Some great converion tips so far. For my first WebmasterWorld post, here are 50 more for you off the top of my head:
1. Make sure you attract qualified traffic. Ex. – if you sell Mac software, don’t advertise that you sell Windows software just to get more traffic. This will drive more visitors with no intent to purchase and decrease your conversion rate.
2. Don’t just get a toll-free number, but make sure the placement of that number on your site is prominent and consistent.
3. Include “points of reassurance” by every “point of action”. Ex. – if you are requesting that someone provide you with their e-mail address, clearly state that their privacy is important to you and you will not share that information with any other companies.
4. Use SSL and make sure the user knows you’re using it.
5. Subscribe to a service like VeriSign, Thawte or ScanAlert. Prominently place these logos to reassure your customer that you care about the security of their information.
7. Include your physical address on your site.
8. Don’t always concentrate on just making the “buy now” buttons the most prominent on every page, but rather concentrate on styling the “primary action” buttons the most prominently on every page. Ex. – you sell MP3 players, and you provide the ability for customers to select a few players and compare them before they can buy now. Make that “compare” the same style as you would the “buy now” button on a page in which the “buy now” button exists. This will help herd customers through your sales funnel.
9. Define your return policy.
10. Use real customer testimonials with authentic customer photos…no stock photography.
11. Make sure to include an “About Us” section on your site. The majority of my customers visit this section before making a purchase.
12. Make your site usable. No need for horizontal scrolling, excessive vertical scrolling or intrusive pop-up windows.
13. Keep your “buy now” button consistently and prominently placed on all product pages. The closer to the top of the page…the better. I have 2 cheesy sayings for this. 1. ”Above the fold if you want it sold” & 2. “Eye level is buy level”
14. Provide clear images of your products.
15. Make your checkout process as usable, intuitive, reassuring and simple as possible. Losing someone during your checkout process is a CRITICAL loss.
16. Don’t make people type their e-mail address twice.
17. Don’t use a drop-down for the “state” list in your order form. With all of the scrolling mice people use these days, many people are sure to accidentally scroll off of their correct state.
18. Give customers the opportunity to copy their shipping info to their billing info if they are identical.
19. Remove distractions from the checkout process such as the main nav that existed during the shopping portion of your site.
20. Provide a checkout process indicator. If your checkout process has 3 steps, indicate what step they are on and how many steps there are.
21. Clearly identify what info in yoru checkout process is required.
22. If you aare going to use error messages, make them friendly and easy to understand. No “INCORRECT USER INPUT IN PHONE FIELD!” messages.
23. If your checkout error messages occur on a page other than the page with the errors, preserve the information that the user has already input.
24. Do a spelling check on your site. There aren’t many things more unprofessional than spelling errErs :)
25. get good reviews from shopping authority sites (shopping.com, epinions.com, bizrate.com, etc)
27. Read your copy, make sure its compelling, yet not exaggerated.
28. Identify your USP (unique selling proposition) and exploit it. If you are the only seller of medium-sized green widgets in the US…state it and be proud of it.
29. Implement a “site search” functionality and make sure its accurate. Not only will this allow users to find what they want, it will give you insight as to what they are shopping for and what terminology they are using so you can tailor your copy as necessary.
30. Don’t just focus on the features of your product, but rather on the benefits those features provide to your customers. Don’t just say “folding green widgets”, say “Our folding green widgets will save you valuable space in your garage”.
31. Clearly display your prices and shipping charges and tax BEFORE the checkout process is completed.
32. Don’t use complex formulas for shipping prices like if you buy 12.2 pounds worth of these, and then multiply that weight by this shipping rate. Show them the price.
33. Consider making shipping free
34. Display the stock status of your items and do so BEFORE the user puts the item in their cart.
35. If you don’t sell an item, remove it from your site.
36. Estimate the delivery time
37. Accept a variety of payment methods and clearly display what those methods are.
38. Don’t make important information look like ads. There really is such a thing as “ad blindness” and people will automatically skip over this compelling information.
39. Make a “first-time visitor” page. This is your opportunity to explain why you’re different from your competitors.
40. Update your copyright statements. Its 2005….fix that 2003 copyright at the bottom of your pages.
41. Allow customer to make a purchase without having to register with your site.
43. If you offer a lot of products, allows users to sort them by important criteria…price, size, color, etc.
44. provide a way for customers to compare details of similar items
45. use a custom 404 page to link people to the important areas of your site
46. Don’t use “clever” names for your shopping cart like “wicker basket” or “widget box”.
47. Don’t make the user specify a choice when there is only 1 “choice”. If it only comes on blue, don’t make them select the “blue” radio button or choose “blue” from the drop down.
48. Provide shopping instructions in an empty cart. Don’t just say “your cart is empty”
49. Provide a “sale” or “clearance” section to attract the budget-conscious shoppers.
50. My golden rule…portray trust and credibility to instill confidence within the shopper to make a purchase.