Sure, generating more traffic for your website is always a good thing. But what if you could increase conversions on your site with just a few small tweaks? It could cost a lot less and take less time.
Below are six things we did that increased our sign-up rate by more than 75%. But first, let’s take a look at our baseline.
This was our site before we spent time optimizing it:
The first thing you may notice is that there is no clear headline stating what this product actually does! There is some small text that says “The Online Gantt Chart.” Many of our visitors don’t even know what the term “gantt chart” means. We knew we had to make this bigger and pick some text that people would understand immediately.
1. Short Simple Headline
Try making the headline shorter and more obvious. It’s always tempting to think people understand your website better than they really do. You know what you have because you spend so much time thinking about it. However, others don’t have that advantage. They, likely, are just browsing around the web and quickly stopping by your website to see if you have anything to offer them.
You have only a few seconds to capture a visitor’s interest. Make a quick, bold statement so they will decide to hang around your site longer. We made it very clear that our product is for “Simple Project Scheduling.” This change, with a few of the others below, was part of a site makeover that resulted in an increase of over 50% in free trial signups.
As you can see, we changed more than just the headline here. We will cover the other changes as we go through this article.
Evernote has an awesome headline: “Remember everything.” That says it all about their product in just two words!
Yes, an image can say a lot about your website or product without having to use many words.
We put a bright, cheerful image of our software on the home page. It says a few things right away. People can see immediately that our software has a fun, lively design that promotes simplicity and allows them to visually schedule their projects.
All of this was communicated with just a nice screenshot carefully designed and cropped to showcase the great aspects of TeamGantt. (It’s much easier for someone to look at an image than to read a lot of boring text, right?) We also updated the background color to a bright, happy shade of blue. This change also contributed to our initial 50% increase.
WP Engine did several tests to find out that an image of their staff is what works best for them. This probably is because they are a hosting company and support is what matters. Seeing a bunch of friendly, smiling people is something that visitors can relate to, and it worked great for increasing their conversion rates.
It may have been tempting for WP Engine to put up screenshots of their software or some websites, but they were smart enough to know that wasn’t going to work for them. They also backed up their assumptions with A/B tests.
What is it that makes your potential customers feel good about your company? Think about this when picking out images for your site.
3. Social Proof
Okay, so you hooked some visitors with your great headline and nice image. But now you have to prove to them that what you have actually is awesome! There are a few types of social proof that work really well:
Testimonials: Try not to use boring text from people no one knows. Sometimes, this can have the opposite effect and make people not trust you. Try to use a picture of the person and link to their company. Some business owners feel awkward asking for testimonials, but we have found that people are extremely helpful here.
For instance, you may receive a nice email after providing good support to a customer who says something like: “Love your product and support! It’s made a huge difference in our company.” If so, simply reply and say: “I’m so glad to hear that! We are getting ready to update our website and would love to feature a quote from you. We could even link to your company so that you could get an inbound link and extra traffic to your website.”
Initially, we had some nice quotes from people on our website. However, nobody knew who the people were. There also weren’t any pictures of the people. This can lead to visitors questioning if the quotes are even real. Our quotes were real. I promise! But people may not have any way to know that.
We were fortunate enough to have Ryan Carson and his company use TeamGantt for the launch of their popular startup, TeamTreehouse.com. Ryan is widely known throughout the startup and design communities, and his recommendation gives us a lot of credibility with people who know him. We asked him for a quote, and he kindly provided one for us.
We replaced the other quotes with this quote from a well-known and well-respected individual. We also decided to make it big so that it stands out and people actually read it.
Tweets about your company: An easy way to show some more legitimate testimonials is to use tweets about your company/product. We usually “favorite” especially nice tweets about TeamGantt. We built a Happy Customers page, and we included a section that pulls in random tweets that we “favorited.”
Case Studies: We offer a few short case studies with summaries about how people used TeamGantt for specific projects and the benefits they got from it.
Press Coverage: Were you in The New York Times? Show it on your website! Present a nice quote from the article and the newspaper’s logo. Have you not had any press yet? Well, then, go get some. Here are a few great ways to -> generate some PR.
We were featured in TechCrunch last year and wanted people to know it.
Logos of Customers: Do you have some big name customers that will allow you to put their logos up on your website? This can establish some instant credibility with others.
Adding these changes helped account for a 13.8% increase in one of our later iterations.
There are a few different types of videos that may help improve the communication of your message. Maybe a video that walks visitors through your product and how it can be used. Or maybe an animated video that explains the problem your product solves. Consider hiring a company to create an explainer video.
On our TeamGantt page, we tried adding a product overview video. We made this video ourselves using ScreenFlow for Mac and iMovie. If you want to tackle creating an explainer video yourself, I recommend reading this article: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/creating-a-explainer-video/.
Since we created our video, it has had over 51,000 views and helps give people a quick understanding of what our product does.
This video is one of the things that helped us in our first big revision that resulted in an increase of over 50% in signups.
Later, after adding the video, we decided to try different placement options to see if we could get even more out of it. Here are the 3 options for placement of the video:
Baseline: No video directly on the home page. There was only a button that would take people directly to the video.
Video at the top of the page: Decrease of 5.3%
Button + Video further down the page: Increase of 3.3%
Yes, there actually was a decrease when we put the video up at the top of our home page, which was a bit of a surprise to us. This is one of the reasons it is so important to A/B test.
It turns out that the most optimal placement for the video was below the fold about 1/3 of the way down the page. So, instead of losing 5.3% of signups, we gained 3.3%. A 3% increase may not seem like a lot, but if you get a few of these from various changes, it can really add up.
5. Longer Home Page
This definitely is worth trying. There really isn’t any way to know if a longer home page is better or worse than your existing one without running an A/B test. A longer page works better for us.
The reason we checked into this is because we noticed that we didn’t get a lot of clicks going to our “tour page.” Therefore, we thought we would combine the “tour page” with our home page. Now, people can learn more about the benefits of our software without having to click to another page.
Increasing the length of our page with more information about features contributed to an increase in our sign-up rate of 8.6% in a separate A/B test.
Crazy Egg works very hard on A/B testing and has found that a long page works great for them as well.
6. Call to Action
Don’t forget this one! You need to tell your visitors what to do. Should they download an eBook, sign up for a mailing list, start a free trial, or buy your product right now? Give them a friendly nudge to help guide them to the next step. This can have a huge impact if you don’t already do this.
Also, make sure that your call to action is above the fold. This way, a potential customer will know what to do without having to scroll down the page.
Try a few of these changes and track your progress by using an A/B testing tool like Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer. For more detailed funnel analysis and analytics, we recommend trying KISSmetrics.
About the Author: Nathan Gilmore is a Co-Founder of the web based project scheduling app www.TeamGantt.com. He takes care of app design and marketing. Nathan can also be found on twitter here @nathangilmore.