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The 22 Key Elements of a High Quality Website

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Have you ever wondered what makes a great website? You know things like content, videos, and images are all important, but there has to be more to it, right?

There is! For example, 79% of people scan web pages, so if you don’t know how to make your page optimally scannable, it won’t do well.

Another key factor of a quality website is credibility. Without a credible website, you’ll struggle to get more customers and increase conversions. Plus, credibility shows you’re trustworthy. If you’re offering something without a trusted name or brand behind it, people will be hesitant to buy what you’re selling.

Why? Well, with so many other options available on the market, it’s too easy for people to find what they’re looking for somewhere else.

This goes for ecommerce stores, blogs, or any business that has a website. If a visitor sees a red flag on your website, they will leave. It’s that simple.

Some of you may not even realize you have components on your site that drive people away. Even if you don’t necessarily have elements driving people away, you can always add more components to improve your credibility. And that’s just the tip of it… there are a ton of small things you need to do in order to create a high quality website.

Here are the top 22 key elements of a high quality website that you should be sure to consider:

1. Relevance and context

Developing well written and informative content for the user is one of the biggest key factors in creating a high quality website.

Quality content is original, purposeful, and correctly optimized information that people and search engines are driven to read, view, and share.

According to SearchMetrics, Google’s algorithm recognizes high quality, relevant content, and rewards it with higher rankings.

Focus on creating only the best high quality content that you can. It will help you rank better and delight your customers.

2. Content length

Focus on developing longer content. The ideal blog post length from and SEO perspective is between 2,000 and 2,450+ words long.

However, the ideal blog post length from a readers perspective is only 1,600 words long.

Sites with more words in the copy occupy higher ranking positions but it is important to find a balance between SEO and user readability.

The perfect blend will vary depending on your niche, competition, and audience.

3. Grammar and spelling

Ask yourself this question:  Why would a search engine show a page of content with grammar and spelling errors higher in the rankings when other pages of error free content exist?

The answer: They won’t!

Grammar and spelling mistakes make you look bad in the eyes of your customer, and the search engines may even penalize you for it. Always read your copy at least 2 times before you publish it or hire an editor to proofread and edit your post if you need help.

Flawless copy makes your website look professional and will earn you better rankings.

4. Readability

Readability is the ease in which text can be read and understood.

Use shorter sentences, paragraphs, and active web forms. Remove all clutter, unnecessary words and limit the use of adverbs and adjectives.

Use the Flesch reading ease formula to determine the readability of your text before publishing.

5. Formatting

79% of users always scan web pages, according to a Nielsen study.

Not only that but visitors are less likely to read a post with poor formatting. High quality content is easier to read, and suitable for scanning and skimming.

Use H1, H2, H3, etc. tags, number lists, and bullet points to break down your content.

Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use bold and italics to highlight important parts so that they are highly visible as people scan.

6. Images and video

Include images or videos in every piece of content that you publish.

Web pages with images and videos are more engaging for visitors and rank better in Google too (according to SearchMetrics).

Keep in mind that web pages in top rankings have an average of 7 images on their page so be sure to use at least a few.

7. Expertise

High quality pages and websites need enough expertise to be authoritative and trustworthy on their topic.

The expertise of the author is a critical factor for any content to be considered high quality.

People want to read posts from experts that can dig into a topic and explain it. Focus on writing detailed, well-researched posts and give examples to support your points.

8. Social media shares

High quality websites have social media buttons present on their pages.

Place your social media sharing icons visibly on the page and include call-to-action for people to share.

9. Internal and external links

Linking to valuable internal and external resources not only delights your readers but will also help you rank better.

9 out of 10 sites at position 1 in SERPS have at least one internal self-referencing link.

Focus on building a nice internal link architecture. The URL that you link to and the anchor text need to be relevant to your content.

Never link to unrelated pages or you may be penalized by Google and it leads to poor user experience overall.

10. Quality of comments

Content with a high number of comments is perceived as high quality.

On the other hand, spammy unrelated comments might hurt your rankings and make you look bad in the eyes of your visitors.

Make sure you moderate your comments and leave thoughtful responses to engage your users to do the same.

Quality comments help you rank better and engages your readers with the content.

11. Limit advertisements

While advertisements may be a nice form of income for you, they aren’t popular with your visitors.

How much do you rely on ads to make a profit?

If it’s just a small percentage, I recommend getting rid of them altogether.

If you’re an ecommerce site or have a website that makes money from other revenue streams, ads aren’t always necessary.

But say you run a blog and ads are your primary income. In that case, you’ll need to keep them as limited as possible.

Take a look at the types of ads people dislike the most:

image1 7

Take these numbers into consideration.

Avoid popup ads, and use minimal banner ads.

Although 43% of customers still dislike banners, it’s not as high of a number compared to some other options.

12. Customer service that’s easily accessible

If someone visiting your site has a question or problem, they shouldn’t have to hunt for customer service options.

This should be readily available.

When customer service is unreachable, it makes the visitor feel uneasy.

Especially if it’s during normal business hours.

Note how Apple Support gives customers a variety of ways to reach customer service:

image6 7

They even have a recommended option.

People love to have choices.

Not everyone wants to pick up the phone.

It’s great when companies have customer service available via online chat.

If you can swing it, give it a try.

13. All your contact information

This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how often I can’t find contact information on websites.

When I see that, I think it’s sketchy.

What are they trying to hide by withholding their phone number?

Make sure your site has:

  • physical address
  • email address
  • phone number
  • links to social pages (Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn)

Failure to do so will make your page appear untrustworthy.

14. Reviews and testimonials

Showcasing customer testimonials on your website helps generate social proof.

This is especially true if you can get a testimonial from an expert in your industry.

You should also have a place on your site where customers can leave reviews.

While good reviews are obviously what you’re looking for, some unfavorable comments may actually boost your credibility as well.

If all customer feedback on your website is positive, it may appear fake.

Even if some people didn’t have the best experience with your business, allowing them to leave a review for others to read will establish trust.

It also helps prove you’re an actual business and not a scam.

Interact with the customers who left a review on your site.

This will help build credibility as well.

15. Security badges

What kind of security measures are you taking to protect users who visit your website?

Showcase those badges on each page.

image8 7

Studies show that people trust the Norton AntiVirus seal the most compared to other badges.

If you use Norton, proudly display that badge on your site.

If you’re looking for services to improve your site security, Norton may not be a bad place to start based on this information.

16. Validation from other media sources

Have you been featured in a magazine, newspaper, or on a website?

Any positive press about your company should be proudly displayed on your site.

If established media sources have verified your business, it will increase your legitimacy in the eyes of anyone who visits your website.

Find a good spot on your page to add any videos, screenshots, or links to all those stories.

17. Awards and achievements

Your website is a great place to show off any awards or achievements.

Whether it’s local, regional, or national, anything helps.

Even if you won an award a couple of years ago, put it up on your website.

Showcasing awards from the past shows you’ve been credible for a while.

It establishes your company’s history over time.

Companies that have been in business for longer periods tend to be well established and appear more credible than those that just started.

If you’ve been operating since 1950, don’t be afraid to plaster that fact on your website.

18. Ease of navigation

Customers shouldn’t struggle to find what they’re looking for on your website.

The menu options should be limited so it’s not too overwhelming.

Adding a search bar so your readers can look for something specific is a great way to improve your navigation as well.

All of this helps enhance the user experience, which helps with your credibility score.

19. Page loading speed

The faster your page loads, the higher your conversion rates will be.

image2 7

It’s that simple.

Don’t try to find the cheapest web hosting service on the market. You get what you pay for.

It’s worth it to pay a little extra to avoid technical glitches and always have fast loading times.

20. Clearly state all policies

Don’t assume website visitors know your company policies.

All of these should be clearly stated on your website.

This will help you from a legal perspective as well in case there is a dispute.

Make sure things such as your return policy or money back guarantee are outlined in detail.

If you’re an ecommerce business, consumers may be hesitant to shop if they don’t think you stand behind your product.

21. Be upfront about your prices

Don’t try to sneak hidden fees past your customers.

It’s shady.

Let’s look at the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment:

image5 7

Don’t wait until the last minute to tell customers you’re charging them tax, shipping, or other fees.

You should have all your prices clearly listed on the website.

Adding extra costs in the shopping cart could make the customer think you’re trying to sneak one by them.

It’s just not good business practice.

You also shouldn’t say things like “Contact us for pricing.”

