Websites live and die by their conversion rates. Good conversion rates mean more sales and revenue while poor conversion rates mean that you’ll struggle to keep your business afloat.
Since maintaining healthy conversion rates is so integral to running a successful online business, it’s vital to examine and master one of the most significant factors impacting conversions: your site’s user experience.
UX relates to everything your leads, visitors or customers experience as they navigate and interact with your site on each page or page element. It relates to how easily they can find what they’re searching for on your site—without being slowed down by unnecessary friction, which can make them bounce, never to return.
Here are six key ways your site’s UX can affect your conversion rates.
Any time you navigate a landing page, there’s usually a lot of text to absorb. That’s because landing pages are really sales pages that want to persuade you to click on the call-to-action button right on the page or click through to the main page for the actual purchase. Some landing pages can be exceptionally long if they have a very detailed value proposition to communicate to visitors.
In terms of UX, this can be absolutely arduous for people because—let’s face it! Who has the time or wants to read all that text?
Situations like these are tailor-made for video. Studies show that using videos on landing pages can increase conversion rates by a sizable amount. Any time conversions shoot up, it’s because a page’s UX is improved. Conversions happen because a page successfully communicates its value proposition and seamlessly encourages users or customers to complete the page goal.
Image via EyeView
Take the case of TutorVista, a one-on-one, web-tutoring service. When EyeView, a video-solutions provider, added video to TutorVista’s landing page with the goal of increasing subscription signups, conversions skyrocketed by 86%, just due to the video.
The takeaway? Leads are visual creatures and appreciate video over text.
This is part of a broader trend, with the web as a whole becoming more video-centric. As Cisco reports in its 2017 Visual Networking Index Forecast, a decisive 82% of all IP traffic will be video by as soon as 2020.
Where you place your calls to action greatly influences your customers’ UX. If the CTAs are hard to see, read or click, then that has a negative impact on UX and conversions. The goal of many pages is to sell something—whether products, subscriptions, or signups. CTAs are integral to conversions and so is their placement.
The UX phrase the fold pertains to that imaginary line on websites that divides everything users can see on the page without scrolling down from that which they can see only when they scroll down. Naturally, bigger screen sizes—desktop versus tablet and mobile—will have more space for content to be above the fold.
According to UX experts at the NN Group, 84% is the average difference of how users treat content above versus below the fold. Put another way, content above the fold is seen 84% more than that below the fold. The study arrived at this conclusion by conducting its own study and analyzing a Google study of display advertising across different sites.
This already provides a very strong indication that content that’s important that you want your customers to see—like a CTA!—should be placed above the fold. One company tested this out and found it to be true.
Image via Unbounce
Unbounce experimented with its PPC landing page, which originally had the CTA below the fold, by adding a secondary CTA above the fold, which directed leads to scroll down the page to the pricing grid, below the fold. This change in CTA placement produced a conversion spike of 41%.
The takeaway? Don’t fight your leads’ user behavior by putting the CTA in hard-to-see places. Put it above the fold for greater conversions.
Today, more than ever, site speed is one of the most crucial determining factors in whether your UX is up to par or not. Sites that are noticeably slower suffer from conversion losses compared to sites that are blazingly fast. (It can even affect your organic rankings.)
How do you know what’s fast enough, though?
A classic study conducted in 2009 by content delivery network provider Akamai and Forrester revealed that 40% of consumers refuse to wait longer than three seconds for a page to render before they abandon the site. If your site takes three-and-a-half or four seconds to load, then poof. Your leads vanish along with your conversions.
A much newer study done in 2016 by DoubleClick by Google confirmed these earlier findings. When it comes to mobile, if pages take longer than three seconds to load, then 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned.
Image via DoubleClick
So your answer is three seconds or less. That’s how fast your site’s pages have to render if you don’t want your leads to think your site has poor UX due to slowness!
Here are some handy site-speed tools to help you ensure that your site stays blazingly fast:
An often underappreciated aspect of UX is how readable your site is. It stands to reason: When your leads and visitors can’t make heads or tails of the content on your site, that means they’re not going to understand what they’re supposed to do. And that means lousy UX.
