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conversion rate optimization tips strategies

Conversion Rate Optimisation Tips & Strategies

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1) Create Additional Landing Pages

Technically, a landing page is any page that visitors can enter your website through or ‘land on’ through a search engine. However, in the context of search marketing, it refers to a page whose purpose is to get visitors to complete an objective. This objective may be to persuade visitors to buy a particular product, download a brochure, fill in a contact form, subscribe to a newsletter and so on. Whatever the objective is, it ultimately serves the same purpose and that is to generate more leads for your business. Therefore, the more landing pages you create, the more leads you’re likely to obtain.

2) Use Split Testing

Split testing refers to the practice of displaying two different versions of the same web page, for the purpose of identifying which layout yields the highest conversion rates, lowest bounce rate, most downloads etc. The results of the split test offer you a valuable insight into the best performing layout.

3) Understand Colour Psychology

Different colours evoke specific moods and have a profound effect upon us. Colour is one of the most important considerations for all interior decorators. Whenever you walk into a shopping store, enter a bank, or visit a medical institution, the colour of your surroundings plays a vital role in determining how you feel. According to psychologists, this ability to influence our emotions also extends to our propensity to buy things, as well. When used correctly, colour has the capacity to increase your conversions.

Here’s a good article that delves into the association of colours and conversions.

4) Utilise Page Space Sensibly

If you wish to place a greater emphasis on a particular element such as a call to action, ensure that there is sufficient padding around it. If there are too many other elements surrounding the object you wish to draw attention to, they’ll distract the user and lure them elsewhere.

5) Effective Copywriting That Is Conversion Focused

An essential ingredient of conversion rate optimisation is well-written copy that persuades your visitors to act. There are a number of ways you can ensure greater engagement with your copy:

  • Know your audience – in order to write copy that compels people to take action, you first have to understand who they are and what interests them. Compile a list of buyer personas for your particular products or services. A good guide can be found
  • Use captivating headlines – if your headline doesn’t capture the user’s attention then they aren’t going to read further. We live in an age where users have access to an endless abundance of information concerning every topic imaginable. This over-abundance has had a devaluing effect, making content boring and lacklustre, not prized and precious. This makes it much harder for businesses to create copy that stands out.
  • Include facts and statistics – adding facts and stats from trusted sources adds credibility to your claims and enhances the persuasive power of your copy.
  • Make it interesting – people don’t read articles, they scan and skim through them. If you’ve passed the first test; created a good headline that has prompted the visitor to continue on, the next challenge is to maintain their attention by dividing your copy up with equally appealing sub-headings, bulleted point lists and images. When they’re scanning through your copy, these elements are what they stop to look at. If they’re suitably intrigued by any of these, they’ll consider browsing the surrounding content.

6) Create Engaging Videos

Video content is a great way to engage visitors, but as it contains both a visual and audio component, it’s imperative that the content you create is of a professional standard and doesn’t irritate prospective buyers. Here’s a few pointers for ensuring better quality video:

  • Don’t make the video play automatically – as a website visitor, you want to have complete control of your experience of the site; what you click on, what you read and what order you do things. For this reason, there’s few things more infuriating than videos that auto play. Whenever I’m browsing the web, 9 times out of 10 I’ll have my headphones on, so being jolted by the sudden sounds of a deafening promotional video really angers me – not the kind of mood you want your prospective customers to be in. Instead, always let visitors play the video at their
  • Consider adding captions – adding captions for hearing impaired viewers is really easy to implement for YouTube videos.
  • Consider the style – what would you say your target audience would be more receptive to? Video content that is based on illustrations or live footage? The style of your video content will have a large bearing on the success of your video content.

