When it comes to website conversion and landing page optimization, Tim Ash advocates that less is more. The president and CEO of SiteTuners.com, Tim has worked with American Express, Sony Music, Verizon Wireless, 1-800-Flowers, and others; so he knows how to improve website conversion rates by doing less. At the recent Conversion Leaders Summit, Tim provided three key pieces of advice to follow when looking at your website:
• Less clutter
• Less text
• Less information
Less clutter. Visual clutter kills conversion. In many cases, graphic designers, the people actually constructing your pages, can be your worst enemies because they try to do too much with the page. As a result, website visitors have no idea what to look at, or what to interact with, on the page.
If the call to action on your landing page is not obvious, you should radically strip down the page to increase online conversion rates. If there are a lot of bright but unnecessary visual elements competing for the visitor’s attention, you are advised to refocus on the page’s objective and declutter. What do you want the user to do? What’s the next step in the conversion process? Make it obvious to the user, because if it’s not obvious, you are losing money.
Less text. Too much text limits conversion. Landing pages frequently include a lot of text, especially if they are also being used for SEO purposes. Do you really expect people to read all of that information? Of course not. Putting an overbearing amount of information on a landing page basically guarantees that people will not read it. They won’t even begin.
The alternative—less text—can look pretty stark in comparison. Less text, however, makes the call to action much clearer. If you need text for SEO, you can still put it on the landing page; just put it at the bottom where it won’t interfere with a good user experience. People will have to scroll to read that text, but that’s okay. That text isn’t for your users; it’s for the search engines.
Less information. Asking for too much personal information also hinders conversion rate optimization. Marketers tend to ask for too much personal information too early, and they drive up the form and shopping cart abandonment rate in the process. Reverse that trend by collecting only information that is absolutely necessary to complete the specific transaction or form.
For example, you don’t need to ask for a user’s street, city, state, zip and country to let him or her download a PDF. So don’t ask for it. What information is needed for the download? Nothing. If you let users download a PDF without any sort of registration, downloads will increase significantly as a result. If you do want to follow up, however, as most website owners do, collect the minimum information you’ll need for the follow up, such as the user’s name and email address. Collect additional information later, when it’s appropriate—e.g. the mailing address when the user is ready to buy.
If you’d like more information, you can view a 10 minute video of Tim’s presentation (by selecting View SiteTuners presentation), or view a replay of the entire webinar (by selecting View entire presentation), under The Conversion Leaders Summit here.
Other insights are also available from myself on website conversion and recovery of abandoned shopping carts through remarketing; Danny Dover, an SEO expert from SEOmoz.org; and Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations at Silverpop, a leading email service provider.