I talked recently about continuing to educate yourself, even after your site starts making sales and things seem to be on the up and up. Education seems to be so essential in whatever field you are in. As some of you know, I love sports. The best athletes seem to be the ones who are “students of the game”. They know what they are going to do in every big situation because they’ve studied it out, watched film and are prepared to succeed. This preparation also has a direct effect on their confidence, which really separates the mediocre from the extremely successful.
One of the things I’ve been studying about a lot lately is online sales conversion. I found a great article that gave a long list of things to do to improve sales online and keep your clients coming back. These are a few of the things I felt were most important:
- Set up an analytics program. I recommend two stat tracking tools – StatCounter.com and Google Analytics. Both are pretty easy to use and free.
- Track visitor trends. Watch where visitors are coming from,what they are doing on your site, what keywords they are searching for to get to your site, and work on improving bounce rate (the visitors who just come to the home page and then leave without doing anything).
- Analyze keywords visitors are using to find your site. Make sure that the products matching the three most popular search terms appear on your home page.
- Resize and compress your images using an image editor. While you can resize an image by simply changing the ‘height’ and ‘width’ attributes in HTML, that doesn’t make the file smaller. So someone may sit for 30 seconds waiting for that postage-sized image to download.
- Always evaluate your home page. Does it have a clear ‘shop now’ call to action, above the fold? If it doesn’t, add one! Some of your visitors don’t even know they can buy from you, direct, online.
- Remove any animation you have on your home page that doesn’t directly sell a product. It’s a distraction. Get rid of it.
- Remember, you’re selling products. Everywhere you show a product, show a price and a ‘buy now’ button, or at least a ‘learn more button’. This is one I need to implement on my clogging shoes website.
- Promote yourself! On your home page, make sure you have a heading that says why you’re great. “We ship overnight” or “All walnuts checked by squirrels” are great, compelling calls to action.
- Ask for the sale! On your home page, show your products! So many online stores fail to do this. Instead, the front page is a testament to their web designers’ talent (or lack of talent). Don’t make that mistake.
- Make products easy to find. If you don’t have a search tool on your site, get one. Google custom search is easy to set up.
- Use your web real estate wisely. Don’t put ‘about us’ in the main navigation. Frankly, no one cares. They want to buy stuff, not hear about you and your three dogs.
- Show multiple ways that visitors can contact you. Put your phone number and other contact information in plain view on each page of your site. It tells people that you’re for real.
- Keep your text simple and easy to read. Use sales copy that scans well. Short, 2-3 sentence paragraphs and bullet points scan more easily than huge paragraphs of text.
- Use a spell checker. Nothing says ‘You will never receive your order’ like a page full of misspellings.
- Get a second opinion. Have someone else proof your writing.
- Get names and emails from visitors. If you don’t make a sale to a new visitor, at least get them to sign up for something. A name and email is almost as good as a sale – it’s future sales if you use the list wisely.
- Paid Search Marketing: If you don’t have a pay-per-click account, start one, at least with Google Adwords. Spend $.10/click or so to start, and see how it helps sales. These should be the first ad dollars you spend online. Nothing else makes sense until you’ve tested the PPC waters.
These are just a few ideas I found that I either implement now or plan to implement in the near future. Let me know how they increase your sales and which ones work best.