An over-the-shoulder shot of a person sitting on a bed and using a smartphone to view a website. In the background, out of focus, a laptop showing a different website sits on top of the white sheet covering the bed.
Human brains are wired to react to faces, so include photos of people, like your employees or satisfied customers, on your website. — Getty Images/LeoPatrizi

If you’re running a small business, odds are your website already includes the basics, including easy site navigation, mobile-friendly design and fast loading time.

But you’ll need more than that to stand out from the crowd. Implementing these expert strategies will help your website attract and convert more clients:

Clearly show the “what” and “why” of your product or service

The headline, tagline and hero shot (the main image on the page) need to work together to show what you’re offering and why clients should choose your product or service, said Theresa Farr, a conversion rate optimization specialist. “The hero shot is an area that can usually be improved,” she said. Make sure your hero shot resonates with potential clients. For example, if you offer fitness services, instead of showing people with perfect physiques on the page, show images of regular people enjoying their workouts, said Farr.

Include images of faces throughout your website

“Starting when we are infants, humans have a natural cognitive bias to look at faces,” said Andy Crestodina, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Orbit Media Studios, a web design and development company. Where you should include them:

  • Calls to action. “Any time a face appears on a website page, it acts as a magnet for attention, so adding one to a request to sign up for a newsletter, free consultation or product demo, or to get more information, will help increase the likelihood of your prospects taking those actions,” said Crestodina.
  • Team photos. Website visitors want to see the faces of people they might be doing business with. “Based on Google Analytics, the ‘Team’ page is often the top or second-most-visited website page for an organization,” said Crestodina.
  • Testimonials. Including the faces of your clients who are giving testimonials makes this social proof of your business excellence more powerful.

Exit overlays are a last-ditch effort to get visitors to take action before they leave a page on your site.

Brian Massey, conversion scientist at Conversion Sciences

Hire someone outside your team to rewrite your website copy

Chances are that you or one of your team members wrote the original copy for your website. That’s a mistake, said Brian Massey, conversion scientist at Conversion Sciences, a conversion optimization and website redesign company. “When you know your product or service offerings inside and out, you automatically make assumptions about what an intelligent website visitor will know,” he said. “We’re full of biases, and our brains are designed to take shortcuts.” An external copywriter can start with a clean slate and write website copy from the viewpoint of what a new visitor needs to know. You can use A/B tests to determine what wording works best, as well as getting feedback from current clients or paid testers through sites such as UsabilityHub.

Use thank-you pages for every action

“The easiest way to track what visitors do when they go to your website is to set up a thank-you page for each action,” said Crestodina. Thank-you pages provide a destination, or landing page, for each activity, which can be tracked as “goals” in Google Analytics. In addition, thank-you pages are underutilized ways to deepen your relationship with clients and provide additional selling opportunities through offers listed on the page.

Add exit overlays

Exit overlays are a last-ditch effort to get visitors to take action before they leave a page on your site,” said Massey. These pop-up windows can send visitors to another part of your site for more information, or ask them to take action, such as inputting their contact information to gain access to discounts or special offers. “Exit overlays provide some of the highest conversion rates of all the calls to action on our client websites,” said Massey.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published August 12, 2021