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Sunday, June 29, 2014

5 ways to improve your online sales

By Wendy Lin

Having a website is pretty much a business essential these days, but if you have plenty of visitors but few actual sales, then the chances are there are some fundamental flaws with the design of your site. Read on for five basic ways to improve your website, and convert viewers into actual buyers.

Use clear navigation

If your visitors are arriving at a site which is poorly laid out with confusing information then they’re not going to hang around for long. You only have a few seconds to grab their interest, and faced with a confusing and cluttered layout they won’t stick around. Interestingly, new research is showing that removing the menu from the landing page results in greater lead generation, but as the psychology surrounding  user interaction and website design could fill an entire book, just remember that  you should be emphasising those areas which compel visitors to engage with your site.

Improve page speed and create a responsive site

More than half of website visitors expect a page to load in two seconds, and every second of reduced loading time results in increased conversion rates. Moreover, as mobile users have a conversion percentage rate that’s three times higher than on a traditional desktop or laptop, responsive design is an essential consideration for visitors accessing your site. So make sure your site is optimised for mobile visitors, and that page speeds are fast.

Have a clear call to action

To increase conversion rates, strong call to action messages should be built into your site design and content. A call to action is designed to get people to act, for example by buying or signing up for a newsletter. In design, this can be achieved with clickable buttons, but good content also includes strong call to action messages. If you’re not confident of your ability to write content which includes call to action messages, then employ the services of a copywriter.

Brand your Site

Users trust brands, so make sure that the design of your site accurately reflects your business image. Your brand should be clear, compelling and consistent, designed to elicit an emotional response from the user, and your web site should be able to effectively express it. According to Robert Wakefield from http://www.wysi.co.uk/, only 5% of people notice the actual content on a site. The rest of what makes a website appealing is the design. Implicit in this is the visual consistency of your brand – so ensure your web site is visually expressing your values effectively.

Understand your metrics

 Key to achieving more conversions is to understand your user behaviour. You should know your bounce rate, exit rate, the average time users spend on your site and your average page views at the very least. Use tools such as Google Analytics to analyse visitor behaviour, and adjust your website design accordingly.  It is also worth carrying out A/B tests, which is a simple way to experiment with how changes in two different pages on your site will affect user behaviour. This can be done using online A/B testing tools through a site such as Optimizely.

About the author: Wendy Lin is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She has been selling her watercolour art since she was 10 years old.

Image: Pictofigo; CC BY-SA 3.0
"Pictofigo online sales icon"