Off-page conversion is off the hook

Years ago, I read somewhere that 42% of people abandon a shopping cart due to slow performance.

Recently it was proven to me that this might indeed be true which is surprising because most statistical factoids are garbage.

After introducing a content delivery network service into an ecommerce site I saw a 20% gain in cart conversion. This was a pretty stunning result and it made me think about all the off-page conversion factors that can have a big influence on visit conversion that might be ignored because of a focus on design and copy.

The standard approach to conversion optimisation requires a really tight focus on the value proposition and the customer. Tests are designed to:

  • Make sure there is a clear message
  • Make sure the page is relevant to the audience
  • Drive urgency
  • Reduce buying inhibitors and friction

In the excitement of lovingly crafting your website into a conversion machine it is easy to focus on the design and content of the page or site at the expense of more fundamental issues. After all, it is a lot of fun changing forms, tightening copy and call-to-actions, optimising paid search ads, and adding great product images.

But, there could be some factors inhibiting buyers which have nothing to do with design and copy. Some of these are operating like a silent do not buy signal to buyers, creating friction and making sure they bounce off your website and off to your competitor.

Some off-page conversion factors to look at are:

Speed
Is your website hosted at a $2.95 unlimited host that slows down with rush hour? Or your customers might be in New Zealand but your website is hosted in USA and is slow.

Buyers today are lazy and expect speed. A slow website signals a lack of trust to impatient buyers.

The answer might be to move your website and pay a little more for hosting, or have your web developer optimise your code to speed it up.

Security and privacy
It is ironic that people add their entire life to Facebook but may be concerned about providing email address.

Using an SSL certificate and having a good privacy policy can help you address concerns about trust and privacy and keep your buyers happy.

Your domain name
The domain name is one of the most important parts of your whole buying experience.

Research by McAfee shows that some domain spaces are not as trusted as others. Some country code domains like .ru and .no might be seen as dodgy by customers from another region. A cheap space like .info (I know, I know) might not be instantly recognisable and create some friction for the buyer. Choose a widely known domain space and a good domain name that reflects your brand.

Get off the page to get your conversion off the hook!

What do you think?