For those of whom think that a slow loading website is not a huge deal, I have some bad news for you. By the end of this article I hope to convince you that speeding up your website will surely improve conversions. Especially if you have thousands of visitors or more per month.
Consider the effect of a 1 second delay on your website. The time it takes for one heart beat, can cause a customer to click away, or stop a sale dead in its tracks.
Research shows that a one second delay in page load time can produce the following effect:
For websites with millions of page views, the effect can be compounded. Consider the fact that Amazon reported an increase in sales of 1 percent for every tenth of a second improvement to their site load speed. (see the details here at Amazon).
Furthermore, there is some research that shows how impatient web visitors can be. In our frenetic and chaotic world, site visitors can’t be bothered to wait if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Need more evidence on why site speed is so vitally important to improve conversions?
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Our good friends at Akamai found that web visitors are simply an impatient group of people. Consider these stats:
That means a slow website is the equivalent of lost income. Even if web visitors do manage to stick around, repeated slow web page load times may result in lost opportunities to display on-site advertising, as well as shopping car abandonment.
Let’s hope by now you are waking up to the fact that slow page load times can be a severe detriment to your website
If you still stubbornly think you can’t improve conversions by speeding up your web pages, here’s a short list of other side effects a slow loading website can have:
Whenever someone clicks on a Google search engine result (aka SERP) and is frustrated by a slow web page, they may click the back button and go on to find another search result. As a consequence, Google registers this back click as a “bounce”.
Google wants give its users of its search engine the best possible experience, as a result, the “bounce” rate is one indicator that the site is a good search result for them. Google employees have even stated that they look at the site speed as a signal in determining search engine rankings.
A site can spend big bucks on optimizing its content for the much-hallowed search engines, but if a significant amount of the visitors don’t have the patience to stick around to see it, Google may eventually notice and send less traffic to that site.
What about mobile devices? The delay of page load times have even more negative consequences with those with hand-held devices.
These folks more often than not have a limit on bandwidth and are not entirely thrilled to waste it on sites that display a bunch of non-essential elements that detract from the mobile experience.
Surely, by developing and optimizing a site for mobile – sometimes referred to as the “mobile first” approach is an fantastic way to approach site optimization and foster speedy page loads.
Even if web users do endure a lagging site through the initial click to finally a conversion or purchase, most are much less likely to come back.
64 percent of web visitors who have crappy experience with a website will be more apt to visit a competitor’s site in the future, and they surely won’t recommend piss-poor sites to their friends and associates.
A good place to test your web speed is located here ——>> https://tools.pingdom.com
If you site is performing poorly, here’s a few things you may be able to do on your own:
If you are not tech oriented, there are a number of firms that will work with you to increase your page speed.
Next Steps to Improve Conversions
Shopping cart abandonment still remains high today even in a world where there are a number of tools and optimization strategies to increase the customer’s follow through with their purchase.
An industry watchdog has compiled over 37 studies on shopping cart abandonment and the average of all these studies shows a 69.23% abandonment rate. These are documented studies and span from 2006 to 2016.
One would think, erroneously, that the abandonment rate would be in steady decline, but the number show otherwise. In fact the two most recent studies they received show an
abandonment rate above 70% (Listrak 2016 [78%] and Adobe 2016 [75.5%])!
So What’s the Big Deal? My Customers Are Just Browsing!
If you think about how people shop online nowadays, there is a big reason for such a high percentage of shopping cart abandonment. The obvious reason is that most people are merely price shopping versus other retailers. So a potential customer goes through the entire checkout process to figure out the total product price plus any shipping charges or taxes.
Others just abandon the process because they were simply not ready to buy.
If you eliminate the “just browsing” and “not ready to buy” categories from the study that was conducted, the remaining reasons cited for abandonment take on the following distribution:
Fix Your Shopping Cart Design and Reap the Rewards
Luckily, most of the above issues are completely fixable through design changes. Take a look at your checkout process. How many fields are required for entry? If you answered less than 15 you are on the right track. Remember more than a quarter of shoppers thought the checkout form had too many fields to fill in, or the checkout procedure was just too complicated.
For most checkouts it is possible to reduce the number of fields by anywhere from 20-60%. This could substantially increase your revenue and decrease cart abandonment. In fact, Baynard thinks cart optimization could allow e-commerce businesses to recover over 260 Billion dollars of lost revenue. That’s an incredible statistic if you think about it hard enough.
Is this Worth Doing?
Frankly speaking, it all depends. If you are in the initial stages of developing your e-commerce store, keep these statistics in mind. You may need to take a look at all the shopping cart software providers to figure out how flexible, or inflexible, designing the checkout experience will be.
