Websites are often seen as an online multi-purpose brochure, an information portal, a resource for prospective clients and existing clients - or all of these things. When designing a website it is more effective to know the priorities for the website.
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Customizing Your Website For Higher Conversion Rates

When asked to redesign an existing website, or to design a new website, the first thing I ask my client is, "What is the one thing you want your website to do-above all else?" Sometimes there is one answer, but usually there are several answers, or something like, "We want our website to do everything!" My goal is to try and understand what is important to the client above all else in terms of what the website does.

Setting Website Priorities

Websites are often seen as an online multi-purpose brochure, an information portal, a resource for prospective clients and existing clients-or all of these things at the same time. When creating a website, or redesigning a website so it is more effective and useful, knowing all the priorities for the website is extremely important.

From a design standpoint, I want to make sure the overall website design visually supports the top three priorities. From a functional standpoint, I want to make sure the website has the capability to provide for all the website priorities.

There is a big difference between simply wanting a website to say, filter out prospects who are not ready to make a purchase, and actually having website functionality that can in fact filter visitors.

What Exactly Is Conversion?

You have probably heard the saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." Conversion would be leading the horse to water, and getting it to drink. Your website may have several different types of conversion depending on your product or service offering and what marketing strategy you are using.

For example, if you are using pay-per-click ads, you may first take your prospect to a special landing page, instead of your website. In this case, conversion may mean having the prospect call you or complete a simple email form so you can follow up with them by phone, mail or email.

On the other hand, a prospect searching for the services or products offered by your company may find their own way to your website directly. In this case, conversion may mean having the visitor signing up for a free newsletter, registering for a promotion offer, contacting your sales or customer service department, bookmarking your website or completing another task.

If you are relying on prospects finding you by using searches with Google, Bing or Google, and if there is no clear path for the prospect to follow, or no clear call to action on your website, your conversion rate will be low.

Increasing Your Conversion Rate

Ideally, as you are marketing your company, products or services, you will be sending your prospects to a specific area of your website or to the one page specifically designed to assist with conversion.

Promotions and offers are a great way to increase conversions. Ideally, your offer or promotion will use a URL like: so you can both track the number of people going to that offer's URL and the actual number of conversions so you can track your conversion rate.

Your website administrator can set up redirects so you can use easy-to-type and easy to remember URLs. Your ads, direct mail, radio spots and other marketing materials can use a simple URL and redirect the prospect to the correct page within your website, thus avoiding the use of extremely long URLs, or sending your prospects to your home page, when your offer or promotion is elsewhere in the website.

Make use of a clear "call to action" on your conversion page. A call to action is just that-a request or appeal to the visitor to do something now, whether this is to complete a small form, call or download a white paper.

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