Why Isn’t Your Website Converting Customers Online?

October 26, 2015 by Vicki Fletcher

Imagine this: a friend recommends that you look into this cool new brand. You have no idea what they do, so you head to the website. It’s filled with stunning imagery, fonts and lifestyle branding, but you still have no idea what they do. Are they an advertising agency? Do they sell products? Are they a cafe or retail store? Are they style consultants? Their business could be just about anything, you think to yourself. And just like that, you leave, because let’s be honest, who has time to search around on a website trying to find out what they do?

When building your own business and online presence, it’s not difficult to get caught up in the middle; blind to what customers can see from the outside. What you think is clear, effective and persuasive may well be confusing and uninteresting to someone who has never come across your brand before.

So how do you communicate your business clearly?

  1. Be explicitly clear about what it is your business does, from the moment someone clicks onto your homepage. Avoid jargon or beating around the bush; be upfront about what product or service you offer. Do you provide a printing service? Explain that clearly from the outset. Are you the owner of a shoe line? Have the link to your products visible for customers to click on. Use your product or services pages to elaborate on this information, but make sure what you do is communicated to the user as soon as they hit your website.
  2. Give customers what they are looking for. Picture a potential customer sitting down to pour over the pages of your website. Try to think about the reasons why they would arrive at your site in the first place. Have they landed there for more information; are they curious to know more? Do they want to purchase your products? Are they looking to speak to you direct? Identify the things they want, from buying online to submitting an online query form, and be sure to plan your website around these key call-to-actions.
  3. Use strong, relevant and engaging visual imagery. None of those generic stock images, please! If you sell products, invest in good product photography. Are you a cafe or restaurant? Use professional photography to bring the mood of the space onto your website, and show online visitors what it feels like inside the restaurant. For service-based businesses and corporate websites, if you can’t find great photos yourself, be sure to think outside-the-box when approaching stock image sites. People quickly lose interest if you’re the fifth website to display images of suited-up staff smiling aimlessly with empty briefcases!
  4. Don’t just guide customers through your site; tell them what you want them to do! Do you want the user to purchase something? Then give them the link and ask them to buy it! Do you want the user to contact you for a quote or consultation? Prompt them to do so with neatly placed contact us forms of buttons placed throughout your pages. Saying online users are time-poor is an understatement, so be sure to encourage them to take action by asking them straight out, or they won’t know what to do (seriously).
  5. Get a second opinion on your website. And a third, fourth and fifth one, too. As a business owner or as someone working within a business, you might believe that you are clearly communicating what your business has to offer, when in actual fact, you could do a lot better. Ask someone who isn’t in your industry to read over your website. Ask them if they know what you do. Do the images tell the same story as the content? Is it clear what they need to do? This feedback will be invaluable in helping you to grow your business online.

Before you start working on your own business website, why not take a look at other websites that you admire or find easy to use? Check out your competitors (online and offline competitors) while you’re at it. Take note of what they do, and if there are any ideas that could work on your website too. You may not consider yourself an artist, but as you get your online business presence up and running, the words of Picasso still ring true, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”