Archive for October, 2010
Presto! You’ve built a great Web site and you’ve got a lot of people coming to the site. Unfortunately, too many of them are leaving and not buying anything. How do you get more people to buy your product?
You need to increase your conversion rate. The conversion rate is the percentage of people who come to your site to buy. According to an old post on Conversion Chronicles, the average is 2.3%, but it varies from 1% to 7% depending on the type of product and the type of traffic. How do you make that number rise? Here are 10 ideas:
1. Compare prices: for products that are not unique, most people will make price a significant portion of their decision making criteria. Compare your pricing against other Web sites — is your price competitive? If your product is more expensive, but includes something else — is it clear that something else is included?
2. Up your credibility: Consider participating in programs and sites that make your Web site look more credible. Would a BBB logo on your cart pages be helpful? You want to help make people feel safe comfortable shopping in your store.
3. Make your add to cart and checkout buttons standout. Work with your graphic designer to make these action buttons stand out, but still fit in with the rest of the Web site. There’s a line between standing out enough that someone can easily find it and standing out so much that it is distracting that has to be walked.
4. Watch your shipping charges: Many people add items to a cart but ultimately don’t buy because they are surprised by shipping charges that are higher than they expect. Consider minimizing these charges or making them clear from the beginning.
5. Keep checkout short: Resist the temptation to make people fill out a lot of questions during checkout. Can a checkbox be added to copy billing address to shipping? Can the question about where they heard about you from be removed? Consider every second a user spends on checkout an opportunity for them to NOT purchase.
6. Pictures: Make sure every product has a picture or more if possible. A picture is worth a thousand words, and it is clear that product pages with clear and large photos are going to be purchased more often than just text and small pictures.
7. Look at site searches: Find out what your users are searching for on your site. Are they finding what they are looking for? For example, if a user searches for ‘baskets’ and doesn’t find any on your site, that’s likely a missed opportunity for a sale.
8. Offer Paypal. We always recommend to our clients that they accept credit cards without Paypal. But if you already do this, it is nice to allow users to have Paypal as an option. It shouldn’t be the only option, but for users who like Paypal, it can speed up the checkout process considerably.
9. Experiment: Use Google Web site optimizer to help learn more about your users. Set up an experiment to vary the copy for a popular product or to change the color of your shopping cart.
10. What would Amazon do? Amazon.com is the leading online retailer. After you’ve done all of these other steps, its a good idea to review their site for additional tips.
Statcounter just released its latest Browser market share data. There aren’t in any surprises in these numbers. IE and Firefox continue to slide slowly, though more users are upgrading to newer versions. Chrome and Safari continue to rise. And mobile browsers are starting to make a small dent. Month to month there aren’t many changes, but if you compare these stats against a previous year, it is amazing how much browser usage changes over time compared to other consumer products like soft drinks and home appliances.
It is important to note that there are inherent biases in any of the companies that release market share data. Statcounter relies on small Web sites who want to see additional information on who is using their Web site. For example, some companies may undercount corporate users or home users, or include worldwide results. We don’t make decisions on what to test on based on any specific company’s data.
When children are very young, one of the first things you teach them is to share with others. It is an important social skill that every child has to learn. If a child doesn’t learn this skill, they won’t be able to make friends.
As a business owner of a Web-based business, one of the first decisions to make is whether to share . . . a Web host. Just like learning to share as a child, the decision to share or not share is important. This decision will help determine how reliable your Web site is and how quickly things are resolved when there is a problem.
First, let’s take a step back and learn about Web hosting in general. There are three types of Web hosting options available to small to medium sized business. Shared Web hosting is the least expensive because the Web hosting company buys one big server and subdivides it among many different Web site owners. These servers can be tens of thousands of dollar, but they can offer service at a relatively low rate because each server can house thousands of clients. The advantage is that it is cheap; shared hosting ranges between $5 and $50 per month. The downside is that in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, technical support is usually of a low quality and service interruptions can last for days. There is no service level guarantee with most shared web hosting plans.
Dedicated Web hosting is when you rent a physical server and you put your Web site on it. This can be more reliable because no one else is using your server except you so there are less chances of a problem. When there is a problem, technical support tends to be of a higher level and they are often guarantees of how quickly problems are resolved. The downside is the cost, which starts at $100 per month and can go up from there to thousands of dollars.
Cloud Web hosting combines the best of both shared and dedicated. It puts your Web site on one giant network of servers that can all act as your Web site. This network is more reliable than any one server and technical support tends to be of a high quality. The cost starts at $50 a month and goes up from there — depending on usage. The downside is that if you use the cloud environment capabilities to their full extent, you may find it difficult to switch to a different hosting service.
Which is right for you? Shared hosting is the least expensive, and is a good starting point for many businesses. Dedicated or cloud can be best for businesses that run their business based on a Web site — such as an ecommerce store or some other Web-based business. Many start on shared and migrate to dedicate — this works great as long as you migrate when your business is ready. Don’t wait for a problem to make a switch.
Photo courtesy Flickr User familymwr.