10 point check-list for building conversion-friendly WordPress Websites
60% of all CMS websites are WordPress-powered. So, starting out your first website with WordPress might be a pretty cool idea.
You set aside $1000 for developing your WP site, you hire a developer for $20/hr, convey the design & development specifications, and the developer obliges. All of this sounds familiar to you?
So, your new WordPress Website is up and running. Now, what? Isn’t it supposed to earn on its own dude, you would ask me?
If some knuckle-head told you conversion is not important, your website (sooner or later) is doomed.
It makes me very sad to see websites built using the approach mentioned above. There’s no focus on getting more clients through website, user-friendliness of the design (most agencies state design is friendly, but, alas, it’s not) and blah blah…..
You see, website visitors are like wild animals roaming around in a jungle, says Jakob Nielsen, a Usability Expert.
They arrive at your website with very specific requirements. And, if they don’t find it there, they hop on to the next site. Simple!
If you are one of those frustrated WordPress site owners, absolutely clueless about what to do to make sure that your WP site earns you tons of money, you are at the right place.
Let’s get started.
Objectives v/s Goals
Ask yourself these questions — What is the purpose behind developing my website? What exactly are my business goals? Are these two in tandem with one another?
Chris Goward, a thought-leader in Conversion Rate Optimization space, rightly puts it, “You should align your Website Objectives with Business Goals”. He further advises to document a website’s strategic plan, which people hardly do. When you don’t have clear goals and objectives, it often leads to unexpected, unclear results. Following the Goal Waterfall Concept (see the image) can be very useful.
So, before, you build your WP website; make sure to document your website’s purpose. You have to be crystal clear with objectives or else it will lead to confusion.
Mentioning a unique value proposition (UVP), or also known as USP, on your website clearly can take you far in the online world. You must clearly communicate the benefit your website is offering and how it is different from your competitors. Focus on solving the needs of your customers and you will make through the clutter in the digital space.
A visitor takes less than 10 seconds to form an opinion about your website. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they leave your website.
“Having a compelling UVP is like having salespeople who work with enthusiasm & feeling — for free”
Therefore, it’s highly important to have a clear USP on your WP site. Conversion Expert Peep Laja says the following things must be clearly stated on your website:
1. Clearly communicate the offer you are making
2. The kind of products/services you are delivering
3. The benefit of choosing your service
4. Who is your ideal buyer
5. Why you and not your competitor
How do you come up with a USP? Think about What’s in it for me (WIIFM). Take your time to come with this because your conversion rate depends heavily on it. This will give your visitors a complete idea about your product’s features and benefits.
Knowing the psychology of your visitors helps a lot in optimizing your website. Understanding where they are coming from and landing, how much time they are spending, places where they are clicking tell a lot about their behaviour.
Anticipation, a core part of Psychology, can help you delve deeper in understanding what makes a visitor tick.
Scientific Studies prove that people tend to anticipate positive future events instead of negative.
To validate this positive anticipation you must ensure that your website delivers them a delightful experience.
This includes doing everything right from the design to copywriting, which is discussed in the ensuing points.
Having unwanted blocks in your visitor’s path can go against their positive anticipation. This means they will create a new anticipation to avoid the problem, in this case leaving your website.
Don’t overlook design
“Practice design, Not Decoration: Don’t just make pretty talking points. Instead, display information in a way that makes complex information clear.” — NANCY DUARTE, Speaker and CEO, Duarte
It’s not uncommon to come across designers who just won’t understand why it is important to use a specific color for a specific purpose. You don’t just go about designing a website using arbitrary colors.
Plus, if you are designing a website for a specific audience of a specific region, colors must be chosen carefully.
Effective web design starts by following the time-tested principles.
To start with, visual hierarchy is important. You must determine what you want your visitors to see first. And, this should not be decided randomly. Analyze your business goals and then prioritize the elements you want to display prominently on your home page.
Next, is the Golden Ratio Principle. Make sure the design/layout of your site is based on this principle.
If you are selling products, your ecommerce website must have a clearly visible Search button. Don’t make your visitors think when they arrive on your site. Also, use auto suggest options to help visitors find products quickly. Filter options must also be given. Plus, the Purchase buttons must be designed very thoughtfully.
Always ensure to let a professional wordpress designer handle your website.
55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website.
What you communicate and how you communicate is very important when it comes to conversion. Writing for the digital space can be very tricky as people scan content online.
The challenge is how to go about writing such copy for your WP website.
Experts suggest seeking help from your customers.
Scratching your head?
Use tools like Survey Monkey, Qualaroo or Olark to know what your customers really want and need. Customer survey and feedback is an excellent way to get insights on what to write for your home page copy.
