It is vitally important for etailers to constantly monitor their websites, looking for ways to improve the user experience, with the aim of increasing conversion rates.

With this in mind, the good folks at Future Now have just released a white paper (registration required) with some useful optimisation tips for website owners.

The paper is well worth a read – here is a selection:

  • Calls to action
    Customers should be left with no room for doubt over what steps they need to take to complete the purchase.

    The paper recommends that calls to action should ‘combine an imperative verb and an implied benefit’, e.g. see how you can double your income in one year.

  • Checkouts

    Future Now advises that retailers should cast a critical eye over their checkout processes. We’ve written about this before, but key points include making the process as short as possible, providing reassurances on security, and enclosing the checkout.
  • Keep testing
    This is an ongoing process, and Future Now recommends the use of Google Website Optimizer for A/B and Multivariate testing. It’s a no brainer.
  • Web forms

    It’s important to strike the right balance between getting useful information for marketing purposes, and making the process so long that customers will become frustrated.

    The paper also cautions against the use of drop-down menus, as these are ‘evil‘.

  • Headlines

    Headlines should be clear, and written in ways that all users will be able to understand.

Related stories:

Website optimisation – less can be more
The beauty of site optimisation

Related research:

Online Retail 2007: Checkout Special