Follow these strategies to identify and address usability problems.
- You're not listening to your visitors. One of the easiest ways to figure out your conversion problems is to simply listen to your customers. Check out what users are searching for, and take a look at your site's analytics to see where you're losing them. Pay attention to these metrics, and you can identify real problems with your site.
- Visitors can't search for what they want. Provide a good search function, like that provided by Google Custom Search Engine, to make it easy for visitors to find what they seek.
- Your site's pages take too long to load. So you have a snazzy-looking site, but if no one waits around long enough for it to load, you've just wasted a lot of effort. Make sure that speed always trumps design, and you'll see better conversions.
- Your site is full of dead links and errors. Don't send visitors down a dead-end path or have a site littered with spelling errors. Clean things up, and you'll look more credible and professional.
- Your site does not follow standard Web conventions. Visitors expect that company logos will link to the home page and that a shopping cart will hold potential purchases, so stick to established Web conventions to make it easier on them.
- Your site breaks a browser's back button. Whether you're opening links in a new window or just using frames, you've effectively disabled a user's back button. This is confusing and frustrating for a lot of Web users, who just might abandon your site.
Make sure that your site's design is conducive to conversions by avoiding these mistakes.
- You've buried important information. Web users generally check out information in a "Z" formation, starting at the upper-left corner. So put your most important information in a pattern that follows their eyeliner.
- Your home page is all over the place. Visitors get confused when there is too much going on at once. Simplify your home page to reflect just a few important goals.
- Your competitor has a slicker site. All other things being equal, users will gravitate to the site with a more visual appeal, so stay on top of your competitors and always make sure that your site looks better than theirs.
- Your site just doesn't look professional. You can have every other conversion element lined up perfectly, but you will still fail if your design isn't up to par. Use a sharp layout that exudes professionalism, and it will go a long way.
- Your site is difficult to navigate. If your site doesn't have a flow to it, users will inevitably get lost and leave. Use calls to action on each page to show visitors where you expect them to go.
Is your writing scaring off customers? Find out with these tips.
- You're not offering a call to action. Users need to be told what to do, so give them a nudge in the right direction on every page.
- Information isn't easy to find. Web readers scan for important elements like headings, links, lists and bold text — not huge chunks of information. Break your copy down into reasonable chunks to highlight important information.
- Your messages aren't clear. Instead of saying "click here," let your visitors "contact the company," or "locate a store."
- You don't repeat vital points often enough. Web readers are scanners, and they're not always going to catch what you're saying the first time around. Help them out by repeating important points in various different ways.
- Your site is too wordy. There should be very little detailed text on your site's home page; rather, you should deliver a "positioning statement" of 25 words or fewer and make it stand out.
- Your copy is written for you, not your customer. Get an outsider to take a look at your site's text to consider whether it's more helpful to them or to you.
- You don't answer your visitors' questions. To answer your visitors' basic questions, take the "history-professor test," which asks what products and services you provide, who you provide them to, and why they benefit that group of people.
Your customers could be leaving your site because they're afraid to work with you. Find out if you're a victim of any of these trust follies.
- Visitors have no idea how to contact you. Show your users that you're ready and able to help with any issues by listing full contact information, including a physical address, a phone number and an email address.
- You're asking for too much information. Most Web users will scoff at sharing much more than an email address and their name, so don't force them to provide more information than you really need.
- It doesn't seem like there's a real person behind your site. Just about anyone can create a Web site these days, so prove that your organization is real by showing off awards and articles, providing staff bios, and posting photos of your office.
- You have poor communication skills. If customers don't hear back from you quickly, they wonder how strongly involved you really are. Resolve to respond immediately to inquiries, or at least set up an automatic response system.
- Your product availability is not obvious. Shoppers want to know when they can expect to receive a product, so tell them if an item is currently in stock or if there will be shipping delays.
- You have no evidence to support your claims. Any business can claim that it's the best in the field, but not many people will buy that line unless there is proof to back it up. Share links to awards and studies that prove your claims. Client testimonials work great as well.
- You have an overly restrictive return policy or none at all. If a shopper thinks that they may have a hard time returning a purchase, they're not likely to buy. Offer a reasonable return policy and be sure to post it prominently.
- Your products haven't been reviewed. Reviews give shoppers a sense of real-world trust, so give your customers a voice, and they'll instill more confidence in future buyers.
- Your site isn't secure. Even if you aren't running an e-commerce site, visitors want to know that any information they share with you is secure. Sign up with trust companies like VeriSign Inc. and display their logo prominently.
- Your product reviews are heavily moderated. Negative reviews aren't necessarily a bad thing; they show potential buyers that your reviews are truthful and can be truste
Avoid these mistakes when creating landing pages for specific products and campaigns.
- Your site lacks a landing page. First things first: If you're not using specific pages for specific campaigns, you're killing conversion rates already. If you're running a special or have a specific offering that you'd like to highlight, make a new page for it and direct all relevant links to it rather than your site's home page.
- You don't have an "encore" page, either. Once a visitor has executed the desired task, don't stop there. Offer more products, subscriptions and other conversion items.
- Your visitor has no idea where to go. If your visitor has no idea what their next step is supposed to be, they're never going to take it. Specifically tell customers what you'd like them to do.
- It's too complicated. Visitors do not have a lot of patience. Keep things simple and focused so that the user knows exactly what you're getting at.
- You're not testing multiple landing pages. If you don't have multiple landing pages, you have no way of finding out what works and what doesn't. See how users respond to various tweaks to your page, then go with the strongest.
- You offer no confirmation that they've found the right place. If you've placed a link in a specific newsletter, say so by welcoming that readers high up on the page.
- You've taken your page down too early. Consider the long tail of links and understand that visitors aren't just coming to your page when you have an active campaign. Leave landing pages up and direct visitors to a more relevant, current page.
- You don't have enough calls to action. Some visitors will click links early, while others will read and click later. Appeal to everyone by spreading calls to action throughout the page.
- You're making it easy for visitors to get sidetracked. Don't post links to irrelevant information on your landing page. Instead, stay focused on the page's goal.