So you’re generating traffic to your site, right? You’ve got your SEO SEOing, your email emailing, and your social media being as social as is humanly possible. Done, right? Well, not so fast there, hot shot. All that doesn’t mean crap if you don’t have your site set up to convert that traffic into sweet, delicious customers.
And how do you set your site up for conversion? Since this is the internet, the answer can only come in the form of “XX Easy Steps!”, and so as to not bore you, the XX in our case will be 5! So here is your 5 Step Website Conversion Checklist, ready to be implemented immediately for great justice!

1. Separate Conversion Pages:

Not every page should be focused on selling your products and services. On the other hand, you absolutely need to have some pages (typically, these would be the “landing pages” that you hear so much about) that are dedicated to pushing product. There is a fine balance between the off-putting hard-sell and the “Are they trying to sell something?” soft-sell, and you need to find that line. My best tip is to make sure you have a clear line of demarcation between sales/conversion pages and non-sales pages. Always cross-link the two. But don’t sell (ok, maybe just a little bit. A link in a blog post or a sidebar link is not terrible) on the non-sales page. Conversely, don’t try to be Mr. Super-Blogger on the non-sales pages. Remember that the more options and paths you give your customers on any given page, the more likely they are to get lost.

Do A Design Audit:

No one likes being told that their website is poorly designed. A lot of people feel that their page design is not only a representation of who they are as a brand, it’s also a direct extension of who they are as a person. This is a stupid way of thinking about websites, and you should feel bad for indulging in it. At the end of the day, your web site is about one thing and one thing only: generating revenue. If you want to express yourself, go get a personal blog (but do try to use a pseudonym if you plan on posting anything controversial). If, on the other hand, you want your pages to convert, you need to make sure that they’re designed for that purpose. Some things to look for:

  • Use Large Margins – Big margins help in reading comprehension; reading comprehension helps in lead qualification; lead qualification helps you sell
  • Split Up Text – It’s fine to have a lot of text on your page. In fact, in a lot of cases more text equals better leads. Still, you should do everything possible to break up large chunks. Use lists, lots of short paragraphs, and make use of proper heading structure to break things up.
  • Use Directional Cues – Make sure users know where to go next. Use directional cues (arrows, pictures with people pointing or looking at things, etc.) to guide readers to where you want them to go.
  • More Tips from an excellent blog post by Rafal Tomal.

Do A Content Audit:

Does your copy tell your product or company’s story effectively? Does it grab readers by the eyeballs and refuse to let go until they’ve purchased everything you’re selling? More importantly, is it clear, legible, and free of stupid grammar and spelling mistakes? Run your content by several people, and if possible get a professional editor to read over it (you can hire a freelance editor for relatively cheap on a contract basis). Remember, longer is not necessarily worse, and in fact could be better so long as you frame the content right. Can’t think of what to write? Try asking your current customers. Find out what their pain points are, and what obstacles got in their way when choosing your product or service. Talk to your sales team, too, if you have one. The goal is to answer as many questions as possible BEFORE your potential customer even thinks to fill out a form or click the “Buy” button. In short, pretend your website copy is the best salesman ever: what would he say to your customers to get them to buy your product? Now write that down! And don’t forget to spell-check.

Get Some Testimonials, and Make Them Sexy:

People love getting reviews and first-hand accounts of other users’/customers’  experiences with your brand, service, or product. I mean they just absolutely LOVE it. The caveat is that your testimonials need to a) sound plausible/real, and b) tell a story. The former is self-explanatory: it’s easy to lie on the internet, so if your testimonial is the slightest bit off, people will assume you just typed something up, threw a stock photo up, and called it a day. A great solution to this problem is to incorporate third-party reviews. Ratings from your Google place page, or Yelp, or other review sources add a layer of credibility to your site since these are seen as harder to fake/dupe. The former is more rooted in psychology: humans remember stories much better than they remember facts and numbers. This is a throwback to a time when people couldn’t calculate the odds of being eaten by a lion by the watering hole, but could recount the story of Ugg and his untimely death in great detail. So instead of posting a quote of someone saying “This product increased our ROI by 300% and boosted sales team efficiency by an additional 24%”, instead try to get real people talking about real experiences: “I was 3 hours away from my deadline when my computer crashed. In a panic, I called Friendly Computer Repair. They talked me through transferring my data to a secondary computer in about 30 minutes, then sent someone over and got my main machine up in time for me to file. My editor now thinks I’m a superhero!” See how that second one is a lot more engaging?

I’m almost getting tired of repeating myself on this one, but it’s just so important and still so underused. You should be testing content all the time. Literally, ALL THE TIME! Google Analytics has made it incredibly easy to use their new A/B testing platform, content experiments, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be running one or more experiments all the time. Tweak some colors, add or remove fields from forms, change a headline, move the copy to the left or right, play with the margins, SOMETHING. Come up with an experiment every week. It should only take an hour or so, and the insight you’ll gain (not to mention the improved conversion rate) will make it all worthwhile.

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