Win More Leads and Influence People with Conversion Rate OptimisationBy David James on May 25, 2017
Reading Time: 13 minutes
The feeling that you get when you know that you have gained a conversion and a sale is one of euphoria. Especially when you see the dollar figures in your bank account. I still remember setting up websites years ago hoping to see my web venture take off, only to see the project make a few cents over a few months. It was a painful learning experience. But we learn from our mistakes and focus on moving forward in a positive direction.
For me, that positive direction was conversion rate optimisation. When I actually started committing to it properly, that is when I noticed things turning around for the better.
- My subscriber rate went from single to double digit acquisitions every month.
- I doubled my income.
- I improved my monthly lead acquisitions.
- We improved the quality of and quantity of natural white hat SEO links to our websites.
If you’re feeling frustrated with your conversions, it isn’t the end of the world. You can apply some of the things that I’ve learned and with conversion page templates like the one from Pagewiz, I’m confident that you will be able to double your conversions over the next 12 months.
We cleaned up our data and organised our conversion funnels.
Will Smith once mentioned in his song Will 2K, “You never know where you’re going until you know where you have been.” In marketing and optimising for conversions, it’s crucial to collect and analyse valuable data that will allow business and campaign managers to make strategic decisions that will improve conversions, sales and revenue through the website.
Originally, my site had the basic metrics to measure traffic, the amount of time spent on the site, and basic conversions. However, if I truly wanted my business to breakthrough to the next level, the site’s data needed to be structured and optimised so we could receive valuable insights about our audience so we could better optimise the site for conversions.
It’s important to structure this well, as it will impact the use of your site’s pop-ups, lead magnets and opt-ins.
Resource: Georgene Nunn from Conversion XL created an excellent Google Analytics guide for optimising and structuring your analytics data.
We took action to get rid of the site’s referrer spam.
As I dived deeper into my data, I noticed that a lot of the website’s data was getting skewed because of the referral spam that was coming to my website. Quite often, the visitor figures were overinflated, which impacted my site’s conversion rate and led to my team and I making inaccurate business decisions. So I decided to take action by following this excellent tutorial by Carlos Escalera that shows how you can get rid of all of the spam in Google Analytics.
Implementing all of these actions allowed me to have clean data, which I could then use to make more strategic decisions for any campaigns being run through the website.
We optimised the layout of the content.
This is incredibly important to get right. I cringe every time a client comes to me and says that they’ve developed a website without even testing any landing pages in advance. I typically advise them to do the opposite. Test different landing page layouts to see what converts towards your web marketing objective, then roll out the successful template (or templates) on different areas of the website.
Many website owners still rely on guesswork rather than collecting and using the data that website visitors provide.
It can also be tricky when you need to satisfy several stakeholders that are involved with any onsite optimisations. Whether that involves paid search marketing teams, SEO teams, PR teams, etc. Appeasing all of the stakeholders is all well and good, but at the end of the day, the visitor to the website ultimately makes the choice that matters for the landing page.
We’ve found the following template styles to be working well for us.
Home page squeeze page that sits above the fold.
Below is a screenshot of my homepage. There is a button in the middle that offers visitors to download my ebook and subscribe to the website.
According to Google analytics, you can see where people have clicked on the web page and requested a sample of the ebook.
This is a screenshot from my Google analytics ‘Goals’ page. The reverse goals funnel shows how many times the entrance page contributed towards the site’s lead conversions. The homepage contributed to 63% of the lead conversions on the website.
We implemented lead magnets within the web content.
We inserted a display banner within my website’s content that incentivised visitors to download a free sample of the SEO ebook ‘How to rank on Google in 2017’.
We had placed this image inside some of my most relevant and most popular articles on my website. As people read and scrolled through the content, they would be presented with this opt-in.
They could then click on the opt-in and to receive the sample.
We advertised the lead magnet in display advertising spots and used a pop-up trigger to leads.
We developed display ads for our own opt-ins on our website. We created an image that was loaded onto the site (to help improve the web page’s loading time) and then we hyperlinked the image to a pop-up trigger. The example below is from my niche site High Jump Club that we operate.
In the stats below, you can see how people have started signing-up using the lead ads.
On our other niche site Lollivia.com, the sidebar ads with the pop-up box pick up email opt-ins, despite only getting a low amount of web traffic.
We implemented pop-ups.
There’s always a debate as to whether or not pop-ups affect users experience on a website. Even though people may cry foul or find pop-ups annoying, the truth is “they work”. On our sites, we use pop-ups on some pages, which appear up to 10 seconds after a person has started to engage with the web content. Typically, they are presented with an “opt-in bribe” and then they subscribe to the website. Here’s some stats for one of the pop-ups from Lollivia.
We started to use welcome mats.
