James Pennington, Lead IT Consultant with the National B2B Centre works with a wide variety of organisations to make their web sites more effective. In his view people are beginning to get the hang of making their websites more visible and more attractive to the likes of Google by using various aspects of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The focus now needs to be on turning traffic into real business.
Although I really want to focus on what happens when people actual reach one of your web pages there is a step in the process that needs some attention. Lots of people that I work with ignore the fact the page title and page description are vital promotional tools.
Google in particular uses them (or parts of them) in its display of search results so real people will be looking at them and using them as part of their decision whether to click through to your website. If you leave the page description meta tag blank then Google may simply find some text (any text) to fill in the space. You can treat the description like an advert and put in a compelling message or at least provide some relevant, descriptive information.
Interestingly the same sort of thing applies in Pay Per Click adverts too, where it is probably even more important to be compelling. This means that the advice in this article has the potential to get even more conversions from both organic and paid traffic.
So here are my 5 top tips to help convert traffic:
1. Make sure the page / website looks professional, nothing can be worse than convincing the client to click through to your website, then for him to land on a badly designed, poor looking web page. It takes a lot to convince the person to buy.
Ask your clients their honest opinion on your website, prepare yourself for some feedback, good and bad. Some B2B Centre clients have expressed surprise that when they went to an SEO specialist they were recommended they spend money bringing the site up to. Well they are probably right: they could have just taken the money and generated lots of traffic but without generating many conversions.
2. Write the text in such a way that it gets the user to do something – a “call to action”. Ensure your ‘calls to action’ is very clear to the user when landing on the page.
If it’s a Pay Per Click advert he’s clicked to purchase your product, make sure that the page the visitor lands on gives him the facility to make a purchase or that it is very easy to click through to a purchasing area.
3. Remove barriers in the way of people who want to try your product. In a recent workshop one client was providing free trials of software to allow prospects to get a feel for the products benefits.
The only problem was in order to try-out the software you had to provide you contact details first. In these days of spam this is a sure fire way to put people off straight away. Let your product do the sale, not a phone call from a sales men trying to convince you because you’ve filled a form in that you’re doing the right thing.
4. If you mention something in your web page’s page title or page description, or in a Pay Per Click advert please make sure that it is then referenced on the landing page.
Here are some examples of what NOT to do;
a. Offer ‘Free Postage’ or ‘Discounted 25% Off’ on a PPC Advert with no mention on the landing page
b. Offer a specific range of product by a designer brand – only to link into a section of the website which shows the entire product range. This means the user then has to navigate to locate the offer you’ve advertised on the PPC Advert. Many visitors will not make the effort.
c. Linking back to the homepage of the site – well unless you have a big graphic to click through to the offer or an extremely good search then the client has to dig around to find what your doing. Many visitors will just hit the back button and choose the next entry in the search results.
d. Organic pages are non-descript in the search listings – time is not being spent on targeting pages aimed at getting them listed as specific pages – a user that lands exactly on the right product / service page is more likely to convert.
5. Create specific landing pages for PPC Campaigns that relate directly to the advert you’ve placed and paid for. Make sure you keep them short and simple – minimise clutter and text detail.
Place only the information that the client will need to know on the page. Include images, a ‘buy now’ button or a ‘request more information’ button. If you are promoting an specific offer then make sure there are prominent references to it.
Landing the client on a useful page will probably do wonders for your conversion rates. Spend some time thinking about it – don’t just rush in and do second best. In the current climate ensuring that clients can effectively purchase on-line is vitally important.
The last piece of advice is about Google Analytics. You must ensure you have Analytics active on all pages of the site to get the full picture of site activity. If you are selling on-line then make sure your e-commerce codes are working correctly and that your Analytics and Adwords accounts are tied together so that you can accurately track purchasing activity.
And, just one last thing, remember to test everything. Look at using additional tools like Google’s Website Optimiser to change images and colours to see the effect on conversions from the site.