One common problem for many blogs and websites is that they're getting plenty of traffic - but not enough of it is converting to sales. If that's something you're struggling with - you're not alone.
Believe me - I've been there too. When I first started my website, I'd had a bit of early success getting some good traffic - but hardly any of it was actually opting-in to my list or making a direct purchase. I knew there must have been a way to get more of my traffic volume to convert - so I learnt more about how my website design was really working for or against me. After a lot of trial-and-error, I soon started seeing positive changes from my actions.
In this article, I'm going to show you what I did. Hopefully, these 12 design tweaks could be enough to start turning your blog into a money-making machine.
1. Make it clear what the benefits are for your visitor
One of the first mistakes I made on my site was assuming all my visitors knew why my offer was good for them. Whether you're trying to get someone to sign-up to an email list or make a direct purchase - don't assume they know why they should do it. Use compelling language and an unbeatable offer to make it clear why your visitors should act immediately.
2. Reduce distractions
I thought that more was always better when it came to putting additional paid ads on my site. I was wrong. While a few choice adverts could be good for some extra cash - every distraction you put on your page gives more chances for people to click away and not do what you really want them to on your site. Avoid this mistake by keeping distractions to a minimum.
3. Keep all calls-to-action above the fold
Whether you're trying to get someone to buy something, click through to an affiliate or sign up to your list - keep all your calls-to-action clear and above the fold. Try using sticky widgets so that your opt-in box stays prominent no matter how far down people scroll.
4. Continue offering value
You can't trick people into staying subscribed any more - or even subscribing in the first place. Not only should your initial offer be great, you should continue to offer value further down the line. Especially on an email list, as you don't want to be marked as spam or ignored. Keep people wanting to see what you've got to say and only try and sell to them selectively.
5. Target active keywords and ignore passive ones
Some keywords containing things like "free" actually deliver visitors who aren't looking to spend any money. Try and target other keywords that deliver more of the right sort of visitor.
One good keyword addition is "discount" - these people know they're going to be spending but just want to see if they can get a discount before they do so. They're active visitors and if you can be there with the right discount they're looking for - you could make a sale.
6. Use A/B testing to find the best layout for your site
You can't assume that you're using the right layout straight away. To really make sure your site is working for you - test some alternatives. Get some facts to back it up. Make sure you know for sure that your page layout is optimized effectively.
7. Use custom landing pages for different sources of traffic
If you've got different types of traffic coming from different sources you might want to make things even more efficient by directing some of it to different landing pages or sales funnels. Certain keywords can go to your main site, while other searches or sources could go directly to specific sales funnels designed just for them.
8. Make offers time-sensitive
You don't want people thinking they can leave and come back later. Many of them will leave and forget. Make your calls-to-action urgent and time-sensitive. Give people exclusive, one-time-only offers so that they act immediately.
9. Use testimonials
People like to see when your products come highly recommended. Especially if they recognise where the testimonial is from. Make sure your positive feedback is prominent and clear. If you can get authoritative, well-known sites to say something good about you - that's even better.
10. Offer a money-back guarantee
That extra peace of mind that a money-back guarantee offers could be enough to tip someone over the edge into a sale. The reality is that very few money-back guarantees are used - but not having one could put visitors off.
11. Make your forms simple
So many sites these days make visitors jump through hoops just to leave a message on a form. Don't be one of those sites. Make your forms simple. You don't have to ask for people's LinkedIn accounts when a simple email address will do. The more fields your forms have - the more people will click away before filling them out.
12. Use exit pop-ups
Pop-ups have become slightly controversial - so go easy on them. You probably shouldn't be bombarding people with loads on arrival, or any at all. However - a well-placed exit pop-up could be your last chance to grab someone who was about to leave. Combine it with a time-sensitive special offer and you might convert some of those people who were clicking away into sales.
Peter Ellington has years of experience writing about web design and marketing issues. He also writes for Singaporean tuition agency, SmileTutor to help promote education possibilities in his industry and beyond.