Website Evolution is the Key to Improving Business Conversion

key to conversionLet’s set the scene.

You realised the importance of having a web presence a while ago, and spent a fortune on developing an all-singing, all-dancing website that really wowed customers and placed you firmly ahead of the curve when it came to online business. Perhaps your business enjoyed some growth and for a while, the sales were pouring in, the customer experience was extremely positive, and everything was rosy.

Slowly though, things stopped going so smoothly and the sales began to drop off. The site still attracts good traffic but your bounce rate is high and conversion is definitely down. It begs the question… what’s gone wrong? (Or if you never experienced the high, what was always wrong?) And, more importantly, what is the solution?

It’s a frustrating place to be. And for some the plausible solution is to assume your website is old or broken and that it is maybe time for a website overhaul. But, before you scrap your efforts and completely redesign your website it’s a good idea to take a step back and assess the problem areas. Adopting some outside thinking can help you understand the pitfalls of your site, how to better target your customers and develop a potential strategy that can improve your business conversion.

Why a Redesign Isn’t Always the Answer

Although it’s clear that something needs to be done to get the website functioning as an effective sales channel again, a radical rebuilding is not something to be taken lightly. For a start, a complete overhaul can often have at best, neutral effects, with no overall change in sales performance, and at worst it can alienate your existing customers without attracting new ones, leaving you in a far worse position than before. Recent internet history is awash with examples of major sites going for a revamp and seeing the business fall off a cliff, leading to either a rapid change or a permanently reduced market share.

To make things even more complicated, if you rebuild your entire site at once you’ll have very little idea of what’s working on the new site and what’s not; which parts of the redesign are hitting the spot and which are leaving customers cold. Further, a full redesign can take much longer than expected, during which time the technologies and techniques behind the internet can have moved off over the horizon, along with your competitors and the infamously fickle online shopping community.

All in all, a full site revamp is often a leap into the dark, requiring significant investment with no guarantee of improving your company’s online situation. So… what’s the alternative?

Consider a Website Evolution, Not a Revolution

If you use the Wayback Machine or other internet archive to look at some of the mega-retailers’ sites from several years ago they are usually still recognisable compared to the sites of today. Amazon are a great example of this.

Of course, there’ll be differences, but the basic underpinnings of the site will often be largely the same. The reason for this is that the most successful sites evolve rather than undergo radical changes. Every change is exhaustively tested against the original, to ensure it has a positive effect on the customer experience – and perhaps more importantly, customer conversion.

Advanced analytics techniques and technologies such as split testing and multivariate testing can be powerful tools in driving your online business forward, with each minor change to your site experience improving the bottom line without scaring away your existing customer base by introducing wholesale, confusing changes.

There are two main reasons why small incremental changes in your business’s website is a preferred method:

You Won’t Lose Brand Identity and Loyalty

Building trust with your business is incredibly important. In what is known as the mere-exposure theory people trust what is familiar or what they are increasingly exposed to. The theory applies to brands as well, so completely changing your website will break the trust you have built.

You Can Monitor What Works

Although it can be tempting to start afresh with a clean new design, making small changes which are tested every step of the way can lead to the same level of overhaul in the same amount of time, but with the advantage of being able to see exactly what works and what doesn’t, and roll back quickly if necessary. A new website won’t always equate to improved sales or conversions, but making small changes over time will help you to mould your website into the best converting site it can be.

The process of assessing a website by investigating feedback and analytics to improve user experience (UX) is known as Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). CRO can be used to improve any element on a website from acquiring new customers, newsletter sign-ups to app or white paper downloads. In essence, CRO is used to give your customers exactly what they need when they arrive on your website.

How to Adapt Your Website to Improve Your Business’s Conversion Rates

There are numerous ways that you can improve conversion. One of the most commonly cited, simple changes is to alter the colour of a sign-up button. This can, and has proven to in some cases, result a spike in conversion rates however it is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Considering more fundamental website changes can help improve conversion over the longer term.

Here are some examples of such changes you can make on your site:

Clear Contact and Help Information

Often it is the case that your customer may have a query about a product or service they wish to purchase. Some may leave your website as they cannot find the information they are looking for and some may browse your site looking for the information. Making clear and detailed returns, delivery and FAQ sections can help customers to fully understand the product and the online shopping experience and assess the risk involved – if any. Clear contact information on every page is also key for those wishing to speak with someone about a product or service.

Content and Credibility

We have previously written about the importance of website credibility in this post. One of the main developments in marketing in the digital age has been the shift from push to pull marketing. Traditional techniques involve customers using print, TV and radio for communication with little to no interaction possible. Customers simply received the messages regardless of whether they wanted them or not. Today, people are in far greater control of their communication with brands. They are better equipped to select what they consume and brands began to see the importance and need in generating communications which engage customers either by entertaining or adding value to their lives.

Understanding your target audience and the types of communication they consume can help you create a better target content marketing strategy. Better still, understanding the channels that the customer uses (especially when there are now so many) will provide you the best chance to engage and convert customers.

Landing Page Optimisation

A fundamental mistake that is made when carrying out PPC or Email marketing campaigns is that the advert links directly to the website’s homepage and not to the product page you were promoting. If your advert is showing a 30% sale on a particular service a customer clicking on this advert is more than likely expecting to land on a page where they can find out more information, or make a purchase. Being redirected to a homepage with no clear sign to the service can result in abandoning the purchase.

Consider What the Customer Needs Are at Every Stage

From the homepage to product page to check-out screen, it is crucial your business understands and offers the right kind of information needed at every stage. For example a homepage will explain a bit about the company, the USP and the product selection. The homepage may also feature popular items or sales. A product page should have detailed information on the product, relevant photos, videos or tutorials and social proof, often in the method of customer reviews.

When a Full Website Redesign Might be the Way Forward

From time to time, the entire online landscape can have a seismic shift and the need to completely redesign your website is present. A recent example is the surge in prevalence of smartphones and tablets: if your site doesn’t have a responsive design and doesn’t display well across all devices, it’s probably time to bite the bullet and rebuild from the ground up using modern web design techniques. A similar example is sites that still rely on Flash for their operation – this technology is now all but dead and superceded by HTML5, and Flash-reliant sites will only see dwindling results as browsers are upgraded.

If you are confused about your website and whether or not you need a rebuild, Adeo Group web design can help. Our digital agency has been redesigning and improving websites for over ten years and has experience in helping Ecommerce websites increase sales and improve their conversion rate. You can email your question to our team via: info@adeogroup.co.uk or request a call, or if you prefer you can fill out our contact form and a member of our team will get back to you.

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