We’d all be dining out on champagne and lobster each night if every single person who visited our website was looking to buy. Heck, we’d be doing it if even 50% or 25% of our site visitors were ready to buy. However, only 4% of site visitors are buyers in heat. The rest are either warm, slightly toasty, or freezing cold. Which means it’s your job to heat ‘em up with an optimized website.
Why optimize a website?
It’s hard to survive unless you’re online in 2018. However, simply being online isn’t good enough; instead, your website needs to be optimized so that people are coming to you and converting into customers. This means more sales, more profits, and more good times.
There are many reasons your business needs to be successful online. It’s where your customers are, it ensures 24/7 availability, and it gives you the chance to offer better customer support.
Moreover, a website means you can use analytics data to understand your customers better so that you give them more of what they want. However, if you aren’t making the most of your website, you’re missing a huge opportunity — and you’re missing out on potential sales.
What happens when your website isn’t optimized?
You’ll struggle to rank, which means no one will find it
People who do find your site won’t convert into customers
You’ll be leaving cash on the table (all those discounts, deals, and coupons won’t get snapped up)
You could harm your brand’s image (ever seen an awful website and thought, “man, that company must suck”?)
Optimization is easier than you think. Let’s take a look at how you can optimize your website for more conversions and sales.
1. Pump out awesome content
Every single update you make to your website plays a role in how it interacts with Google, customers and site visitors. If you don’t do anything at all for several months, your traffic will drop off, sales will fade, and your site will effectively die.
The more frequently you post fresh content, the more frequently your pages will be indexed by Google. We’re not saying that you’ll achieve a higher index, but you will be indexed more often. This is because Google’s crawlers will stop by your site regularly for a quick check-in. This is important because there are a few reasons why a website is indexed by Google, and how often the site is updated is one of them.
Here’s the best bit: If your content is strong and of a high quality, there’s a very good chance that you’ll start to rank better. Why? Because content is still king and Google values informative, valuable content. The aim for all of us should be to become an authority on Google, and the best way to do this is by consistently posting fresh content that our customers will get a lot of use out of.
Now, there’s a lot of data on why Google loves 3,000+ word posts, but don’t let the sheer size of a blog post put you off at the moment. 3,000 words is a lot but if you don’t fancy yourself as a blogger or don’t have the time/energy/willpower/sanity to write that amount of words, outsource this aspect of your business instead.
Short-form content can work sometimes too, but long-form content dominates the rankings. Moreover, when short-form content works, it’s usually because it’s gone viral on social media. For example, marketing guru Seth Godin’s blog posts are often in the 300-word region, but he already has an army of followers behind him.
The thing is that we’re talking about great content in relation to your position on the SERPs here. However, you also need to remember that great content keeps people on your page and can help to turn visitors into customers.
Look at it this way: A customer has to trust you before they’ll do business with you. And the best way to get them to trust you is to SHOW them via great content that you’ve got the answers they need. Offer an insane amount of value, answer their questions, and get them on your side.
Stuck for content ideas? Wondering what might work and what won’t work? Worse still, worried that you could waste all your time writing a 3,000-word blog post that no one even asked for?!
Take a look at your analytics data and find out what posts have performed the best in the past. Then, repurpose them. Stretch them out, add more data, facts, information, and value before publishing them again.
Check out your competitors, too. Use tools like to find out what content of theirs performed the best before seeing if you can take their posts and improve on them. What can you add that hasn’t been said already?
2. Use the right words and phrases
Most people who read your landing page headline go straight to the CTA at the bottom of the page.
What does this tell us? It tells us that site visitors tend to scan text when they first arrive on a website. This means that if they scan quickly and come across words and phrases that they dislike, or which are too negative, they’re probably going to head for the exit door immediately.
Studies have shown that words on a website have a pretty big psychological impact on customers. They can make or break a deal, either sending the customer to the exit or the cart.
This is all about marketing. If you market your website properly with the right words, you can boost conversions and sales. But which words are going to work for you and your site?
You’ll need to carry out your own A/B testing here, but there are some marketing words that are pretty bullet-proof:
You — ContentVerve have already split-tested this one for you. They wrote their copy in the first person, addressed the visitor directly, and boosted their gains by 90%
Free — Who doesn’t get a bit more excited when they see this word?!
Because — We all need a powerful reason to take action
Guaranteed — What have your visitors got to lose?
Easy — What all visitors want is an easy ride. You have to make whatever it is you’ve got for them sound simple
Act Now — Create a sense of urgency
Proven — People have used your products before, and they’ve had great success
Fisher Investments use the word “Free” twice on their squeeze page
3. Reduce your bounce rate
A high bounce rate usually signifies that something is wrong with your website. Visitors don’t like it, and they’re leaving pretty quickly. Unless you can bring your bounce rate down, you’ll struggle to get those magic conversions.
For a lot of small businesses, this is really frustrating because they’re driving traffic to their website, but it’s all for nothing.
Here are a few ways you can reduce your bounce rate:
Make your content more readable. Large, chunky paragraphs that go on forever scare us. Break your text up into very small paragraphs (3 sentences at the most will suffice) and use lots of white space
Don’t use popups. Popups can be really useful and they have a solid conversion rate of 10%, but it was only four years ago when 70% of Internet users said they found them annoying. If you’re a small business that’s trying to grow, cool the popups for now
Target the right keywords. This really deserves an article all by itself because it’s not enough that you use keywords that get people onto your page. What you need to do is use keywords that have high conversion value. In other words, just because a keyword has a high search volume, it doesn’t mean you should use it in your content. Instead, you’ve got to find keywords that are targeted to your customers’ current needs. Otherwise, your bounce rate will remain high
Write better meta descriptions. Google used to recommend that we all limit our meta descriptions to 180 words at the most, but in 2017 they loosened their stance and now say you can write as much as you want. We wouldn’t recommend that you go crazy, but the new guideline does give you a bit more scope to write better-targeted descriptions. Make sure that your meta description is highly descriptive and that it targets the right customers. Use your main keyword, too.
Meta descriptions are now longer. In the above examples, the likes of Investopedia and Forbes use 250+ characters to describe their content
4. Refine your call to action
Lastly, your call to action (CTA) is where the money is. If you do everything else right but then get this bit wrong, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.
A CTA is your chance to tell your customers exactly what it is you want them to do. No messing around. You have to be clear and concise. Here are some tips:
Write in the first person — We covered the benefits of this earlier. Writing in the first person is the best way to engage and involve the customer. It also gives them a sense of ownership. For example: “Start my free trial now!”
Give the customer one thing to do — Don’t offer this, that and that. Give them one thing you want them to do. Be hyper-specific
Outline the benefits — A customer might decide to take action, but what if they back out at the last minute because you haven’t reminded them of the benefits?
Use a button — As CopyBlogger found out when they boosted their call to action conversions by over 40%, buttons works
Be visual — A good CTA has to stand out. Use contrasting colours and bold text
A CTA needs to be simple, and there should be only one thing you want people to do. Trello remind us of the benefits here, they tell us what to do - and remind us it’s free
All in all, your aim is to make a profit and to do this, you have to first convert site visitors into customers. Traffic is one thing but conversions matter just as much. Use the tips in this article and keep experimenting, refining, and implementing.
And don’t forget that 3,000+ word blog post!
Got more questions? Drop us a comment in the box below.