The majority of online marketers, especially those new to the industry, ultimately reduce their efforts down to one singular goal: getting more traffic. Paid advertising and inbound marketing (such as content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing) both focus on generating as much traffic to a website as possible.
On some level, this is effective. It’s intuitively clear why more traffic is a good thing; more traffic means more people exposed to your brand, more potential for interaction, and more potential sales. But according to datapine, a leader in the analytics industry, there are far more important indicators of your overall performance, including bounce rates, session durations, and of course, conversions.
Why Conversions Matter
Conversions, whether you qualify a “conversion” as a direct purchase or simply filling out a form, are the last gateway between a standard visitor and a full-fledged customer. All the traffic in the world won’t matter if you’re not actually getting any conversions. Though the process is more complicated than this for most businesses, you can think of conversions as equating to revenue.
Features of a High-Converting Website
So what are the design features that high-converting websites have in common?
- Prominent, yet unobtrusive calls to action. First, you’ll want to make your calls-to-action (CTA) as prominent as possible.That means include CTAs “above the fold” of a website, as high as possible, to prevent them from being overlooked. You can include many CTAs in different forms throughout your site as well, including form fields in the sides or in the footer, a callout on a contact page, written lines in the body of your blog posts, or even temporary pop-up ads that appear when a user is idle for a moment. The first hurdle in getting more conversions for a site is simply producing more opportunities for visitors to convert. However, you’ll want to resist the temptation to flood your site with CTAs. If they become obtrusive or obnoxious, you could wind up turning more people away.
- CTAs of a complementary color. Your CTA should also be a complementary color compared to the rest of your site or landing page. Color makes a big difference when it comes to conversion rates, but contrary to popular belief, there’s no single “magic” or “perfect” color that outperforms the others. What really matters is that your CTA features coloration that makes it stand out from the rest of the content on your website. It also helps if you have a professional, yet standout font to accompany your CTA design.
- Human faces and personal elements. People connect emotionally with other people, even if they don’t realize it. Websites and landing pages with more personal elements, such as human faces or images of people in a natural setting, tend to convert better than those without. Why? Because seeing a human face can foster a sense of trust and connection, and personalize a brand that might otherwise seem impersonal or, quite literally, “faceless.”
- Trust badges. If you want your visitors to convert, they need to be able to trust you. Including images of human faces can help you here, but it’s also a good idea to include “trust badges,” which are small icons you can use to show users you’re worthy of trust. For example, if you’re certified by certain third-party organizations, or if you’ve been featured in offsite publications, you can include their logos or certifications in the footer of your site to increase your credibility.
- Minimalistic CTAs. People are demanding. They want fast experiences, and don’t have the time or patience to put up with complicated processes. As a result, your CTAs need to be as minimalistic as possible, allowing people to complete the conversion process in a small number of steps. If your conversions are a purchase, try to reduce the process to only a few clicks. If your conversions are filling out a form, reduce the number of fields you request from your users. The faster and easier the process, the more conversions you’ll get.
The Traffic Factor
Having all of these design features on your website will almost invariably increase your conversion rate, but there’s still one more variable that will influence your ultimate success: the relevance of your traffic. This is important to keep in mind because most new marketers end up focusing on sheer volume of traffic rather than a niche focus; for the most part, the reverse is a more efficient approach.
For example, let’s say you have 10,000 monthly visitors to your site, but none of them are particularly interested in your brand—only about 500 of them are interested in your products or are marginally prepared to buy what you’re selling.
Now let’s say you have 5,000 highly targeted visitors, all of whom are at least fleetingly interested in your products—so at least 1,000 of them are interested in your products. Volume, therefore, shouldn’t be your only concern if conversions are your ultimate goal.
Keep these design factors and a traffic optimization strategy in mind as you continue to refine your approach to online marketing. Individual metrics alone, like just traffic or just conversions, won’t push you toward success. Instead, you’ll need to focus on the relationships between these metrics, and refine your strategy in all of these areas at once.