A WordPress Menu Trick that may help your Conversions

Objectives Before Looks

Lately I've been trying to convince you that if you're designing a WordPress site, you should spend your energy focused on your site's objective and it's ability to drive users to specific actions. This is as opposed to focusing on how you want your site to look. After all, there are some plain jane sites that people visit over and over again that aren't pretty.

wikipediaLowering Bounce Rates

I tell you all this because I've been doing some serious thinking about my site here and will soon begin a “makeover.”  Part of my goal will be to lower the bounce rate.

A bounce rate is the rate that someone lands on a page and then leaves it once they're done with the page. Now I know some very successful sites with high bounce rates, but that's because they're resource sites. You go there when you need something and then you leave.

But I'd love for you to hang around a bit. After all, I think there are more than a few articles you might like.

But to help lower bounce rates, you have to think what makes your users click on that next link.

Let's think about our menus

The plugin I want to tell you about today is one that helps your menus.

Menus? Yes, it's not the only links that a person might click on, but they're some of the most visible links that could be clicked on. And that might be a place you want to spend a second on to help make them inviting.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not just advocating for the use of a mega-menu – the craze that started a year or two ago when suddenly everyone had to have those fancy menus that took over your screen.

whitehousenavigationNo, I want to talk about something else.

Check out how Starbucks invites you to click on their menu items.

starbucksNavDo you see what they've done? They've invited me to click by giving me a few more words. More words than just their menu text.

That's the thing I'm thinking about, in terms of conversion. Because it's more inviting. It's extra articulate. And it even allows you to extend what the menu means – which expands the number of people that may be interested to click there.

A WordPress Menu Trick that does it

The WordPress trick is using menu descriptions. It's likely something you've not played with if you're new to WordPress because it's kind of hidden by default.

Now normally I would write up a tutorial for you, step by step, on how to get your menu descriptions to show up. But my friends at wpbeginner have already done that for you.

And it feels wrong to replicate all that content here, so I'm going to point you over there for the tutorial.

Instead, what I want to do is give you three tips on how to use that text to drive greater conversions.

Three Ways to Use Menu Descriptions for Better Conversion

  1. If your menus are noun based, make sure your descriptions use verbs to invite the click. You've seen menu items that say “Services” a million times. But if you have text under it that says, “Drop your bill by 30%” you might suddenly have people clicking on your menu item.
  2. If your menus describe a function, make sure your descriptions highlight the benefits of the click. We've all seen “Contact Us” on a menu item. But if the text under it said “Find our next Free Appointment” you might feel more compelled to click.
  3. If your menus are informational, make sure there's a direct call to action. We've seen the “products” tab on sites. There has to be a reason to want to click on that menu item. So create a clear call to action, like “Get 10% off” if you're running a promotion. Promotions work in menu descriptions just like they do as sidebar banners.

It's all about Conversion

I don't know how working on your menu will impact your conversion rate, and/or your bounce rate. I don't know what it will do for me. But I'm looking into it. Because as I use tools like Woopra, Google Analytics and JetPack to dig into what's happening on my site, I think I'm missing some clear optimization opportunities.

Good luck. Let me know if you make some tweaks and see a change!

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.