It’s a common misunderstanding that doing more paid search, social media or search engine optimization is what you need to make your site more successful. It’s a hard message to ignore. We all want to believe that throwing together a nice website, pumping out optimized blog articles, and doing everything in our power to get traffic to our websites are the keys to success. According to that logic, if we follow the formula and work hard, we can have our piece of the Internet marketing pie.
Sure, a little SEO “magic” and a few well-constructed paid search campaigns can have a dramatic impact on website traffic. The fallacy isn’t in saying that search engine marketing will get you tons of traffic; it’s believing that traffic will instantly turn into sales. Even if the traffic your site is receiving is highly targeted – as search engine traffic generally is – there are a lot of factors that come into play once a visitor is on your site.
In Internet terminology, an “impression” occurs when a visitor sees something. It’s a pretty fitting term. When someone lands on your website, they instantly form an impression, a judgment. If you’ve had any success online, you already know that a poorly designed landing page can wreak havoc on conversion rate but let me tell you, as a professional website design company we understand aesthetics aren’t the only aspect of good web design. In addition to having a clean, appealing appearance, your website content should be 100% free from grammatical and typographical errors. The content should be compelling enough to keep your visitors interested but not so sales-oriented that they feel like they’re listening to a sales pitch. More importantly, the website should be functional. Weak infrastructure can result in poor user experience and, as you probably know, poor user experience generally means no sale.
A Few Other Considerations:
Does your website look and function properly in all browsers?
While your website may look wonderful in Firefox, it may look like a train wreck in Opera. Likewise, while the shopping cart functions perfectly in Internet Explorer, it may freeze or crash in Chrome. A big part of what we do during every website launch is a cross-browser compliance check. Sure, maybe only 20% of your traffic is seeing that image floating off to the side on top of the text. Wait a minute! 20% of your traffic? That would mean 2 of every 10 visitors is seeing your website all jacked up. 20 out of every 100. 200 out of every 1,000. Think of the difference in sales if 200 more of those visitors had the opportunity to buy.
How Reliable is your Online Presence? It’s amazing how many people take statistics at face value. A good majority of the web hosts claim an uptime of more than 99%, even for accounts that cost as little as $5 per month. Just what is “uptime”? Does that mean that your website will click along at top notch speed with no delays 99% of the time? Nope. It just means it won’t be unavailable. One of the biggest impediments in your fight to raise conversion rates will be unreliable web hosting services. In fact, the majority of online business owners that decide to pay a little extra for a more reliable web hosting service see increases in conversion rate of as much as 1 – 2% by doing nothing else.
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How quickly does your page load? We live in the age of instant gratification. When someone goes to a search engine to find some vital piece of information, he or she wants instant results. If they click on your site but it takes longer than a few seconds to load, they’ll likely click back to the search results and choose another site. That’ll result in a rapidly growing bounce rate and an even more rapidly sinking search position now that Google uses engagement metrics to help determine rank. So, does your website load quickly, regardless of the browser being used? Are you using fancy site elements that might require special plugins? If so, you might want to consider simplifying your site. People are visiting your website for information; rather than focusing on creating a complicated design, focus on making the design professional and functional. The design has to be good enough to take design out of the equation. You won’t shop at a website that looks awful, it just has to be good enough to invoke trust.
The Bottom Line If you’ve put in the time and money to get a ton of traffic to your website and still aren’t seeing results, stop switching to different PPC Management agencies or wasting money on more traffic. The problem could be something much simpler, such as an poor website layout, unreliable web host or no cross-browser compliance.
If you’re getting 5,000 visitors a month and want to double your sales it’s going to take a lot to get 10,000. However, most times when we step back and make some incremental improvements to the site infastructure, design, usability and reliability you can take a site with a conversion rate of 1% and make it 2%. You just doubled your sales without spending a dime on more traffic.