This is a guest post by Susan Smith.
I used to have an online business that had over 10,000 page views per DAY but didn’t convert a single visitor into a paying customer. Ouch.
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit.
Before I was a brand and website designer, I was a wedding photographer. I had a website that was beautiful. It had a color scheme that finally represented me, was flooded with light and airy pictures, had font pairings that complemented each other—oh man, I was proud of it!
This beautiful little website of mine brought in some major traffic.
I had some blog posts that got pinned over 4k times (what the what!) and had months where I had over 100,000 page views.
I was killing it. So I thought.
While my page views were high, it rarely converted into actual paying customers. Even when I filtered out page views based on my location (since it’s unlikely someone seeing my page in California would hire a wedding photographer that was based out of D.C.), and I still had ZERO visitors convert.
I thought a pretty website was enough. “User experience” was a foreign term.
Can you relate? Do you get traffic to your site, but aren’t converting them the way you hope? Do you want more paying customers? Thought so!
Here are 3 reasons why your visitors aren’t converting into paying customers and how you can change that!
#1:Your visitor’s goals aren’t being met.
Your business or blog will benefit when your user reaches their goal. What does that mean? Glad you asked.
So many times we build our websites and don’t consider our audience. Think about it this way. If you are on a website, you’re most likely there for a certain reason. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then you’ll likely leave and go to another site. Because trust me, we’re living in an over saturated market and if you don’t have it, someone else does (I picture an old Italian grandmother telling me this as she makes her own pasta on her front porch. I’m not sure why anyone would make pasta on a front porch, but it sounds pleasant).
If you don’t design your website around the VISITOR’S goals then they’ll leave—and you can’t benefit much from that at all, can you?
So here’s what you do:
Write down what your visitor’s goals are.
Make sure you read that right. Your VISITOR’S goals, not yours. Put yourself in their shoes. When they are on your website or blog, what are they there for? What are they trying to accomplish?
Maybe you’re a food blogger. Your visitor’s goals may be to find a specific type of recipe and print it out. Or maybe it’s to be able to easily save a recipe that they can come back to later. OR, maybe they want to view the recipe while cooking.
You can have a few goals, but for now, we’ll stick with the ones above.
Write down what YOUR goals are.
When someone is on your site, what do YOU want them to do? What would be considered a “win”? Think outside the box and dig a little deeper than just “to buy something.”
For our beloved food blogger (because who doesn’t love a food blogger), their goals may be for someone to pin their recipes and capture their e-mail address so they can sell their online cookbook to them at a later date.
Identify your sweet spot.
Your sweet spot to convert is where those two intersect. How can your website or blog allow your visitors to accomplish their goals while still meeting your business goals as well?
To keep up with our food blogger, you would:
- Create “pin it” buttons over all of your images.
This will address their need to save your recipe and come back to it and your need of wanting your recipes to be pinned. If you’re a word press user (love you) you can use the jQuery plugin for that.
- Allow an option for someone to e-mail the recipe to themselves, which will allow you to grab their email address. You can use copy like, “Want this recipe in your inbox? No problem!”
- Include a search bar so people can search for “one-pot recipes”. This means you need to tag all of your repins based on what users are searching (a good opportunity to use that keyword planner tool!). You’ll also probably want to put your categories in multiple places so people can easily navigate to them.
Some ideas are:
- Pre-made buttons on your sidebar that lead to keyword friendly categories.
- A banner up top that says “What are you looking for?” with your categories buttons again.
- A search bar in your sidebar.
- Make sure that your website is responsive (easy to read on any device so they can pull it out on their phone while they cook) AND make a “print this” button that allows them to print a pre-formatted recipe.
Do you see how you first make sure you are meeting all of their needs but doing it in a creative way that you can benefit too? Great!
#2: You are overloading your visitors.
As consumers, avid blog readers, and social media queens we are on sensory overload. So many colors, patterns, messages, pictures, things to look at. Sometimes I can picture the wires in my brain working so fast that they just start fizzling. Brain wires probably can’t fizzle. But if they could, I’m sure ours would start fizzling before 10am each day.
The problem with this is that we don’t know where to look. There is simply TOO much to look at.
Use white space to help define a hierarchy and lead them.
Using white space guides the user’s eyes and helps establish a flow that corresponds to your content’s message. Think about where you want your audience to look first. Then group things together and surround that group with whitespace. It helps build an invisible relationship between these elements.
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
Just because you can have a gold glittery background that shimmers when your mouse moves, doesn’t mean you should do it. Unless you want to throwback to your myspace page circa 2001.
Think about the things on your website that really help accomplish your business goal (like we talked about above). If it doesn’t either meet the visitor’s goals or your goals, then it’s likely not helping you convert them into a paying customer.
Eliminate things that are useless and distracting.
Keep It Simple Stupid.
#3: You aren’t putting your Call To Action in enough places
Do you have a free giveaway in exchange for an email address? Put that email sign-up box in multiple places!
Do you want to drive people to a certain blog post, maybe one of your most popular ones? Put a link to it in multiple places.
As I mentioned before, we are one sensory overload. Chances are we’ll miss it the first time, and most likely the second time. Don’t assume that your visitors will see that call to action.
Bonus points if you use your white space to draw people’s eye to your call to action!
Good places to put call to actions are:
- A sticky header at the top of your page.
- Your sidebar
- Your main banner on your website
- Below each blog post
This is just the beginning in learning how to convert your customers (whether that means getting them to buy a product, subscribe to your email list, or keep them coming back to read more later on). But the most important step you can take is simply being aware of your audience.
We all wake up as consumers but as soon as we step into our home office, we often turn that valuable side of the brain off and only think like business owners.
To remember this, I used the worksheet below and hung it right above my computer. Every time I make a change on my site, write a blog post, or do anything for that matter I reference this sheet. And it’s yours! I hope you can benefit from it as much as I can!
Susan Smith is a Texas-based branding and web designer with a passion for streamlined processes, guacamole, and helping women entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. With over 8+ years of experience working for someone else, she finally decided to quit her full-time job to pursue her freelance career, Linen + Lane Design, and hasn’t looked back since.