Thursday 14 October 2010 | 11:14
IN SUMMARY: It’s not what you say but how you say it. Answering simple questions can reduce your bounce rate and increase conversions. Test putting bullet point answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on relevant pages of your website.
Let’s see how we can make our landing pages more relevant, reduce our bounce rate and increase conversions with just a couple of minutes work.
It is very common for us to visit websites which have paragraphs of text which rarely answer our most basic questions. Those questions are often answered on separate FAQ pages despite representing what a website owner is most frequently asked or expects to be asked by a prospective client.
So, why hide the answers?
Let’s look at an example:
Imagine I bake cakes for all occasions and I sell them online. Here is an example of my homepage with an introduction to who we are:
“We in the Cassells Family have been baking cakes for more than 25 years & at this stage we’ve gotten pretty good at it. Frederick Cassells started his first bakery in Bath back in 1985 and we haven’t looked back since.
Today we bake cakes for every and all occasions including Birthdays, Weddings, Christmas & many Corporate Events. In 2006, we moved our business online so that we could bring our delicious cakes to people throughout the UK. We have sold more than 1,000 cakes since then & our bakers have been doing all they can to meet your demands and your desires.
We hope that you enjoy our site and that we can be of service to you whatever your occasion. We offer a Freshness Guarantee on all of our cakes!”
The above is a pretty typical example of what we can expect to find upon landing on many websites. Lots of text but little substance. A user who has questions is unlikely to find the answers on that landing page. It’s reasonable to assume that many users are in a hurry to order a cake at the last minute and if they don’t find the answers to their questions quickly they probably won’t stick around.
Quick bullet point answers to FAQs on all relevant pages can help to reduce bounce rates and encourage visitors to become customers. It also helps to keep users in the conversion funnel instead of diverting them to pages from which they may just leave the site – like a separate FAQ page.
Let’s look at some of the typical FAQs I could expect as an online cake shop:
What occasions do you have cakes for?
Will my cakes still be fresh on delivery?
Do you deliver next day?
Do you do custom messages on cakes?
What are your shipping options?
Are your prices competitive?
These are just some of the more obvious questions that we could be answering. Now let us test a change to our homepage so that we address some of these issues:
What have I done?
While I still have an introduction, it’s much shorter and no less informative but it focuses my users on what I want them to do - how to order a cake.
By using big bullet points to summarise the answers to the most common questions, I have made my landing page about the user and why they should buy their cakes here.
I have made it easier for users to see why they should stay on my site and how to continue to the next step of my conversion funnel. And they can easily read it in 8 seconds or less.
So, what now?
Look through your site and see where you have too much text that your users probably won’t read. Test summarising the main points into concise bullet points.
Remind people of the answers to their most frequently asked questions the whole way through the conversion process.
Posted by Shane Cassells, Google Analytics team