We all want to make money from our website, don’t we? Unfortunately, too many people think that to do this you have to drive as much traffic to it as possible, particularly from search engines, and then hope that it converts for your goals. Those people will never really make that much money from their website. That’s because you need to test and optimize your website constantly to keep improving it!
To increase your online revenue from your website you need to test and improve it, so that it engages and converts your visitors for your goals much better. This is known as ‘website optimization’ and involves key things like website testing. It’s much different than SEO which just focuses on getting your website higher search engine rankings. I recently wrote a website optimization book called ‘Website Optimization: An Hour a Day’ that helps you do this.
For readers of this blog who care more about the making money part (than making their visitors happier), from my book I have summarized a brief list of important first things you should be doing to test and optimize your website to make more money. While much more is needed than just these three things, they will certainly help you on your way to making much more money!
1. Influence Your Visitors Better
First you need to pay attention to your website visitors – your website, product or service needs to influence your visitors so they convert for your goals much more often.
- Write Better Headlines – Your headlines are going to be one of the first things your visitors see on your web pages, so you need to grab their attention and raise interest quickly. Try using text that solves for readers needs or creates a sense of urgency, or ask a great question to spike curiosity. And test making headlines a little bigger too. Check out our ‘How To Write Great Headlines‘ post for help on this.
- Use Better Text – Understand that people don’t read web pages the same way they do newspapers and books – instead they scan, looking for key information, and then read more if they are engaged. To improve your text and make it more scanable, test using bullet points of your key information/benefits, and test using less dense copy and shorten it where possible. Focus the text on your visitors, and not yourself – test changing emphasis from ‘we or our’ to become ‘you or your’ – much more engaging.
- Write Better Call To Actions - Once you have gained your visitors interest through better headlines and text, you need to get them to take action for your goals – many websites do a poor job of this. The best way to do this is by using better call-to-action buttons. Test different wording on them, their style and sizes, and then test the location of them; they usually work best above the page fold, and for longer pages, add extra ones at the end of pages, where visitor’s eye flow ends up (and not buried away in sidebars).
2. Test & Optimize Your Website’s Registration/Sign Up/Checkout Flow
Once you have influenced your visitors to take action and they are about to sign up or purchase, it doesn’t stop there. Many online businesses think the work is pretty much done – but unfortunately many potential sales or signups are lost at this point due to poor or badly designed registration, signup or checkout flows. You need to test and optimize your website so that you get more visitors through the flow (more conversions!)
- Simplify and Shorten Your Pages and Fields – You need to make your signup/registration/checkout pages as easy and quick as possible to use. For example, test removing fields that aren’t really necessary (or example, do you really need their phone number and address?) and shorten the number of pages in the flow to just 2 or 3.
- Repeat The Benefits - Always clearly show the benefits of using your website/service/product on these pages – visitors may not have fully understood them on previous pages, and helps to reinforce them here. Bullet points work well here, and test placing them at the top or side bar of these pages.
- Check Them In All Browsers For Issues - This is real quick win here to increase conversions and revenue – check what these crucial pages look like in the three major browsers, Firefox, Chrome and IE, and fix any issues you find. Often they can break or not look right in one of them, causing abandonment and much lost revenue.
3. Test & Optimizing Your Website’s Ads
If you rely fully or partly on advertising for your online revenue, it’s important that you test and optimize your website’s ad formats/types on your website too. If you are doing a poor job of this, you are probably annoying your visitors by having too many.
- Try Using In-Text Ads Instead Of Banners – Very few people even click on banners anymore, so you could test using ads that are more contextual and within the text of your webpages. You can try Infolinks.com or Vibrant.com.
- Try Background Ads – These full background ads are becoming increasingly more common, and work well if they are well designed, without annoying visitors too much. You can charge a hefty premium for them too.
- Try Targeting Your Ads – Don’t just show generic ads to your visitors, hoping they will like some of what they see. Make them more relevant based on what they have previously seen, and it will increase the chances of them engaging and clicking on them. Sounds hard to do, but many advertising networks now offer this service even Google Adwords.
So there we have some quick tips that will help you make more money from your website, without having to spend money on driving new visitors to it! For many more best practices and test ideas to help you optimize your website even further, check out my new book, which has got some great praise already! You can even get the first chapter free just by following me on Twitter.
But what do you think? Do you make an effort to test & optimize your website? If so, do you use any other methods that haven’t been mentioned here? Let us know your views by leaving a comment below!
Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Rich Page
Rich is the author of ‘Website Optimization: An Hour a Day’ and has been testing and optimizing websites for over 10 years. He is a regular industry speaker, and offers a website optimization blog and services at his website. You can follow him on Twitter for tips.