If you own a multi-million dollar site, and want to hire someone to do this for you, the ROI can be immense. Some industry studies show that an optimized shopping cart can decrease abandonment by up to 35%.
Next Steps for Optimization
You can improve the growth of a business by improving its conversion rate. The conversion rate of an online business means the conversion of the visitor to a website into a customer or client. It can be made possible by using one or a series of Conversion Hacks. The following article lists some of the basic, but often overlooked conversion hacks that can boost your sales.
In fact, conversion hacks guide you to foster an environment to help your customers to find out more about your company and ultimately induce them to purchase. You can create this environment by using either or all the options like email communication, online advertising, people walking into your store, and/or driving traffic to your website.
In this way these hacks can be defined as a tool to measure everything about your business that can help in improving its profitability including the sales cycle of your customers. You can rapidly grow the sales of your business by making optimizations and adjustments at each point of conversion.
Thus, conversion hacks will help in the rapid growth of your business, gain valuable insights about your customers, along with increasing profitability rapidly, and making better use of the money of the investors.
Reasons to Use Conversion Hacks
Some popularly used conversion hacks are briefly described here under to help you in becoming a booming business. Who knows, maybe we will even see you listed in the Fortune 500 one day.
Speed Up Page Load Times to Improve Conversion Rate
The shopping experience through your website can be affected if it takes just a few seconds extra to access your website. So to improve your conversion rate you will have to ensure that you are using reliable servers that load pages quickly for your website. The use of compressed images and video will help speed up page loads as well. After all, most people are busy and do not have the patience to wait for a slowly loading website.
Use of Responsive Design for Mobile, Tablets and Desktop
The design of your website should be responsive so that your visitors can navigate, view and read it easily. Moreover, it should be compatible and responsive to tablets and mobile devices as in future you may expect more traffic to your website through the devices-on-the-go.
Maximize Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You can get more targeted traffic on your business website by optimizing it with the keywords that can increase your conversion rate.
According to Wikipedia, “SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or ‘earned’ results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers.”
SEO is becoming a more complex and competitive landscape. It is recommended you seek out a competent SEO professional to aid you in this aspect of web optimization.
Display Your Company’s Contact Information
You should make it easier for your visitors to get the information to contact you. It may include all of your links on social media along with online “live chat”options so that your visitors can contact you instantly in case of any issue regarding your products and services.
Test Different Layouts for Your Website
You can test various types of layouts when designing your website to ensure which of them can be the best suitable for improving the conversion rate for your business. The use of A/B testing (testing the results of one page design vs. the original page for conversion rate) is one of the most effective things you can do for your site.
Navigation Between Pages Should Be Smooth and Logical
The visitor to your website should not be mislead or confused while navigating between its pages, as it can cause resentment and frustration for him/her. Make sure your pages and links have a logical flow. Test your link and page flow with customers or survey participants to elicit feedback about your page design. Any issues that users point out should be quickly addressed.
Make Call-to-Action’s in Clear and Bold Words
You should tell your visitors in bold and clear words what you expect from them to do. You can guide them to sign up for newsletter or download a free brochure, if you want them to buy a product from your website. You can increase conversion rate by generating trust through your transparency.
Provide Proof about the Quality of Your Product
You should display the positive endorsements and testimonials posted by the previous users of your products as feedback on your website in such a way so that your visitors can easily see and read them. It will help in converting them into real buyer.
Improve the Search Function of Your Website
If the search function of your website is easy to find then your prospective customer can easily and quickly search what he wants to find on it. If the visitor finds it difficult to search his required item on your website then there are more chances that he may leave it without searching anything.
Include Seals of Your Security Provider
Today visitors are more focused about their safety while visiting a website due to increasing awareness about cyber-security. You should ensure them that the data and information provided by them will be kept safe. Your website should show the seal of a reputed security provider you have partnered with to insure your visitors “safety”.
Pursue Reviews and Referrals Actively
You can ask your customers to post their reviews online about your products to help in generating proof for the future visitors. Strive to put a formalized referral program in place for those who are satisfied with your product or service.
Give Personalized Experience
In order to provide personalized experience to your visitors converted into customers you can use software to provide them recommendations, interactions and feedback along with tracking their product search history.
Emphasize your Guarantee and Return Policy
By stating your refunds and return policies prominently you can make your visitors more comfortable to purchase things from your website.
Provide Visuals of Your Products
You should provide enough number of photos of your products, alone and visuals of someone using the product if applicable. High quality videos of satisfied customers using your products may make a better impact on the visitors.
