8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

ClickTale
June 4, 2009

Did you know that about 40-50% of your site’s visitors leave after seeing just a single page?*

If half of your traffic disappears, it will take a heavy toll on your site’s conversion rate. Understanding why visitors leave and how they interact with your site is crucial to your business, and bottom line.

ClickTale has helped thousands of sites like yours gain insight into customer behavior by showing actual visitor sessions, mouse movements, clicks, scrolls and more.

Based on the feedback of many of our customers, as well as our own experiences, we have prepared a set of 8 ‘best practices’ to help you boost conversion rates and improve site usability.

We’d love to hear your feedback and about your experience using ClickTale to optimize your website.

*According to two independent surveys by Anil Batra and Panalysis.

1. Visual-ize it

Images and movies are the easiest types of content to absorb quickly, and using them effectively can boost your readers’ attention span and encourage longer interactions.

Don’t forget to make images clickable! They will be clicked!

tn Schwans 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

Schwan’s uses images superbly and, in fact, are one of the highest converting retail websites around.

Did you know?
People love looking at faces
, especially the faces of attractive people…

tn Esquire 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

Esquire.com uses lots of images to get visitor attention. How many faces can you count? We counted 9!

2. Read this and Win

Did we get your attention? Are your headlines working for, or against you? If your visitors aren’t immediately captured by your headlines, they’ll quickly leave your site. Don’t worry! You don’t need to be a world-class copywriter to come up with great headlines. With a little bit of practice, and some testing, you can hone your headline skills and grab the attention of your audience.

Ask yourself these short questions:

  • Is the headline short and to the point?
  • Is it worded in terms of benefits to the visitor (and not product features)?

Your headlines should encourage the visitor to continue reading, highlighting the benefits of doing so while keeping it believable and specific.

tn Apple 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

Apple.com website says so much with just a few well chosen words.

Want to learn more about writing headlines? Read about how to write the “World’s Best Headlines” in Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.

3. Put your Best Stuff up Top

Most readers never scroll down, and when they do the drop-off rate follows a distinct pattern (see graph below). In fact, page areas near the top of the page get about 17 times more exposure than the areas near the bottom of the page, according to a research report by ClickTale. This means that everything important or newsworthy, or any call to action, needs to be above the page fold.

tn Visitor Attention 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

The chart above shows where on the page visitors are paying attention, as they scroll towards the bottom of the page. To see your own visitors’ scrolling behavior, we recommend using ClickTale’s Scrolling Heatmaps.

4. Make content Pop

The really important stuff, the things you want to stand out, should be emphasized. Did you notice how we use bold typeface to draw your attention to certain words or sentences? Experiment with font size, bold, italics, color and highlighting to find the most effective places and methods to grab your readers’ attention and call them to action.

tn CRE 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

Conversion Rate Experts do an excellent job using different font styles and colors to get their messages across.

5. WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)

Sites usually get it wrong by focusing on themselves (the site) and not the user (i.e. “Me”). Chapter 3 of Dan Pink’s The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, a fantastic manga-style career guide, puts it this way: “It’s not about you”.

That’s right, accept it, it’s not. It’s about the user community, that is, your sites target audience. Your site exists to serve this audience, and everything done on your site should have this focus.

This Best-Practice is actually quite simple.
Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this page/form/offer/etc actually of real value to my audience?
  • Why should they care?
  • How is it useful to them?

tn Mint 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

Mint.com homepage concisely conveys what’s-in-it-for “you” (their potential customers).

6. You ask TOO much

We hate to be the one to tell you this, but you ask for too much info on your signup forms and checkout pages! Visitors are extremely sensitive to the quantity and type of information asked from them, and every additional question significantly decreases the likelihood of form completion, harming your conversion rates.

Did you know?
The least-intrusive and fewest-question forms are the biggest winners.

tn Facebook 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

Facebook is a great example of a simple, short and effective sign up form.

Two Tribes used ClickTale’s Form Analytics to optimize their online forms and got a 50% increase in conversion rates.

tn TwoTribes Form Analytics 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

7. Watch your visitors

Running usability tests used to be difficult and expensive. Not anymore. With ClickTale (start using it for Free) you’re able to conduct usability testing by watching your visitors’ actual browsing sessions.

