NEW: Fred Schebesta

More on converting visitors into sales. See how it is done – and how it is not!

How to increase your new website designs conversion rate: Part 2

Last week I outlined nine quick questions to check the conversion rate of your website design and asked for volunteers for a case study.

I got a couple of volunteers and I am going to run with Jean Cannon’s website (see her comments at the end of last week’s blog). I will analyse the website and show you my thoughts and suggestions.

First, I’ll do the test described in the previous post and then give my overall comments. Then if it’s possible Jean, could you make some changes to your site and we can review it in say three weeks time?

Nine quick questions answered

1. What is the first thing you look at? – I actually looked at the headline first when I went to this website. I think that is fantastic. It immediately hits you with two strong benefits; “increase profits” and “reduce risk”.

My attention was grabbed. I actually read the entire headline and that is a good thing. My only gripe here is that after the headline I was not captivated to read on, you lost my attention with a statistic relevant to an industry. I wanted you to tell me about how I can accomplish these benefits with your proven system.

2. What did you immediately think the company did? – When I logged on to the company my instant reaction was “wow”. I liked the colours and I saw the green picture in the top right. I thought it was some sort of environmental plantation company and then I went on to read the headline and thought it might have been some sort of product or software.

3. What is the second thing you look at? – I read the headline and then skipped the black text and looked at the picture. I liked the picture although wasn’t super engaged.

A little headline below the picture described it and how it related to your product and what it provided to me. I then went and looked at the logo and then the email signup and then the green image in the top right and read the copy. I proceeded to scroll down the page and then clicked on the link, “Find out how we help you”.

4. What is the last thing you look at on the page? – I read the link at the bottom of the screen. I wanted to get into the site and find out how to get the headline benefits. I thought the answer might be hiding on that next page.

5. Where is the first and second place you would click? – I first clicked on the “products and services” link on the left because I wanted to find out what the company sold or did to deliver that headline benefit. You will notice that as I browsed and went through your site I was hunting for what I can do to get that.

The second link I clicked was the one at the bottom of the page because I thought it would be some more copy about how I could take action.

6. What would you expect to be behind those links? – Behind the first link I was expecting products with prices and dot points with what the product did for me and how I could implement the system described in the headline.

To be honest I had little idea what the product did on the products page. I would revise the copy around the product and give a one sentence elevator pitch of what each product does. Then talk about what problems it solves, what’s included in it, what it takes to implement, how much it costs and how to buy it.

Behind the second link I was expecting some copy to teach me how the system can help me. What I found was some testimonials. I understand Jean why you did this, you thought other people could read what past customers did and figure out how they could use it like them. I would instead suggest you tell me how to use your system.

A “how to” guide could be a great page there; “How to make your business greener and increase profits at the same time.” Go on to describe the process of doing that and then leave a little gap in what you have provided them and that is where your product comes in.

Give them the whole story with one little incomplete part where your product helps me. Perhaps this page might be a better page to go to. I would add a call to action to buy at the bottom of that page.

7. What did you spend the most amount of your time looking at? – I looked at the animation that comes up when you mouse over your product. I have been trying to figure out what that means. I have also been staring at the green “easy being green” part a lot.

I liked the booklet offer although wasn’t super enticed to get it because I didn’t know what would happen to my email address. Perhaps a little spam note might be good there; “We hate spam as much as you do. This is a private email to you from Enviro Action.”

8. What did you expect to be behind each of the navigation buttons? – I landed on relevant pages for each of the navigation links. My only thing there is that I would have liked something to grab my attention immediately when I landed on those pages. The breadcrumbs are good from a usability perspective. I really like this page where you can fill out a survey.

Perhaps a little promotion with an icon of a wizard to encourage more people to figure out how green their business is. I would also suggest a couple of sentences explaining what the survey does and what they will get afterwards. For example: “Fill out this simple survey and we will email you a customised green business audit.”

9. Did all of the questions match your answers? – I’m giving this a 50%. There is some work to be done here and a bit more illustration and delivering on the big promise in the headline. I am also unsure as to your ultimate action you want the user to take.

Design 8/10 – Loved the design, it creates a real impact and feeling of environmentalism with the visitor. I think this will strike a good note with the environmentally conscious person.

Search engine marketing 1/10 – Table based layout, and no page rank. This is bad because this domain was registered in September 2000 and could be a really strong site. The site was registered in 2004 and would therefore have a slightly tougher time getting the same kind of rankings. Not enough keywords in the <title> tags and in the content and links. And finally the following evil screen when you click on your sitemap:

Fix this sitemap page IMMEDIATELY! This is killing your search rankings.

Conversion 3/10 strong benefits and headline. Good trust and credibility built up but an unfamiliar conversion page sequence. The visitor is left to their own devices in trying to figure out how to go do their buying process. A bit of page reworking and some strong descriptive copy will fix this to a 6/10 in no time. With some testing I can see an 8/10 coming with this beautifully designed website!

Let me know if that helps and if anyone else has suggestions, post a comment. I am going to have a review of the Schoolmates site next week. Denham (see comments at end of last week’s blog), can you please give me some more background and details about your site.

Fred Schebesta’s company Freestyle Media is an established innovative online marketing agency specialises in building search engine friendly corporate websites and running online marketing campaigns.

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