30 frequently asked questions on how to increase conversion rates

Conversion rate measures the effectiveness of a transactional site to convert site visitors to key goals such as sales, leads or registrations. Increasing Conversion Rates is a step further to move prospects and repeat customers down your company sales funnel. In this article, we will answer the most common questions we get from our clients about increasing their conversion rates. Most talked-about topics are usually:

  • Time to first byte (Loading speed)
  • Customer Journey Optimisation
  • Content UX
  • UI Design
  • User Testing
  • E-commerce opportunity tracking
  • Accessibility
  • Usability
  • Lead Generation

Time to first byte (Loading Speed)

According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, a mere one second delay in page load time results in a 7% reduction in conversions. With the rise of 4g networks, web-masters seem to rationalise having higher page sizes because internet is ‘faster’, this could not be farther from the truth. Image illustrating loading speed

1-GIFs are trending, they are cool, but do they affect loading speeds?

Yes, they do. We suggest that you convert GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) into HTML5 videos, compress them, and then upload them to your server and load them from there. This is because for GIF file formats, the browser has to load the GIF first before the rest of the HTML/CSS. Meanwhile, for HTML5 videos, text and visuals are loaded at the same time, therefore, while waiting for the video to load, you have something to serve your audience. This is in fancy dev-talk called ‘Html5 asynchronous loading’

2- Heavy images, everyone want high quality 4K retina ready pictures, but, do they need to be 5mb each?

There are many tools available on the Internet for you to optimize photos before publishing it on your website. Our favorites are https://imagecompressor.com or http://optimizilla.com. They are ‘lossless’ image optimisers, one general tip we have is to think about the size in which the image will be shown in its largest format. Resize it to that size and then go optimise the image (sometimes optimising and minifying are used interchangeably) A lazy tip would be to use https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ from our lovely Google friends — after running an analysis you generally can download optimised images for both mobile and desktop. Although highly experimental and definitely not having a 100% success rate, it is still a huge time saver for much of us.

3- What does it mean to “reduce number of requests” to boost page speed?

When someone visit your site, their web browser ‘pings’ your server and request files in order for content to load. It can be HTML, CSS and/or JavaScript files, images, icons and other files. It’s like asking keys to access different rooms in your house. You can speed up this process by limiting the number of files to be requested. (or by making one request out of 100 requests, wink wink)

4- Where should I place my Scripts?

Script tags declare client-side scripts (JavaScript) in an HTML document. By placing the tag at the bottom of your HTML, it allows page content to load ‘the visual stuff first’ and then the scripts. We always recommend to prioritise User Experience, rather than loading ‘that chat bot script your sales team really wants you to use’ – Let that load after your prospects can see something, believe us, they will appreciate it.

Customer Journey Optimisation

Source: Homepage of ArnhemvoorVluchtelingen

5- Is your homepage the most important page of your website?

Yes, but not really. In the past, people visited your website’s homepage, then started searching for what they needed. Now, people use search engines, voice interfaces or social media to search for what they need, and get linked directly to your most relevant page. Hence, it is important to optimise other page as well.

6- Attention spans are getting shorter, what to do with your website’s homepage to attract humans, not goldfish?

Jajaja (*laughs in Spanish*), a report by Microsoft (2015), humans now have an attention span shorter than that of a gold fish. One tip that Whale Agency suggests is the use of human faces right on the homepage because we can recognise human faces instinctively and start forming feelings even before our rational mind kicks in (Princeton Research). These could be faces that represent the brand/website theme, or internal personnel of the company. It doesn’t need to be perfect faces of models or pageants. Authenticity fosters empathy and trust.

7- What are the must-haves on a Homepage?

Above the fold: content Homepage content should help page visitors answer the questions: where on Earth am I at, what for and what’s next? (navigation bar). Bounce rate is high is people can’t find satisfying answers. Below the fold: your checklists should include

  • Most important product/service features
  • Testimonials
  • Frequently asked questions (Word of Mouth is still pretty effective)
  • Contact InfoForms (if we talk about conversion rate, forms mean a lot)

You disagree or have something to add. We are happy to learn.