Why wouldn’t you just list your prices?

What are you trying to hide?

Those are questions that will go through the customer’s mind if you do that.

22. Secure the checkout process

Refer back to that graph we just looked at regarding shopping cart abandonment.

Note 18% of those respondents said they didn’t trust the website with their credit card information.

In addition to adding security badges to your page, you have to make sure your checkout procedure is secure.

Look at this example from Dick’s Sporting Goods:

image7 7

The secure link will make their customers feel comfortable about entering their personal information, including a credit card number.

Conclusion

I wish I could tell you that if you just picked a few of the key elements above, you’d have a great website. But the reality is, you won’t.

It’s a total package type of thing, and you need to work on all of the elements listed above.

Sure, implementing a few of them is better than implementing none, but the goal is to make your website so great that people would want to come back and buy from you.

If your site looks incomplete or untrustworthy, it can drastically impact your traffic and conversions.

Make sure you do your best to create a high quality website by using as many of the 22 key elements that I described above.

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15 Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization Wins to Test

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Ecommerce platforms rely on sales to survive. If you operate one of these websites, you know how important sales are for your business.

Whether you sell products exclusively online or have an ecommerce site in addition to your brick and mortar store, you need high conversion rates to be successful.

On average, ecommerce sites in the United States convert at about a 3% rate.

If you’re hovering somewhere around that number, you might think your website is already optimized for high conversions.

Even if you think you’re doing well, there’s always room for improvement.

In fact, some of the top performing websites, such as the Google Play Store, have a conversion rate close to 30%.

Companies such as the Dollar Shave Club have roughly a 20% conversion rate.

Do you still think 3% is sufficient?

I don’t.

Whether you sell products exclusively online or have an ecommerce site in addition to your brick and mortar store, you need high conversion rates to be successful.

If you want to improve your conversion rates and generate more sales, all you need to do is make some changes.

For the most part, these changes won’t cost you much money but will bring a massive return.

You could double, or even triple, your conversion rates in just a few months by implementing some of these conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies.

Those of you who don’t know how to optimize your ecommerce site for conversions are in luck. I’m an expert in this space and have plenty of experience consulting businesses about their CRO.

I’ve come up with a list of the top 15 ways for ecommerce sites to increase their conversions.

First, let’s take it from the top.

What is conversion rate optimization?

In layman’s terms, conversion optimization is the process of increasing the number of visitors who take a desired action on your site.

Any number of activities can count as a conversion. It depends on your goals.

Signing up to an email list, creating an account, making a purchase, and downloading software are all examples.

Here are some more examples:

Start Caring About Conversions Stop Pouring Money Down The Drain Hit Reach

The more often these conversions happen, the more revenue your business receives.

In theory, it’s pretty simple.

In practice, it’s a little more complex than just getting more people to take action.

Why so? You need to get the right people to take the right actions at the right time.

That means there are quite a few pieces that need to be moved to ensure your conversion funnel is working as it should.

What can conversion rate optimization do for your business?

1. You can have a fighting chance against Goliath competitors

Every time I think of competition, I think of this simple yet profound quote:

The strong eat the weak.

It’s true in life, and it’s true in business.

Ecommerce is extremely competitive. Just look at the increase in sales within the industry over the span of eight years:

e commerce for manufacturing growth of e commerce png 1 000 743 pixels

New players are entering your space every single day with the sole goal of snatching up your customers.

The only way to combat this is to make your customers so loyal to you that the competition doesn’t matter.

That can’t happen without first moving them through your sales funnel.

There’s one mistake I see small ecommerce businesses make all the time.

They focus on traffic generation without first having the systems in place to:

  1.  convert that traffic into leads;
  2.  convert leads into loyal customers.

If you already have some traffic coming in, I recommend you spend some time optimizing your conversion funnel.

Because guess what? You may not be able to bring in as much traffic as larger sites. They have more resources, larger teams, and bigger advertising budgets.

You may not even be able to compete on price.

But you can still have a competitive advantage if you make use of conversion optimization.

2. You can learn more about your users behavior

The way users interact with your site is everything.

It’s the closest you’ll get to reading your prospects’ minds.

It tells you what they’re looking for, what they respond to best, and what turns them off.

This means you can give users exactly what they want when they get to your site. Conversions would happen much faster because web visitors would have what they need at hand.

But you shouldn’t just glance at your analytics and make changes to your site based on that one analysis.

You need to monitor user behavior over time.

It’s the only way to notice patterns you can capitalize on.

My advice?

Get a solid grasp on how to navigate Google Analytics. It’s one of the most powerful free tools for analyzing user behavior on your site.

Salesforce found that 56% of businesses rely solely on Google Analytics for their web analytics. Only about 11% don’t use it at all.

Business Analytics The Key to Recognizing Opportunities for Market Development Salesforce Blog

Here are a few things you can track right now:

  • Where are your web visitors coming from? You can target these sources to get more visitors.
  • Which channels are driving the most traffic? This will tell you where to focus your time and resources.
  • Where on your site are visitors spending the most time? This will tell you where users’ interests lie.
  • How “sticky” are your site pages? Check your bounce rates for that info. You want them to be low.

These are just a few ideas. User behavior has many aspects.

How do you get this info?

First, find the behavior reports within your Google Analytics account:

Analytics

You’ll see several subsections, each with insights on how visitors interact with your site:

Analytics 1

Hopefully, you already have Google Analytics fired up.

Go through the reports, and collect all historical data.

Identify what’s yielding the most results, and double down on it. Then, you can pinpoint underperforming areas and improve them.

These insights are crucial not only for conversions but for every aspect of your digital marketing.

Content, social media, and email marketing are all areas that can benefit from analyzing user behavior.

Here’s the other thing about using analytics for conversion optimization: It prevents you from making changes to your site based on a hunch.

You’ll have concrete data to base your decisions on, and that’s how you avoid making costly mistakes.

3. You can maximize your profits

Put simply, more conversions lead to bigger profits.

But know this: you need to tighten every aspect of your sales process.

There’s no point in optimizing for conversions at the top of your funnel if you can’t keep momentum as web visitors move through the funnel.

The best way to capitalize on all customer touch points is first to map your customer journey.

This is a map that illustrates the path your customers go through when they interact with your business.

Once you have that figured out, deciding what to optimize at each stage should be obvious.

Here’s an example of a customer journey map:

Does Marketing Really Own the Customer Experience Crownpeak

4. Your customer acquisition cost will be lowered

Conversion optimization is the silver bullet for reducing your customer acquisition costs (CAC).

Here’s the textbook definition of CAC:

what is custoemr acqusition costs Google Search

In short, it’s the price you pay for acquiring a customer.

This one metric can make or break your business.

If it costs too much to convert a customer, your profit margins will be restricted.

Larger profit margins, on the other hand, give you more flexibility in your market. You’ll be able to serve your customers with more value and secure a spot as a dominant player in your space.

What does conversion optimization have to do with all this?

Here’s a scenario.

Let’s say you’ve decided to optimize your site for more conversions.

With a few strategic changes, you see a 3% bump in conversions.

The amount of traffic to your site hasn’t changed. Your ad spend is still the same. The only variable is what you’ve done to optimize your site.

The 3% increase in conversions means you’ll be acquiring more customers, resulting in more revenue, without employing more resources.

Granted, it may cost you to make changes to your site. However, the result is still the same.

Your CAC will decrease while your ROI increases. Now, that’s a sweet deal.

Now that I have explained a few of the reasons that you should focus your efforts on your Ecommerce conversion rate optimization here are 15 conversion rate optimizations that you should test today.

Top 15 conversion rate optimization wins to tests

1. Simplify your website

Websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.

Depending on your company, you might have hundreds or even thousands of products for sale on your website. But trying to cram all of those products onto one page is ineffective, and it’s crushing your conversions.

Clutter overwhelms the customers. Instead, focus on your top selling products or items with the highest profit margins.

Let’s look at a globally recognized brand as an example. Here’s Apple’s homepage:

image1 3

When in doubt, it’s always a great idea to look at successful companies as examples. Apple is an industry leader, and their website is about as simple as it gets.

Think about the number of different products they offer. They have all kinds of different desktop computers, laptops, phones, and other electric accessories, not to mention the digital products like software and music.

If they tried to fit everything they sell on their homepage, it would be an absolute mess.

Instead, they promote one product and have a navigation bar at the top of the screen that lists different categories.

