Thursday, October 25, 2007

7 Ways to Turn Visitors into Customers

Web users are impatient, ruthless and fickle creatures. It’s estimated that over 50% of visitors to your site will get bored and click away. Here are some quick ways to remedy that figure and turn more visitors into customers…

1. Cut your Copy by Half

Your homepage has 10 seconds to capture that user. Urgent measures are required. If users are uncomfortable reading on-screen text, the amount of copy needs cutting. This doesn’t mean you can cut-and-paste your full catalogue onto the website and hope it works. Web copy requires brutal editing – aim for about 50% of what you’d write for printed brochures.

2. Subheadings

Subheadings are also useful for exactly the same reason. Bear in mind that a user is scanning the page for content, so try to make the keywords stand out however you can.

3. Avoid Clichés and Word Litter

Paragraphs should be short and contain one key idea each, to facilitate scanning. And avoid word litter – fluffy phrases like ‘we pride ourselves on high levels of customer satisfaction’ will send that badger next-door.

4. Use a Slogan

Stating your company’s purpose in a clear manner – in other words, providing a slogan for dummies – is vital on a website. If users can’t work out why Google has sent them to your site, they won’t stay. Your slogan needn’t be clever – a simple statement summarising your products is perfect, especially if your company name doesn’t speak for itself.

5. Lure your Users In

Card and Pirolli (1999) described how good websites create a strong ‘information scent’. In other words, provide simple navigation and an obvious trail from one page to the next. Use interesting information as bait to make sure your readers end up where you want them.

6. Give Great Content

Web experts all over the world emphasise the importance of features. Be they reviews, entertaining or factual articles, features will be picked up on search engines and will send new users to your site. Convert readers to customers by placing product links within and beneath the feature.

7. Added Incentives

Users are worth leaving treats out for. Update the home page with new links and features. Invite users to sign up for an e-newsletter, clearly stating that you will not pass their details around.

And make your site a bit different. Have some fun features, competitions or games, especially around occasions like Easter and Bank Holidays.

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