8- Some says ‘contact info’ should be a fixed bar all the time. Other states that one spot in the bottom is enough. So, where should ‘contact info’ be positioned?

Contact info is very important. However, it is not at the top of priority before quality content and layout. As long as page visitors are impressed, nothing can stop them reaching out for your contact.

Content

Illustrations about content

9-What is Content Marketing & how does it relate to conversion rates?

‘Caveman language’ about what is content marketing: customers don’t give a sh*t about you, your products or services, they only care about themselves. You need to create compelling and valuable pieces of content that customers are passionate about so that they will pay attention to you. (Joe Pulizzi).

10-What is the most important thing to remember to be winner in Content saturated era?

Create content. Keep creating. Consistency is key. According to Joe Pullizzi, 85% of large corporate have less than 5 posts on their websites. This means that we might be good at starting the conversation, but not really at maintaining it.

11-How to create ‘viral’ content?

There is no formula for viral content creation, unless you use one weird trick. You get it now.

12-How to make content scanable? not just readable? (because of attention span sizzling)

12 words per row. This has been studied and practiced by many professional and prestigious online content platforms, such as Medium or The New York Times, etc. People scan, rather than read most information they encounter on the Internet. So, 12 words perl line is the best for this purpose. And they are able to read, they pay attention and that is where you come in to win conversion rates.

Design

Illustrations of two big and green eyes

13-Do you have any design & development principles that you follow?

Yes. We usually remind ourselves to KISS (Keep. It. Simple. S*…*!) People buy what they can remember. No matter how academically intellectual a person can be, we all laugh at the silly jokes. This is a basic but not many can apply, especially with highly skilled and super creative brains. A want for everything is a win for nothing. Read more about Speak-Easy Effect by Coglode.

14-Color: should we follow a palette or customized from scratch?

A computer can display 17 million colors, and we can see 10 million with our own eyes. It can be a hustle trying to find the right color. Besides the brand’s primary color (if any), a lot of time can be saved with a smart start with a color palette. Sometimes an image might tell you more than a HEX selector, you can always experiment here and see how you feel about it.

15-How should white space be handled?

Whitespace is empty space (without text) on a site’s display. To make the most out of white space, pay attention to font size: the smaller the letters, the more space in between you need. Consider the example below: Image shows example of space between words

The difference between text without and with space

16-What are the design mistakes that we have learnt through previous projects?

It is easy to fall into the trap of spending too much time discussing common-sense aesthetic matter that won’t even result in a solution. At Whale Agency, we’ve had painful lessons. Now, when in dilemma between different design options, we rather test.

Testing & Data

image of a b testing

17-Is there any faster, cheaper way than Split testing (A/B Testing)? Is it worth to test it?

“Design arguments are a waste of time”- Steven Krug in his famous book for web designers and UX designers “Don’t make me think”. Test it! Let the data talk. However, the extent of testing depends on how big & how impactful you want your project to be, and also on different teams. For example, at Basecamp-a Silicon Valley unicorn, the CEO Jason Fried shared in a podcast with Tim Ferriss that he doesn’t support the idea of testing that much, especially ‘focus group’, where you put people in a room and watch them use your product. He states that if you have made it well in the first place and iterate during the projects, you wouldn’t have much to do in the end.

18-Testing expands the time of the project, but the results do not always add value. How much testing is enough?

Don’t fall into “meek testing”. “Meek testing” are making changes that are not likely to have a significant effect – Karl Blanks from agency Conversion Rate Experts.
We are reluctant to give up on things we put effort into, even if they are terrible ideas (Sunk Cost effect). It is a common trap, just as how we usually say “don’t fall in love with your testing”. Testing is just a tool for you to make better decisions, but the decisions are yours.

19-What is your experience at Whale Agency with User Testing?

