from a copywriter with 25 years of experience. . .

7 things anyone can do to increase website conversions — even if you have no web or design skills

Updated 20 March 2020

If your website is doing just the seven things in this guide, you’ll increase your conversion rate. More than simply increasing your conversion rate, you'll likely be in the top 5% of websites in your industry. That means you’ll be doing a better job than 95% of the competition.

How do we know you'll be in the top 95% for you industry?

Because we've seen it all. We comb the websites of our clients' competitors. We review websites for clients and we review their landing pages to increase their conversion rates.

Put those things together and it means we’re studying websites all the time. And in all that time we've seen not one website that was doing all seven of the conversion optimisers below.

That’s a massive opportunity for you to use these tactics to stand out and increase your conversions.

So what are the 7 things you could do to increase your conversion rate right now (no technical skills required)?

1. Conversion optimisation tip — Opening with a crystal-clear positioning statement to increase your conversion rate

A clear positioning statement above the fold is our #1 piece of advice to increase conversion rate. That's because we all spend so much time looking at websites and wondering, “That's all very pretty, but what do you do?”

Your website visitors have Googled; they’ve seen there are a lot of companies to choose from. You’ve got up to three seconds to look like a good answer or that visitor will charge back to Google and click on one of the other results.

So what’s the cheapest, easiest thing you can do to instantly let a prospect know that they’re in the right place?

Spell out what you do. And don’t be cute. Be obvious.

Simple? Try this on the next 10 websites you visit; it doesn’t matter what they’re for:

How many assume you know what they do but don’t bother to tell you?

Like this:

You need to be clear above the fold

“Let’s talk,” says the tagline at the top right of this website. But do you have any idea what you might be talking about from reading the vague little paragraph in the red band?

It’s great that they fearlessly make a difference for their clients, their team and even those of us who aren’t clients.

That fearlessness might be precisely the approach we’re looking for from someone who provides their service... if only we knew what that service was.

Could you even make an educated guess what they do?

What you do isn’t information your reader should have to dig for.

Certainly, if you’re Apple, you don’t need to spell out what you do on your homepage. But if you’re not Apple and you’re not positioning yourself clearly above the fold on your website, try this quick fix on your website and you’ll see an immediate difference.

Here’s an example:

A clear positioning statement

Okay, we're biased, but there's no doubt the visitor directed by Google to Taleist knows immediately that they’re on a copywriter’s website. Now they can ease their finger off the back button and read on (assuming it was a copywriter they were looking for).

2. Increase your conversion rate by writing an About Us page that isn’t (really) about you will improve your conversion rate

Your website’s About Us page is likely to be the second most popular page on your site. Why?

Your website visitors are looking for someone to solve their problem. That problem might be a financial plan that will set them up for life or a Bluetooth speaker at the right price. The visitor doesn’t want to waste time on your site if they don’t trust you can solve the problem.

So the job of your About Us page is to give the reader confidence that you’re the company for the job. That means the page is only about you on the surface.

This is the white lie that conversion experts and copywriters use to build trust with the reader. They call the page About Us but they make it about the potential client, more specifically the potential client’s problem.

Your 100-year history is only relevant if your client might think you’re fly- by-night. Your love of free climbing is a perfect thing to mention if you sell ropes; it’s irrelevant if you’re an accountant — unless all your clients are free climbers.

There’s more about this in our guide to writing the perfect About Us page, but here’s a simple test to apply to your About Us page:

Does everything on your About Us page show a potential client that you’re the right company to solve their problem?

3. Proof will explode your conversion rate

Here’s a surefire copywriting secret for writing a persuasive website:

Support every claim you make with proof.

You might be the actual “leading” provider in your industry, but that’s meaningless if every competitor also claims to be the leading brand. Find a way to prove your pre-eminence and your credibility will soar. And with soaring credibility comes a soaring conversion rate.

The most common type of proof you see on websites is social proof — generally, testimonials, reviews and case studies.

Social proof is powerful, but proof comes in dozens of forms, so it’s a shame to lean on only one. We go a through a list of 40 different types of proof in our first workshop with a new client. The list includes things like:

  • Test results
  • Accreditation
  • Trust seals
  • High-profile clients
  • Media mentions
  • Awards

Often the client will say no, no as we work through the list then we’ll hit gold, something that will make them shine but that they’ve never thought to mention before.

4. A lead magnet will improve your conversions in the longer term

Your website probably invites readers to telephone or email you. The problem with that is that only about 4% of your website visitors are ready to buy.

Those 4% are the only ones most likely to pick up the phone or email you. The other 96% are on your website for researcher; they’re:

  1. Deciding whether they want what you offer at all or
  2. Deciding on a provider

What are you doing to persuade those 96% to identify themselves to you?

If the answer is nothing, you’re concentrating on getting only 4% of your visitors to let you know how there are. And again, there are 24 times more visitors doing research than visitors who are ready to buy. Those researchers are nowhere as likely to pick up the phone or email as the buyers. Also, the researchers are people just like you who...

... Get distracted when online. The phone rings. A colleague drives by their desk. When that happens, they close or lose the website they’re looking at. Once that happens, there’s a good chance they won’t remember where they’ve been.

A lead magnet is an offer you make to a website visitor in return for their email address. It’s usually something downloadable — like an infographic, a report, a list of seven things their website needs to convert...

When you have their email address, you can send them the information but, more importantly, you know who they are so you can follow up.

If you don’t have a lead magnet, you’ll have no way of getting hold of anyone who is visiting without being ready to buy. Except...

5. Remarketing pixels, another longer term conversion rate optimisation

You might not get your website visitor’s email address, so you don’t know who they are. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach them again. All you need is a pixel.

