There’s one web design mistake that absolutely tanks your conversion rates…
And once you cure it, you could propel the lead generation / sales ability of your website by as much as 100% OR MORE.
Luckily, this mistake has an easy fix—especially if you’re willing to make some small changes to your website.
Murder Clutter… Before It Nukes Your Conversion Rates
With widgets, plugins, social media profiles, and other junk like that, it’s easy to overload your website with a bunch of garbage you don’t need.
And worse, when you do just that, your conversion rates PLUMMET.
The simple solution is to DITCH the baggage, and focus on what you NEED visitors to do to grow your business.
In most cases, you need visitors to subscribe to your email list or buy your stuff, and that’s what you should focus on.
Related posts? Twitter feed? 10 million social media profile icons? Badges?
“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”
(yes, that’s a Blazing Saddles quote :-D)
What’s Absolutely Essential For A High-Converting Web Design?
Not everyone will agree with me, and that’s fine.
But let’s not make this about opinions and hearsay. Let’s look at the facts.
Over the last few months I took Social Triggers from a ghost-town to a thriving metropolis by focusing on these two main areas: uncluttered sidebars and smart landing pages.
Let’s walk through both of them.
#1 The Simple Blog Sidebar Formula For High Conversions
Earlier this week, Which Test Won PROVED that clutter bleeds your business dry. There were two examples, one site with a cluttered sidebar, and another with just a simple call to action.
When they competed in a fight to the death (aka split testing people), the clutter-free sidebar outperformed the cluttered sidebar by 26%.
When you’re dealing with a blog, it’s true. Sidebar clutter does destroy your conversion rates.
But it’s not practical to ONLY include a call to action in your sidebar. You need a little bit more:
Every blog sidebar needs:
- an opt-in form (at the top of the sidebar)
- links to resource pages (preferably right under the opt-in form)
- links to popular articles
Anything else is a potential distraction.
(Note, if you’re running an ad-based business, yes you’ll need ads, but here at Social Triggers I don’t run ads).
Why do you need these three areas?
Because it helps you convert visitors into leads and sales, while also letting new visitors explore your blog and find the content that may be interested in.
Why these three? Here’s the data:
When you include an opt-in form at the top of your sidebar, you’ll find that the conversion rate of that form skyrockets by as much as 100% (I’ve seen less, and I’ve seen more).
Then, when you link to resource pages (which are quite simply WordPress pages that highlight some of your best content around a specific topic), you show people exactly where they need to go to find the information they want.
And finally, the popular articles section is MONEY. It gets a ton of click-play because “popular” implies that people like the content, and people can’t resist clicking on the articles there.
(Trust me, I tested this, and people love clicking my popular articles in my sidebar).
#2 The Smart Landing Page Strategy That Works (Without Being Obnoxious)
It’s no secret that Landing Pages have high conversion rates—especially when you compare them to regular content pages.
To elaborate, when a random visitor reads one of my articles on Social Triggers, there’s around a 10% chance that they subscribe for my email newsletter.
While that’s impressive for a blog, it’s NOTHING compared to the power of a landing page.
When I whipped together private newsletter landing pages (you might have seen one of them), those pages converted anywhere from 50% to 70% of the people who hit the page.
To put this in perspective, if you drove 1,000 hits to your site, this is the difference between getting 700 emails and 100 emails.
No wonder my site grew so fast, right?
Question is how can you work these high-converting landing pages into your blog strategy… without being obnoxious?
You’ll need three different templates.
- The typical blog design
- A custom template with no distractions other than a Home link
- A custom template with no distractions (no navigation, no home button, no sidebars)
How do you use these templates?
The typical blog design is obvious, so I’ll skip that.
The Perfect Template For What I Call Resource Pages (or Content Buckets)
The second template, with no distractions other than a home link, is perfect for resource pages.
You’ve seen them on my site. Building an email list 101 for example.
But here’s why you want to use this template.
Your content pages are your most popular pages. When people are done reading them, they often look for what they can do next.
And if you followed my simple sidebar formula, they’ll often see your resource pages in your sidebar, and click one of those pages next.
Yes, the slight design change may “seem” shocking, but remember, the people clicking on over are no longer cold sources of traffic. They’re warm sources because they just read one of your articles. That’s why you can be more aggressive.
And as luck would have it, the people who visit these resource pages are more likely to convert into an email address than a typical content or category page.
(Well, it’s not really lucky, it’s just a proven method for high conversions :-D).
The Traditional Landing Page (whether it’s a Squeeze Page, A Sales Page, or an Order Page)
And now, on to the last template… the page with absolutely no distractions.
This page is VITALLY important for pages where you try to sell products, create squeeze pages, or most importantly, when you’re trying to get people to fill out order forms.
While I don’t recommend you use these pages a ton, you should sprinkle them throughout your blog, and occasionally link to them in key places like your navigation and your sidebar.
Like resource pages, people will click to these pages, and then, they will often convert into a lead or sale because they’re no longer cold traffic, they’re warm traffic.
As an example, when I was doing site reviews with people like Chris Brogan and Pat Flynn, I had them link to one of these types of pages because I knew it would convert the visitors into leads at a much higher rate than simply linking to my home page.
And sure enough, it did. The pages converted well, and that helped me build a list quick.
(as a side note, these pages are great for order pages because when people need to fill out their information, they often look for anything that can distract them from doing it. Filling out forms is no fun).
How do you plan on trying this strategy out?
Let me know in the comments.