To be honest, at Whale Agency, we have had painful lessons trying to discuss problems that are purely a matter of taste. We really dig the values that testing brings to us. When we first started our agency years ago, we did paper prototyping (quite old-fashioned! :D), but it worked. But now, we use different methods for different project needs, and it is also important to gather information from the right end users who are willing to complete scenarios we provided. This way we can adjust the design to the way people think and deliver the best User Experience.

Webshop

There are 25 millions webshops in the world in 2014, but only 3% generates more than 1000USD annual in profit.

via GIPHY

20-What is the most important thing when it comes to Webshops?

Show first, sell later. You don’t try ruthlessly to sell to a customer when they step into your offline store, so you shouldn’t do it with online store either. Test multiple steps in a conversion model, comparison chart, forum, email marketing to provide personal and customized information your potential customer needs, cultivate the relationships to improve your chances of conversions. That way, you might go slow for a sprint, but you are making yourself a champion in the long-run.

21-How to ensure a sale with the least amount of shop cart abandon?

Make paying easier than ever. Retails online shops have a lot to learn from Amazon one-click pay or Apple’s “wave to pay” system. With Apple, now you can pay with a glance of an eye (Apple Face ID Pay). It has been proven that we pay more when we don’t see the money, this is called Cashless Effect.

22-Should prices be included on webshop?

Why not? Be direct about your prices and shipping fee. In this info overload era, deals should be quick and easy.

23-How to earn the most though digital display on webshop?

Up-sell and Cross-sell. Give your prospect customers directions with a touch of sale psychology.

“Customers who bought this also bought…” (Social Proof principle by Robert Cialdini)
Limit choices. The stress of choosing is real – paradox of choices.

Accessibility & Usability

old people use phone

24-Why should we care about Accessibility?

Accessibility means making your product or service usable by everyone, including people with impairment. According to World Health Organization, 15% of the world population are unlucky due to some forms of disabilities, which is 1 billion people. That’s why! Just because people were born impaired, it doesn’t means they can’t enjoy new innovations and technology.

25-How could we enhance Accessibility?

There are many ways, one of them is as simple as adding Alt Text to Images so that Text Reader can perform well. At Whale Agency, we once work with a visually impaired developer, he told us how much Alt Text for Images helps him. It may not seem like a task with prominent effect, but sure it is helpful at some point for your conversion rates. Killing two birds with one arrow, alt texts also helps your page with the new voice technology and machine learning of Alexa, Siri, etc, image ALT helps your page stands out.

26-What is Responsive Web Design?

Since 2011, the term mobile-first has been made popular by Google. According to Google Barometer in the Netherlands, when encountering issues accessing websites via PC, 56% will access the same site on smartphones. In other word, you have a second chance to make it work if you optimize for different screen sizes as well. Conversion rates and Responsive Designs are pretty close friends.

Lead generation

27-What is Lead Generation?

Cave-man language: you generate leads when a stranger has got-an-eye on you, your service or your product. They become prospects or even customers (those who have made a purchase). For instance, if they decide to register their personal contact information, leave a comment, leave reviews, etc, then you have generated a lead.

28-How to improve the probability of generating a lead?

Have a good landing page! Then, we talk. This is because nowadays, people are taken to a site rather from a referral site or a search engine, like Google based on what they searched for.

29-What defines a good Landing Page?

Pages that will nail you a new customer. No matter how kick-ass your content and design are, it would be hard to increase your conversion rate without a clear and to-the-point Call to Action (CTA), to generate leads from page visitors. Check out our article about Landing Pages for more information.

30-How long should I wait before making review requests?

Review is a powerful Word-of-Mouth tool. Don’t wait too long before making review request. You know reciprocity rule – desire to return the favor, but we might not know that this desire also decreases rapidly through time. So if you want to ask for a review of your service on TripAdvisor or other review platforms, do it sooner rather than later.

Before you make it perfect, you have to make it. Contact Whale Agency or send a website assessment form (if you had a website already) to us for further discussion.

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