This makes it really easy for shoppers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Apple reported $52.6 billion in revenue— a 12% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. It’s safe to say they don’t have a problem with conversion rates.

2. Include a search box

Users should be able to browse through your products quickly and conduct searches without fuss.

That’s where a prominently-placed search box comes in: 30% of site visitors use search on an ecommerce store.

The Ultimate Guide To Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimisation Infographic Digitaloft

The quicker you can get customers what they want, the quicker you make the conversion.

That’s the point of navigation.

As such, it should be simple and distraction-free.

Add-to-cart buttons and checkout signs must be clearly visible.

3. Have clear CTA buttons

I’ll admit. The right-colored CTA button won’t make your sales funnel.

But it can certainly hurt you.

Don’t think this is a major problem?

These statistics show the many ways businesses neglect their CTAs:

How call to action is often ignored Truconversion png 800 700 pixels

If you don’t have a color that stands out and compels visitors to click through, it can take away from the user experience.

This is where color psychology can come into play. Make sure you choose the right colors for your ecommerce site, and your CTAs will perform as they should.

It’s not just about color though.

The words you use have far more impact. I recommend using words like “now” and “today” that convey urgency.

How to Generate Leads with Twitter Advanced Search Queries

These are just a few elements.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for deciding how your web pages should be designed.

Step #1: Decide the primary goal of the page. Zone in on one thing.

Step #2: Decide on the secondary goals of the page. These should be related to your primary goal.

For instance, let’s look at product pages.

The goal is to get users to add products to their carts, right?

Your secondary goal can be a catalyst to get your primary goal moving along. For example, you may decide you want more persuasive product descriptions, more social proof, etc.

These will help advance your primary goal.

Makes sense?

Step #3: Make your primary call to action the most prominent element. This way you’re deciding for the user which action they should take.

Step #4: Include your secondary calls to action and nothing else. You don’t want to have anything on your page that doesn’t lead web visitors to your primary and secondary calls to action.

For creative elements, I always recommend split tests.

This is how you’ll know for sure which version of your site provides the smoothest user experience.

You should also always make sure your call-to-action buttons are clear.

They should be bold, standing out from other content on your website.

You can even put a box around the CTAs, clearly separating them from other text on each page.

Take a look at how The North Face does this on their website:

image9

It’s clear which buttons on their homepage will direct customers to the right page.

Even though they have lots of different options, their website isn’t cluttered, and it’s organized in a professional way.

This makes navigation easy.

Now their customers can find what they’re looking for faster and start adding items to their carts.

Look at how the CTA button changes when a customer views an item:

image5

Now the button is even more apparent because it’s red.

It stands out, so it’s clear what the customer should do.

Don’t hide your CTA buttons.

It should be easy for customers to navigate and add items to their carts.

Big, bold, clear, and colorful call-to-action buttons can help improve your conversion rates.

4. Highlight items that are on sale

Most online shoppers—86% of them— say it’s important for them to compare prices from different sellers before making a purchase.

It’s no secret price is an important factor when it comes to a purchase decision.

That’s why you shouldn’t hide your discounted items.

Take a look at how Macy’s highlights markdowns on their homepage:

image8

The website is absolutely plastered with buzz words like:

  • free
  • X% off
  • markdowns
  • sale

That’s why they are able to get higher conversions than their competitors.

Customers love to get a deal.

Buying something that’s on sale makes your customers feel better about spending money.

All too often I see companies try to hide their sale items.

They would rather sell items listed at a full price.

That’s a big mistake.

Instead, highlight discounted products and services.

You can always try to cross-sell or upsell to those customers later by enticing them to buy something else through other marketing efforts.

5. Display multiple pictures of the product

You shouldn’t be selling anything based on just a description.

Your customers want to see exactly what they’re purchasing.

Make sure your images are high quality and portray the item in question accurately.

Here’s a great example from Lululemon to show you what I’m talking about:

image6

There are six different pictures of just one pair of shorts.

They show the product from different angles and even zoom in on some of the top features like a pocket that’s designed to keep a cell phone secure.

Pictures are much more reliable in relating information about a product than a written description of it.

You can apply the same concept to your ecommerce site.

Sure, it may take you a little bit more time to set up each product.

You’ll have to take more pictures and include additional images on your website.

But I’m sure you’ll notice a positive impact in terms of your conversions after you implement this strategy.

6. Include a detailed product description

In addition to photos, you’ll want to thoroughly describe what you’re selling. With items like clothing, it’s usually self-explanatory.

However, if you’re selling electronics or something that has a bit of a learning curve, an accurate and detailed product description could help you close the sale.

Think of it like this. If a customer were to walk into a physical store, there would be employees to answer questions and help explain how different products work.

Shoppers don’t have that luxury when they browse online. It’s your job to make sure they aren’t confused about a product.

Even if you’re selling something simple, such as a t-shirt, point out how it differs from others. Does it keep you cool when it’s hot? Does it keep you warm when it’s cold?

These are things that can’t be determined from a photo alone.

Check out how Amazon accomplishes this with one of their TV wall mounts:

image6 3

Just like companies in our previous two examples, Amazon is another industry leader across the globe. They know how to sell products online.

While the photos are helpful, the description really helps the consumers.

It explains which kinds of TVs this mount is compatible with as far as size and weight are concerned. The description also covers the various mounting patterns based on what kind of TV you have.

Without the description, you wouldn’t know how far off the wall the mount comes or how close to the wall you can push it.

Not everyone is an expert in mounting televisions. The majority of people probably never have to do this. And unless you install home theater equipment for a living, it’s probably not something you’ll do more than a few times in your life.

For a unique and somewhat niche product like this, accurate descriptions can really help drive the sale.

7. Offer easily accessible customer service

Even if your website is very informative, some customers may still have questions while they’re shopping. But what if there’s nobody there to assist the consumer when they’re shopping online, unlike in a physical store?

Conversions rates drop.

Do your best to replicate that customer service experience. You may have photos, videos, and a great description, but customers will still have questions.

Make sure you give them several options to reach a customer service representative:

  • phone
  • live chat
  • email

Offer as many options as possible so each customer can contact your company based on their personal preference.

You also need to have support ready at all hours. As an ecommerce platform, I know you’re aware that customers all over the world have access to your website 24 hours a day.

Let’s play out a scenario. A customer is interested in one of your products but has a few simple questions. They try to contact customer support but don’t get an answer.

They won’t complete the purchase process. But if their questions get answered right away, your conversion rates will improve.

Try to offer an online shopping experience they would get inside a physical store, with a sales associate available to assist them.

Look at how Apple does it. They offer a live chat for shoppers on their website, and it looks like this:

image4

They make it super easy for customers to get all their questions answered online.

This is especially important if your company sells products that may need some extra explanation.

Realize not all of your prospective and current customers may be experts in your industry.

Although your product descriptions may be accurate, it’s possible there’s some terminology the customer doesn’t understand.

Rather than forcing them to pick up the phone or do outside research, offer them a live chat. Receiving this type of help can be the deciding factor that leads to a conversion for this customer.

8. Include all your contact information

On top of providing customer service, you should have as much information as possible about your company available on your website.

Clearly display your:

  • address
  • phone numbers
  • fax
  • email

If this information isn’t on your site, it could appear sketchy. Customers may think you’re not a reputable company.

What if they have a problem with their order? If your contact information isn’t available, how will they get their issue resolved?

That uncertainty could prevent people from buying things on your website.

9. Simplify the checkout process

How long does it take for someone to complete a purchase once they’re done browsing on your website?

Studies show 27% of shoppers abandon their carts on an ecommerce website because the checkout process is too long and complicated:

image2

On average, the number of steps to check out on an ecommerce website is 5.42.

If you’re somewhere in that average range, nearly 30% of your prospective customers think your checkout process is too long.

Think about how much money you’re leaving on the table.

The more steps a customer has to take to complete the checkout, the more likely they’ll abandon the cart.

It gives them too many reasons to back out.

Don’t give them an excuse. Finalize your sale.

Get back to the basics, and narrow down the information you actually need from the customer:

  • shipping information
  • payment information
  • email address to send a receipt.

That’s really it.

You don’t need to know their favorite color or who referred them to your website.

While additional insight may be beneficial to your marketing department, you still have plenty to work with from just those few pieces of information.

Based on the shipping location, you know where the customer lives. You have their name from their payment information. And you have a way to contact them via email.

