Probably not what you expected to hear from a Search Engine Optimizer.
But honestly, it takes a lot more to be a success online.
If you were opening a new Restaurant, you wouldn't want customers showing up before you had a chef and food to serve.
Before you spend a bunch of money promoting your website, wouldn't it be a good idea to make sure it's ready to perform?
Making sure your website is ready for "Prime Time" and is actually going to create conversions from the traffic that comes to your website
Conversion Rate Optimization is all about getting your website ready for "Prime Time."
Improving your conversion rate makes your advertising pay off. The Goal is to make sure your website is making the most of those visitors so more of them do what want.
It helps you accelerate away from your competitors.
It gives your website visitors a better experience which makes your business valuable to them.
First we have to establish what it's going to take.
Einstein said, "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts"
Its not the elements on the page itself. It's the reason behind what's on the page.
In Search Optimization we like to reduce everything to numbers,
Page Rank, Number of impressions, Time on a page, Number of pages visited, Bounce Rate, Ranking reports, Traffic volume.
All of that makes a great Spread Sheet,
But it doesn't mean squat if it doesn't equate to more business.
There is only one rule. Make the most of each visitor. If you build a relationship with that visitor, you have a long term customer. What's that worth? Amazon was willing to operate at a loss for years because they understood building long term customers was worth more in the long run.
There is a FORD dealer in my home town that has been in the same family for over a Hundred Years. They have been able to do this by taking care of their customers even during the years where when no new cars were being sold. The tough times didn't last but their customer relations did.
Understanding your existing traffic. If you sell your product or service Face to Face, you already know your target market. What their typical questions and objections are, how to overcome them and make the sale.
Your website needs to do the same thing.
It needs to anticipate the questions and objections that you hear all the time when you communicate directly with your customers,
You can actually learn more from your non-converting visitors that you can from your conversions if you listen.
When a potential customer walks through your door, what is the first thing they ask for? What Words do they use?
It's probably exactly what they would type into a search engine online. You need to have those terms in your website copy.
Are you tracking where your order come from? How many come by phone?
How many times does a visitor come to the site before they convert?
Do you show new and existing visitors the same content?
What are they looking for? Why aren't they buying?
Think of it like this,
If every person that came through your front door asked for a Cherry Snow Cone, and you sell Snow Boards!
Wouldn't you want to know why?
Engage your visitors to learn WHAT needs improvement
If people are coming to your store and not doing what you want, you'd want to know why. The same is true on the web
Maybe you should offer a live chat feature to your site to engage your visitor.
Web Analytics can give you information like what people click on, what they don’t. Where they leave your website.
Refer a Friend? Lets your visitor share your website with a friend. You’ll be able to see how they describe your site to others.
It’s like having a team of free copy writers. It will give you some insight into how others see your site.
Click Mapping- Click Tale allows you to view a flash movie of your visitor browsing your site. It’s a little creepy, like looking over their shoulder but it can help you see how they go through your site.
You're overcoming objections just like you would if you were right in front of your customer. Understanding why people aren't converting is more important than listening to the ones that do.
We Learn From our mistakes. If this were really true, You would be looking at the smartest man on the planet.
I'm here to tell you, You Don't Have To Learn Everything The Hard Way.
You can learn and improve if you observe and adapt.
If it took a hundred people walking in and out of Barnes and Noble before they sold one book, do you think they'd want to know why?
Just like you do when you're selling Face to Face. You find out what the objections are, Answer those objections. Remove them from the equation and close.
Every business has something that makes them really valuable. But usually you're so used to it that you just don't highlight it.
What is the hidden wealth of your business?
Maybe you have a wealth of experience. Does your website show that?
Maybe your business is your industry's innovative leader.
Maybe your staff is the most helpful.
Maybe you have a world of knowledge that you share freely.
It might be the very reason you started your business. You found something lacking in what was being offered by the competition so you started your business to fill that void. That needs to be highlighted on your website.
Your website needs to take advantage of that and leverage it to set you apart from the competition.
Prioritize by the things that will potentially have the biggest influence first.
What might Double your conversion rate? Move that to the top of the list. Do that first.
If it's something you can implement quickly, put it to the top of your list.
If it is something that will take a committee of people to decide on and lot of dedication and time put it to the bottom of the list.
Has it made a difference in the past? Chances are we aren't talking about changing the back ground color.
Which things did your customers report to you, that would drastically improve your conversion rate?
Copy writing, Try wording things in a new way. It always amazes me when I start talking to people and realize they word things differently than I do.
Don't let your technical jargon stand in the way of conversions.
In my own business, people searching for my product have begun to use different terms and phrases to look for my product. Searchers have become more sophisticated and my website copy has to be in tune to that.
Graphic Design, Improving the way that you package up the offer. So your website is appealing, intuitive, persuasive, believable and user friendly.
Try some different Layouts. Take your artwork, pictures and copy to a designer and let them show you a few different layouts.
You want to get some fresh eyeballs on this so there are some significant choices to be made.
This is your store online, your face to the world, isn't it worth making it the best you can?
Method Marketing Apparently, Robert De Niro spent a couple weeks driving a cab to get into the character of the person he played in "Taxi Driver". Can you imagine riding with that?
Become a customer yourself. Try to view the world from the customers point of view.
I did this by accident on my own site before. I was just wanting to check my order system, so I went to my own website and tried to just quickly fill out an order form. I couldn't find my own order form. Due.
You need to use at least as many words as it would take you to explain and sell your product or service face to face with somebody.
If possible, record yourself selling your product or service to a customer.
From the "How can I help you?" to the "Thank you for your order." Have the recording transcribed and then compare it to your website.
Don't think long pages work? Amazon uses long pages.
Amazon figured out that some products require more words and pictures to get the visitor comfortable enough to make a purchase. How long?
Go to Amazon tonight and check out a Kindle. The product description page goes on from here to your kids next birthday.
Don't be afraid of long pages. Just make sure they're not spammy, rambling pages.
Usability Testing Ask people to try your website. This can't be your wife. She knows how hard you're working and she'll say, "That looks really good, Honey." But that's not gonna buy shoes for the kids.
You need people to be brutal with you. Don't tell them it's yours. Tell them you're checking it out for a friend and you're trying to figure out ways to make it better. Then shut up.
Try not to break down crying if they hate it, they'll figure out it's yours and stop being honest.
Google has a free tool that you can play with to test your website.
Free is good. It's affordable.
Unfortunately doesn't tell you WHAT to test.
Don't get to distracted by the tools.
The tools just keep score.
But for the price, you can afford to play around with it.
Where Do I Start?A good Headline hints at value. Offer Value. Your opening paragraph should "pay off" the headline. If you talk to your prospective customers, your website should be an extension of you and the discussion you would have with your visitor if you were standing right in front of them. It should show the quality they will receive.
So I'll Finish with this…
If Nordstroms was in a barn would you be comfortable spend a gob of money with them? Chances are NOT
You want the store building to look impressive,
You want Aisles to show you where to go,
You want Nice Carpet to stand on,
And Pretty people to ask if they can help you,
Then you reach in your pocket and hand them your credit card
And you never even think, "I wonder if I can Trust This Place?"
The same should be true on Your Website.
On the internet things happen really fast.
A person types something into a Search Engine,
The Search Engine gives a list of results,
The person makes a choice based on the Title and a few words, and clicks on the link.
You literally have split seconds to Be The Answer!
Your Head Line has to be relevant to their search or they hit the Back Button.
Your first paragraph has to pay off that head line. The overall look of your site has to set them at ease.
When it is Your Ready For those Keywords to send you traffic!