Less is More: Improving Conversions with Subtraction

Improving Conversions with Subtraction
Although it might seem counterintuitive, what you present to your customer is often just as important as what you don’t present. Several studies have shown that removing unnecessary page elements can increase conversions, and is equally important as adding or altering the elements of your presentation. Below we’ll look at several ways that having too many elements on a page can have a deleterious effect on your bottom line, and how a few simple tweaks to your site can help.

Meaningless Page Parts

One of the most common mistakes in landing page design is to use too much information. Content that’s effective at converting works because it does a good job of speaking directly about your products or services. Any page elements that don’t serve the specific purpose of any given page only serve a distraction for the overall goal of that page.

One of the most common meaningless elements used today are stock images. These decorative images tend to lack relevant information, making them an ineffective portion of your presentation. Research by the Nielson Normal Group has shown that stock images are generally ignored by readers, who prefer to focus on relevant product photos or images of people. Similar research from VisualWebOptimizer has found that removing stock images can actually increase conversions by nearly one full percent.

The lesson here is simple. Anytime you add an element to a landing page, ask yourself what information it’s adding about your products or services. And if it’s impossible to get rid of these superfluous elements, do your best to push them into the margins of your page where they’re less likely to distract your readers.

Hide Distractions

Distracting someone from making a purchase is incredibly easy to do if your pages contain too many parts. Some of the more common distractions include newsletter subscription opt-ins, e-mail requests, navigation bars, search bars, and tax fields. Your pages that serve to create conversions are only made weaker when you mix in unrelated objectives with those pages. In short, each page should have a clear and singular purpose.

If you want to identify the elements which distract users the most, look at the analytics for the pages in question. If there are elements on a page that have virtually no clicks, they should be removed or reduced in prominence. All of this data is available through Google Analytics in-page data, or alternative tools like Crazy Egg.

Don’t’ be afraid to creating empty space on your pages, because you’re better off with white space than content that distracts your reader. More white space has been proven to increase conversions because it allows your reader to focus on the important and relevant elements of a page. This includes reducing excess wording in your copy.

More Elements to Remove

The abandonment rate for shopping carts on most sites hovers around 70%, making it one of the most important places to work on for improving conversions. Streamlining your shopping cart on your landing pages, especially for pages driven by PPC traffic, can provide an incredible boost for your bottom line.

One way to streamline your cart is to remove the discount code box. These boxes encourage people to avoid making a purchase until they have a coupon in order to get the best possible deal. If you do have to keep your coupon code box, consider adding it as a link, placing it in a less than obvious place, or only have it appear to people who were referred by a specific URL.

You might also consider removing manufacturer ID numbers from your product pages, because these numbers can encourage your readers to copy the ID code and search around the Internet for better offers. Even if your customers find that other retailers are offering the same deal as you, you’ve managed to send your leads and their attention to another site.

The Big Picture

Improving conversions isn’t always a matter of adding new quality content, but also removing content that fails to provide useful data or otherwise distracts your leads. Review the analytics data for your pages and figure out where the most poorly performing page elements are. If you remove or marginalize those elements, you may really find that less is more when it comes to creating content that converts.

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