Everyone already knows that a big part of building a successful website is getting people to visit it. More traffic = a more successful site. Makes sense, right?
But here’s the thing that some people overlook:
Traffic is only good when it helps you meet your goals.
And conversion rate is what helps you determine that. It’s the percentage of people who do what you want (buy a product, sign up for your email list, fill out a form…) versus the total number of visitors to your website (or landing page).
If you really want your website to be successful, that – the number of people who convert – is what matters for your bottom line at the end of the day.
But what actually makes a website generate conversions? And better yet, how can you build your website, or your client’s website, so that it gets as many conversions as possible?
In this post, we’ll share ten tips that you can use to boost the conversion rates on the websites you build with WordPress.
1. Define your website’s goal (and make that the focus)
If you yourself don’t know what action/benefit you’re hoping to get from driving traffic to your site, you’ll never be able to make your website conversion-friendly.
So – step #1 in the journey to improving your website or landing page’s conversion rate is to laser in and define the actual purpose and objectives for your page.
Typically, your website or page will have one of these goals:
- Sales – getting people to buy a product from your website.
- Brand presence – many businesses are just looking to provide information about their brand. For example, the Coca-Cola company website.
- Lead generation – getting people to sign up for your email list or fill out a form.
- Calls – getting people to call your business.
- Click through – getting people to click through to another page in your funnel.
Once you know exactly what you want to accomplish, you can use the rest of these tips to help you achieve that goal.
2. Figure out who your ideal visitor is — and build a persona
Once you know your page’s purpose, the next step is to define the type of person you’re hoping to reach. This person is known as your website’s persona.
By taking the time to write down the persona(s) you want to reach, you’ll be able to design your website specifically for those people. And by making your website more relevant to the people you want to reach the most, you make it more likely that those people will convert.
So.. personas matter. But how do you create them?
Basically, you want to build out a full profile of your ideal visitor by answering questions like:
- How old is the person?
- What is their gender?
- What is there education level?
- Which industry do they work in?
- How much work experience do they have?
- Why are they coming to your site?
- What are the problems they face in their life/job?
- How technologically-savvy are they?
By the end, you can come up with a detailed profile that looks something like this:
If you’re interested in learning more about user personas, Usability.gov has a detailed guide, which is also where the example above came from.
3. Show some of your unique personality
Some people have this idea that “you have to please everyone”, which often leads to a bland website with no personality.
Most of your site’s visitors won’t feel excited and motivated by the boring “please everyone” approach.
So – don’t be afraid to show your personality, especially if you’re a big part of your business (e.g. a freelancer).
Show your smiling face, or the smiling faces of your employees. Add a touch of your own voice. Don’t be afraid to use some slang if it’s your real personality.
Sure, there’s always the small chance that your personality turns someone off.
But guess what? That person probably isn’t your target persona, anyway!
Remember – you don’t have to please every single visitor – just focus on connecting with your target persona(s). That’s how you get a high conversion rate!
4. Your headline is what makes people stay
Newspaper advertising guru David Ogilvy knew back in the 1960s that most people just read the headline. And while a lot’s changed since then (hello websites, goodbye newspapers!), Ogilvy’s main point still stands:
Your website’s headline is what grabs readers and makes them bother staying around.
Nielsen Norman Group does evidence-based research on how people use websites, and here’s what they found:
“Users often leave Web pages in 10–20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer. To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.”
Your headline is what lets you communicate that value proposition within 10 seconds, keep visitors on the page, and eventually get a chance at converting them.
So what makes for a good headline? Make it:
- Clear and comprehensible. You don’t want people to have to guess what you’re trying to say. Remember – you only have 10 seconds.
- Make your value proposition obvious. This tells visitors what’s in it for them, and why they should bother to stay around and learn more.
- Stay customer-focused. Use wording that focuses on “you” (the visitor), rather than “we” whenever possible.
If you need some inspiration, WordStream put together some formulas that you can use and KickoffLabs has ten good examples.
5. Content matters!
If you do things right with your headline, your visitors will understand your core value proposition and stick around to learn more.
Now, the rest of your site’s content needs to deliver on the promise from the headline.
Spend the time to create content that keeps people reading and explains more about your business/product/offer.
This is also where you can show your personality and give readers all the information they need to make their decision.
