You’ve got a blog. You’ve got a plethora of posts on that blog. You even get visitors to that blog. So why aren’t you getting more customers to your business?
If you’re frustrated by the lack of leads and sales your blogging efforts are bringing in for your business, your blog is probably suffering from a low conversion rate.
What does this mean? In short, it means that your blog isn’t working to move visitors further down the marketing funnel. For some reason or another, there’s something happening that does not get people to take further actions on the site other than clicking around.
The word “conversion” often gets associated with sales, and specifically when a customer purchases a product or service.
However, in the world of digital marketing, conversions can refer to many different actions; the common thread is that all of these actions bring the potential customer further down the marketing funnel.
When looking at your website, conversions refer to any desired actions that visitors could take on the site, such as filling out an email sign-up form, opting in to receive newsletters or text updates, or requesting a consultation. Or, if products and services are available for purchase directly on your site, conversions could refer to visitors making a purchase.
Conversions will look a little different from website to website, as all businesses have their own unique CTAs (calls to action) and offerings.
If you’re just starting out in the journey to improve your site’s conversion rate, it could help to begin by writing down all of the different ways visitors could convert on your site. This will help you make informed decisions from the outset.
Your site’s conversion rate is the rate at which visitors to your site actually end up taking an action that is classified as a conversion.
For example, if you get 1000 visitors to your site, and 150 of them sign up for an account with their email, you would calculate your conversion rate as follows:
150/1000 x 100 = 15%
In this instance, your conversion rate is 15%.
The process of improving one’s conversion rate is called Conversion Rate Optimization, more commonly referred to as CRO.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you can’t let your CRO mission throw off your greater SEO (Search Engine Optimization) goals.
While SEO focuses on creating the best experience for the visitor and search engines alike for greater traffic to a site, CRO hones in on generating leads, conversions, and ultimately, more business.
This is all to say, don’t let your CRO efforts get so out of hand that it creates a negative impact on the user experience of your site and the value that visitors derive from your site. Users and search engines will notice this alike.
Calculating a conversion rate won’t mean much unless you know how to interpret it. So what makes a conversion rate “good” or “bad”?
The general rule is that you should try to have a conversion rate of at least 2%-5%. Any rates over 5% can be considered above average.
However, the rule is a bit of an oversimplification. Conversion rates can depend on a few factors, including:
Rather than going off the generic 2%-5% rule, you may want to research benchmarks for your industry.
What’s going to be especially useful is tracking how your conversion rate changes, as you begin to incorporate CRO into your website. By quantifying the effect of your changes, you will be able to tell if they are successful or not.
You can also use conversion rates for milestones and goal-setting along your CRO journey.
Where to begin this journey? One way to start is reviewing these 14 strategies to increase your blog’s conversion rate.
Starting with a basic one here, in order to drive conversions, you need to ensure your content is delivering value to your visitors.
Think about it: If your content isn’t useful to users, why in the world would they want to sign up for more? How can they believe that whatever you’re offering is quality, and worthy of their hard earned dollars?
When creating content, have your customer in mind. What problem are they looking to solve? What information are they searching for? What can you provide that will educate them, entertain them, or, ideally, both?
Fluff is great in a stuffed animal or with a peanut butter sandwich, but it’s terrible when it comes to content on your website.
Although it may be tempting to throw in the towel and post pieces that may look great to click on, but have nothing new or impactful to say, don’t give in! Posting just to post will not improve your CRO, despite what your urges tell you.
While you masterfully craft the exact pieces your audience needs, don’t forget the foundation of a piece of content: proper structure.
If you’re writing a blog post, this means that you incorporate:
Titles are the first component to a piece of content that visitors see, and these first impressions matter a lot.
No matter how scintillating the copy is within the piece, if it’s topped off with a boring title, people will likely scroll on by and miss out on the masterpiece within.
When choosing the title for the piece, be sure it falls within these parameters to ensure an engaging, click-inducing headline:
When users view your content, they are taking time out of their days and giving it to you. This is no small act, so don’t waste it with clickbait or inaccurate titles.
Titles are a chance to make your content stand out among the competition. Even if it means devoting a little extra time and brainpower to the cause, this creativity and care will pay off.
Although AI seems to be doing almost everything these days, technology has still yet to replace the special understanding and connection that can be created through human to human contact.
