How to build a website that converts customers

How to build a website that converts customers

Posted: Fri 6th Aug 2021

Creating a website that looks great is the first step, but making sure it converts is another challenge altogether.

Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to improve your conversion rate, most of which you can get started with straight away.

We’ve included our top recommendations, plus advice from Enterprise Nation’s digital experts, on the small changes that can have a huge impact.

Plan how your website will work

People rush into building a website for a variety of reasons: excitement, customer demand or a rapidly approaching launch date. But before you jump in, it’s well worth spending some time planning how your website will work.

Emma Meheux, Enterprise Nation member and owner of Brand Planning, recommends thinking about how you will attract the right visitors and encourage them to take the next step with you.

“Good digital planning is an integral part of building a website that produces conversions. It’s vital to plan how the site will generate the right type of visitors and what content will entice those visitors to enquire.

“Gaining a good understanding of your target audience, the search landscape and your unique selling point (USP) are three key factors you should consider before the website build.”

Make your USP clear on the homepage

Your unique selling point is what makes you different from everyone else in the market. So, make sure you’re telling people why they should choose you straight away.

It’s common to try and squeeze as much information as possible onto your homepage, from product or service descriptions to accolades and experience. As a result, crucial messages like your USP tend to get lost in the details.

A quick sense-check might be enough to bring your USP to the fore. But if you have any doubts, ask a friend to spend 10 seconds on your homepage and tell you what is setting your business apart. If it’s not clear to them, potential customers will be missing it too.

Identify your ideal customer journey

A customer journey is the path visitors take when moving around your website. Identifying your ideal customer journey allows you to shape that path to increase conversions, whether you want customers to make a purchase or fill out a form.

Pippa Ridley, Enterprise Nation member and managing director of Etempa, emphasises that successful customer journeys should help customers reach their goal in as few clicks as possible.

“Let’s say the journey starts with landing on the home page, then moves to choosing a product, adding it to the cart and checking out. The next step is optimising it. You need to allow your customer to complete the action in as few clicks, with as few distractions as possible.

“If you have a popular product, that might mean having a link to the product in your homepage header and a ‘buy now’ button on the product page that skips the cart and sends someone straight to checkout. That’s three clicks.”

Avoid disrupting the journey with pop-ups

Pippa also warns against using too many pop-ups to distract customers from the journey you have planned.

“Pop-ups can work in specific situations. For example, offering a discount code on a product page would be a good example of when they benefit the customer. But most other pop-ups just get in the way of your user journey.

“Don't interrupt someone reading your carefully crafted sales pitch with a pop-up asking them to give away their email address.”

Add calls to action (CTAs) to each page

There are lots of times where customers will need more information before making a purchase. It’s common for service-based businesses, or if you’re offering a product that’s in a competitive market or higher price bracket.

Calls to action (CTAs) are a useful way to point customers towards more information and encourage them to stay on your website.

For example, a blog post about a launch of a new service could include a CTA that invites visitors to find out more on your services page or read your testimonials.

Try to get into the habit of thinking about what action you want customers to take next on each page of your website, then turning that into a CTA.

Handle objections in your CTAs

Objections are the doubts that come up when you’re browsing a website. Things like, “Will shipping be expensive?”, “How long will it take to arrive?”, “Will I get value for money?”

It’s a good idea to consider these objections when you’re writing CTAs and how you can shape the copy to overcome barriers to purchase.

Here’s an example of a potential objection and how you could address it:

“Am I taking a risk buying from a small business?”

  • Include testimonials from satisfied customers

  • Demonstrate the scale of your business (“Thousands of orders shipped”)

  • Offer a free 20-minute consultation so customers can see if your service is right for them

Common customer objections tend to be around time, price and value. But as always, it’s best to conduct market research and talk to your target customers.

Don’t underestimate website speed

We’re an impatient bunch. It’s so normal for websites to load in a matter of seconds that we’re no longer used to waiting around. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between how quickly websites load and how frequently people click off them (bounce).

High-resolution image and video files are two of the biggest culprits if your website is loading slowly. Make sure you’re resizing and compressing your files – a quick Google search will show you plenty of free tools to help with this.

Focus on the benefit, not the product

Writing compelling sales copy is an art, but an easy way to get started is to focus on the benefit, not the product.

While it’s important to explain what you do and how your product or service works, you need to hook people in with the benefit first. Your potential customers want to know what you can do for them right away.

Here are three tips:

  • Start your headers with an action verb (for example, “Boost your social media engagement by 50%” rather than “Social media help for growing start-ups”).

  • Don’t shy away from bold statements about what your business can do for people.

  • Keep your customer personas in mind – talk directly to them and show you understand their challenges.

Looking for more advice about starting up your business? Join Enterprise Nation’s thriving community of small business owners to connect with expert advisers and other founders just like you. Sign up now – it’s free.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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