What To Do Next?
If you are keen on improving your web optimization and growth, it might make sense to get in touch with us. We’ll sit down with you, one on one, and review what areas of your website could be improved. We will then give you a course of action to consider. Great converting websites aren’t built overnight.
It may come as a shock for you to find out that your website is only optimized for 81% of the visitors. Whether you have been working to perfect your site for years, or have just started out with a new site, you will want to know about the remaining 19% your website is not optimized for. Web optimization for the disabled is becoming an important consideration.
This 19% represents millions of potential visitors who possibly have disabilities that prevent them from accessing your site and cannot engage with your site the traditional way.
The most recent US census done in 2010 shows that 19% (about 56.7 million) of the population has some disability…
This is why you need web optimization for accessibility to open up the site for the remaining 19% of potential site visitors who you didn’t even know existed. By doing this you can significantly increase your conversion. Web optimization for the disabled can be a boon for your business.
Understanding Web Accessibility
This is the practice of eliminating barriers that may prevent disabled people from accessing a website and interact easily with it.
When web optimization and accessibility is considered from the design stage of a website, the development and implementation process will proceed smoothly to the benefit of users and the site owner. This is the best way to give everyone equal access to web content such as products, information and business opportunities in spite of their disabilities.
Why Accessibility Matters to Web Optimization
The most recent US census done in 2010 shows that 19% (about 56.7 million) of the population has some disability according to its broad definition. More than 50% of this number reported severe disability, therefore, when you consider web optimization and accessibility you will be doing a lot to this group.
They will have easy access to do whatever they need on the internet, and your organizational goals can be achieved through increased conversions and better user experience.
What you did not know is that even the visitors without disabilities enjoy the ease of access and navigation on your site. When a website is designed with a focus on flexibility in meeting user needs, situations and preferences, it will get more visits and a good percentage of repeat visitors. Your website should favor even those with slow internet connections, broken arms or age related disabilities.
Disabilities to Consider in Optimizing
Everyone needs websites that are optimized for audio even if they don’t have a hearing impairment. The need deepens for those with trouble hearing. The US Department of Health and Human Services says that 15% of those above the age of 18 have some trouble hearing.
Another research paper shows that 12.7% of US citizens over the age 12 have hearing loss in both ears. And when you include those with hearing loss in one ear, the number jumps to 20.3%. Developers should consider adding a caption and transcripts for all multimedia content and have transcripts for all the audio content.
Someone with a visual disability is categorized as blind, has low vision or is color blind. It is estimated that about 10% of the adult American population (23.7 million) have some trouble seeing, even with glasses on or cannot see at all.
Color blindness is also more widespread than we care to accept, this creates a challenge to website owners especially online shops. A customer may want to buy an item but does not know how to choose a particular color.
There are tools to help in designing your site to help those with color blindness. You can even use a color contrast checker to see if your colored content passes the accessibility guidelines. You can also apply color blindness filter in Chrome using Color Oracle to let you see what those with color blindness will see.
3. Motor Disability
Those with this disability have trouble moving the mouse or have slow response time. This disability covers a very wide range including ALS, arthritis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, and Parkinson’s among other motor-related diseases. Use WebAim to learn more of the common challenges people endure in websites that are not optimized for the disabled and get the solutions available for each.
4. Cognitive Disability
This includes so much ranging from learning disability, memory deficit to distractibility. It all comes down to memory, focus, and concentration. The disabilities include memory, attention, problem-solving, reading, math comprehension, linguistics, visual comprehension and verbal comprehension.
They may seem trivial to you, but they affect the disabled user just as much as the person who cannot see.
The Web Accessibility Guidelines (WAG) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) are essential tools to make your site accessible to the neglected 19% of the population.
The WCAG 2.0 has four pillars: robust, perceivable, understandable and operable. It has 12 basics tenets:
1. Maximize the compatibility of your site with current and future agents and assistive technologies.
2. Provide the user with alternatives for the time-based media.
3. Design and make your web pages appear and function in a predictable format throughout the site.
4. Provide the user with text alternatives if the content is non-text for example symbols, large print, simpler language, speech or Braille.
5. Guide users to avoid and also correct mistakes.
6. Your content should be easy to present in various formats without its structure or content getting lost.
7. Your text should be readable and easy to understand.
8. Let it be easy to separate foreground from background. The content should be easy to see and hear.
9. Help users navigate easily to find content within site.
10. Make all the functions easily available from the keyboard.
11. Avoid designing content in a way that is known to result in seizures, for example, bright flashing contents.
12. Provide the users adequate time to read and apply the contents.
Each guideline has a wealth of knowledge to help you optimize your site for the disabled. Spend some time on the quick reference guides, and you will have a very accessible website.