6. Use one clear call to action for your goal
Once you’ve hit your visitors with the clear headline and quality content, your call to action (CTA) is what guides them to the next step.
For most websites, the CTA takes the form of a button. This button should be the step you want your visitors to take.
For example, on the Astra theme homepage, the CTA is “Download Now” because we want our visitors to download the theme:
You always want to have one, and only one, primary CTA. You will see some sites successfully include a second CTA, but this CTA almost always employs a less attention grabbing design.
If you browse the starter sites for the Astra theme, you’ll notice that most of them have a single, clear CTA already in place so that they’re conversion-ready from day one. You should follow a similar approach no matter how you’re building your site.
Beyond design, the text on your CTA button matters, too. To create a great CTA:
- Use a command verb to imply action. For example, “Get…”, “Download…”, “Start…”
- Add urgency with words like “Now”, “Today” etc.
- Appeal to deal-seekers with words like “Free” (if applicable)
7. Build credibility and trust
You’re more likely to interact with someone you trust, right?
Well, it’s no different for your readers. They want to buy from, sign up to, and just generally use credible websites that they trust.
So how do you create that trust and credibility?
It all starts with your site’s design. While people say you should never judge a book by its cover…well, people will definitely judge your website by its cover.
That is, if your website just plain doesn’t look professional, people won’t trust it. And people form their impressions remarkably quickly – even before reading a single line of text.
In a study from Behaviour & Information Technology, researchers found that people make a decision about a website’s visual appeal in as little as 50 ms.
Once you ensure you have a professional design, you can use other tactics and features to further build trust and credibility:
- Logos – logos of places you’ve worked with or been featured by help build credibility by association.
- Testimonials – authentic testimonials show that other people trust you, which builds trust by itself (more on this below).
- Security badges – using trust badges or seals builds trust. ConversionXL has good research on the most effective trust badges.
- HTTPS/Green Padlock – 90% of surveyed users were “more likely to leave details or purchase when they know that their data is sent over a secure connection”.
8. Show social proof to harness the wisdom of the crowds
Social proof is a well-studied psychological phenomenon where people base their own actions on the actions they see from others.
While it’s by no means limited to websites, it’s one of the most effective elements to further build trust and convince people to convert. So much so, in fact, that most conversion optimization experts say it’s an element that your site can’t afford to be without.
You can implement social proof in several different ways, some of which you’ve seen before:
- Social follower counts from your profiles
- Numbers – for example, “Join 30,000 other subscribers”, “Over 40,000 happy customers”, etc.)
- Places you’ve been featured
- Friendship – for example, use the Facebook like button to show people some of their friends who have liked your site.
- Credible certifications – for example, “USDA Certified Organic”
9. Harness the power of scarcity to spur action
All of the other tips on this page encourage people to act…but none of them specifically encourage people to act now. And you definitely want people to act right away. Otherwise, they might forget about you and all that work you’ve done on conversion optimization goes to waste!
Scarcity is how you add urgency to your site. And once you understand what scarcity is, you’ll start seeing it everywhere.
For example, Amazon shows how many items are remaining, as well as how long you have to order to get it delivered by a certain date. And every hotel booking site in existence will tell you how many rooms are left and how many other people are looking.
So what are some ways that you can add urgency to your website?
- Use a special time-limited offer or coupon.
- Highlight a limited number of spots, or otherwise restricted availability.
- Add a countdown timer.
Even if you can’t use real urgency, you can still add something called implied urgency by incorporating words like “now”, “today”, “soon”, etc.
Finally, keep things as simple as possible. It can be tempting to add heaps of images, effects, and text, especially now that drag-and-drop editor tools have made it possible to add new elements with just a few clicks.
Resist the urge, though!
When you build a website, you’re not trying to win a design award – you’re trying to meet specific business objectives.
Eliminate elements that are just there to look “nice” and focus on the elements that will get results (like all the stuff we talked about above!).
Save time with conversion-ready website templates
Building a conversion-ready website from the ground up takes time…
But when you use the Astra theme, you don’t have to start at ground zero. We’ve baked all of these principles into the templates in our Astra Starter Sites pack. When you use one of these templates, you’ll instantly have a conversion-ready foundation that you can adapt to your or your client’s needs.
Have any other questions about how you can build conversion-ready websites? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help out!