A pixel is a piece of code from Facebook or Google.

  1. You put the code on your website.
  2. The code identifies your visitor to Google or Facebook.

Neither Google nor Facebook will reveal the visitor’s identity to you, but you can pay Google or Facebook to show advertising to anyone who visited your website.

If you pay Facebook, your website visitor will see your ads when they’re browsing Facebook.

If you pay Google, your visitor could see your ad on any of the millions of sites in Google’s advertising network.

This is how you come to see ads from a company for days or weeks after visiting their website.

The advertising might be general, like a reminder of the brand. Alternatively, it might be highly specific — say, an ad for that fridge, restaurant or lawyer whose website you visited.

Pixelling then advertising to people who have visited your website is called “remarketing” or “retargeting”.

Plenty of people think remarketing is “creepy” — the idea that you’re following strangers around the internet (even if you don’t know who they are or how to find them yourself).

Other people argue that it’s helpful — someone who saw your site but didn’t get around to taking action is given a breadcrumb trail to find their way back.

If you don’t like the idea of remarketing now, you might like it in the future.

That’s why every website should have two pixels installed (one from Google and one from Facebook).

That way you’re building a list of “pixelled” visitors you can advertise to in the future.

When they do come back, they should still find you’re...

6. Showcasing features rather than listing benefits

Most websites concentrate on the features of their service — “fast”, “reliable”, “local”, “experienced”, etc. Firstly, many of those claims will be identical to those made by your competitors. More importantly, prospects don’t buy features; they buy benefits.

A feature is a thing.

A benefit is what that thing does for you.

Feature: Your fridge keeps your food cold.
Benefit: Food lasts longer. Drinks are more refreshing.

This sounds incredibly simplistic. And it is... if your prospect is already convinced they need what you’re selling.

You already know the general benefits of refrigeration so it would be stupid for Bing Lee to wax lyrical about how long your food will last in the fridge. (Unless that particular model keeps food longer than people are used to.)

But you’re not selling refrigerators, and the benefits of your service probably aren’t as well known. (Don’t assume your benefits are well understood just because you know what they are. You’ll be surprised by what people don’t know about what you do.)

Also, your website reader isn’t giving you their full attention.

Put these things together — lack of knowledge and only giving you half their attention — and it doesn’t hurt to grease the conversion slide by connecting your features to the benefits to your clients.

If you’re local (and that’s important to clients), point out the benefits — easy to get to, on your way home, you understand the specific needs of the area...

If you’re reliable, spell out what that means — no waiting around, no callbacks for re-work.

Don’t assume your reader will take the time to connect all your features to the benefits to them. And speaking of assumptions...

7. Drop the jargon

Sometimes jargon is shorthand that speeds things up for people in the industry. More often, the jargon is baffling even to people inside the industry.

That’s why jargon is loved by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Your surgeon is an expert with a decade or more of training in science and technique. Would you think any less of them because they said “spreading” instead of “metastasising”?

If your clients are in your industry, jargon can be useful to show your insider status. However, even then you should use jargon only if you’re entirely confident:

  1. Your reader is fluent in industry jargon
  2. The jargon has precisely the same meaning everywhere

It’s worth remembering that the whole reason you have clients is probably because the client doesn’t know how to do what you do (even if they think they do).

Your clients are probably not insiders in your industry. They won’t think you look dumb if you make the effort to make yourself understandable; they’ll think you sound easy to work with.

If in doubt about whether your website is clear, there’s a simple test.

Give your website to someone who knows roughly as much about what you do as a potential client might.

Ask them to read a page and — without any further input from you — tell you what that page means.

Ask them to tell you in their own words:

  1. What you do
  2. Why they should engage you instead of someone else

You might be surprised.

Also, your website reader isn’t giving you their full attention.

Put these things together — lack of knowledge and only giving you half their attention — and it doesn’t hurt to grease the conversion slide by connecting your features to the benefits to your clients.

If you’re local (and that’s important to clients), point out the benefits — easy to get to, on your way home, you understand the specific needs of the area... If you’re reliable, spell out what that means — no waiting around, no callbacks for re-work.

Don’t assume your reader will take the time to connect all your features to the benefits to them. And speaking of assumptions...

Going further

However obvious those seven qualities appear, they’re uncommon.

Does your website have all seven?

If it does, you can take your conversions to the next level by asking yourself these questions:

1. Is this website written for my target client’s level of knowledge of:

  • My product or service?
  • Why and when they might need me?
  1. Is my website structured to deal with all the reasons someone might not buy from me? When you’re selling in person, prospects will raise objections — too expensive, will you deliver on time, my last provider did this... With a website, you don’t have that feedback, so you have to anticipate it all in the copywriting.
  2. Does this website clearly address the question of why us and not the alternative? This is so central to conversions that before writing any website, we go through an exercise with the client to agree on the answer to that question.

A professional copywriter’s opinion of your website

If your website is getting the right visitors but they’re not converting, there’s only one possible answer: your site isn’t persuasive enough. We can help with website review by a professional copywriter.

This isn’t the same as asking a friend or associate to have a look. Where they might give your site a scan and come back with a personal opinion, we’ll comb your site through the eyes of your ideal client.

Alternatively, if you're sending advertising traffic to a landing page, our copywriters will review your landing page to improve conversions.

And if you would just like to talk to a copywriter about how we can help you to optimise your conversion rate, please contact us.

Further reading on how to increase your conversion rate

"The client is seeing an insane increase in leads/performance..."

— Blake Horton, SEO/AdWords expert, QuantumLinx