This is a video of Conversion Rate Optimisation tips that I shot for the University of Hertford, with a particular focus on how they can increase the new student applications from their website.
Are you making these mistakes on your website?
Here is the transcript of the video…
Hello David, I’m just at the University of Hertford website doing a conversion analysis for you. First thing I notice when I come to the website, I like how the website is set out. You’ve got a bit of space between some of the different modules you’ve got here, which is good. It’s easy to read the text here and things are settled quite well down there.
One thing that I think is going to be causing an issue with the conversions is the rotating image, the image slider is taking up a big portion of the top of the page and this section of the page – the above the fold section – is the section where it gets the most views from people. It’s the section where people are going to see as soon as they enter the website and in this section you have to grab people’s attention and give them a reason to keep reading. Otherwise they’re going to hit the back button if they can’t find what they’re looking for quick enough. So, generally these rotating images have a negative effect on conversion. So, something you can do to test what’s having an effect here or not, is just using one fixed image and test that against the slider. I think also the students coming here or your visitors in general are going to be searching for something if they come to the home page. They may not always go to the home page but they’re quite often going to be searching for something because you offer a range of courses and other services so making a prominent feature of the search box I think is going to be advantageous to you. You’ve got the search box up here but there’s no copy, no guidance as to what it’s for. You don’t mention don’t hear find a course, which is good. I would guess that the students coming here are going to use that box quite a bit and you may find that by putting that in a prominent position up here and having a big box for it will increase your conversions through to the course page.
I did have a look at some of the other universities to see what they are doing. Open University – even though their website isn’t all that from their homepage, from this page which is where I was directed after Google search – they do have a request a prospectus and in order to do that you have to fill out a lot of details on the form. What they’re asking people to do on the form is too much to get good conversions for that. It could be a multistep form but something similar to that on your website would do well. If the University can build a mailing list of students and maybe you do that on individual list of courses but asking people for an email address for a prospectus that may be an overview of all the courses, that may be something that works. You can get them onto a mailing list and then you will have high conversions because you will be front of mind of students when they come to choose their university or apply for University. They are probably going to be doing a lot of research into your university quite a while before they actually come to apply so that’s something that could be investigated and you could test. I think that the University would get some good conversion increases by doing something like that.
Another area you wanted me to look at was the Business Services. So if I go back to the homepage, actually let’s just go to the Open University. There’s another page that I wanted to quickly show you. It’s their actual homepage which isn’t the page they direct people to from the Internet but down here they have a big find a course box. Now, I don’t think yours need to be this big but if this was up higher, it would be an interesting test to run and I think that you would find that you would get a better click through percentage of people taking them to the individual courses and then you have to convert it from there but that’s a different topic really. I can look into that if you would like me to.
So let’s go to the homepage. Business Services is quite prominent up here. I don’t know if the menu, because it’s in front of the image, to me it’s causing some issues.
Maybe it’s just me, maybe it isn’t causing the issue with conversion but that is something that can be tested against a different one without the image behind it.
So let’s go through the business services. Okay. That’s quite good. I’m not sure about the box here, the image here but I’ve said about images on the homepage, so that’s something that can be tested. But you have some boxes here which call to the businesses and maybe you can change some of the copy.
But “Recruit Our Students”, if a business is coming here to do that that does exactly what it says on the tin; so I think that’s good. “Develop Your People”, that’s pretty good. Courses designed to help you gain skills…okay. That’s quite good. Right, I did want to go to the market research one so let’s go to it. When I come through to the Market Research Service, which is the other card that you gave me, I think you have case studies here. Now case studies work really well on websites. People like case studies and if you can incorporate a case study in the page rather than clicking through to a case study, I think you will have better results.
Also, you have down here a testimonial, having more of these around on the page is good. People like the social proof. They like to see you’ve been able to get results for other people before they engage you; so that is good. You have your call to action here, which is your phone number but you also have three options.
Generally if you give people too many choices they don’t make any so if you decide which one you are getting the most – maybe just give two options and find out between completing the enquiry form and is sending us an email – your analysis will tell you which one of them you’re getting the most responses from, so I would focus on that. I would make the phone number on the more prominent and make a call to action saying something like “Call our Market Research team today to find out how we can help you.” Similar to what you have down here but I’d make it more prominent, have it as a header and I think that will help you get more calls.
You can test also giving people a guide to how you can help them and asking for their email address for that guide. That way it’s a lot easier to sell to people if you can build a relationship with them by getting them onto a mailing list and gradually develop trust and the relationship with them. You can then demonstrate your skills and how your services can help people. It’s very difficult to do that in a single webpage because people have a lot of different questions they need answered. On the whole though, this one’s not too bad. I don’t like the header up here; this image where the [viewer] kind of looks into the room. I find that quite distracting so that could be tested against something else.
There was something else I noticed on here. No. There was an issue – now I don’t know where it is – with one of your boxes opening up. Maybe it’s on the other page. Yes. See, these boxes are not formatted correctly. They are hidden behind the other box there on the left-hand side of the page. I noticed that on several of them that there was something similar. So that’s something that’s probably just ordering on the page that can be sorted out fairly easy but that’s going to be causing a problem because people can’t actually read what is going on here. So that is something that you need to sort out.
Apart from that, hopefully you found it useful. I’ve given you some ideas of things you can test and look into changing on the website to increase your conversions. If you want me to get into anything deeper then please get in touch and I will do my best to help you. Thank you very much.