Most companies we talk to don’t have a ton of experience with conversion rate optimization and how to effect it in a positive way. Especially as a retail brand taking their products online, it can be overwhelming to understand things like traffic sources, conversion rate, exit pages, etc. And, even as we talk to startups, there are many situations where we find companies are frantically searching for a secret silver bullet to solve for increasing revenue or signups.
Once you dig down though and focus in on the most important conversion metrics, you start to focus in on the things that are most important and come to one singular goal of increasing conversions. (revenue, signups, user growth, etc.) And, as you start to dig into conversion funnels, you realize the most important thing is digging in, to reduce people bouncing from a given flow.
User acquisition is only the first step, keeping a visitor on your site, and making sure they make it through conversion funnels is quite frankly more important because for every person you bring into the top of the funnel, your metrics will look better across the board.
In order to reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates, you should here are a few things to focus in on.
Page Load Time:
You only have a few seconds to tell people what you’re selling or why the should join your community because, our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. No one will wait for a page to load, images to load. Generally what I find is, a page should load within a 3-5 seconds and time to interact (tti) with a page should be within a couple seconds. The TTI can make a huge difference in the conversion rates and in some cases, orders of magnitudes of difference for online retainers, especially.
Site Navigation and Experience
People want to be able to move around a site quickly, find what they want, and checkout. In order to do so, creating an easy to navigate site that leads the customer down the path of conversion is important. Creating several means of getting through to the next page, navigating them through a flow, or making sure there are multiple points to convert are a big part of this.
As an example, once someone is in the checkout flow, we really want to make sure that they stay in the flow to purchase the products they have chosen. In order to do this, we remove the standard site navigation items and footer navigation. This removes the ability for someone to start clicking around and either (a) forgetting to come back or (b) second guessing their decisions.
In Landing Pages and lead generation forms, especially when it comes longer form content, we have multiple methods to generate a conversion, whether it’s an email sign up or two calls-to-action, at the top and bottom of the page.
Simplicity (or, too many calls-to-action)
Along the same lines of navigation and experience, simplicity of experience is a big part of this. Sure, this could be tied to the last one, but, it’s just as important. Do not be afraid of whitespace, and I mean lots of it. Keeping a focus on creating a clean looking site experience that leads customers where you want them to go. The more you add to the page the more you take away from the singular focus that you have started with. when you’re trying to get someone to buy something, sign up for something, or even just read more content, when you start pushing people down multiple paths and types of calls-to-action, the more confused they will be.
Along the same lines, the color palette of your site can make a huge impact on this. Having a main, secondary, and tertiary set of colors allows you to focus your actions. Primary action colors should focus on your primary conversion elements will allow people coming to your site to look for those subconsciously. Secondary and tertiary colors for site links, other form buttons, secondary actions (e.g. primary is checkout, secondary is email sign up) should be more subtle will be apparent but not detract a customer from the main conversion action you want them to take.
One of the biggest sins I have seen in the last few years was an e-commerce site who had broken reviews links or links that led to specs or reviews of a different product. No matter how great we are at online advertising and seo services, we still would never be able to increase revenue, because people could not find the information they were looking for. Even worse. possible customers were led to a different product all together and links that were 404’s. Having any of these issues is going to increase your bounce rate and reduce conversion rates.
Obviously in the above case, the bounce rate from reviews pages was ultimately higher than any other page on the site. Reducing the above issues, 404s, broken images, links, or anything broken for that matter will naturally increase the conversion rates and reduce bounce rates.
What are your thoughts? Do you have tips around optimizing bounce rates and increase conversion rates? Let us know in the comments below or follow us on twitter, @visiblefactors.