Potential customers these days don’t scour the phone book and cold call you to find out more about your products and services. They Google businesses like yours and compare your digital presence to that of your competition, including social media and your website. A solid social media strategy may intrigue visitors, but a website is where you showcase your unique branding and message, explain why they should work with you, and give them the tools to learn more.
It is therefore imperative that a site be at the top of search engine results, fast to load, well designed, aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. Otherwise, your potential prospect will move on to the next company, most likely a competitor. Your website is the first real impression you make on potential customers, and you have a chance – and just a few seconds – to pique their interest.
The data backs it up: according to a recent study by IT company and software review site GoodFirms, 88.5% of visitors leave due to slow loading speed (more than a few seconds and you’re sunk), 73.1% because it’s not mobile-responsive, 61.5% because of poor navigation, and 38.5% because of an outdated design. And remember: every visitor who clicks is a lost sale.
Here are six ways to improve your website to convert more leads and increase your sales numbers.
1. Use keywords.
Consider the words and phrases you want associated with your business, such as “promotional products” and “branded merchandise,” the industries you serve, and your geographic location, including city, state, and nearby towns. Including them in copy on the site will not only help your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy so that you appear higher in Google results, but also clarify your capabilities and value proposition. Also, be sure to update meta descriptions — the copy that appears below page titles in search result listings — with keywords to entice people to click.
2. Simplify navigation.
You can put hours of work into your website, but if the pages are too busy or look outdated and it’s hard to find information quickly, visitors will click away and move on. Keep the design clean, with a few main categories (like New Products, Shop By Category, About, and Contact) at the top. Include a call to action that isn’t a hard sell, like signing up to your mailing list for new product announcements and special offers, or downloading white papers on using promotions in specific sectors.
3. Include testimonials.
After each successful conclusion, ask your client to provide brief comments about their experience working with you that you can put on your website. Include their name with their endorsement, but definitely mention their general industry at the end. This will resonate with your site visitors from that specific industry – they will be delighted to see a happy and satisfied customer among their peers and it also shows that you have experience promoting that industry.
website visitors to leave Due to slow loading speed.
4. Refresh the content.
Here’s a major website faux pas: announce year-end product sales at the top of your homepage in July. Don’t just set it and forget it – make sure your site content is constantly updated. Every two weeks, change featured content and new products, make sure to use crisp images whenever needed (too much copy is overwhelming for visitors), and scan the site for broken links that need to be corrected. Keeping it fresh and functional is key to keeping people there and interested in learning more about what you can offer them.
5. Improve loading speed.
Studies show that a website that only takes a few extra seconds to load can significantly reduce conversions. If yours takes longer than two seconds, it’s game over. Use a speed test like Google PageSpeed to see how your page is performing and what Google recommends to improve it. This can be a simple solution like reducing the size of images, or more technical like reducing the number of HTTP requests made by your site (data available in Google Chrome browser tools). Do some research and find out what the culprit could be. And of course, nowadays all websites have to be mobile-friendly, which means they are easy to navigate on a smartphone screen.
6. Hire an expert.
If the ins and outs of website design and performance lie outside of your wheelhouse, consider hiring an expert to build the site to your specifications and maintain it for you. Depending on the company, building the site can cost between $5,000 and $10,000, and designers then charge hourly rates for maintenance. It may sound steep, but your website is essential to your digital presence. It shouldn’t just be a summer job for the kid next door. A low-quality site can cause lasting damage to your digital presence — and your business reputation — that can be difficult to repair. After all, if the first brand image you present is less than impressive, how will people trust you with theirs?