If you run a website, you’ve doubtlessly taken some time to think about ways that you might be able to make a little more money from it. One of the first methods you may turn to when trying to increase revenue is putting money behind a more aggressive marketing effort, but we think there are several tricks that you should consider before going heavy on the marketing budget. With a few technical tweaks and improvements to the user interface, you may be able to realize a surprisingly large return to show for your efforts. Here are four ways you can increase your website revenue without adding additional marketing dollars.
Improving the speed of a website is an all-around winner in a number of ways. Page load times are a critical ranking factor that search engines such as Google use to determine what websites appear first on results pages.
Why does Google do this? The search giant knows something important: for every second that a website fails to load, a certain percentage of its visitors will abandon it and look elsewhere. In this age of high-speed Internet connections, users have very little patience for sites that are sluggish, and Google works hard to avoid directing them to sites that are just going to leave them feeling disappointed.
This begs an obvious question: how do you improve the speed of your website? There are a number of tricks that are relatively easy to implement. Offloading the storage of images and videos onto a content delivery network (CDN) can take away the burden that your own server experiences while trying to push hundreds of elements to multiple users at the same time. If you’re using a popular website framework, such as WordPress, Drupal or Magento, you may want to consider removing unnecessary plug-ins. Each of these components takes time to load and execute, and if that action is repeated over thousands of users, it can cause a server to get bogged down.
2. Improve the Checkout Process
User interface issues are always a source of trouble when you hope to increase your website revenue, as visitors tend to want to be able to navigate through a site and find ideas and products quickly. This issue, however, is a bigger problem when visitors are having trouble getting through the checkout process. Once visitors commit to their purchases, their behaviours will change significantly. At that point, the visitor’s primary goal is to obtain a certain level of satisfaction, and anything that impedes that happy feeling is likely to upset them. An upset shopper is an abandoned cart just waiting to happen.
Take the time to go through the checkout process on your own website and learn how a visitor might feel about it. Any process that can be automated or skipped should be. Tear down any unnecessary walls of text, and make sure that all functional elements, such as forms and buttons, are easy to locate on the page and use.
3. Social Media as Social Proof
There’s a reason that lots of website operators have fallen in love with social media. Yes, there’s a dumbed-down version of social media that’s little more than a mainlined version of an email blast, but there are other, more subtle approaches that can help you increase your website revenue. With the ascent of websites like Instagram, it’s easier than ever to encourage people who love your products to tell others about them. More importantly, you can also use hashtags to track those campaigns, and then you can integrate users’ posts right on your website! Visitors can see what real-life users have to say about your website and its value.
This type of social proof is a great way to encourage people to follow through on planned purchases. Human beings want what others have, and the simple depiction of people enjoying a product can create a competitive desire that drives a sale. Likewise, people prefer to feel like members of a group that is “in the know,” and being able to see other people’s opinions about a site goes a long way toward fostering a sense of community in a short time.
4. Focus on Visitors Who Might Convert
The reality is that not everyone who visits your website is going to become a customer, and that’s alright. Some people are just window shopping, and other may have accidentally ended up in the wrong place. A lot of website owners, however, worry needlessly about the number of visitors who don’t make a purchase, but you shouldn’t let that get to you.
The biggest thing you, as a website owner, want to be able to do is readily identify who the everyday user of your site is. This is important for two reasons. First, you of course want to know who might be bringing revenue to you. Second, if they’re not a source of revenue, then you need to know that fact in order to make a tack in a different direction. By taking a more sensible approach to who you cater to with your website, you can do a better job of tailoring it to their needs.
How do you do this? Start with the numbers. Google Analytics is a great package that you can quickly install in order to see who is visiting your site and how they’re going about using it. With this information in hand, you can quickly make adjustments that allow you to better convey your message to users and deliver greater value in the process.
Jumping straight into a marketing campaign can feel like the easiest way to increase your website revenue, but it’s not always the wisest choice. If all you do is bring users to a site that’s slow to load and has a cumbersome checkout process, it’s a fair bet that your marketing dollar will go to waste. Typically, website owners should start with the basics. With a few technical improvements, along with an increased focus on the customer and the process, you may be able to increase the amount of cash that flows from your site with less effort.