Next, if you have budget, you can always hire a professional copywriter. You know it perfectly makes sense to pay at least $50 per hour for copywriting because it has the power to bring you millions of dollars of revenues. J
· Focus on the headlines you write.
· Mention benefits and not features of your products/services.
· Tell a story.
· Mention statistics.
· Less is More. Use few words to communicate.
· Say no to adjectives.
· Use emotional words.
Create a sales funnel
Whether you sell a product or service online, you do have a conversion funnel. Maybe it’s not optimized, but it’s still there. What exactly is a conversion or a sales funnel?
A conversion funnel is all about AIDA — Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.
Let’s there are 1000 people who are aware about business.
The top of the funnel will be very crowded. However, not everyone will have interest or desire to purchase your product or service.
Probably, 100 people might show interest. Out of that maybe 50 might desire to buy your product or service. Lastly only 5 out of those 50 can actually afford you.
By now you must have visualized the bottom of the funnel is not very crowded.
Your conversion rate is only 0.5% in this case.
Building an effective conversion funnel is not a one month process. It takes time to set this up.
You have to work for each stage of the funnel. For instance, to start with the awareness stage, you need to answer questions like — how will people become aware about your website? Do you want to use Google Ads? Do you spend on Facebook Ads or other social media to extend your reach?
When people are already aware about your website, you must spark interest. This could mean running a blog having content that actually helps people into what they are looking for. Maybe offering a free e-book with a download form to get more information about your prospects.
The people who have downloaded your e-book/white paper now become your qualified leads as it shows they have an interest for your service/product. At this juncture, it is very important to remember that your product/service has to solve a problem. It is only then prospects will desire your service.
Once you have got leads, you want them to be converted to clients. So, ACTION is the most important part of your funnel. Remember, only a small percentage of your audience will make it to this stage. So, you must always focus on analyzing this stage and making improvements to it. A small increase might be a big gain.
Data is your friend
Are you just analyzing data from Google Analytics? What about heat-maps and other user behaviour? Don’t let the data-stuff frighten you.
It can actually give you tons of insights into what users are doing when they visit your WP website.
For instance, you can use Heatmaps to improve usability, click through rates and much more. Google does not tell you everything.
Heatmaps can show you what distracts your visitors and why they tend to leave. Data from Heatmaps can lead to innumerable site improvements.
Which metrics you should look at?
· Bounce rate
· Direct visitors v/s referral visitors v/s search visitors
· New visitor conversion v/s return visitor conversion
· Page loading time
· Mobile v/s desktop visitors
Many experts also suggest looking into your social metrics. Here’s what you should look at.
Distractions can cost you
Time and again website owners do make mistakes that hurt website conversions. Here are some distractions and what to do about them.
· Don’t use image sliders. Use static images.
· Avoid visual confusion. Understand the scanning pattern and make design tweaks.
· Not making call to actions prominent. Divide your web page into a 10x10 grid and assign relative values to each grid. With this you will know about visual gaps.
· Say no to generic testimonials.
· Don’t use too many form fields.
· Don’t ask for phone numbers.
· Please do not use pop-ups.
· No slide out menus.
· Never use splash pages.
· Lastly, no audio/video play options.
Test your ideas
Testing forms a core part of any conversion rate optimization strategy. If your team has great ideas to improve the layout of your website, you should test it. Tests reveal amazing insights.
There are plenty of tools available that will you test multiple factors of your website.
For instance, for beginners, you should start with simple A/B Testing or also known as Split Testing. You can compare version A with version B of your home page to see what your visitors prefer and click.
For large ecommerce websites, Multi-Variate Testing is indispensable. This form of testing allows you to create many versions of a page wherein you can test color, layouts, copy, banners, etc. i.e. there is not end to the variables you want to test.
However, Testing can be tricky.
You must know what you are testing and why. What exactly is your goal to do a particular test.
Remember, testing is more than just finding whether red color works or blue for a CTA button.
WordPress is highly plug-in friendly. Don’t hesitate to use CRO plug-ins to do better business with your website. Here are some you can use.
· Popup Ally
· Welcome Gate
· Opt-in Monster
· Opt-in Skin
· WordPress Leads
· Visitor Engage
· Total Feedback
· WordPress Calls to Action
· Foo Bar
· Scarcity Samurai
· WPTouch Mobile
On ending notes
Making your wordpress website conversion friendly can be a complex process. But with the right strategy, mindset and tools by your side, CRO can actually turn out be a game changer for your online presence. Lastly, you should never treat CRO as a one-time project. Infact, see it as a discipline, a continuous process to enrich the experience of your visitors.