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5 tips to retain users and double your online conversions

By Anthony Lane, Copywriter, The Web Design Forum.

Did I just say double your conversions? Yes, I did, and if you follow these simple steps you can achieve this in just 30 minutes. So, with no further ado...

Ever wondered why a hit record's songwriter earns so much more than its singer? They both rely on each other for success, after all. Well, being a web designer is a little bit like being in a band. In the beginning it's really exciting. Getting all 'creative' is a lot of fun, and putting your work out there for everyone to admire is a thrill.

But after a while, you realise that your band isn’t actually that good, because you never learned to play. Fast forward a few years of bedroom isolation and hairdresser avoidance, and you emerge a fledgling virtuoso.

All the local bands suddenly want you to play for them. It feels amazing. But once the excitement levels off, something dawns on you. Although your playing sounds good, your songs are terrible. If you'd spent all that time learning to compose rather than just play, you could be winning over huge audiences right now. Instead of playing to an audience of 7 (including your mum and dad) for the 3rd time this month.

In case you need this lazy metaphor explained to you, the song is your copy, your sales message. The part of your website that earns its keep. And a good song needs a good arrangement, which is where this article comes in.

So, here are 5 things you can do right now to massively increase your readership. Depending on its current state, this will easily double (or more) your conversion rate. If your bounce rate is high, expect to see it drop right off afterwards.

  1. Stop using tiny text. Just because you're under 25 and can read a number plate at 3000 metres without a telescope doesn't mean the rest of us are, or can. Nothing makes folks click away like not being able to read a site. Set your body text at a minimum of 16px. As screens get smaller and resolutions bigger, you may need to increase this.
  2. Improve your contrast. Did you know that 40% more people will read the same copy set in black on white vs white on black? It doesn't have to be black and white – just a light background and dark text, with lots of contrast will be fine.
  3. Long lines are tiring. This really is one of my pet hates, especially among web designers (no offence). A website doesn't need to fill your screen, it needs to communicate effectively. Long lines of text are just plain hard to read. Keep your line lengths to around 75 characters and you'll see a jump in readership.
  4. It's a website, not a novel. So stop using massive blocks of text when you can easily break them up into short, readable paragraphs. The same goes for sentences. If you can average at about 12 words a sentence, your readership will skyrocket.
  5. Use a call to action - If I had a pound for every website I see without a call to action, I would be in the Caribbean right now, and you'd be staring at a 404 error page. Don't be shy about asking readers to take action. They want and expect to be told. And the bigger the better. Use lots of contrast, and include a verb (and ideally a benefit) to really get those clicks flowing. For example “Double your conversions in 5 easy steps today”.

Told you it was easy.

For lots more in-depth tutorials, discussion and general camaraderie, visit The Web Design Forum.

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