Usability testing will help you discover what’s “broken” on your website, and answer questions like:

  • Why are visitors leaving my landing pages?
  • Why do they fail to make purchases?
  • Which pages never get scrolled?

Watch this short (about a minute) ClickTale video to learn how to run online usability testing.

tn Player 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

Did you know?
Breaking down problems makes it easier to fix them. After running usability testing, compile a list of the top 5 things that are “broken” on your site. This will help you focus on the most urgent problems, and prioritize issues. Once you’re done, go to step #8 (Testing).

8. Test – Repair – Retest

Small changes often make major impacts on the bottom line, which is why we recommend that you test every section of your site, in order to maximize revenue and conversion potential. Using a service such as Google’s Website Optimizer to run “multivariate tests” or running a simple A/B test, is a great way to see what works best.

Run your testing in three stages:

I. Fix all of the things that are “broken” (which you’ll discover during your usability tests, see #7 above). This is worth doing first, because it’s the easiest way to make quick improvements.

II. Watch your visitors again with ClickTale, to make sure you actually fixed what was broken. If things are still screwy, or if further tweaking is necessary, go back to step I.

III. Test new ideas that have the potential to significantly grow your business. Again, it’s important to watch the results of your changes to see how they are really impacting your business.

tn Google Website Optimizer 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions

Here is an example of an A/B/C experiment using Google’s Website Optimizer.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to web design, there are no firm set of rules. But following these simple guidelines will help you optimize your site and improve conversion rates, as it has ours and thousands of other websites.

So remember:

  1. Fantastic visuals grab visitors attention
  2. Great headlines encourage action
  3. Float your best content to the top
  4. Make important content stand out
  5. WIIFM
  6. Fewer questions boost conversions
  7. Run usability tests
  8. Test, repair, and retest

We would love to hear how these guidelines (or any other tips) have helped you with your site optimization. Send us your experiences and we will mention your feedback in a future follow-up article!

Still hungry for more tips?

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50 Comments

  1. Daniel Sevitt Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Wow, you have enough here for two or three posts. I read through it once, but I have to go back and read it again to squeeze all the juice out. Nicely done!

    It’s one of those posts where everything seems to stem from common sense, but the smart part starts with the first question – What do I have to do to boost conversion?

    Just asking that question leads to all the superb tips you illustrate so well.

    Thanks

  2. John Jantsch Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Very simple primer with lots of great detail and examples – nice work.

    This is about all most small business owners would need to learn about optimizing web pages for real eyeballs.

  3. Sarah Mae Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 9:22 am

    GREAT info. Thank you so much! I’m going to check out ClickTail and peruse more of you site!

    :)

  4. Boost Your Online Conversation Today! « Heart-to-Heart Connection Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 9:27 am

    [...] Test, repair, and retest (Full Story) [...]

  5. Rob Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Great post, I never had heard about Clic Tale. I’ll test it!
    Good luck!

  6. Ron Spinner Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I agree that a bounce rate of 50% is not unusual. We see this on many of our client’s sites. Clicktales is great for showing us some of the problems. Combine this with drilling down to the bounce rate details and you can get great insights on how to improve the site. I recently posted on this here: http://www.aims.co.il/blog/bounce-rate-analytics/

  7. CSS Brigit | 8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions Says:
    June 4th, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    8 Brilliant Tips That Boost Conversions…

    Following these simple guidelines will help you optimize your site and improve conversion rates, as it has ours and thousands of other websites. With real world examples to guide you.

  8. ClickTale offers Web Analytic Tips « Web Builders Says:
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  9. SlimQuick Says:
    June 6th, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Thank you. Very good tips.

  10. Chuck Bartok Says:
    June 6th, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Fantastic presentation.

    I will share this
    information with our Community and
    looking into your Product.

    You did the Job!

  11. Weekly Favs June Seven | Small Business Marketing Blog from Duct Tape Marketing Says:
    June 7th, 2009 at 7:46 am

    [...] 8 Brilliant Tips to Boost Conversions – nice set of basic web site conversion tips. [...]