7) Use a Distinct Call-to-Action

The call-to-action (CTA) defines the primary goal of your landing page; to buy, to download, to subscribe etc, so it’s a critical component of Conversion Rate Optimisation. There are a number of ways in which you can ensure your CTA maximises your conversions:

  • Be direct and to the point – if you want your visitors to buy, tell them as such, in no uncertain terms.
  • Use words that trigger an emotional response – if you’re advertising a product, compel visitors to buy with words that emphasise and create urgency. If you are selling professional quality headphones for example, you could have something like ‘Buy the ULTIMATE in Personal Audio Now!’. The word ‘ultimate’ stresses the quality of the device, while ‘now!’ creates the urgency.
  • Include a value proposition – persuading visitors to act on what you’re offering, requires a good incentive. A value proposition summarises the benefits (value) of the product or service to prospective customers. For example, if you’re selling a pillow that’s made from special fibres that provide greater comfort, your CTA could be ‘buy now to ensure a better night’s sleep!’ Here, ‘better night’s sleep’ is the value proposition. There’s not a person out there who couldn’t do with a better night’s rest, so it’s an effective selling point.
  • Emphasise the limited availability – whether it’s a limited edition product that has only has X amount available before the stock runs out, or a special offer that ends in X amount of days, emphasising the limited availability of your offer is a great way to encourage them to take immediate action
  • The power of numbers – all powerful CTA’s include numbers in one form or another. Whether it’s to illustrate how much buyers will save (either in absolute terms or as a percentage; ie. ‘save $100’ or ‘get 25% off’) or demonstrate a condition of purchase or such; ‘items returned within 30 days receive full refund’
speed up wordpress seo optimisation

Speed Up WordPress – Optimisation Tips

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No matter what industry your business is in, having a fast website is essential. WordPress is an excellent platform with many great features but its performance can be hindered if it becomes weighed down by unnecessary plugins and isn’t optimised correctly. Website speed is critically important for a number of reasons:

  1. It affects your rankings – a slow website impacts user experience and this in turn harms your search engine rankings, leading to diminished traffic to your site.
  2. It affects customer engagement – sub-standard page loading times frustrate prospective customers, resulting in less sales leads and conversions. Many visitors won’t even bother exploring your site beyond the first page they enter the site from (the landing page), if it’s too slow. According to research, almost 50% of users expect pages to load in under 2 secs, while only 15% of mobile users are willing to wait up to 5 seconds for a page to load.
  3. Speed is even more crucial for mobile – once upon a time, desktop users represented the overwhelming majority of visitors, now this is no longer the case. In 2017, over half of the world’s internet users access the web using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet and this number is increasing all the time. With the majority now using mobile devices, Google has responded by placing a greater emphasis on mobile performance than ever before. A recent update now means that all websites are ranked according to their *mobile* rankings, regardless of whether they’re using a mobile device or not. So if your site is performing slow on a mobile device it will have widespread consequences to your business as a whole.

How to Speed Up WordPress

According to research performed in 2017, WordPress is now used by almost 60% of websites that use a CMS (Content Management System). It’s a hugely popular platform, especially among small businesses which is why this guide has been aimed at WordPress users. There are a number of ways in which the speed of your WordPress site can be optimised to go faster, resulting in a more enjoyable experience for visitors to your site, better rankings and ultimately, more business for you.

1) Choose a High Performance Web Host

Even before we highlight ways in which you can optimise the performance of the WordPress CMS, we must first consider the most important factor that determines website speed; your web hosting package. With most basic hosting packages, your site will be hosted on the same server as multiple other sites, where you’ll share the bandwidth with their sites (shared hosting).

Whilst this is the most economical method of hosting, it’s not performance-oriented and any business who is serious about ensuring the best possible speeds and user experience for customers will instead opt for a dedicated server hosting package.

How Do You Choose a Good Web Host?

So which web hosting provider should you go with? When in doubt, always search online. Simply search for ‘best web hosting providers’ or ‘best web hosting providers [your_country]’ and take a look at their various hosting deals. There’s no better way to gauge how good a product or service is than by looking at customer reviews. If they’re overwhelmingly positive, consider signing up with them, if on the other hand customer reviews are mostly negative, avoid them and continue your search elsewhere.

