Conversion Rate Optimization ( CRO ) is the fine tuning of a page to obtain maximum effect. I am sure anyone reading this, understands maximum effect is creating a “Conversion” Like in sales, there are many micro steps or yeses in obtaining that final yes. CRO at its core follows the same principles. A series of micro conversions culminating in the ultimate desired action by the end user.
Below you will find 7 tips that will optimize your sites conversion potential.
7 Tips to Optimize Site Conversion
1.) Understanding and Identifying “Above the Fold”
In today’s “responsive environment, there can literally be 2, 3, and 4 different folds. The current average desktop screen resolution is 1024 x 768, and current minimum height for mobile is somewhere in the 285 pixel range. A good working average height to consider is 550 to 600 pixels.
Why is this so important? There was a recent study done tracking in excess of 50,000 users eye movements across a page that concluded the 100 pixels above the fold are 102% more likely to be seen than the 100 pixels right below the fold.
Another study by Google regarding ad placement on their search portal showed that 73% of the ads above the fold were seen, as compared to only 44% of the ads below the fold being seen. A clear 66% difference. This is not some minor 5 to 10%, this is bringing the 2 studies together an average of 84% more visibility above the fold.
Now that we have identified the fold and its importance, we need to understand how to make it work for us. There are 2 clear and actionable steps that can be taken.
- You can place your pages Call To Action ( CTA ) above the fold. More eyeballs will tend to create more action.
- Create enough incentive above the fold to give the end user reason to scroll down the page and read /see more. I will more than assume no one here looks at a page and sees useless and irrelevant content and is compelled to scroll blindly in hopes of finding useful content.
2.) Multiple CTA’s
I am a firm believer in One Page One Purpose. Be it a content page, a landing page, a product page, or even a home page. Sometimes in site design we unknowingly implement a visual conflict. A visual element aside from the element we want to be focused on takes precedence.
This is seriously one of those no brainer type of page changes that can double conversions. You can either remove the conflicting element, or strategically move the desired action to a less congested portion of the page.
Below is a chart taken from the Google ad study. The study compared the ad size to its overall view ability. (Google contends that the more visible an ad is, the more “clickable” it becomes )
What is quickly noted, is that vertical ads are more “visible”. The most common ad size for wordpress sidebars 300 x 250 are actually the LEAST visible. ( Nathan, you have work to do. )(Edit by Nathan: Yes, I will definitely be testing out some of the stuff you mention here.)
In the image below we will assume the wanted action is in the middle of the page, and is 300 x 250. The ad in the side bar is 120 x 240.
The side bar ad using Googles image data is 26.7% more likely to be “viewed” and my personal testing across more than a few sites indicates the removal of the side bar ad boosted the intended on page conversion by 54% on average.
If you think for a moment, it only takes between 50 to 500 milliseconds for a person to judge your site when they first visit. Imagine that same split second decision making, choosing to opt-in, or to click a link. Which is easier? And throw in there the visual impact based on element size you can potentially be driving you potential clients away from your intended action.
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3.) Double Digit Conversion Increase in 3 Letters
Not to long ago I was reading a case study of an element change that AWeber made. 3 letters that Optimized site conversion by 12%. Thats big stuff! I immediately started running this exact test for many of my clients. To be honest, the results were lack luster. 1% here, 3% there… defiantly far from 12%.
I was looking at one of my own sites recently. I noticed the 3 letters were missing. I had one of those “oh what the hell” moments and started a A/B test on my own site. I actually forgot about the test for a few days, so by my standards I over ran the test. When I did finally look days later… there was a 14.4% difference.
14.4% is basically a click and a half per 10 visitors. The site it was tested on, receives 50,000 visitors a month ( 30,000 Unique – 20,000 returning ) That 14.4% increase translated into 750 more conversions per month on that ONE element alone, and all because of 3 letters. Again, thats big stuff.
The 3 letters? N O W. As seen in the before and after image below you will see adding the word “Now” to your Call To Action has the potential to increase conversions dramatically.
4.) The Power of Customer Choice
Phone calls or filling out a form, which would you prefer? There are actually some tricks to have the end user “Choose” one over the other. And not just randomly choosing, we are talking YOU directing the outcome towards what you want.
Lets start with phone calls. “Best Practices” kind of indicates there are 3 places on the page you WANT your phone number. Upper left corner, upper right ish, and lower left corner. A lot of this has to do with allowing for either the “Z” or “F” page layout patterns. In the 2 images below I show how those physically map out and why those 3 locations are key.
Here is where things get a bit interesting. By placing ONLY the phone number on your page, you are removing “choice” from the end user. For whatever reason they may not want to call right now. They are at work, they are doing research, whatever the reason. Physiologically, by not having a choice, you are reducing your potential overall conversion by as much as 52%.
I should mention the same holds true if you are asking that the end user only use a contact form to connect with you. You are losing about the same 52%.
By introducing a contact form to the page, preferably below the upper right phone number placement, you gain back that lost percentage and then some. Simply by giving the end user a choice. To further cement your wanted action, a phone call… you increase the friction in the form making the call an easier choice.