Now you can send them a confirmation email as part of an actionable drip campaign to try to cross-sell and upsell products based on the customer’s current order or location.

You can even personalize that message since you know the customer’s name.

Don’t force your customers to fill out a form that’s longer than paperwork at the doctor’s office.

Simplify your checkout process and only ask for essential information needed to complete the sale.

10. Offer multiple payment options

Imagine this.

Someone wants to buy something on your website, but they can’t because you don’t accept their preferred payment method.

This should never be the reason for you to miss out on conversions.

While I realize some credit card companies may charge you higher rates than others, it doesn’t mean you should restrict payment options for your customers.

Try to accommodate as many people as possible.

While I’m not suggesting you need to accept cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, you should be accepting every major credit card, e.g.:

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Discover

You should even offer alternative payment options such as:

  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Venmo

Here’s an example from American Eagle:

image1

They accept nine different payment methods on their ecommerce site.

You need to offer as many options as possible for your customers.

It all comes down to convenience.

Some companies may just accept MasterCard and Visa.

They figure those are popular options, so everyone must have one, right?

But here’s the thing: you don’t know everyone’s financial situation.

While someone may have a Visa, it could already have a high balance on it, forcing them to use a different payment method.

Others may want to use their American Express card or Discover card because they get better rewards there.

And some people may not want to use a credit card at all if they have a sufficient PayPal balance.

The more options you offer, the greater the chance you’ll appeal to a wider audience.

Don’t assume everyone wants to pay with the cards you accept if that selection is limited.

Assume people will find a similar product elsewhere, where their preferred payment option is accepted, which will crush your conversion rates.

11. Include user reviews

Consider this: 88% of shoppers say they trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

That means nearly 90% of people trust a stranger’s opinion online as if it were coming from their spouses, best friends, or family members.

Furthermore, 39% of people say they read product reviews on a regular basis, and only 12% of customers say they don’t check online reviews.

Basically, this means customers want to see what their peers have to say.

Encourage customers to review products they’ve purchased, and display those reviews on your website.

Take a look at how Johnston & Murphy does this on their ecommerce site:

image3

More reviews means more credibility.

Obviously, you’re going to say only great things about the products you’re selling.

But other customers will be truthful about their experiences.

That’s why consumers trust these ratings and reviews.

Customers share personal stories about the uses of the products they purchased and the reasons for recommending them (or not).

Notice I also highlighted the chat option on the Johnston & Murphy website—a topic I covered earlier.

Don’t be upset if not all your reviews are absolutely perfect.

You’ll get some negative comments.

It happens.

Those negative remarks can actually help you. It shows shoppers your reviews are legitimate.

Hopefully, the positive ratings will largely outweigh the negative ones.

This will help you get more shoppers to convert and complete the purchase process.

12. Add a video demonstration

If your products are unique, include video demonstrations showing how to use them.

Here’s an example from the Training Masks website:

image10

They have workout videos to show people how to use their product to train harder and smarter.

Since this product isn’t something you see every day, the majority of the population may not know how it works.

But don’t think you can’t use videos even if you’re selling something simple.

For example, everyone knows how to use a piece of luggage, right?

Well, that doesn’t stop Thule from including a video demonstration on their website:

image7

The video shows all the hidden compartments of the bag.

It also shows customers how they can adjust the handles and straps and utilize other features.

In addition, you can include a video demonstration highlighting the features that set your product apart from similar products.

Even if you’re selling something simple, like a shirt, a video can show customers the item’s versatility for different occasions, scenarios, or weather conditions.

You just have to get creative.

13. Don’t surprise your customers with extra fees

Consumers are sensitive to price. You have to be upfront and totally transparent with the prices on your website.

The customer expects to see the same price for the same product on all pages, including in their shopping cart.

Adding hidden charges, taxes, and shipping fees will crush your conversions.

Look at the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment:

image2 3

Extra costs are the number one reason why consumers abandon their shopping carts.

Look, I realize you’ve got to pay sales tax and shipping isn’t free. But rather than surprising the customer when they check out, include those costs in the original price.

You’ll still get paid enough to make a profit, and the customer won’t be surprised with extra fees. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone.

Plus, it will reduce cart abandonment and improve your conversion rates.

14. Send shopping cart abandonment emails

While you can certainly do things to improve your shopping cart abandonment rates, some customers still won’t always complete their purchases.

You can’t ignore this.

Someone was just a click or two away from buying something on your website. They identified what they wanted and added it to their cart.

It’s going to be much easier to try to get this customer to convert than to find a new customer.

This person is already familiar with your brand and obviously interested in at least one of your products. Sometimes they just need a bit of extra motivation to complete the sale.

Send out a shopping cart abandonment email to remind the consumer of your products. Here’s an example from Oakley:

image7 3

This product will still be fresh in the customer’s mind—they just left it in their shopping cart. They wanted it, but for one reason or another, it just didn’t happen.

Receiving this email could be enough to trigger an impulse buy.

15. Recommend products to enhance the shopping experience

If your site is using cookies to track browsing behavior, you can recommend products to your customers based on what they like. Use their previous order history as well to personalize recommendations.

This shows the consumer you care. Their browsing experience is different from everyone else’s.

Here’s an example from Bed Bath & Beyond:

image5 3

You can also try to upsell to your customers when they add something to their shopping carts. For example, if they buy a pair of headphones, you can recommend a carrying case for them.

Again, it reflects their personal experience. This strategy works.

Research shows that 49% of consumers said they bought something they weren’t initially planning on purchasing after seeing a personalized recommendation.

Conclusion

Your ecommerce site should be making more money.

If there’s one thing you choose to do for your ecommerce site today, let it be conversion optimization. Don’t settle for average.

Take steps to improve your conversion rates. It’s an especially powerful tactic for small businesses.

Why?

Because you can get better results by using the same resources you have. It means you can start to scale your business and make headway on your competitors without outspending them.

That’s golden.

Whether your business is brand new or has been around for a while, there is always room for improvement.

You can make simple modifications to your ecommerce website to get more conversion and the tips I provided are the best place for you to start.

You can start applying some of these elements to your website right away.

I’m not saying you need to implement all of these strategies overnight. In fact, you may even have a couple of these in place already.

But over time, you need to optimize your ecommerce website if you want to get as many sales as possible. Follow these tips, and I’m sure you’ll see an improvement.

Trust me, they work.

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Checkout Process Design For High Conversion Rates

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Ecommerce websites live and die by their conversions.

For those of you who have a high volume of traffic to your website, that’s great news. But traffic alone doesn’t generate sales.

It doesn’t matter how much traffic you are generating or how cool your site looks if you can’t make a sale. The number of sales you get will impact how well your business does.

Is your website traffic translating to conversions?

There are certain metrics you can use to measure this. Look at your bounce rates. Analyze your shopping cart abandonment rates.

If your website visitors aren’t converting, your ecommerce site won’t make money.

Don’t get me wrong: the products you’re selling might be amazing. That’s not necessarily the issue here.

The design of your website and the checkout process might be what’s hurting you.

For the most part, simple website designs have higher conversion rates. This same concept needs to be applied to your checkout process.

Here’s the thing though. People often neglect the checkout process.

Your customers make their final purchasing decisions before they get to checkout.

So why bother, right?

That’s being incredibly short-sighted.

Shopping cart abandonment is a real problem for ecommerce stores.

In fact a study found that a whopping 69.23% of ecommerce shopping carts are abandoned.

To put this into perspective, for every 100 customers who start the checkout process, 69 don’t finish.

Customers expect their shopping experience to be seamless, easy, and without friction.

If your checkout process does not meet these expectations, your conversion rates will dive, and your revenue will head south.

Is it a massive problem? Absolutely.

These numbers shouldn’t sit right with any business owner. That’s too many lost sales and potential lifelong customers.

If someone starts the checkout process, it stands to reason they have a strong purchase intent.

So, why do so many shoppers fail to complete their purchases?

Take a look at this chart:

Exit intent Popup Shopping Cart Abandonment Solutions

Out of all the reasons why shoppers abandon their carts, a majority are related to the checkout phase.

Does this apply to all businesses? Not necessarily.

Don’t get me wrong. All businesses—no matter how upscale—suffer from shopping cart abandonment.

You can’t do anything about a user who is just browsing. They may just want to save their favorite items in the cart for future reference.

With that said, there are varying reasons why shoppers do not complete a purchase and there are things that you can do to improve those numbers.