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    [...] sure what to do with all of this information? In the company blog, Clicktale offers tips on using the data provided by the service. For example, they recommend that [...]

  15. Phillip Scott Says:
    June 25th, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I prefer Conversion Chicken (http://www.conversionchicken.com) for split testing over Google Website Optimizer, gives results much faster and is so easy to use :)

    Used to love Google Website Optimizer, haven’t used it in months…

  16. Gerrid Smith Says:
    June 25th, 2009 at 6:51 am

    Excellent advice and very well organized.

    Love the examples, too!

    -Gerrid

  17. Boost your conversions with Analytics « The Lost Press Marketing Blog Says:
    June 25th, 2009 at 8:03 am

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  18. Ben Still Says:
    June 25th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I think that is a bit misleading to show the chart you have there:
    “The chart above shows where on the page visitors are paying attention, as they scroll towards the bottom of the page”

    Our experience, using ClickTale and other tools, has shown that results vary *massively* from site to site depending on:
    a) the audience – especially whether they’ve come through organically or via paid search, and
    b) the content and type of site – ecomm and blog would be very different, and
    c) the design and layout

    Each of these factors can influence where and how far people scroll and click. That is- that graph can be quite different. Also, it shows “visitor attention”. You can do this identical test but base it on clicks or eyeball tracking, and you’ll get a different set of results.

    When Clicktale posts something like this, I feel there is a tendency for people to think this graph is some kind of overall result from all sites that use Clicktale. There is no reference to where it comes from, so I’m assuming it is from a particular site- it might be helpful to indicate what type of site.

    My issue is that people see a graph like that and take that as some kind of gospel that applies to any site – especially as Clicktale is a respected vendor of tools. Perhaps the point that the post is trying to make is that this stuff can be measured with tools such as Clicktale, and you should check out how your own pages perform.

    regards

    Ben

  19. Joshua U Says:
    June 26th, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Very solid tips to boost conversions. Most people don’t use images because that sometimes requires a whole new area of skill and work.

    About split-testing, Google Website Optimizer is clunky and can take forever to see what is effective, especially for sales. Something like ConversionChicken.com is a simple, quick split-tester.

  20. Joey Auto Versicherung Says:
    June 28th, 2009 at 4:55 am

    A very good article. Thanks for that one!
    I d like to add another conversion factor: keep it simple. Not only with your messages, but also with any functionalities you have on your website. What if you have a great tool, but no one understands its benefit and how to use it?
    Also: in forms conversion increases when you offer descriptions/explanations what you want to know and why!

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  22. Top Conversion Tips from ClickTale | Greg Cassar - Internet Marketing Strategist, Entrepreneur and Speaker Says:
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  24. ade Says:
    July 13th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Great post. Very interesting and educative. The suggestions are easy to apply on any website and we see results almost immediately. Look forward to reading more of this kind of post.

  25. Srom Divid Says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Very useful and helpful information.

    I would add to make sure you have the proper target market. For example, if you demographics show that you are getting 80% females at 35 to 45 years old. Does your website fit their need?

    The google adplanner tool does a great job showing demographics.

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  27. richard Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Google Analytics is a really good way of optimising your site. Those pages with high bounce rates are doing something wrong. Those pages with low bounce rates and high visitor numbers are doing something right – learn from them!

    Id also just think about putting yourself in your customers shoes. What would you want to know that would help you make a purchase?

    cheers for the article.

  28. Peter Netz Lassen Says:
    October 4th, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Hi Clicktale… This post about Tips to boost vonversions are surely a goldmine… Beeing bad at math and understanding stats makes it diffucult to grasp the importens of analytics … but now I can get it visual !! :)

    Thx for your work and sharing it

  29. Inez Bracy Says:
    December 10th, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Great information. Thanks.

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  34. Zadling Says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I loved the article. Another tip you may want to include is to use bullets or lists. The fact that you had 8 tips immediately caught my attention and I was able to scan the headlines of those 8 tips before spending time reading the article and once I saw what you were writing about, I read more. Thanks for the tips.

