Consultation Example

Sheldon P.
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I’m asked fairly regularly for advice about conversion, marketing and SEO. I had to respond to a referral recently that led to an interesting case study.

This particular site was having a problem in that they were getting a lot of traffic, but no conversions. The following correspondence was my response after doing a preliminary review of their site. All of the client information has been changed to keep the identity confidential.

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Hello Gentlemen,

I hope this email finds you well. John, as promised, I'm jotting down my notes from our conversation earlier today. Sorry if they are a little scattered.

From what I understand, the Company site is getting a lot of hits, but not many conversions.

The first thing we would want to do is identify where / when people are dropping from the site, then try to identify why this is happening so that we can come up with a solution.

To figure this out, the first, and easiest, thing to do is to properly set up Google Analytics. From what I can tell, glancing quickly at the site's code, this has not yet been done. This is a simple step, just register the site with Google Analytics (https://www.google.ca/analytics/). When you do, they will give you a snippet of code to put on each page of the site. If you do a quick search on Google for "adding google analytics to wordpress", you will find tons of resources.

Google Analytics will then gather statistics on visitors to your site and show you where the traffic is coming in and dropping off. You can also get some of this information directly from your server. Most cPanel installations will have AWStats installed. Check if this is the case for you.

What you want to see is if people are even making it to your conversion page. If it seems like the landing page is getting a lot of hits but the conversion page is not getting any, then we know that people are not clicking on the link.

Next, we may want to see where people are actually clicking on your site. We can use something called a heat map. There are plugins for WordPress already. You can Google "wordpress heatmap plugin" and find one that you like. What's neat about these plugins is that they are supposed to give you a sense of where people are interacting with your site. Ideally, they should be interested in your call-to-action linking back to your conversion page. If this does not turn out to be the case, we need to have a stronger call-to-action.

Take a closer look at your actual site, I think I have already been able to identify some serious barriers for someone interested in purchasing. For one thing, the main call-to-action button on the first slider of the page, does not stand out. It is black, and what's worse, it disappears after the first slide. Even if I do manage to click on the button, it leads me to a page where the item is out of stock / no longer available.

As I move down the page, there is no obvious button for me to click in order to purchase immediately. You list a lot of selling points, but these selling points should be followed by an immediate call-to-action that clearly stands out from the text, graphics and background. This way, if the site visitor is interested then and there, they can have something to click right away.

Instead, you're making the user work to find the "shop" button at the top menu. This button in no way stands out and is not obvious. I wouldn't be surprised if people come away from the site thinking that the product is not yet available.

Once on the "shop" page, things become clearer and the process is more straight-forward. The one critique I would have is more of an aesthetic comment about the checkout form itself. Without the borders around the form fields, everything just kind of looks dumped onto the page. This is a small detail, but if the task of making a payment seems unstructured and disorganized to the user, this might turn them off or make the task seem like more work than it actually is.

Action Nouvelle Vie is a site that we put together for a client last year. I particularly like this site because of the checkout system that Vincent put together. Their call-to-action on the homepage is not particularly strong since their end-purpose is a little different from a retail site, however, I invite you to check out their site and click on the "Donnez" square on the right. Walk through the process to get a sense of what I mean by call-to-action buttons and clarity for the form: https://actionnouvellevie.com/

John, you had also asked about SEO and I gave you my thoughts. Essentially, my philosophy regarding SEO is that it's not a sustainable model, long-term. The whole point of a search engine is that people want to be able to quickly find what they are looking for. Companies offering more traditional SEO services are usually trying to do things that trick the search engines into ranking their clients' sites better. As you can imagine, Google is not fond of these practices. In fact, it damages their business model because companies like Google have an interest in making sure their clients are happy with their product: ie that people using their services are finding real results. As a result, Google spends billions on making sure their algorithms continually weed out and penalize these unfair tricks.

What I prefer instead is to make sure we apply some best-practices when it comes to web development. We make sure that our code is clean. If we're using third-party tools, it's important to keep them up-to-date. We want to run on servers that are local to the region you are serving so that pages load quickly, etc. Google tends to reward good behavior by ranking sites with good practices better. In fact, their one of their latest move was to lower the rankings of sites that are not mobile friendly.

We've found that our clients that rank best, do so because they create real offline interest in their product. Some of our clients hold events, have radio and tv ads, or get their customers to go back to their site through regular newsletters and blog posts. One of our most successful clients gets most of their traffic from their social media accounts because they regularly and organically engage with their target community.

In the end, SEO is important in the form of following best-practices and not trying to trick the systems. Site optimization is also only part of a larger marketing effort.

Also, sorry, I know that you're looking for a price but I'm not sure where to help you out. As I mentioned over the phone, we're not a WordPress house. Some of the suggestions I listed above are items that you may be able to take on yourself. If you're interested in a more custom solution, and are willing to switch out of WordPress to something else, we can certainly help you there. If you're sticking to WordPress, I can ask Vincent, my business partner, for his advice. Though we, as a company, don't work with WordPress projects, Vincent and a few members of my team have worked with WordPress in the past and might be able to help out. If you read my recommendations, you can also tell me which areas you feel you would need a hand in and that will give me an idea of how to proceed.

I know it's a lot of information to take in. Feel free to pick my brain.

Sheldon.

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In the end, they decided to abandon WordPress and switch over to the Drive Framework and we are current working together to launch their new site.