Should they read reviews? Look at a video? Maybe they should just skip straight to the CTA?
If your copy isn’t readable enough, they won’t know what to do.
Consider the reality that your leads and visitors don’t even actually read much of the copy on your site. According to UX Myths, people usually just skim site content. With these short attention spans, it’s all the more crucial that what little of your content they read is actually…easy to read.
Case in point: In a report titled The Effect of Font Size and Line Spacing on Online Readability, UX researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Spain’s Universitat Pompeu Fabra discovered that 18-point font sizes are the best for UX readability as well as comprehension in the body text of pages.
Image via Pielot
Doing so just makes your content harder to read. Content that’s harder to read is, in turn, harder to comprehend. When your customers can’t understand what you want them to do on your site, that spells disaster for your site conversions.
Since most people already won’t read much of the content on your pages, you have to make it even easier for them to absorb what little they read. Making fonts bigger is always better.
The takeaway? Don’t use less than 18-point font sizes in the body text of your pages.
Sometimes, adding specific page elements to entice your shoppers to actually convert is all that it takes to increase conversions. Think of this as the little, extra nudge that shoppers need to be persuaded to convert in greater numbers.
For ecommerce sites in particular, adding a free shipping threshold can meaningfully boost your conversions, as one retailer found out.
NuFace, an anti-aging device maker, discovered that giving their customers, who were already familiar with their brand and products, just a small incentive during the checkout process increased their conversion rate.
They ran an A/B test with the treatment page displaying a message of free shipping for orders over $75. The results were amazing: Not only did the average order value increase by 7.32%, but the number of orders almost doubled, jumping by 90%.
Image via VMO
This case study sheds light on other areas of ecommerce UX psychology, that help to explain why free shipping is so desirable.
According to the 2016 Walker Sands Future of Retail Report, almost everyone asked said that free shipping is their number-one incentive to increase their online shopping. 90% of all respondents said they’d buy more through ecommerce if there was more free shipping.
The takeaway? When your customers are clamoring for incentives like free shipping, you give it to them, especially when it increases the number of orders and average order value!
The majority of pages on the web and all landing pages, for sure, have just one goal: to get their visitors to convert. One of the biggest problems that can negatively impact conversion rates is when a landing page suffers from too much clutter in the form of navigational links that take said visitors away from the page. These links act as distractions, working to undercut the whole goal of the page.
The solution? Declutter the page, of course!
A case study from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage illustrates this principle to a tee.
AmeriFirst has a policy of naked landing pages, that is, landing pages with no navigation. That way, visitors aren’t tempted to click away from the only offer on the page. Instead, they can focus, distraction-free, on the offer, fill out the form, and complete the conversion.
Image via Relevance
This policy of removing navigation from landing pages has resulted in an impressive 30 to 40% conversion rate increase at AmeriFirst.
From a UX standpoint, it makes all the sense in the world: When you remove distractions from a page, your users aren’t bombarded with competing decisions to make. Their minds are at ease, able to focus on just the one task—the page goal—of the landing page.
The takeaway? Get naked on your landing pages, and reap the benefits of a higher conversion rate.
We highlighted numerous case studies to demonstrate one of the truest laws in digital marketing. When your site’s UX is impeccable, your site is rewarded with more conversions. In other words, ensure your UX is awesome, and your visitors will be much likelier to convert in higher numbers.
Look at it from the perspective of your leads. If you land on a page—even if you’re interested in the offer you come across from a Google Ads (AdWords) ad or organic search result—yet the offer is so unintelligible that you can’t understand much of it, then your experience as a user is very poor. You’ll be frustrated, and your patience for staying on the page to figure things out will drastically decrease. You’ll likely exit the page very quickly. You’re not going to convert.
That’s why, when you ensure the UX on a site is excellent thanks to clarity and well-defined page goals, you can be sure that higher conversions will follow.
Marc Schenker is a copywriter and marketer who runs The Glorious Company, a marketing agency. An expert in business and marketing, he helps businesses and companies of all sizes get the most bang for their ad bucks.
See other posts by Marc Schenker
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