by Rich Page
You may have heard about conversion rate optimization (CRO) and the fantastic benefits it can have on boosting sales and customers from your website – without having to spend more on driving traffic. That’s because it often gives great impact quicker than SEO, and often has a much higher return on investment.
However, we all know small business startup budgets are not exactly getting any bigger – especially for spending on new trends like this – so I have put together a list of 10 low-cost ideas and tools that you can use to boost your website conversion rates, without breaking your startup budget. Let’s get started!
1. Always make use of testimonials to build social proof.
You probably wouldn’t eat in a restaurant if there was no one in it would you? Well, visitors who come to websites that show no sign of people using it or liking it are no different. To help build your social proof and convince visitors that your startup website offerings are great, testimonials are extremely important to show on your website, particularly on your homepage. Short and sweet ones are best, ideally with a photo of the person giving the testimonial.
To help you gather these and manage them on your website, you can use a tool like TestimonialMonkey.com.
2. Add in review and rating functionality to increase social proof.
Reviews and ratings are more important than ever in today’s consumer driven society – few people buy products without reading reviews and ratings first, particularly if they are not cheap. Therefore it’s really important to offer this for your products or services on your website as they not only help build social proof even further, but help visitors understand and evaluate which products are the best to buy on your website. It needn’t be expensive to implement this system either – there are free options like re-vu.com.
3. Gather usability feedback reviews from your visitors.
The best conversion rate optimizing ideas usually don’t come from you or your boss – they come from your website visitors! Often we are too close to our startup business and don’t fully understand what might be confusing for them or what could be improved. To help gain their perspective, try a usability review tool like UserTesting.com. Simply ask them to complete key tasks on your website and review the audio recordings for great insights.
4. Always use a low-cost A/B website testing tool.
This one is a no-brainer. Don’t just simply make changes to your website and hope they work. You need an A/B testing tool to test your conversion rate optimizing ideas and see which variations convert the best on your website, otherwise you won’t know what changes work and which don’t.
There are several options available now, but in my opinion Visual Website Optimizer is the best low-cost testing tool.
5. Use a web chat tool to gain ideas to improve your website.
Think web chat tools are just for helping your visitors when they are stuck or need help? Well, they are excellent for something else – finding high-impact ideas to improve your website. To do this you should be proactive with the tool and popup chat requests: if visitors seem stuck on your key pages like checkout, help them out, but also ask them what could be improved on the page to prevent future confusion. Don’t just take their order over web chat and move on. SnapEngage is a great low-cost tool you should try.
6. Record and watch your visitors for great insights.
Ever wondered what visitors do on your website? You will be amazed to see they often do things very differently than you might expect. You can now easily record your visitor’s interactions with your website, including mouse clicks and scrolling, and learn where they get stuck or seem confused (with only just a simple tag of code).
7. Improve your usage website surveys.
Don’t just ask generic questions like “Would you recommend us to a friend?” Ask specific questions on specific pages to get better ideas to improve your website. Some advanced survey tools like Qualaroo specialize in this.
For example, you could popup a question on your services page asking if they understand what you are offering. You will get much better feedback doing this contextual surveying (and higher response rates) than asking 20 generic questions when visitors first arrive on your homepage.
8. Build trust by clearly showing accredited business seal and security seals.
An excellent way to optimize your conversion rates is by making prominent use of seals like BBB accreditation and VeriSign security seals. These give visitors peace of mind that they can trust using your website and that their personal and credit card information is safe and secure.
This is particularly important if few people know about your startup website or it’s very new. There are also cheaper options for obtaining these, like from SafeSiteCertified.org. Don’t hide them away in your footer either – place them prominently in purchase-related areas like your shopping cart for highest impact.
9. Check your site in many browsers and resolutions.
No one likes things that look broken, right? Your website is no different – and it may look broken to some visitors without you even knowing it, causing them to leave prematurely. That’s because depending on what browser and resolution your visitors are using, slight variances can result in your website not displaying correctly, and possibly giving the impression it’s broken. CrossBrowserTesting.com is a great tool to check combinations of the most common browsers and screen sizes and prevent these mistakes from happening.
10. Add a visitor greeter to better engage your visitors.
Looking for something a little more unique and different to try boosting conversion rates? Try making use of a website greeter to help engage and convert your visitors when they arrive on your homepage. These animated or video greeters help guide your visitors and can be fully customized – both the greeter and what they say – and are great in particular for small businesses that offer services that need explaining or introducing. SitePal is a great low-cost tool to help you create these.
These are just 10 of the low-cost ideas that will work for boosting conversion rates on many different types of small business websites, so go ahead and pick a few to get started with. And if you are interested in gaining more ideas specific to your website, feel free to get an expert website review from me, where I give personalized ideas to help improve your website conversion rates.
Now over to you… which of these website tools and ideas have you had most success with? What are your favorite tools to boost website conversions?
Rich Page is a passionate website conversion rate expert and the author of Website Optimization: An Hour a Day and co-author of Landing Page Optimization (2nd edition) with Tim Ash. He has been improving small business websites for many years, and offers conversion rate optimization reports and services to help them.