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Let me start this off by stating that “Being on the first page of Google isn't a thing.” Generating leads is a thing.
When I build websites, I try to get to the website conversion discussion as fast as possible. I find it keeps my customers from looking at me some kind way, like I've sold them a busted website or something.
Let me explain.
Back in 2012, I first started building websites for customers. My original intent was just to build websites. But I noticed that at some point during most website builds I kept getting the same question. “How long before my site gets to the first page of Google?”
Nowadays, if I'm feeling playful, I ask “Why do you want to get to the first page of Google?”
I'll spare you the back and forth that usually follows, and cut to the chase. Being focused solely on getting to the first page of Google is missing the point. It's not the destination, it's just one of the steps along the way.
It's like focusing on making it to class for the final exam but neglecting to do any studying.
Everything you do online is a combination of purpose, process and tools. A website is a tool. SEO is a process. When you're playing around online, it's usually a good idea to bring those two together. However, what I find happens more often than not is that clients focus more on just getting a website seen and totally whiff on what's supposed to happen next.
To use a baseball analogy, when it comes to online marketing, think of yourself as the pitcher. Think of your website as the catcher. You throw everything you can at your website in the way of traffic. You do a little SEO, a little social media, perhaps a little paid advertising.
Your website's job is to catch all of that traffic and then do something with it.
Unfortunately, it's very easy to build a website and forget to build in the stuff that does the catching.
In the online world that stuff is called conversion. If you do the best job of SEO the world has ever seen and get a thousand people to your website and every one of them looks around and then leaves, what have you accomplished?
Traffic is very important and there is a need to invest in the tools that help generate it, but traffic without conversion is an absolute waste of time.
Luckily, the internet isn't new anymore. There are quite a few best practices that you can put into play to increase your website conversion even if you don't increase the amount of traffic that your site gets.
Simplify Your Forms for Website Conversion
At some point in your conversion process, you're going to need people to hand over their contact information. Simple forms get more conversions than complex forms. Common sense right? That's one of those no-brainers we don't need to fund a university study to confirm. However, there have been studies and they found that removing a single field from your form could boost your website conversions by as much as 26%.
In a previous article we mentioned the difference between the needs of a company that primarily sells to businesses and one that is mostly consumer based. My recommendation? If at all possible, keep your online forms simple. Two lines max.
If you need more information, then by all means ask for it, but understand that the more effort you require of your website visitors, the more your conversion rates will suffer. You're not the only game in town and the alternatives are just a few clicks away. A good technique to help you figure out what's best would be to split test different forms and compare the results you get. Beats guessing.
Add a Third-Party Signup Service
Some people really hate typing. Some hate it so much that it's a deal breaker when it comes to any sort of engagement on your website. A simple solution to this conundrum is to allow visitors to sign in to your site using a third party service like Apple, Facebook or Google.
There are two sides to this option so you'll have to decide if the Pros outweigh the Cons for your particular use case. On the pro side, a long time study by Janrain and Blue Research found that 77 percent of consumers favored social login as a means of authentication over more traditional online registration methods. However, as we've seen lately, different tech companies have different views when it comes to privacy.
With WordPress, adding social logins to your site is as simple as downloading a plugin from the Repository and installing it to your website.
Improve Your Call to Action
There’s nothing wrong with a simple call to action. Having a button that just says, “Sign Up” and “Subscribe” can probably get the job done. But how boring is that?
One easy way to increase your conversions is to spice up the calls to action on your site. Here are some suggestions and statistics:
- Turning your Call to Action from a link to a button can increase website conversion by 45%.
- Adding an arrow to direct people to your Call to Action can increase click rates by 26%.
- Using first-person wording (Schedule my free consultation) can increase conversions by as much as 90%.
- Putting your Call to Action below the fold (meaning on the part of the page that visitors can't see without scrolling) can also increase your website conversions.
One explanation for the last statistic is that people prefer to learn as much as they can about an offer before completing a form.
So does this mean that SEO doesn't matter? Should you focus on your website conversion rate and blow off trying to attract more traffic? Of course not. That would be silly.
Just remember it's a game of pitch and catch. You need both. Work on getting people to your website and then make sure you do something with them when they show up.
A healthy website is one that is always evolving and being optimized for better performance. Try some of the methods I’ve outlined here. You may find some goodness, there!