Improve website performance through conversion rate optimisation (CRO)

As a new business start-up you would be forgiven for thinking that you’ve done the hard part - increasing your digital footfall and ensuring your business is number one in Google for your specialist search phrase. But there is more to it than meets the eye – converting web visitors into customers is the key to a healthy long-term business.

Businesses with Google Analytics installed on their system with live goal conversion tracking can note with ease the number of people that become customers by engaging with their website and brand.

Google itself offers website owners the ability to test the effectiveness of their web content with “Website Optimizer," a free programme capable of A/B and multivariate testing enabling businesses to compare multiple enquiry forms to see which offers the best results.

So how else can small businesses seek to increase their conversion rates?

Keep their eyes on the prize

Marketers should take a moment to look at their pages and analyse the influence of the content on each page – does it offer enough information about the product/service or is there perhaps too much information stopping customers getting as far as the enquiry stage?

These are the sorts of questions that should be asked as it is crucial for business start-ups to engage visitors directly with their product and brand and remove as many potential stumbling blocks as possible.

Form-filling can put off even the most enthusiastic of customers so be sure to keep enquiry forms concise, perhaps capturing must-have details in one form and additional information in another form at a later date.

Consumer trust in your brand

Web visitors on your contact page may only need a few words of encouragement to take that leap of faith and push the button. Building consumer trust and assurance in a brand is a vital part of the marketing process both online and offline.

Businesses should consider reinforcing to potential customers what they will and will not do with customer contact details. Marketers should always openly state their intentions and in doing so this will help allay any customer concerns over intentions.

Form design – an art form

The layout of your contact form may appear a rather trivial bone of contention between completion rates and speed, but Luke Wroblewsk, author of Web Form Design is an advocate of both left- and right-aligned web forms in the appropriate context.

Left-aligned form labels are said to be easier to read, but the increasing gap between the label and entry field can extend completion time. Right-aligned form labels are best used on website forms where vertical space is at a premium. The quickest form labels are top-aligned as they enable the visitor to read the label and view its entry field in just a single eye movement, improving completion time.

Less of the ambiguity

Although most contact or enquiry forms are self-explanatory to complete businesses should also cater their forms towards the lass-savvy contingent of web users. The most successful enquiry forms offer next to no ambiguity with clear labels ensuring customers know exactly what is required as a response.

In the event forms have labels that require a little clarification, businesses should provide a concise note against the field to explain what is needed.

Careful consideration of your action button

The most important aspect of a business’ contact/enquiry form is arguably the action button. Careful consideration of its positioning, messaging, tone, colour and size should be paramount for the successful conversion of a web visitor into a fully-fledged customer.

The size of an action button should be visible but it is up to the individual to decide whether it should be highly prominent or fit with the user’s path through the form. The message on the action button should also engage the consumer, ensuring they know exactly what will be done with their details.

Don’t be afraid of failure

Businesses testing their conversion rates through the success of their enquiry forms should not be afraid of failure and refining for long term growth. The very nature of conversion optimisation means it should be monitored on an ongoing basis, giving marketers the ability to refine every element of their website that can affect the conversion of visits into sales.