  35. Talking Ava Says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Great tips! I agree, one of the most important things in website construction is its design and structure. Build it into something visually appealing and style the content with strong and interesting ideas, and you’ll be more assured that your viewers will grow in numbers.

  36. Nancy Hutchins Says:
    May 4th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Exactly what I was looking for–you clearly know what you are talking about and I will try your free service and get more familiar with what ClickTale can do for me.

  37. toronto stucco contractors Says:
    June 8th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I think I’ve been very guilty of #6. Half of the stuff I ask for in the forum hasn’t been used for any sort of feedback.

    Thanks!

  38. Zona Agle Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 5:19 am

    nice post

  39. Carlo/Carlo At YourService Productions Says:
    October 31st, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Perfect information for the web site owner that is new to SEO, that wants to optimize their site getting REAL results that they can easily understand.

  40. Jean de faalangst Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 3:51 am

    I’ve been struggling boosting conversion of my website. I’ve tried lot of different thing but without much result. I’ll try tip 1, visualize it and tip 7, watch your visitors to get better results

  41. customer review monitoring Says:
    January 27th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Wow. This is a super post – I found 3-4 new tools that I want to try out. Nice work.

  42. SEO In Houston Says:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    This was a great post. I especially enjoyed the facebook example of a good sign up form. :)

  43. James Blute Says:
    March 3rd, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Amazing post !

  44. Tim Stokes Says:
    March 21st, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I love your post. It finally reveals the key to traffic conversion, not just visitors with great content!

    I will follow up all of the examples and study their examples

    No point having visitors who leave 5 seconds later.

  45. Graham Penrose Says:
    March 29th, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Excellent post – I find that making it as easy as possible for browsers to find out exactly who they dealing with is also important – namely – have and maintain a proper “base camp” where browsers can connect to other sources of content from you or see more details on your bio etc – I have posted in detail on this here Generate Traffic to your Social Media Footprint Part 1 http://grahampenrose.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/generate-traffic-for-your-social-media-footprint-part-1/

  46. Ramesh Vishwakarma Says:
    April 1st, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Great tips I will implement in my site. Thanks dude..

  47. Eye Exercises Expert Says:
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Great post, great insights, great tool!

    Clicktale is amazing and gives really great insights into visitors website behavior.

    Thanks for the post guys!

  48. Our Bookmarks: Jun 01 - Jun 07 | Border Crossing Media Says:
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  49. Craig Sullivan Says:
    November 5th, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Hi,

    We’ve been using clicktale for a while now – and it makes us lots of money, as well as improving satisfaction scores, time spent on forms and improving persuasion.

    We use it in combination with A/B split testing to get maximum value and when we put in new features (or say, a whole new checkout) – we use it to test alongside and identify issues with the new stuff we’re implementing – IN REAL TIME. 15 minutes after I put something live, I can see if we’ve screwed it up or not!

    Couple of things on the post – beautiful images of people don’t always work. People actually look for images ‘more like them’ so using stock photos, airbrushed models and perfect faces might work on a fashion site – they may not work if you are handling insurance claims. I’ve tested over 26M pages with people shots and actually, people in the middle of the beauty scale do best. The answer here is to test using split testing on your own site. This post IS right about one thing – people images have a powerful emotional effect that you shouldn’t ignore.

    Another one missed is knowing where the fold ‘really’ is for customers. Clicktale helps me spot where actual users may be missing a key piece of content or a call to action button – both of which might hit my conversion rates.

    Lastly – mouse movement behaviour sometimes tells you things. I had a long form page which I watched people on (about 300 videos) – I notices that lots of people scrolled down, up, down and then left. Clearly there was an indiciation that there was ‘too much’ on that page. Splitting this into two pages without removing any data solved the conversion ‘hump;.

    Good article and there should be more stuff being shared by Clicktale customers – I get stuff from this that I can’t get from *any* other research source I have.

  50. Ancient Scrolls | adPineapple Says:
    August 24th, 2012 at 9:11 am

    [...] moral: Always measure. The counterpoint from Clicktale that fold still matters – see point 3. ) Posted in: [...]

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