If your intent is NOT to have the phone ring, decreasing the friction of the form will actually decrease your phone call conversion by as much as 67% and the numbers for form contact should skyrocket.
To obtain the best of both worlds, you can introduce text that strongly encourages end users to call versus filling out the form. This can increase phone conversions by as much as 16%, while keeping the form conversions at a steady level.
The take away from this; Just having a phone number present on your site greatly reduces your overall conversions. Giving the end user a choice in contact method has proven beneficial time and again in my own testing, and in many case studies I have read. – I told you thinks got interesting!
5.) Probably the Least Utilized Page on Your Site
Any guesses? The contact page. The most important thing to consider here is the location of the link to get to this page. It honestly is not something that you want to tuck away and hide. It will be missed. If you are hiding a method to contact you, you must be hiding something. The Contact Us page is a Trust builder.
When you start looking at your sites overall data and get right in there elbows deep, take a moment to see exactly how many visitors you have to your Contact Us page. It may actually shock you. Most every client site I work with usually has you basic contact form, and thats it.
Professionally this page in particular with my online type clients will generally create the most friction. I like to see basic full disclosure here. A Name, an Address, a Phone number. Many people will look at these things for one reason only, and that is to further develop trust. If that information is there, they will trust you, AND your site. If that information is missing, that leaves that lingering question in their mind.
Personally, down to my affiliate sites, I am seriously transparent. Hardly a day goes by that I dont get a call or an e-mail of someone having an issue with one of my sites, or having questions about the buying process. Each one of these communications gets my immediate attention, and each one is money in my pocket. THAT in itself is utilizing the contact page to its fullest potential – One Page One Purpose.
Before you even think about it, I AM going to talk about button color, but in no way shape or form talk about which button color converts better!
Color does assist in optimizing your site for conversion. You hear / read terms like contrasting colors or complimentary colors. I will actually go over those in a moment, but want to introduce another quick concept, the Stroop Effect.
Basically what is going on here is the color spelled out is not the same as the text color. Your mind just is not fast enough to catch it. So I am going to ask you a real quick question. What color is a text link? How many said blue?
In today’s conditioned Digital World if you use any other color than blue for a text link you are introducing the “Stroop Effect” and it creates a level of ANXIETY in the end user in regards to your page – not good for conversion! LOL(Edit by Nathan: The links on the income bully blog are a darker than a navy blue and not underlined, I feel I should make a change and underline the links to see if there’s a noticeable difference in time on site and bounce rate.)
Back to complimentary and contrasting color. Ideally you want to be consistent in your use of color. There are 3 areas that I focus on in regards to color. They are Text, Clickables, and Selected Items / Chosen Items.
TEXT: One of the first things I do when working on a site for better CRO is go through each and ever page and check for the consistency of text color. If your body text is black, it should all be black. If your headlines are blue, they should for the most part ALL be blue. If you are using a color to define a portion of text, you should ensure that elsewhere on the site the same colors are used.
CLICKABLES: Links, Buttons, Navigation, CTA’s and whatever else you may click on. I am in no way saying they ALL should be the same color. I am suggesting that defined by purpose they should consistently match. Like I said before if at all possible text link should be? You got it, blue.
If you have more than one call to action within a funnel, all of the actionable clicks should be the same color. As an example, you have a RED Side Bar CTA that leads to an opt-in page. You want to match the RED call to action on the second page. The end user clicked red to get there, through conditioning they know to click the red button again to move forward.
Talking specifically about CTA’s, you want these buttons to have contrast to its surroundings. They should basically stand out and scream CLICK ME! Using the data provided in tip #2 you want to ensure that your CTA box is more vertical than square. By introducing an added space between the bottom of a form and the button itself further extenuates this effect.
SELECTED ITEMS: I tend to use this more on commerce sites. An example would be to have a navigation button change color based on the section of site the end user is on. It becomes a visual reference for the end user to see where on your site they are at.
Another instance where I use this is in the check-out process or when the user is filling out a multi-step form. Introducing a progress bar applies positive reinforcement that there is progress being made, and they know specifically where in the process they are.
7.) Learning More
I am always looking at sites to get ideas to help my clients, and my own sites convert better. Looking at squeeze pages and layouts etc., is a good way to get ideas, but really not the BEST way to do so. If I go look at your site, and see something and think “Oh I should try that” I have no idea if it is actually working for you.
The Conversion Rate Optimization community is actually pretty transparent in what tests they run, and the results of the test. CASE STUDIES are not only going to give you ideas to try on your own site, but they are going to clearly point out what may work, and what may not.
Earlier in this article I referred to a Case Study by Google. Seriously think about that. Google sharing on page location and ad sizes that convert best. It almost doesn’t get better than that. So instead of looking at things that may or may not be working, start looking at the studies with actual data behind them that will tell you specifically what worked and why.
Wrapping it up
Site conversion can get down right maddening. Learning how to test and what to test may take time, but it will save so much time and aggravation later it is worth every minute spent. I hope you enjoyed my 7 tips to Optimize Site Conversion.
This post was written by Paul Savidge, successful agency owner who sold his company and has now established himself internationally specializing in E-Commerce Conversion Rate Optimization. Would you like more content focused on CRO? Let both of us know in the comments below!