Create Web Pages That Sell to and Convert Visitors

When you design a Web page, you need to think about how it will convert users when they visit that page. When you convert someone, you are motivating them to purchase something, sign up, or take some other action.

Most people come to a Web page and decide whether to stay there within the first three seconds. That means that you have only three seconds to convince someone that your page offers what they’re looking for. For each of your landing pages, ask yourself questions such as

  • Curb appeal: Is the site able to satisfy the intent of the query and is it appropriate to the visitor?

  • Impressions: At first glance, what does my page seem to be about?

  • Focus: Is it clear that this page is about the keyword?

  • Ease of use: How easy is it to achieve the desired task?

  • More details: Can a visitor easily access more detailed information if desired?

  • Conversion: Can a visitor easily navigate to where a conversion can take place?

You also want to consider your goal for each page and see if you’re achieving it. This differs from deciding what the keyword is for each page. For instance, you may have a landing page on your classic car customization Web site centered on the keyword Chevrolet Camaros; your text may be all about restoring classic Chevy Camaros; your images might depict classic Chevy Camaros; and so far, that’s all good. But your goal for this page is a different issue. Your goal may be to get the user to click through to more pages on your Web site. Your goal may be to have the user download a coupon for a free tire rotation. Your goal may be to entice the user to set an appointment, make a phone call, order a service, make a purchase, or something else. In short, the page’s goal can be measured in terms of what you want visitors to do while on this page.

To help determine each page’s goal, ask yourself three questions about every page on your Web site that requires action (such as landing pages):

  • What: What action is required?

  • Who: Who must take that action?

  • How: What information does the visitor need in order to know how to take the required action?

After you have each page’s goal firmly in mind, usability really comes into play. Think of yourself as a professional usability expert for your Web site. You want to design your pages in a way that helps your site visitors successfully reach the goal. Don't just assume that you know what's best. Someone who knows the site and industry has a completely different opinion than a prospective user of the site. All the different needs and viewpoints of your potential audience should be explored. This is why if you have the budget for it, a professional usability expert can be worth her weight in gold.

For example, professional usability experts can help brick-and-mortar stores decide how to lay out their shelves for highest potential revenue. They can advise a bookstore owner that people tend to turn to the right when entering a store more often than they turn to the left, and the bookstore can apply this information by positioning a bestseller table to the right of the entry. Grocery stores are a great example of user psychology in action as well: you have to pass right through all the really tempting packaged goods, like doughnuts and chips, to get to the staple items, like milk and eggs, that are usually on your shopping list.

On your Web site, you want each of your landing pages to meet a particular goal. Often you want the landing page to work as a funnel, collecting visitors and sending them through to some other page on your site. For instance, an Add to Cart link near the product information is a fairly standard way to turn a window shopper into a customer, and if your site then displays a clear Proceed to Checkout or similar link, you can funnel the person to a page where they can make a purchase. If your site isn’t about e-commerce, you still want to have clear signposts that lead visitors from each landing page to a conversion page.

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