Whatever you want your customers to do – buy your product, engage your services, make a donation to your charity – a well-designed website can help you achieve it. Conversion is the process of taking a visitor to your website through a process just like these.
Good SEO, on the other hand, can help at the beginning of the conversion process by attracting visitors to your site, and ensuring that they get relevant content once they’ve arrived. So how do you make your website conversion and SEO-friendly? Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
Keep your design simple
It’s tempting to design a website that ‘pops’, ‘whizzes’ and generally looks snazzy. Which is all very well. But before you reach for the nearest Flash developer, remember that ultimately, your visitors are looking for content, not design.
For SEO purposes too, a simple HTML website will generally run rings around its flashier counterparts.
Create a clear user journey
Customers hate having to dig for the information they need. If they can’t find what they’re looking for in a few seconds, it’s unlikely they’ll stick around to trawl through paragraphs of text until they find it.
A solid site structure (or Information Architecture) will make your site easy to use. Split your content into clear sections, and use each section landing page as an index or teaser to more specific content in the pages within the section.
Your homepage should provide the broad focus for your business and act as a portal to further content, so resist the temptation to fill it with text. No one will read it.
Search engines look for keywords in your website’s headings, links, image text and metadata.
By keeping your website full of relevant information and signposting it clearly, you stand a better chance of attracting visitors and driving successful conversions once they get there.
Spend some time researching keywords for your business, and get some inspiration from competitors’ websites. Take notice of the words that come up again and again and try putting a few of these into a search engine to see what you get. For each keyword that describes your business, think of two synonyms.
Use calls to action (CTAs)
What’s the main thing you want your site’s visitors to do? A clear call to action is hard to resist, so make sure these are well signposted and easy to find. They should be above the page fold where possible, and a mix of text links and buttons or other graphics.
Never, ever, use “click here”. CTAs work best when they’re descriptive and action oriented – “Buy a ticket” for example is clearer, more persuasive and better for SEO than “Click here to buy a ticket.”
Heading tags are a great way of separating out topics and a key tool for improving your site’s SEO. The tags range from H1 to H6 and are ranked by search engines accordingly – so any keywords in an H1 tag will carry more weight than those in H2.
They can also help you prioritise the content on your page, so keep to one H1 tag per page and save it for the top level content headers.
Let the words do the work
Ditch the jargon. It may sound ‘professional’, but to someone who’s not an expert in your field, it’s just confusing. Don’t be afraid to speak plainly and get to the point – your visitors will thank you for it.
Use social media
If you’re not already using popular sites like Twitter and Facebook, it’s time you started. Social media sites like these can help you reach a new audience and keep in touch with your current customers. Add social media buttons to your website, and create a Facebook page for your brand or product. Keep the content fresh by posting regular comments and inviting a response. It’s a great opportunity to get some honest feedback!
Measure your site’s performance. Google Analytics is a good place to start, and you’ll soon see which pages are working effectively and which aren’t. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If one page isn’t converting, test different content to see if something else works better. You may be surprised.