making your website work the way you want it to can be a tricky business. Hopefully this checklist has helped but if you want more guidance on how to convert visitors into customers by using content in all its forms, contact the team at M2 Bespoke. We’d love to hear from you.

Ben Hollom

December 2, 2016