Here are 20 tips to improve your checkout process, reduce abandon rates, and boost your website checkout conversions.

1. Add multiple checkout buttons

For website visitors to make a purchase, they need to be able to navigate to your checkout page.

Once someone decides to buy, they’ll add the items they want to their shopping cart. In a perfect world, you want them to continue shopping so they spend more money.

But if the checkout buttons aren’t clearly labeled, the customer may ultimately leave the items in the cart without buying them.

This could be why your shopping cart abandonment rates are so high. Instead, include checkout buttons on both the top and bottom of the screen.

Check out this example from the Champs Sports website:

champs

Positioning the checkout buttons in two places ensures the visitor will see and have access to both buttons.

The word “checkout” will stay in their line of vision, regardless of where they’re looking on the screen.

I also want you to notice that the location of the shopping cart on the right side of the screen allows the customer to continue shopping on the left.

This increases the likelihood that the average order amount will be higher and conversion rates remain high as well.

You can implement the same strategy on your ecommerce page to drive sales.

2. Secure the checkout process

Security needs to be a top priority for your ecommerce site. If your pages appear untrustworthy, people won’t want to buy anything.

In the past five years alone, 46% of people in the United States have been affected by credit card fraud.

There’s a high probability that nearly half of your website visitors have experienced this. Even if they haven’t personally fallen victims to fraud, I’m sure they know at least one person who has.

This puts people on high alert.

If your checkout process isn’t secure, people won’t feel safe entering their credit card information, which is ultimately what you need to make money.

All pages of the checkout process must be secure. It’s also in your best interest to include security badges, such as Norton, McAfee, or whatever else you’re using to protect your customers.

3. Reduce the number of form fields

A website visitor is ready to buy something. They’ve already made up their mind.

Don’t give them a chance to change their mind and abandon the cart. If your checkout process is long and complicated, you won’t have high conversion rates.

But if you can simplify the process by eliminating unneeded steps, you’ll make more money.

Ask yourself what information you really need from the customer to complete the purchase. Do you need the customer’s name?

Yes, but you don’t have to ask for it several times.

If a name is required to process the payment method or shipping information, don’t make them type those details twice.

Research shows that websites with fewer form fields have a higher performance rate during checkout:

form fields

Only ask for information required to complete the transaction.

If the customer’s shipping and billing addresses are the same, they should be able to check off a box indicating that—instead of having to type their address twice, for shipping and billing.

That alone shaves an extra step off the process and significantly reduces the number of form fields.

The hoop theory article I wrote a while back also explains why getting your visitors to make small micro-commitments typically increases conversion rates…as in a two-step checkout process.

You can leverage this on your checkout page by requesting your customers’ name and email info on the first page and credit card details on the second page.

two step check out

This typically will boost your conversion rate by 10%. It’s worked well on Crazy Egg, and when I ran that test on Timothy Sykes, he saw a 12% increase in conversion rate.

The reason it works is because people feel that they have already given you their name and email address, so they might as well give you the rest of their details. Plus, if they don’t complete the checkout process, you can email them and try to get them back to your site. You can even entice them with coupons or just create a remarketing campaign to get their attention.

4. Offer a guest checkout option

I get it. You want to learn as much information about your customers as possible.

In a perfect world, everyone who visits your site will create a customer profile. This allows you to monitor their browsing behavior and suggest items to them based on this behavior and their purchase history.

Customer profiles allow you to segment your audience based on the customers’ locations and make it easier for you to add subscribers to your ecommerce email list.

When a customer is browsing from their customer profile, they can also place repeat orders with just a couple of clicks.

Customers can save their payment information to their accounts, which reduces the number of steps in the checkout process and makes it easier for them to convert.

If you’re encouraging customers to create a profile, I’m all for it.

But there is a big difference between encouraging and forcing. Does a website visitor need to have a customer profile to convert? Absolutely not.

Forcing people to create a profile could be hurting your conversions.

Need proof? This is the second most common reason for shopping cart abandonment:

Checkout best practice 101 guest checkout ClickZ

Over 48% of online retailers also said a guest checkout was the most important factor to increasing shopping cart conversion rates on their websites.

This was the second highest response on the list, trailing only behind free shipping.

image2 13

The lesson. People want to buy something. Let them give you their money.

Don’t prioritize your content marketing strategy over actual sales.

It’s always a good idea to follow the lead of the companies that have had major success in a particular space.

Here’s an example of how a global giant Walmart implemented this strategy:

walmart

Creating a customer profile is not necessary to complete a purchase, so don’t make it so. Otherwise it will turn some customers away.

However one way to encourage your customer is to provide incentives for them if they create an account.

Notice how Walmart requires you to create an account to use a promo code in the screenshot above.

You can reward them with a coupon code or credit towards their next purchase:

Cute Dresses Tops Shoes Jewelry Clothing for Women

Guess what? Most people will jump on that offer.

That’s a much more effective approach than forcing them to create an account.

5. Make it easy to shop from mobile devices

It’s no secret that we’re living in a mobile world. Ecommerce brands need to recognize this if they want to succeed.

In fact, 62% of people who own a smartphone used their devices to make purchases online within the last six months alone.

It’s estimated that in the next three years, mobile retail sales will control 54% of the ecommerce market share in the United States.

Why is this the case?

It’s because technology has made it more convenient to shop from mobile devices.

People aren’t walking around with laptops in their pockets all day. But phones are seemingly always within an arm’s reach, if they’re not already glued to the consumers’ hands.

If someone visits your ecommerce site from a mobile phone, they need to have a great experience.

If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, there’s a slim chance you’ll be able to generate conversions.

mobile

The design of your mobile site can be the difference between customers buying something or bouncing and buying from your competitors instead.

But 74% of mobile users are more likely to revisit websites that are mobile-friendly.

If your site is properly optimized, it will increase the chances of your website visitors not only converting but also coming back and buying again in the future.

You may be thinking this is obvious, but let me explain.

There are multiple elements to mobile-friendliness.

I’ve seen mobile storefronts that are vastly different from their desktop versions.

If there’s no alignment between the two interfaces, shoppers will think they’re in the wrong place.

The result? They bounce.

As we’ve seen before, most people first go to the desktop site to browse, get reviews, and make their decisions.

Ensure your mobile store is familiar to those who’ve gone through that process.

The other element of a mobile-friendly checkout is speed.

Shoppers of all kinds—mobile or not—want instant gratification.

They’re not as concerned with buying your product as much as they are with owning it.

If you take that away from them, whether by having a slow site or asking for much information, they’ll walk away.

The desire to own the product doesn’t go away. Your customers will simply go to your competitor. That’s bad for business.

Another important consideration is browsing behavior.

Mobile browsing is unique in many ways.

Here’s how you can optimize the mobile checkout process with user behavior in mind:

  • To navigate, users use their fingers, not a mouse: This means you should place all key elements on your page within reach of the thumb.
  • Typing and clicking are trickier on mobile: You need to have bigger and wider easy-to-click buttons. A larger font size also helps with improving accuracy of text input.
  • Fingers are less precise than a mouse, so the process is more error-prone: It’s crucial you make it easy to detect and correct errors.

Fashion Nova Checkout

Bonus Tip: To test the speed and mobile-friendliness of your website. You can use Google’s mobile friendly test. Make immediate adjustment if it’s not up to par.

Mobile Friendly Test Google Search Console

You could even consider creating a mobile app for a checkout process to minimize friction even further.

Touch of Modern is a great example of a successful retail mobile application:

image7 13

You can learn a lot about getting high conversions from their business model.

They get between 150,000 and 200,000 new downloads every month. More than half of their customers are repeat shoppers. Nearly two-thirds of their total sales come from their mobile application.

Those numbers are incredible.

The reason why this app is so successful is because they use daily flash sales and store all their customers’ data on the app, making the checkout process lightning fast.

Customers don’t have to re-input all of their credit card information and shipping addresses every time they want to buy something.

The reduced friction results in high conversions.

6. Focus on your top benefits

Besides the product, what else does the customer get when they buy something from your website? There are certain things you can do to add the perceived value of the purchase.

Here’s what I mean.

As I’ve mentioned, not everyone comes to your website with the intention of buying something. But while they are browsing, something might catch their attention.

They may want to buy it, but they want to make sure they aren’t stuck with it if they change their mind later. That’s why you should clearly state your return policy.