When creating content, you may be tempted to remove all personality and nuance from your work for the sake of preserving professionalism and conveying expertise.
While maintaining a professional style may be preferred depending on your industry, in reality, most times this creates dry, stuffy pieces that readers will not be able to relate to.
The ultimate copy should feel like it was written by a human-like the one who is writing this piece!.
Clearly my writing style conveys that I’m not a robo-00101001011110011
Ahem. Sorry about that.
So how do you make sure you’re writing like a human?
It’s all about voice. “Voice” is a mixture of many ingredients: from point of view, tone, and rhythm, to word choice, syntax, and punctuation. Each writer has a unique voice.
Stay true to whatever voice is natural to you, and you can switch up the mood of your writing from piece to piece, as appropriate for the particular topic and subject matter of each.
All of our tips before this have not been focused solely on generating conversions, but on creating overall great content that will make people want to convert.
Now, we’ll get into our advice that is highly targeted to conversions, starting with the CTA - the call to action.
CTAs, the way we’ll be referring to them, are when a website tries to get the audience to move to the next step in the marketing funnel.
CTAs often come in the form of a button, link, or sign-up page.
The specific action will vary depending on the business and the stage of the marketing funnel the customer will be moving on to.
When choosing your CTA for a piece of content, make sure that the action is the logical next step for the person consuming the content.
This means that the CTA must be relevant and appropriate for the subject matter of the content, and the stage of the funnel the viewer is in.
CTAs need to be specific and something users actually want to do or obtain.
For instance, “Talk to us” is not a strong CTA - a reader would think, ‘Who’s “us” and what in the world would I talk to them about?’
You can’t blame them for it, either. A better CTA could be “Ready to begin your wellness journey? Schedule a free consultation with our nutrition experts.”
Now the user knows exactly what they’ll be getting and from who. Although it’s a little wordier, it’s necessary to include key details.
CTAs, when placed at bottom or the top of a piece of content, should be eye-catching without veering off into the land of obnoxious. Contrasting colors and a bold font can help subtly bring the user’s eye to your action.
If you’re incorporating a CTA into the middle of a post, be as natural as possible. If the CTA seems like a reach or as if the creator is pandering, the user will be turned off.
If you want to increase conversions, it can be easy to add CTA after CTA, pop-ups, sidebars . . . you get the idea.
Quickly, your page can become crowded, look junky, and become too overwhelming for users to look at.
Not only can a few too many CTAs be bad for optics, an excess of conversion opportunities can also dilute the funnel.
To create conversions, your goal is to make the customer journey as frictionless as possible. The more friction people encounter, the more likely they are to give up.
If your customer journey is getting a bit convoluted, users will get stuck.
You may be unintentionally inflicting your audience with “overchoice” (or choice overload), in which people have difficulty making decisions because there are too many options to consider.
Be intentional about what CTAs you’re including on the page, and where.
If you really want to get email subscribers, you can place the opt-in “above the fold” at the top of the page, before any copy.
If you want to promote on the sidebar, make sure it looks native to your page. You’ll want to make sure it matches the look and feel of the rest of the content on the page.
In summary, fewer, stronger CTAs will take your website further than a bunch of annoying buttons that say “Click here!”
Pretty ironic that we just discussed limited distractions, and now we’re advocating for a pretty controversial one: light box pop-ups. Life is full of contradictions.
Light box pop ups are the squares that appear on top of the content on the page, taking over the browser window. They contain a CTA that prompts users to take immediate action, typically this means signing up for something or filling out a form.
While other CTAs can be ignored and scrolled past, a user will have to do some sort of clicking around on the box in order to get back to the original content.
Due to the interrupting nature of these pop-ups, you need to be careful in your use of them. Viewers can easily be annoyed and driven off if they’re used in the wrong way.
However, the risk may be worth the reward; when skillfully implemented, light-box pop ups can drastically increase your subscriber rates.
To create a successful light box pop up, follow the rules of CTAs we’ve already laid out: the CTA must offer its viewer something of sincere value to them, and it must align with the rest of the content on the page.
The pop up should match the look of the rest of the page, otherwise it runs the risk of looking like a spammy third-party advertisement.
Here’s an example of the retailer Ban.do following all of the rules:
Although these pop ups can be great for gaining new subscribers, you want to make sure that users can easily sign up in places besides the pop up, too. Make sure that the subscribe form is easy to locate from anywhere on your site, to cater to users that may have clicked right off the pop up.
