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Conversions: Making Your Web Site Work

So many creative people step into the online world expecting great things from their Web site, their product or their service. But there is really only one way to find success in this field and that’s through conversion. If you can move a solid percentage of your visitors into leads (then into customers) you are on the right track. Keys to this process are quality content, good design and the right call to action. Then it’s time to test and measure user data with such tools as heat maps.

online conversionsWhen it comes to the idea of “conversions” and “converting” in online business we’re not talking about changing a PDF document to Word or a JPET image to GIF. With the technology available today there are online sites that will perform this service for you. But that’s not the conversion you should be interested in at this point.

We’re interested in is converting Web site visitors to leads that may mean a true increase in business. People have invested money in the pursuit of increased traffic to their Web sites but sometimes don’t go one step further and generate quality leads. This is the major step you need to take to have an effective Web site and to measure site effectiveness.

How It’s Done

While the correct use of keywords, phrases, links and referrals can make a lot of difference in Web success the journey actually begins when you create quality content. Sure, a few junk sites might get good numbers because of the “tricks” of the trade. But long-term success will come with content that offers something valuable and captures the visitor to the extent that the individual wants to engage in a meaningful “conversation” with you.

In addition to quality content your online presence requires above-average design. One key element of good design is simplicity. But this doesn’t mean empty and boring. It means being user friendly, focused and understandable. Great design presents an overall picture that is just what you want your visitor to experience.

If you have interesting and useful content combined with the correct design for your effort you are almost there. What more do you need to do, you may well ask? The third factor is sort of like asking for the order. In this case it’s a call to action. Ask the visitor (potential customer) to take the next step by contacting you in some way. Always provide the “yes” button – an email address, phone number or both. Use a call to action and get the customers you desire.

Ask Them to Act

As you may have guessed, it is common to design a Web site with a wonderful appearance that is easy to use and has useful, interesting content but still fail to capture a solid percentage of visitors. In many cases this happens because the site doesn’t include a call to action in the proper place and at sufficient frequency. A call to action should be a highlight of your Web site.

Your call to action should also be presented in the right form. Does your visitor have the opportunity to request a sample or demonstration? Can he or she ask for a free trial or a no-cost consultation? This type of call to action should garner you more leads than simply asking the visitor to provide contact information. Give them something in exchange. After all, they are giving you themselves.

Make sure your call to action step takes the visitor to a landing page that is easy to use and understand. It is essential that you don’t put roadblocks in the process, especially at the point when a cold visitor is about to become a lead. Deciding at what level to qualify your leads will depend on the industry, product or service. Some qualification is fine as a way to filter out leads that will only waste your time.

How Do You Know?

If you have taken care of the proper steps in the conversion process, as described above, how will you know that your system is working? Of course, monetization of your business should show a positive bottom line. If you’re making money you must be doing something right. But how do you really know that your design and efforts are giving you the best results possible?

The simple answer is: You need to know your Web site’s conversion rate. The information must be a current, accurate report on such ratios as visitor-to-lead, lead-to-sale and visitor-to-client. Some successful online businesses consider this last ratio the most important because it tracks the cold-call visitor through the process and shows which of these visitors become long-term customers.

Visitors become leads when they provide basic contact information that puts them in your system. Depending on your service or product you might expect to get lead information from 5 percent or 10 percent of your visitors. Some of the hottest sites might get a percentage as high as 25 percent. If you have a very specialized product or service that is attractive to only a small niche market you might be satisfied with 5 percent.

To wrap up this brief discussion of a complex subject we should at least consider the use of heat maps as a way to test your content, design and call to action. Using this tool might mean the difference between knowing who your customers really are and not understanding your market.

The right kind of mapping and visual reporting can give you a clear picture of your visitors’ clicks, scrolls and other moves. Think about how valuable a visual image of your visitors’ action could be. Get the real who, how and what when you study conversion by using behavior reports and heat maps that work.