The welcome mat on our site contributes to a few conversions. We use Sumo’s welcome mat drop down to capture leads. Here’s a screenshot from our dashboard, which shows the last 30 days of activity.
We tailored every opt-in for each landing page’s custom audience.
This was a game changer for us. Prior to customising the opt-in incentive for each web page, we only asked people to sign up to the website’s newsletter.
We looked at the web pages that were generating the most amounts of traffic and engagement. We then developed a specific opt-in for that web page.
For example, on our blog post that talks about YouTube SEO tips, we provided a YouTube SEO checklist. You can see the custom welcome mat and 2016 statistics below.
We started to publish long-form content.
One of the major changes that we made was our commitment to developing valuable and insightful content on our site. We used to publish short-form content that was 250 to 500 words. It was enough to entice people’s interests, but it wasn’t enough to deliver insightful value.
Instead, we started publishing really insightful pieces that were actionable and that gave the reader an insightful takeaway. The content went from being a few hundred words to averaging 1,000-3,000 words per page. This change has increased our visitors time on site and engagement. In fact, our bounce rate reached its lowest ever. Here’s a screenshot of the first week in May 2017.
We optimised the site’s font sizes.
The size of the font on a website was something that I’d never really paid close attention to until I started looking at its impact on website conversions. I had decided to do some research and came across this case study by VWO, where they tested font sizes in 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17 and 18 pixels over a 28 day period and with 3100 visitors.
The experiment concluded that the size 18 font generated 32% more clicks.
After reading the case study, I changed the font size on my website from size 12 to size 18. The change wasn’t isolated, so I cannot say that it had a sole impact on the site’s engagement time and lower bounce rate. However, it did contribute to the overall positive performance and I did also start to get more lead enquiries after making the changes.
We optimised the paragraph spacing.
We’d overlooked paragraph spacing in the past as we just opted to go with the default settings in the website’s theme. We tweaked the line spacing size to improve the legibility and ease of reading for the website visitor.
We trialled single line spacing, 1.5 and double line spacing. We eventually settled for 1.5 as it made the content much easier to read.
According to my analytics from the year 2015-2016, the average session duration for the site increased by 111.72%. Although it isn’t solely due to the spacing, it did contribute to its improved performance.
We optimised the site’s typography font.
Font optimisation wasn’t something that we’d really considered in the past. We decided to experiment with different font styles to see if we could improve the site’s engagement and conversion performance.
What was the impact?
I can say that since the font has been optimised, the site’s bounce rate has decreased by more than 50% and increased the average time on site by 41% when compared to the previous year. You can see the analytics figures below.
We upgraded our website’s theme.
We had seen major improvements after optimising the web content, but we felt like it still wasn’t performing at the level that it needed to. We were using a WordPress theme that we purchased from Themeforest. But we wanted to improve the user experience by providing a site that looked more ‘high-end’.
We ended up replacing the theme with one from Studiopress. Since the upgrade, our site loads faster and provides a “richer experience” for our site’s visitors.
We started to use high-resolution photography images across the site.
People love to engage with images. So to give our sites a more engaging look, we migrated away from uploading animated images and focused on uploading high-resolution photographic images. There are some exceptions, but generally, we use only high-resolution photos that are engaging. We source the images for free where we can, however, we are also happy to pay for the photography content since we know that it will make a positive impression on our audience.
We optimised all of our images for sizes, display resolution and speed.
We were able to improve our site’s aesthetics and speed by implementing the following.
If you would like to minimize your image file sizes, I’d recommend doing the following.
- Ensure that the image uses the exact size dimensions to display correctly on the web page. If the image is too large, then it will slow down the loading time of the website. If the image is too small, the image might render blurry or pixelated. Useful resource: The ideal image sizes for your social media posts: Guidelines for all 6 major networks.
- Once the image has been resized, compress the image using an online compressor tool. I personally like Compressor.io, which has compressed some of my images by up to 80%. I also like TinyPNG.
Ideally, images shouldn’t be larger than 100kb. We ideally want to keep the web page size lower than 1MB in order to maximise the web page’s loading time.
We also continued to build our list using pop-up boxes in Facebook ads.
We also ran a Facebook retargeting ad campaign that invited people to download a free sample of the ebook in exchange for signing up to our email list. When they clicked on the ad, it triggered a pop-up and they could fill in their details to receive a copy of the ebook.
There was an 8.47% conversion, which is ok, but it isn’t Earth-shattering. But in our current business model, each lead can potentially earn my business $1000 or more. So the activity was worthwhile.
We’ve implemented all of these actions and seen positive results as a result. Although we continue to tweak and test things to see how we can improve our results even further. Currently, we are developing and testing all of these actions on our new niche site Plan my perfect wedding, so if you would like to follow a live example, please visit the site from time to time to see the optimisations that we are making to the site.
I hope that you have found this helpful. Feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.