Content Strategy. Take a cue from the great James Brown and express yourself.

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With online stores popping up faster than bearded hipsters in Surry Hills, there has never been a better time to acquaint yourself with conversion optimisation. I see a lot of websites and I’m always asked what the secret is to a higher conversion rate.

It’s no secret that there is no secret. It’s a combination of strategy, resilience and aesthetically engaging design. Add water and stir success doesn’t exist and for those who have put in the hard yards, you will know that online success is anything but a quick fix, it’s a slow burn to the top.

Here are the the most probable reasons as to why your site ain’t cutting the mustard.

Your Content
Write it with as much enthusiasm as you would say it. Take a cue from the great James Brown and express yourself; lame content has as much appeal as BO on public transport. When you’re writing product descriptions, don’t just state the facts, outline the benefits. Yes, we all care about the dimensions and what it’s made of, but don’t forget that on the other side of the screen is not only a person, but a potential customer. Don’t sell your products short with bland descriptions.

Your Design
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but there needs to be rules. Comic sans should to be extinct, it belongs in the mythical world with unicorns and magic happens bumper stickers. If your site looks like a 3-year-old let loose with a magic marker and a staple gun then you probably need to start again. As a self diagnosed minimalist, I would say keep it clean, pick your fonts and colour pallet like you pick your friends and show your logo some respect. Online consumers are judgmental and there are no second chances so check out some design blogs, work with a designer and get inspired.

Your Navigation
Clutter features highly on the list of cardinal sins, it’s up there with comic sans and flash based popups. Ideally your navigation will be obviously orientating and straight to the point. Your website is not a game of hide n’ go seek. I’m an advocate of expression, but when it comes to navigation I’m a conformist. Stick with the status quo and you won’t perplex your users. Your site should have only 1 navigation bar in the header or occasionally on the left side bar – both is overkill. Keep your search bar visible and your hyperlinks differentiated from your main body of text. Your sites navigation should be intuitive. Save the revolution for your design.

Your Messaging
Your website call to action should be confident, clear and engaging. If call to action were a job description we would want the candidate to have a strong sense of self and great public speaking skills. They would have a delicate balance of passion and confidence and at some point in their life have been a member of a debating team. Your call to action is essentially your website’s time to shine. It’s an opportunity for you tell the user what you want and what they need. Dropbox do this very well with a very simple, ‘Your stuff, anywhere’.

Your Images
I recently had a haircut, a regrettable one. I did have an inkling it wasn’t going to end well when the hairdresser emerged with an up style similar to a possum-nesting lair. If the hairdresser was the face of the website, I would have closed the window quicker than you can say conditioner. Websites aren’t just about people viewing your content; it’s an experience. Choosing the right images is crucial to the user experience. A professional product photographer will know how to best visually portray the product but if you insist on taking them yourself, there are a heap of free online editing programs you can use to clean up your images such as picmonkey.com or pixlr.com. Dress your website in it’s Sunday best and strut it’s fine stuff.

No one likes rejection and low conversion rates are a little bit like rejection.

Don’t take it personally, take the opportunity to find out where you’re falling down and work out your own secret to upping the ante.

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