When sifting through reviews, it’s important to be wary of fake reviews that are posted for the sole purpose of boosting a company’s aggregate rating. If you see a glowing endorsement that consists of little more than a generic “These guys are amazing! I would definitely recommend!”, then it’s probably safe to assume that the review is not genuine. Whenever I personally review a product – whether it’s to praise or criticise, I always take the time to explain why I’m happy with the product or why I’m dissatisfied with it. This is usually a good sign that the review can be trusted.

2) Select a Fast WordPress Theme

There are an endless list of high quality WordPress themes on the market today, but not all of them are geared towards swift performance. Although there are many fantastic looking themes to choose from, their overly elaborate designs can sometimes hinder loading times. Here’s a good article that details 20 fast loading WordPress themes.

3) Use a Robust WordPress Caching Plugin

Whenever you browse the internet, your web browser stores data locally on your computer. This avoids the need to keep downloading the same data over and over again from a website server, resulting in faster page loading speeds. This process is known as (client-side) caching. It is possible to employ this same method of speed optimisation for WordPress, as well. This is known as server-side caching and it’s crucial to providing better website performance. WordPress is capable of caching many different types of data, including HTML pages, database queries, PHP caching and more.

Here’s a list of some of the more popular WordPress caching plugins:

4) Optimise Your Images

Images play a major role in web design aesthetics and many modern sites feature large header images that span the entire length of your screen. Additionally, home pages often feature multiple header images that cycle through in a carousel fashion, known as sliders. Whilst images are an essential element, they typically account for the majority of data that needs to be downloaded for each web page, so it’s important that they are suitably optimised to help ensure fast page load speeds.

Here’s a number of ways to help optimise your images:

  • Don’t resize images in HTML – often, we’ll come across large images on web pages that have been downsized in HTML. It’s important to remember that the size of an image file does not automatically become smaller when it’s dimensions are merely rescaled in HTML. For example, a 500 kb image file that measures 1000 x 500 pixels on the screen is still going to be 500 kb, even if the image has been scaled down in HTML to only display at 500 x 250 pixels. The only way to shrink the actual file size is to resize the image in a photo editing program such as Photoshop or such.
  • Compress your image files – going through and compressing every single image on your site manually can be unreasonable if you have hundreds of images, so there’s a handy little WP plugin called WP Smush.
  • Consider using CSS image sprites – normally, when you need to display several different images, you’ll have several different files – a separate file for each image. With sprites however, you have a single image file that contains each of the several images stitched together. Using CSS, you then simply choose to display a specific area of this sprite image to display each of the several different images. CSS image sprites reduce the workload of the server, resulting in better site performance.

5) Speed Up Your Home Page

Your home page is the most visited page on your website so it’s important that it loads as fast as possible. To do so, be mindful of the following:

  • Avoid displaying too many blog posts on the page
  • If you do display blog posts, choose to only display small snippets of the content with a link to the full article, rather than the article in its entirety
  • Refrain from cluttering the home page with any unnecessary widgets or plugins, as these only serve to add to the page loading times

6) Protect Your Site from Hotlinking

Hotlinking is the process of displaying an element on your site such as an image or linking to a file hosted on someone else’s website – without their permission. In other words, it’s the unauthorised use (theft) of someone else’s bandwidth. The strain on your server due to somebody hotlinking your files can impact the speed of your website, so it’s important that you prevent it from happening. There’s a good article published on Media Temple which explains how to prevent hotlinking.

website design tips

Website Design Tips

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Whether you’re designing a car, a house, a piece of furniture, or a website, great design involves the careful consideration and application of basic design principles. The following is a set of website design tips to help you create an engaging site that is visually appealing, easy to navigate and accomplishes what you originally set out to achieve.

1) Understand The Basic Rules of Typography

Regardless of your website’s purpose; to inform, promote, sell, entertain and so on, everything is primarily communicated to your visitors through type. There are a number of key guidelines that should be observed when it comes to the size, spacing and placement of your text.