Take a look at this example from Lululemon:

image6 13

When you’re browsing on their website, you can clearly see at all times they offer free shipping and free returns. Their customers know they can get the item delivered free and send it back without any problems.

Obviously, you don’t want items to be returned. Don’t worry, they probably won’t be. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, about 8% of all purchases get returned.

But just giving your customers the peace of mind can be enough to drive the sale.

In addition to your shipping and return policies, make sure you highlight any other features your company offers. Some things to consider:

  • warranty information
  • secure checkout
  • social proof of the product
  • any differentiating features.

One of these elements can turn a “window shopper” into a paying customer.

7. Learn how to use images

Believe it or not, pictures can help improve your conversion rates. Instead of just listing your products, show the customer what they’re buying.

While you may have an image or two of your products on your ecommerce shopping page, make sure that image shows up in the shopping cart.

Why?

This can help remind the consumer what they’re buying and reinforce their decision. Plus, it’s much more appealing than just reading some text on a page.

Here’s an example from the REI website:

image4 13

The consumer gets reminded of exactly what they added to their cart. This could also help avoid any confusion or mix-ups down the road if they selected the wrong color, size, etc.

When they see a visual confirmation of the product they want, psychologically they’ll feel more comfortable about completing the purchase.

Faces also help improve your conversion rates.

According to a recent case study, conversions jumped from 3.7% to 5.5% when an animated picture of a phone was replaced with the face of a customer service representative.

Include images of people on your website. They could be wearing your product, using your product, or be beside your product.

Check out this example from the Macy’s homepage:

image5 13

Notice it shows a person, and that person is looking at the promotional information and the CTA button.

We’ve already established consumers are drawn to faces. In this case, you’d look at the model’s face and then follow his gaze directly toward the text.

This is a great method for increasing conversions.

8. Allow customers to see what’s in their carts as they shop

The whole shopping cart concept is a bit strange.

Think about it.

You browse through products and funnel different items to a page you don’t actually see.

It’s not until the end of the browsing process that you go to your cart to view your items.

Most ecommerce stores do nothing to improve this aspect.

It’s not uncommon for people to forget what they placed in their carts and be surprised by the total price.

Incidentally, these are also common reasons for shopping cart abandonment:

13 Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment and How to Fix Them

Based on the responses in the graphic above, here are some suggestions for improving the shopping cart experience:

  • show customers what’s already in their carts every time they add new items;
  • communicate the total price of their items every step of the way;
  • have a “save to cart” feature for those who are not ready to check out;
  • have your own comparison charts against competitors within product pages;
  • list shipping costs as early as possible in the checkout process.

9. Give your customers lots of payment options

Ultimately, the most important aspect of a checkout procedure is the payment step.

Without the payment step, transactions can’t happen.

According to research, 54% of people feel having a variety of payment options is important when checking out online:

032 jpg 750 381 pixels

Some payment options may be more beneficial to your company than others.

I completely understand this.

One credit card company may charge higher transaction fees than others, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept that method of payment.

Recognize your customers have preferences. Certain payment options may give them better reward points or bonus miles over others.

If they want something but can’t buy it with their favorite card, they’ll just buy it from a different retailer instead.

You should accept newer and unconventional types of payment as well. In addition to accepting all major credit cards and debit cards, you need to accept as many payment methods as possible, including alternative forms of payment:

alternative payment

Let’s not get carried away here. In 2019, it’s probably not necessary to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

But in addition to all major credit cards, you need to accept alternatives such as Apple Pay and PayPal.

You don’t want your customers to leave your site without buying anything because you don’t accept the payment method they want to use.

Even if they have the options you accept, they still may go to one of your competitors instead so they can use their favorite method of payment.

The days of accepting only Visa and Mastercard are over. It’s time for you to adapt and add these other payment options to your checkout process.

I want to show you an example of this. Here’s a screenshot from the Nike website:

image8 12

If you look at the bottom right corner of the screenshot above, you’ll see they allow their customers to check out using PayPal.

This could appeal to people who have a high PayPal balance and who want to use it for purchases. Accepting PayPal can also help eliminate concerns from customers who may be worried about their credit card information getting stolen.

The reason why I used this example from Nike is because it also highlights another concept I mentioned earlier.

Although they encourage customers to create a profile, they allow them to continue the checkout as guests. Even under the guest checkout area, it shows all the benefits of becoming a member.

To join, all you need to do is check off a box and proceed.

Another quick point about your payment methods. I recommend asking for payment as the last step of the checkout procedure.

By now, the customer has already invested some time into providing other information, so they’ll be more likely to continue. Asking for their payment first could drive them away.

10. Include trust elements throughout your whole funnel

You probably already know that placing seals like TRUSTe or VeriSign Secured can help boost your conversion rate. But did you know that in most cases you won’t see a lift if you place those badges just on your checkout page?

security

If people don’t feel secure when they first visit your site, they’ll bounce right off it before clicking through to your checkout page.

You can combat this by placing security seals throughout your whole funnel. So, from your front end pages to your product pages to even your checkout page… you are more likely to boost your conversion rate if you use the secure seals on more than just your checkout page.

I myself haven’t seen a big boost from adding them to my checkout page only, but I have seen nice lifts when I added them to the whole site. Before you do this, however, there are a few things that you need to know:

  1. It’s rare that security seals boost conversion rates by more than 10%.
  2. If you can’t afford a TRUSTe or VeriSign seal, creating your own free generic version typically provides the same conversion boost.
  3. This tactic works better in spammy industries like finance or health.

11. Frequently asked questions

No matter what, a good percentage of your visitors will have doubts in their minds when they are on your checkout page. For this reason, you won’t be able to convert 100% of your visitors. But if you can address their doubts, you can increase your conversion rate.

By using Qualaroo on your checkout page, you can ask people questions like:

What else can we place on this page to convince you to buy?

You’ll get a lot of responses from people telling you why they are worried about completing the purchase. You can then take this data to create a list of frequently asked questions with corresponding answers and place it on your checkout page.

faq

When using this tactic on your checkout page, test placing the FAQ section towards the top of the page or below the page because placement can affect your conversion rate.

12. Help your visitors through live chat

When most companies test out using live chat, they aren’t seeing an increase in conversion rate because of two main reasons:

  1. They don’t have someone on the chat 24/7, so people are leaving with their questions unanswered.
  2. They are placing it on every page of their site, which can distract visitors.

If you want to test live chat, you need to make sure someone is there 24 hours a day. If you can’t put someone there, test a service like Chatter Lime as they provide you with someone who will respond to each chat request.

livechat

In addition to that, test having the chat only on your checkout page. That’s the page that typically brings up the most questions and uncertainty. Plus, if you add it to your homepage, people will focus their energy on typing in questions instead of reading your marketing copy, which could have persuaded them to buy.

13. Social proof

Adding corporate logos or testimonials from your current/past customers can help reassure your potential customers that you are offering a good product or service. This may not seem that important, but there is a lot of crap being sold on the web… and people are buying it.

This is leading to terrible online shopping experience for people and to buyer’s remorse. By placing social proof on your checkout page, you can increase the number of buyers going through your checkout page.

logos proof

If you are going to use logos of companies who are buying from you, make sure you use logos of companies of all sizes, from big to small… this way you won’t neglect any customer segment.

In addition, if you are using testimonials, make sure you follow the steps in this blog post. Placing weak testimonials that don’t contain a person’s full name, location or even picture can hurt your conversions. So, if you are going to use them, make sure you do it the right way.

14. Let shoppers know their shipping costs early in the checkout process.

You can do this by introducing a shipping calculator to provide an estimate of the additional costs to be covered.

Here’s an example:

Cards and Pockets Your Shopping Cart

15. Offer free shipping

Here’s a common mentality I see from ecommerce sites all the time. If it costs you money to ship your products, that means you should charge your customers for shipping, right?

Wrong.

While this may sound like a reasonable justification to you, your customers don’t see it that way.

In fact, shipping costs play a major role in why shopping carts are abandoned in the United States:

shipping

Do not charge your customers for shipping.

But you still need to make sure you’re turning a profit, even if you’re offering free shipping.

You’re better off raising the prices of your items so that the shipping costs are built into the base prices. Psychologically, this won’t impact your conversions.

That’s because customers won’t be surprised when they see additional charges when they check out. If your product is listed for $50 on the site, that’s what they expect to pay. But if the costs add up to $70 with taxes and shipping, it’ll hurt your conversions.

