Conversion Rate Optimisation can sometimes seem daunting. It often has a stigma attached to it of constant testing, heavy development changes and large amounts of work. While it's true that you certainly can do CRO testing till you're blue in the face it doesn't need to be that way. Here are five conversion rate improvements that you can do, right now, on your website in under 5 minutes. Ready? Go!
##1. Move every step of the buying/checkout process above the fold.
This is one of the most common errors I see in the checkout/conversion process of clients where one or more steps of the checkout process involve scrolling down to the bottom of the page. How hard is it to move the buy-now button above the fold in every step of the process? If you need a long page for whatever reason, why not add a buy-now button above the fold (yes, two buy-now buttons on one page! crazy talk). Here's an example product page from Boomkat (an awesome independent online music shop) where the 'Buy!' button is way down below the fold. Why not add a buy button up top too? Click to enlarge the image:
##2. Make your call to action more visible.
The conversion is the thing you want to happen on the page, it's the raison d'etre for the page - so make it as easy and intuitive as possible for the user to buy/contact/sign-up. Sometimes this can mean turning a text link into an image or making a button brighter or bigger, whatever it is you need to do - make the call to action as easy as possible to click.
Here's an example from the BigChill Festival's booking page where the buy-now button is conveniently a text link which says "next" (click the image to see full size):
##3. Add some trust to your site.
Users are always scared. A recent study shows that almost a third of internet users don't trust the internet enough to shop online. That's a lot! Think about the number of users who will only shop from sites they DO trust. How can you make your site more trusted? There's two easy and quick ways.
1 - Add some security buttons to your site, whether these be hackersafe, verisign, thawte or paypal these buttons have been proven to increase conversion rates. I found a really nice exmaple from PC World above the fold on their checkout process:
2 - Add a testimonial to your site. Testimonials are really important and help users feel comfortable that the product they're buying and the site they're buying it from are genuine. Here's (one of) Will's testimonial on the SEOmoz PRO landing page:
##4. Get a friend to test the site.
Sometimes you can think that your site works perfectly, is easy to understand and works smoothly but there's no accounting for the random s**t that users will click on or enter into text fields. Or, sometimes it's the case that it makes sense to you since you look at the site every day but to your average user it doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. The easiest way to do this is to find a friend who's not familiar with your site and ask them to buy something. Watch over their shoulder and you'll be amazed at the things they get confused at or the buttons they click incorrectly.
If you want something a bit more robust, but still really quick and easy, take a look at silverback - a neat piece of usability testing software (only for macs I'm afraid) which records video of people using your site alongside their progress through your site.
##5. Remove (at least) one distraction from the checkout process.
When you're looking to streamline your checkout process have you ever wondered why people sometimes leave half-way through buying a product to go and look at the FAQ page or the homepage? Have you ever wondered what would happen if they didn't have the option of leaving the checkout process?! Removing distractions and links to pages outside the checkout process can really help your conversion rate so if you're looking for a quick change, try removing a distraction - this could be a link to a page about shipping details (why not make this a pop-up instead?) or it could be a long form with lots of fields (why not remove some of the non-essential fields?).
Amazon.co.uk recently changed their checkout process so there's hardly a distraction in sight - in the below image (click to enlarge) almost nothing is clickable except the 'place your order' button:
If anyone implements any of the changes in this post and gets results I'd love to hear from you!