How to Optimise Your Web Pages for Better Conversions – A common misconception amongst business owners is that SEO can help you increase sales online.
Whilst there’s some truth in that, SEO is only half of the story when it comes to encouraging your site’s visitors to journey through a conversion process, and ultimately SEO works to initiate the conversion process before your visitors enter your site.
In this article, I’ll offer some tips on how to optimise your web pages for better conversions using marketing design principles and a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way.
All Hail the Magic ‘F’
One of the difficulties marketers can have when working with designers is influencing the creative so that it works on a psychological level and encourages the audience to act.
Whenever I work with designers on the layout of a landing page for, say, an email marketing campaign, there’s one thing that I always stress: “Make it look like an F!” Despite what might seem an absurd demand, there’s reason in the madness.
As visitors enter a website, numerous researchers have suggested that they tend to scan the page in a way that outlines the letter F, with the short horizontal stem being the focus of the visitor’s attention.
Marketers have also revealed that placing key sales messages in this area significantly improves click-through, and ultimately leads to better conversions.
It’s also important that this area is displayed above the fold of the page; that is, the area which appears before the user has to scroll down. The further a visitor has to scroll, the fewer there are who actually reach the bottom of the page.
The Internet is no Place for Novels
On average, an adult can read about 200-250 words per minute, and with 1 in 6 people in the UK with a literacy level below the expected age of 11, overly cramming your web pages with content can be a real turn off.
Although times will vary widely according to the type of site and industry, an average eCommerce visitor will only spend between 30-60 seconds on a web page, which means your pages should be no longer than about 250 words. (At least, before you provide a creative diversion to break up pages that require more text.)
And what’s more, you should ensure that your key message appears within at least the first paragraph before the call-to-action so that the entire sales proposition is quickly and easily understood.
Test and Measure
There are no hard and fast rules to optimising your web pages, but the tips I’ve outlined above should go some way to helping you set up your pages initially, whilst also complementing any search engine optimisation efforts you may be undertaking.
Because audiences will differ across demographic profile, industry, location etc., it’s always wise to try out different versions of your page to see which works best and gives you the optimum conversion rate.
Tools such as Google’s Website Optimiser can help you to run such tests and is a great way to gain further insight into your visitors’ behaviour.