I’m not expecting you to be unrealistic here. Don’t ship your customers a piano overnight for free.

All I’m saying is you shouldn’t charge for standard ground shipping. If a customer wants the delivery to be expedited, you can let them pay an additional charge.

While this may not be feasible for everyone, it’s wise to find ways you can reduce costs for customers.

Many businesses offer free shipping once shoppers reach a certain price threshold.

Like this example from Fashion Nova:

Sneakers

As customers add new items to their carts, they’re reminded of how much more they need to spend to meet the threshold.

Classic High Waist Skinny Jeans Light Blue

Very clever.

16. Set up default billing/shipping address for returning customers

Most people hate filling out this information.

It’s time-consuming and repetitive, especially if you’re a returning customer.

This is necessary info, so people will do it anyway.

But there’s a lot of resistance.

What can you do?

In addition to eliminating unnecessary form fields, you can set up the form so that it auto-fills the information for returning customers.

Email address, name, billing address, and shipping address—all this information can be saved for future purchases.

Some stores use a tool that looks up addresses based on a postal code and auto-fills that info.

Here’s how it works.

You type in a zip code:

Fashion Nova Checkout 2

You’re prompted with a window like this:

Fashion Nova Checkout 1

You’re given address options based on your zip code so you don’t have to fill this yourself:

Fashion Nova Checkout 3

There’s also an address validation tool similar to this one.

When a shopper types in their address, they get asked if it’s the right one and are given other options.

This is useful for a few reasons.

First, it auto-fills with more accurate information.

Secondly, it reassures customers they have the right shipping info. This way, they’re not anxious about missing their shipment due to error.

There’s one thing you need to note.

Address validators aren’t always correct. It means customers should have the option to reject the suggestions and fill in their info themselves.

17. Satisfy your customers’ need for instant gratification.

Here’s what that means:

what is instant gratification Google Search

You want to give customers a sense that they’ll get what they want immediately.

This is an innate human need.

If you appeal to it, your customers will respond.

If you’re selling an information product, instant gratification is easy to provide. Your customers can have electronic access without delay.

But it’s trickier when you’re selling a product that has to be shipped.

My advice?

Take a page out of Amazon’s playbook.

They do this brilliantly.

Here’s what I mean:

Amazon com Checkout

If you know your items will be delivered to you in a couple of days, chances are you’ll be more likely to check out ASAP.

18. A/B test the elements of your checkout process

You can never truly be sure your checkout process is designed for the maximum number of conversions unless you put your theory to the test.

The best way to determine which elements are driving the highest conversions is through A/B testing.

If you’ve never run an A/B test before, the concept is very simple. You start by identifying one element of the page you want to test.

Then 50% of your site traffic will see version A, while the other 50% will see version B. Compare the conversion rates between the two variations to see which one yielded the best results.

When testing the checkout page, it makes sense to start with the “purchase/buy now” button, or whatever your final CTA button is that completes the transaction.

There are lots of potential tests you can run on this button:

  • size
  • color
  • placement
  • wording

Test only one element at a time.

For example, let’s say you test the conversion button at the bottom right side of the screen compared to the bottom left side of the screen.

Once you have conclusive results, you can implement that change and then move on to testing the wording of the button, e.g., “purchase” versus “buy.”

19. A data-driven approach to dealing with shopping cart abandonment

Want to find out the exact cause of your shopping cart abandonment?

Google Analytics is the tool to use.

It’s simple. I’ll give you a step-by-step play.

Step #1: Find the “Admin” tab so you can create a conversion goal:

Analytics 6

This is so you can track the actions your web visitors take.

Click on “Goals”:

Analytics 7

Step #2: Create a new goal and set it up to track a completed transaction.

Analytics 5

In the first step of the goal setup, select an appropriate template.

While you’re tracking cart abandonment, your ultimate goal is to get customers to make a completed online payment.

Select that option:

Analytics 9

It’s time to describe your goal.

Name your goal, and select “Destination” as the goal type.

The destination can be a thank-you page, which will help you track the number of completed purchases.

Analytics 3

Next, you want to set the URL of your Destination.

As I mentioned, this could be any page that customers are directed to after their purchases.

The only reason someone would be on this page is if they completed a transaction, right?

Analytics 4

Step #3: Map the path customers take leading up to complete a transaction.

This is what will help you determine where the pitfalls in your sales funnel are.

In the same “Goal details” section, switch the Funnel option to “ON.”

Analytics 8

List all the steps that customers take leading up to the purchase. Name each step, and add the corresponding URL.

Like this:

Analytics 2

If you have a one-page checkout, only include that page, of course.

Whatever steps customers take, include them all.

You may want to go through the process yourself to make sure.

Save your goal, and that’s it for the setup. Tracking will begin, and you’ll now have detailed data for each step of your funnel.

Step #4: Check your reports to analyze the data.

Here’s where to find them.

Under “Conversions,” click on “Goals.”

Top Conversion Paths Analytics

Pay special attention to “Funnel Visualization.”

Top Conversion Paths Analytics 1

You’ll see an illustration that looks something like this:

Goal Funnel Analytics

I just created this, so there’s no data. It will take some time for yours to show up as well.

This data will tell you where in your funnel customers are jumping ship. It will also tell you in how many sessions your goal was completed.

Useful, right?

You’ll have a complete view of the way customers move through your funnel. You can now make informed adjustments to decrease your shopping cart abandonment rate.

You should know this though: there’ll always be customers who drop out before completing a purchase.

That’s just the nature of the game.

You can optimize your process to reduce that percentage significantly.

But will the lost sales be lost forever?

Can they be salvaged?

They can, and I’ll tell you how.

20. The ultimate solution to recovering abandoned carts

I hate to bring up this depressing statistic again, but only 3 out of 10 shoppers complete their purchases.

There is, however, a simple follow-up step that can increase that number significantly.

Crazily enough, most businesses don’t take advantage of it.

I’m referring to cart abandonment emails.

This could be one email or a whole sequence. You decide.

The point of these emails is to recover lost sales. If a customer adds items to their cart and leaves without checking out, be sure to follow up via email.

Here’s a brilliant example from Vanity Planet:

70 off on orders over 60 nellianestclair gmail com Gmail 2

Many things are going right in this email. It:

  • offers a massive discount
  • includes a free shipping offer
  • uses personal and persuasive language
  • provides a simple solution for returning to cart
  • has a direct link to checkout

They made an irresistible offer.

Many people would go back to complete their purchases in a heartbeat.

When cart abandonment emails are done right, they’re hands down the most powerful solution to recapture lost sales.

I highly recommend you test this strategy and watch it make a difference.

Conclusion

Getting higher conversions for your ecommerce checkout process isn’t that difficult.

It just takes a little effort.

As you can see from everything I talked about in this guide, these methods aren’t really too extreme. They are also fairly easy to implement.

If you’re driving lots of traffic to your ecommerce site but those visitors aren’t converting, you need to analyze the design of your checkout process.

If you follow the tactics above, you should see a nice lift in your checkout page conversion rate. But just like with all forms of conversion optimization, you will have to A/B test everything.

Why? Because what works for one business won’t always work for another… even if they are in the same industry.

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Website Usability Guide

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I’ll get straight to the point — if your website isn’t user-friendly, it will never succeed. That’s why website usability needs to be a top priority in 2019.

People don’t have to put with a poor user experience anymore. If they’re unhappy with a website, they’ll can just navigate back to a search engine and find another site to meet their needs. It’s that simple.

Once they go, they’re gone: 88% of online users are unlikely to return to a website after a bad experience.

On the flip side, if your website is user-friendly, people will keep coming back. Following website usability best practices will also increase your conversion rates.

But, most website owners don’t realize that their site isn’t user-friendly. Obviously, nobody is going to intentionally make things difficult on their customers.

That’s my inspiration for writing this guide. I want to show you the best practices you need to follow in 2019 to make your site user friendly. Follow along and make sure these principles are applied to your website.

Optimize for mobile devices

This should go without saying, but surprisingly, I still find myself landing on websites that haven’t been optimized for mobile users.

It’s wild, because 52% of global Internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Those mobile users are doing more than just browsing from their devices; they’re buying as well.

In fact, mobile commerce will account for roughly 73% of total ecommerce market in the next two years.

Mobile E-commerce

Some areas of the world have already surpassed that figure. Today, roughly 75% of ecommerce sales in China come from mobile devices.