You can also look at User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) and the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG). UAAG is used to make user agents like browser extensions, browsers, readers and media players more accessible, whereas the ATAG is used to make online authoring more accessible. These include blog authoring, multimedia authoring, site authoring and wiki authoring.
Evaluate your site to get its level of accessibility using expert reviewers, automated tools, and user testing. As time goes by, web optimization for disabilities is becoming a necessity. Increased competition on the internet is forcing sites to optimize to capture more leads and improve conversion.
User Experience (UX) is a critical element of designing functional and effective websites. The first requirement for an outstanding UX is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without a whole lot of fuss or hassle.
Despite the rigid academic definitions the terms User Interface (UI) and User Experience are used interchangeably. The definition of the title depends entirely on the culture of the company.
The UI/UX designer is an individual who may be responsible for strategy, organization, and execution of an interface that accomplishes the enterprise’s goals.
Though there is no doubt that the internet is the place to be in for all those who wish to start their business, however big or small it might be. The bad news is that the internet is becoming a highly competitive place and getting a toe-hold is becoming extremely tough and difficult.
The first requirement for an outstanding UX is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without a whole lot of fuss or hassle.
As such, there is a need to find out ways and means by which traffic to website increases and eventually results in better revenues and improved sales. However, this is easier said than done and there are quite a few things that must be taken into account, improving User Experience (UX) is of paramount importance.
Unless the website is good enough, visitors will not engage with your site for a decent period of time.
New technology can always make your website look old and obsolete. While redesigning a website might become a necessity, time and money constraints might prevent it from happening. Hence you may belong to that group of people who may not be keen on investing too much of time and money on redesigning the website.
You might rather be looking at ways and means by which you can improve UX by tweaking the existing elements on your site.
Below is a list of some proven ways by which user experience can be improved.
There are many website visitors who often complain of too much white space lying unused. While some bit of white space is essential for good design, too much of it might make the website look barren and dull.
Hence, you must try and ensure that the white space is well utilized. It must not be underused or overused and you must get the right mix. For example having white space around titles and texts increases the attention of the viewers by 20% and they tend to read the contents that much more frequently. Hence this is an important aspect which never must be lost sight of.
Page speed is an important point to be kept in mind when it comes to enhancing user experience. We are all today living in a world where time is a major constraint.
Hence it is important to ensure that the page speed must be optimal and waiting period must be as little as possible. It must be in line with accepted international norms and practices. You could use some good websites as a benchmark when it comes to speedy loading of the websites.
This is too important a feature to be given the miss and if done, it could damage the user experience of your website beyond repair.
Customers are smart and they spend some looking at the contents and audiovisual impacts and draw a conclusion as to what is important and relevant to them. As a website designer, having the right call to action is extremely vital. It helps the user to take a call whether to spend money on the products and services based on the information and the user experience that he has gone through.
Hence a good quality call to action with a suitable action word would help your customer to not only take a buying decision but also help them to navigate easily to various parts of the website and get the information which they want. You must carefully choose the action word or words and generally it should be a very that could excite the visitors and actually take part in some action.
The main purpose of adding a hyperlink is to try and persuade the user to click on the link. Hence this forms an important aspect of user experience (UX). There are a few things you must do to ensure that the links are easily identifiable from the rest of the text.
There are simple things which you could do. You could highlight the linked text, change the colors, or even increase to font size so that it stands out from the crowd so to say. Blue and underlined text are effective link formats, but testing of different colors and fonts could still bump your conversion rate.
The size of the link is also important. The more number of words in the link, the easier it will be identifiable. However the link text should be relevant to the search being done by the user and it should not be out of the way.
Another great way to improve user experience is to ensure that you break up the content into sub-headings so that it becomes easily readable. Just writing big chunks of text will put off the reader and you will most certainly see the visitors leaving the site within seconds.
You also must understand the importance of bullets. They make the content readable and capture the attention of the reader, especially on specifics which are extremely important as far as the product or services are concerned.
There is no doubt that having an audio or visual content on your website certainly helps your cause in more ways than one. Images, pictures and videos “say” a lot more than text and therefore they must be used generously. However, the use of the images and pictures must be done judiciously and you must try and avoid cluttering the site with too many images, which may distract from your Call To Action (CTA).
While search engines might not punish you for 404 error pages, you can be sure that in most cases users will not forgive you. If they come across 404 error pages, you can be sure that the users will just move away and the worst thing is that they will not leave any reason why they exited the site.