Headings

  • Bold; headings must be easy to read and stand out from the body text
  • Sans serif fonts are preferred as they’re commanding and direct, and legible at larger sizes

Body Text

  • Choose a font that reflects the overall character of your website
  • Ensure a font size of 16 pixels or greater
  • Aim for a line length of between 45 to 75 characters
  • Line height should be around 1.2 ems (1.2 x the size of your body text)

2) Combining Multiple Typefaces

Selecting multiple fonts to use for headings and body text can be difficult. On one hand, you need the fonts to be compatible with each and have certain similarities but on the other hand, they must also be suitably distinct from each other, but not so distinct that they conflict. Choosing the right font pairings is an art form rather than a science, so experimenting with different fonts is the only real sure-fire way of guaranteeing success. The good news is, many sites now offer a list of suggested fonts to use with your chosen font, so the process of choosing multiple fonts that work well together is made easier for you.

3) Choosing The Right Colour Palette

Deciding on a suitable range of colours to use for your website can be challenging. Colour plays an important role in defining the mood and personality of a site and the right colour palette will help to better convey the purpose of your site.

Here’s a brief list of ways to ensure an optimal colour scheme for your site:

  • Avoid using unnatural colours – refrain from using bright, fluoro colours or any other grotesque colour that is far too intense. Doing so will prompt visitors to leave
  • Aim for bold colour contrasts – dark text on a light background ensures maximum legibility. It also common to see websites implement light shades of grey and other colours which help to create a calming effect while retaining the optimal font clarity
  • Choose a narrow colour palette – opt for a smaller number of colours (five at most) and be sure that all colours are complementary to each other

There’s a number of useful online tools that can help you choose the right colours:

4) Size Your Images Correctly

Your website should project an air of professionalism and images that are too small, pixelated or blurry detract from the quality of your site. Always source images that are of a suitably high standard. Anything less should not be used.

5) Formatting Matters

The majority of visitors to your site aren’t fanatical readers who patiently sift through and digest each individual word of your written copy. They instead skim through your page, from top to bottom. One of the best ways to ensure that you secure their attention for that little bit longer is by dividing your written copy up with short, eye-catching subheadings, bulleted points and high quality images that are going to help fortify their interest.

6) Make It Easy for Visitors

When a visitor navigates your site, you must make it easy for them to locate what they’re looking for. A convoluted menu will only hinder their experience and increase the chances of them doing business elsewhere. It’s always a good idea to provide multiple methods of navigation, such as search boxes, internal links, breadcrumbs etc.

This whole ‘ease of use’ theme extends beyond navigation, as well. It’s important that all critical elements of the site such as ‘call to action’ buttons and other essential information is all clearly visible to users.

7) Plan for Success

Every website has its own unique purpose and it’s important that you identify the best ways to achieve your goals with a bit of planning. Contemplate the following:

  • What’s the purpose of your website? Do prospective customers need to contact you to register their interest or is it an e-commerce site where they can make purchases directly through the website?
  • Who are the visitors to your site and what are they searching for?
  • How do you propose to transform these visitors into paying customers?
  • How do you plan to market your website?

With a plan in place, it will be easier for you to ensure that your site fulfils its original purpose.

8) Always Test Your Checkout System

E-commerce websites rely on having fast and efficient checkout systems. If your website makes it difficult for customers to buy things, they’ll go elsewhere. It should be easy for them to add their items, select their payment method, enter their details and place their order. Be sure that your e-commerce site uses HTTPS as well, which provides encrypted data transferral, making it safer for consumers.

9) Optimise Your Website for Search Engines

A great looking website that is easy for visitors to navigate and make purchases with is of little value if you have next to no traffic heading to your site. These days, every search conducted by users online is done so through a search engine such as Google. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) provides a way of increasing traffic to your site by enabling your website to target search phrases that matter most to your business. SEO is essential for the growth of all businesses, especially new businesses who are looking to establish their brand.

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