How to help people in buying from your website
Lucy O’Reilly published an excellent article last week on why people are not buying from your website. It was a great read but it set me thinking about how people can fix those errors on their websites or what common mistakes they should be avoiding (in addition to the ones Lucy already listed). Thank you Lucy for the inspiration and I hope that I have added value with my article to your network also as you did to mine. So read on to know more.
How to help people in buying from your website
It is like helping you out with a jigsaw in the hope that the 2 articles together help you understand your online needs even better.
1. THEY CAN’T FIND WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR
It is very true that if people can’t find what they are looking for on your website, they will run away to your competitors faster than an Olympic sprinter because we have a lot of competing demands on our very busy lives. So in order to make sure that people can find what they are looking for, here are a few tips:
- Use sticky headers to show important contact information. For those of you scratching their heads, sticky headers are portions of content that literally stick to the top of the page as your site visitors scroll down. For example, on Signs from Ireland website, as you scroll down, the head reappears and is ready to help you navigate to the cart, checkout or the blog. You can choose to add contact information or an important reminder about free shipping in that space also.
- Design your site menu carefully and keep it easily accessible as users scroll down. For example, Arnotts make it easy for you to navigate through the product categories as you scroll down through their web content.
Just think of sticky headers as a brochure in your hand that helps you guide your site visitors through your online store.
2. YOUR WEBSITE TAKES TOO LONG TO LOAD
Another factor that loses you customers fast. It is a common problem with websites. Here are a few ways to mitigate the issue:
- Hosting – If you have a very large online store (with over 500 products) and lots of traffic, make sure that your hosting platform is able to handle the load of the website. If your site has a lot of visitors, the hardware, ie the hosting, has to be able to handle all the concurrent requests for your website. As an example, a client of ours had their hosting on a small shared hosting plan but the store had over 16000 products including variations. They were also investing SEO and generating a lot of traffic with no sales. The issue was that the hosting platform just was not capable of handling a large volume of traffic and it resulted in poor sales. We upgraded the server and overnight the conversion rate increased by almost 50%. This is because the site went from loading in around 12 seconds to under 3 seconds!
- Cache – Make use of a caching solution. A cache is like a mirror for your website except that the reflection is permanently temporary. Let me explain. A caching plugin creates images of all your site content for a fixed length of time or until you change the content of the page in question. This way when someone visits your websites, the cache displays the image of the page instead of trying to rebuild the page from scratch. I will not bore you with the details of how Content Management Systems work but the proof is in the pudding and caching speeds up your website and therefore, it upgrades the user experience on your website.
- Image optimisation – Images add rich content to our content whether it be blog articles or product pages. However, we often add images in the raw format to our web pages. This is like bring out a shotgun to kill a fly! Do you remember the last time you travelled and tried to sit on your suitcase to close it because you wanted to carry your whole wardrobe with you on your holiday? Well adding raw images to the website is a bit like that. You are never going to use all the information in the huge file so why send it? Use a plugin to optimise your images for website use. This plugin could help you resize images to be fit for purpose, it could convert them to more web-friendly formats such as WebP or both.
- Use a CDN – A CDN or a Content Delivery Network is a type of caching solution but works on a geographical scale. The CDN will keep images of your website in their data center dotted around the world. Then when someone visits your website, the CDN will automatically deliver your website from a location closest to the site visitor making the site work and load a lot faster for them.
3. CALLS TO ACTION (CTAs) THAT DON’T STAND OUT
The sole purpose of a Call To Action is to encourage people to take some action on your website. If your call to action looks like the rest of the text, you will never book an initial chat with me. However, if I add a big, prominent CTA like this one below, you are more likely to take action.
I was just showing an example of how you can make your CTA stand out a bit more but Lucy pretty much covered everything else in her article.
4. YOU HAVEN’T MADE IT EASY TO BOOK OR BUY
This one is self-explanatory but you would be surprised by how many people are guilty of not making sure that the checkout process is as simple as it can me. I did a case study on a client website to figure out why people were not buying. It turned out to be a simple thing in that the website was not directing people to checkout once they had added products to cart. This step was important on that website because of the nature of the product on sale, ie tyres. People just wanted to buy, pay and leave. Our process had them clicking to buy and then asking them to browse the site. People were put off by that but when we changed the process, the sales started happening. So it important to meet your customers’ expectations and make it simpler for them to spend their money on your website.
5/7. YOUR TONE OF VOICE IS NOT CONSISTENT/ 7. YOUR COPY SPEAKS TO THE WRONG PERSON
I am combining 2 of Lcuy’s points because she has described them very well in her articles so there is very little I can add except to add an analogy to explain this one. This is one that is often overlooked because writing content is an onerous task at the best of times. However, if you have 3 customer types, they will expect to be dealt with in 3 different ways and this includes the buying process, the language and the images used on the website. For example, if you walk into Arnotts, you can browse through the shelves and racks and try and find what you want or you can ask for a shopping assistant, lay down your requirements and wait for them to shortlist products for you to pick from. The store caters for both customers but in a completely different manner. The experience is still that of buying from a top end store but the different customer expectations are met differently. It is the same on a website, you need to be able to speak to the customers in their language.
6. YOUR VISUAL BRANDING IS NOT CONSISTENT
Again Lucy is on point with her explanation. To add to that, I would say that the consistency matters. It carries all the way through from receving your business card to viewing your website to your social media to your proposal and then finally, your invoice. Make sure that you have a common thread running through the communications to the clients and that they are of a consistent quality. Think of the brand guidelines as the constitution of your business. A country’s constitution is the document that guides all the laws and how people are treated in that country. Your brand guidelines should be the guiding document for your business and should detail how you communicate with and handle the various different types of customers your business may have.
8. YOU DON’T EXPLAIN THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH YOU/BUYING FROM YOU
One tip I find myself giving all my clients is that their website is their own so they should not shy away from injecting their personalities into the site. The about page, benefits page or any such page that communicates you and your guiding principles to your customers should be an area where you boast in a restrained manner. No one likes a hard sell or a self-proclaimer. However, on a one sided medium you need to tell your story so get creative, dial up your personality and talk to your customers as if you were sat next to them! Tell them why you are the best at what you do and why they should buy from you! Why are you shying away from the one opportunity you have of converting a site visit into business?
I really enjoyed Lucy’s article so I decided to write a piece of my own to add to that or to share some of my knowledge and experience with you. If you would like to discuss your website and your online needs further, please do get in touch for a FREE 30-minute chat over a virtual coffee https://calendar.xava.ie/#/customer/coffee