Content upgrades are another method of driving conversions by providing value to your audience.
A content upgrade is an additional piece of content that users can gain access to by completing some sort of action, usually a sign up or a subscription. The content, typically a download of some sort, will be emailed to them for their immediate use, and you’ll have a new lead for your business.
This content is highly specialized, and builds off the subject matter of the original piece. Content upgrades often help the user put into action whatever information they learned from the starting article.
Here’s an example of a content upgrade from NerdFitness:
Since content upgrades require a bit of lift and risk on your audience’s end (we’ve all been burned by signing up with our email address only to come out with disappointment and messages immediately sent to Trash for months), you’ll want to make sure that whatever content you include in your upgrade wows your viewers and lives up to the value it promises.
You’ll want to incorporate your CTA for the content upgrade within the copy of your content, as well as a reminder at the end.
Content upgrades will attract new subscribers, but they can also delight existing subscribers as well. Providing freebies and value to your subscribers not only at the outset, but continuously over time, will foster a positive relationship and (fingers crossed) keep the churn rate low.
You should add content upgrades to as many blog posts as possible (and more importantly, as applicable!). You never know which blog post may blow up next, and when it does, it will be extremely beneficial to gaining new email subscribers if there is a content upgrade on that post.
Like offering another cup of tea to an esteemed guest, you’ll want to invite visitors to stay past one piece of content on your website. The longer they stay, the closer they’ll be to a conversion.
To get users to keep browsing your site, make it easy for them to find other things they might be interested in.
One way to do this is to create a “Related Posts” section at the bottom of each content page.
Here, you can suggest posts that have similar topics to the one the viewer has just seen. It’s a great way of showing off the breadth, depth, and expertise of your website.
If you have created a content series, you can add links to the “Next post” and “Previous post” so users can continue the lateral journey.
Below, you can see that the Happy Chicken Coop’s article Beginner’s Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens utilizes both methods.
Your relationship with your audience will be more effective if communication flows both ways. To enable a back and forth exchange with the ones who matter most to your business, you can install a comments section.
Being able to communicate with viewers can help you out in a ton of ways, including:
If comments are enabled on a post, make sure to invite comments to share their opinions somewhere in the copy of your post.
Respond to as many comments as possible with thoughtful, valuable answers. You can use open ended questions in your comments to keep the conversation going. Here’s another example from The Happy Chicken Coop:
If you want to see engagement on your own pieces, then it always helps to engage with content on other websites. Comment your take on blog content within your industry, and people will eventually take notice of your engagement/thought leadership and come to your website.
We trust our friends, neighbors, and fellow consumers much more than we trust company reps and corporate execs.
Reviews are powerful tools to show your products and services live up to their claims. If you have customer testimonials and product reviews at your disposal, you’ll want to begin using them to your advantage immediately.
It can take just a few trustworthy, positive reviews to give audiences the final vote of confidence they need to go ahead and convert.
Check out how dog groomer Monica uses customer testimonials to encourage new clients on her website’s homepage:
You can incorporate all the UX best practices and design principles to your site that you want, but you won’t know if any of it is actually working until you analyze what people are doing on your site.
One way to track user activity on your site is through “heat maps” from sites such as HotJar.
Although you’ll feel like you’re looking through Predator’s eyes at your website, it’s a helpful tool that shows popular clicking areas on a page as “hot,” and areas that are not clicked on often as “cold.”
From here, you can pick out which CTAs are doing well, and which aren’t attracting users. You’ll then be able to tweak and improve your CTAs and overall site layout from there.
Empowered by user data and conversion history, pay attention to WHO is converting for WHAT. This will help you figure out what’s working, and you can create better CTAs and conversion opportunities from there.
To make real progress on your site, you need to be willing to take chances and test anything and everything. Here are some ways that you can incorporate testing into your CRO strategy.
Getting conversions is tricky; you don’t want to be pushy, but you need to clearly communicate what you’re offering to visitors and convince them it’s worth their time.
If you remember one thing from this list, it’s to provide relevant, valuable content to your target audience and try to reduce friction in the marketing funnel as much as possible. If you successfully stick to these two things, you’ll increase your chances of converting exponentially.
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