So the first thing you need to do it make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. Even after that’s done, there are still improvements you can make to improve the website usability for mobile users.

When someone is browsing from a desktop computer, it’s easy for them to click nearly anywhere on the screen. On a desktop, there’s nothing wrong with putting your CTA or other clickable items in a corner.

That’s not the case for mobile devices where 75% of users navigate and click using their thumbs and 49% click with just one hand.

Mobile One Hand Click

As you can see from this graphic, this makes it challenging for people to reach certain areas of their screens. If you have buttons in those red zones, it’s going to frustrate people on your mobile website.

It’s uncomfortable for them to try and reach the corners, and they might even click on something else by mistake. If they navigate to the wrong page, it’s going to be frustrating, since it adds steps to their process.

So even if your website passes a mobile-friendly test, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been fully optimized for the user experience.

Follow WCAG standards

The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) were created so that websites can meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Roughly 15% of people across the globe live with some form of a disability. You don’t want to discourage or discriminate anyone from visiting your website. Everyone is entitled to a good experience.

Here are some of the categories of disabilities that can affect people on the web:

  • Auditory
  • Cognitive
  • Neurological
  • Physical
  • Speech
  • Visual

So what can you do to make your website more accessible? I’ll give you some examples.

About 300 million people in the world are color blind. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they see in black and white. It just means they process certain colors differently. You need to make sure your website isn’t using conflicting colors that can’t be processed by people with visual impairments.

Avoid alternating color backgrounds and flashing lights on your website. These elements can trigger seizures from people who suffer from light sensitivity.

To accommodate website visitors who have hearing impairments, you should add captions to all video content. Make sure that captions are displayed long enough for people to read and process the information.

The WCAC has four main principles to meet their web accessibility standards.

WCAG Standards

If your website is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for as many people as possible, you’ll meet those standards.

Stick to common design elements

When you’re designing a website, it can be tempting to get creative. Maybe creativity is part of your brand’s image, or maybe you just want to experiment with something new.

Save that innovation for your products and marketing campaigns. When it comes to usability, it’s in your best interest to follow common web design best practices.

Why?

People have a certain expectation when they land on a website. Let me give you an analogy to showcase my point.

What do you expect when you walk into a fast food chain, like McDonald’s? You wait in line, order at the register, then they call your number when your food is ready. That’s a pretty standard experience.

But what if you walked into a McDonald’s and an employee sat you at a table. They brought you some menus and asked you what you want to drink. Then they came back five minutes later to take your order, emulating a fine dining experience.

That’s not what you expect from a McDonald’s. You want fast food and fast service. Sure, this is a creative and unique approach, but it disrupts the customers’ flow and actually hinders their experience.

Now, apply this same concept to your website. If you try to reinvent the wheel, it won’t be a good experience for your visitors who are used to having things a certain way.

According to a recent study, these are the most standard elements people expect when they visit a website:

  • Logo in top left of screen
  • Contact information in top right of screen
  • Horizontal main menu navigation in the header at the top of each page
  • Search bar in the header
  • Social media follow icons in the footer

It’s in your best interest to follow these best practices. Don’t put the search bar in the footer and position your menu vertically on the right side of the screen. This will only confuse your visitors.

Create a visual hierarchy

It takes 2.6 seconds for a person’s eyes to land on an area of a website that will stimulate their first impression. This is something that happens automatically.

What does this mean in terms of your site’s usability? You need to make it easy for your visitors to understand what they’re looking at.

Imagine landing on a website that has 20 images on the homepage. Where do you look? It’s overwhelming, and people won’t know what to do. This is not a good user experience.

Instead, create a visual hierarchy that shows users the most important pieces of your website.

Here’s an example. Look at these four circles and rank them on their order of importance.

Four Circles

Even though you don’t know anything about these circles and what they represent, you still know that the blue one is the most important, followed by the green one. That’s what a visual hierarchy looks like.

So if the most important piece of content on your homepage that will add value to the visitor is positioned as the yellow circle, that hurts the user experience.

Without a visual hierarchy, people might navigate to the wrong page or focus on unimportant components of your website. That’s not what you want to happen.

These are the factors that you need to keep in mind when you’re designing your visual hierarchy for website usability.

  • Size
  • Color
  • Contrast
  • Position
  • Negative space
  • Alignment

Simplify the navigation

Ease of navigation is arguably the most important aspect of usability, especially for ecommerce businesses. Your homepage is important, but ultimately, users will need to navigate to other landing pages in order to convert.

How does a user get from point A to point B? How long does it take? How many clicks do they need to make?

These are all factors that need to be taken into consideration. Look at the top 10 reasons for shopping cart abandonment.

Abandonment Reasons

As you can see, two of the top three reasons for cart abandonment are related to navigation. Price was the only factor that ranked higher.

When a website forces people to create an account before checking out, it adds unnecessary steps to the checkout process, therefore making the navigation more complex than it needs to be.

Simple navigation needs to be a priority for all websites, even if they aren’t selling products on an ecommerce platform.

Let’s say you run a simple blog. How do visitors get from your homepage to your blog? How are your blog posts organized? Can they search for a particular post?

All of these are related to navigation.

Clickable content also falls into this category. If the text on your homepage is clickable and brings people to another landing page, it needs to be clear. Change the color, underline it, or turn that text into a button. Otherwise, it will be challenging for people to know where to click.

Establish credibility

People won’t have a good user experience on your website if they think it’s untrustworthy. Credibility needs to be established right away. Otherwise, visitors will feel unsafe while they’re navigating.

Be transparent about your content, prices, and contact information. Don’t force people to hunt all of your website to find those things.

Here’s what people expect when they land on a homepage.

What People Expect

Keeping these numbers in mind, what do you think the perception of a website would be if the homepage doesn’t include product information, contact information, or an About Us page? It’s going to be negative.

Prices should be clearly displayed next to each product. If the user has to click or navigate to another page to view prices, it’s not optimal for their experience.

(I know some websites don’t display prices until a product has been added to a shopping cart. This is primarily a workaround for offering deep discounts that they can’t advertise because of a relationship with the manufacturer. I don’t recommend this as a high-conversion strategy.)

Once you’ve established credibility on your website, your visitors will be at ease. They won’t be worried about getting scammed or clicking on a spam link. This will increase their chances of engaging with your content and converting.

Make sure your content is legible

Just because a font would look cool for your next tattoo, it doesn’t mean that it belongs on your website. If people can’t read the text on your site, they’re going to leave.

Take a look at some of the best fonts that go together in 2019.

Even after you pick a font, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your content is legible. You also need to think about your color choices, paragraph length, and your spacing.

Let’s say you pick a standard font, like the one I’m using for this blog post right now. It’s clearly legible, but not if you make the text yellow and put it over an orange background.

People don’t read word for word. In fact, the average person only reads 20% of your website. So your content needs to be highly scannable. You might be scanning this blog post right now. That’s why I write with short paragraphs, include lots of headers, images, and bullet points.

If each section was just one big block of text, it would be tough to read. But making it legible and scannable improves the user experience.

Be consistent

Your website needs to have consistency from page to page. If you’re always switching your themes and layouts, it’s going to be too confusing.

For example, let’s analyze this product page from Lululemon.

Luluemon

  • Product images on the left
  • Product name in on top right
  • Price below product name
  • Description on right
  • Color choices below description
  • Add to cart on bottom right

This is all very simple and straightforward. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this layout.

Now, imagine that you’re browsing on this website and you land on this page. Maybe you add the item to your cart; maybe not. But either way, you decide to look at some more products.

If you navigate to another product page and it doesn’t look identical to this, you’re going to be very confused. All of these elements need to be consistent on each page.

Conclusion

Website usability can make or break the success of your site. If visitors don’t having a good experience, they aren’t going to come back.

These are the most important elements of website usability in 2019:

  • Mobile optimization
  • Website accessibility
  • Common design elements
  • Visual hierarchy
  • Simple navigation
  • Credibility
  • Legible and scannable content
  • Consistency from page to page

Use this guide as a reference to implement these components on your website. Once you’ve accomplished this, you’ll benefit from happy website visitors that will convert and keep coming back in the future.

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5 Easy Ways to Transform Your Website into a Standout Salesperson

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Most freelancers I know hate selling. And I can include myself in that bunch. Whether it’s a fear of rejection,…

The post 5 Easy Ways to Transform Your Website into a Standout Salesperson appeared first on Copyblogger.

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