Conversion Rate Optimization Essentials for Ecommerce Websites

Optimizing conversion rates is a vital task for any ecommerce site owner to undertake. As you’ll see, there are small changes you can make that will have a significant impact on your metrics. Whether you’re looking to win more email sign-ups or simply boost your sales, you’ll find methods below that will help you improve numbers across the board. From your copy and content to your site structure and analytics, here are the essential elements of improving your conversion rates.

Data and Analytics

Before doing anything, you need your data analytics in place. It’s easy to jump straight in and start making tweaks to your site, but if you don’t know what’s causing your metrics to change, you won’t know what’s working.

Firstly, you need to single out the areas that need improving and testing — and that’s where your analytics come in. They’ll help you see where you’re losing customers, so you can figure out how to make them stay. Heatmap tools are useful for this, as you can see how people behave when they land on your site. You’ll see where people click, where they scroll to, and when they leave.

Google Analytics is another useful tool: it’ll help you distinguish your most effective keywords and identify the ones that don’t add any value. You can also use Google Analytics to discover your bounce rates, demographics, and internal search terms.

Optimizing your copy can boost conversion rates by 13.9 percent, so it’s well worth investing time in doing it properly.

Great Copywriting

The content on your site can be the final factor in whether a customer submits their email address or presses “buy now”. Even if your site is well designed with a smooth customer journey, illegible content full of typos may cause them to walk away.

In ecommerce, you can only build a relationship with your customers through your writing — through everything from your marketing emails and ads to your landing pages and CTA buttons. If you don’t hit the right tone, you can easily put people off.

Your copy should be informative without being long-winded, and personal without being condescending. Try to remember who your audience is as you write: would they want to be referred to as “the customer” or “you”?

Optimizing your copy can boost conversion rates by 13.9 percent, so it’s well worth investing time in doing it properly. And there’s no harm in getting a professional copywriter in to help you: they know how to sell products effectively.

Likewise, take the time to optimize your call-to-action (CTA) copy. It should be short and sweet, yet firmly directional. The most important element of CTA copy is telling the audience what they’ll get out of it: if you want someone to hand over their details, they need an excellent reason to do so. Be direct, open, and valuable, and your CTAs will start to shine.

SEO-Targeted Content

There’s another angle you need to take with your content. In addition to shaping it for your audience, you need to do the same for SEO — because you need to reach that audience. The more visible you are in search results, the more traffic will be driven to your site, and the more chances you’ll have to make sales. SEO-tailored content can increase your organic search traffic by over 54 percent and increase conversions by 16 percent.

Polishing your content for SEO isn’t difficult and shouldn’t require a total rewrite. In fact, it’s easy to do in parallel with the step above. First you need to conduct research into relevant keywords, making sure to concentrate on high-ranking yet low-competition phrases. You’re more likely to gain traction with these keywords, rather than the highly sought-after ones. Once you’ve got a list of keywords, you can set about inserting them into your content.

Simple, Intuitive Web Design

Your ecommerce site’s design could be the reason for losing shoppers: 38 percent of consumers will stop engaging with a website if it has poorly-formatted or unattractive content. Even if someone really wants to buy your products, a site that’s difficult to use or looks untrustworthy can be enough to put them off.

Improving and optimizing your site’s design is a fast way of getting more conversions — even if it already looks great. Think about the site’s navigation: is it easy for people to get around? Does it take long to find and buy a product? The structure of your site should be intuitive: people should know how to get around it as soon as they land. Quick tip: you might find browsing websites for sale helps. Can you tell from first glance what a listed store sells, and what its USPs might be? Pick out your favorites and take inspiration from them.

Categorizing your products and including sub-pages will be tremendously beneficial. With the popularity of online shopping on mobile devices, your site needs to be mobile responsive too. Thankfully, basic responsiveness isn’t too hard to manage — you’re best served working with a designer to choose the right approach for you.

However you go about it, ensure that your site’s content looks great. Choose a bold typography that’s easy to read. Use high-quality product images that clearly show off what you’re selling. And choose a color scheme that reflects your brand and isn’t garish. Get everything looking as good as you can achieve with your budget.

Additionally, a slow-loading page could be killing your conversion rates. Nowadays, people expect websites to load instantly — and they aren’t prepared to wait. 57 percent of consumers will abandon a website if it takes over three seconds to load, so you need to keep your loading speeds down. From compressing images to using sharper code, there are plenty of ways to achieve this.

72 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more.

Proof of Trust

To convince a customer to give away their details and spend money with you, you need to create a large amount of trust in a short period of time. There are several ways to do this.

Prove that you’re a legitimate business that takes security seriously. This might include installing SSL at the checkout stage (although most ecommerce platforms have this anyway), or you may want to display the logos of payment companies you work with, or cybersecurity firms you have an account with.

An “About” page and a link to your social media platforms will instill trust. Customers can get to know you and see what your previous customers have posted about you. Likewise, using customer testimonials and reviews will help to create more trust: 72 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more.

These conversion rate optimization essentials aren’t massive changes, but they could have a big impact on your bottom line. Remember to test each element as you change it so you can measure what has the biggest effect as you go. And, most importantly, listen to feedback.

Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — a leading ecommerce blog that shares the latest insights into the online retail world. Follow along on Twitter @myecommercetips.

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