When you’re looking at your business’ website statistics, the first thing you’re probably interested in is the amount of traffic you’re getting. How many hits? How many repeat visitors? How many minutes are they spending on the site? You check these stats because you want to know what’s successful and what needs work.
Your site’s conversion rate is even more important than the number of hits it receives. “Conversion rate” refers to the percentage of visitors who take some sort of action while visiting your site (for example, ordering a product, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a program). Your website could receive a million page views, but if no visitors purchase your product, there’s something wrong.
“Conversion optimization” or “conversion rate optimization” (CRO) is the process of improving the ratio of visitors who take some sort of action on your site to those that merely view it. Your goal is to “convert” viewers into participants.
How can you find out your site’s current conversion rate? Pull up your stats and divide your total number of conversions by the number of site visitors. If your site has had 1000 visitors, and 10 of those visitors have taken the sort of action you want them to, then your conversion rate is 1%.
How do I improve my conversion rate?
So, here’s the question of the hour: How do I improve my conversion rate? It’s not a simple answer because the solution differs depending on all kinds of factors, such as the source of your traffic, your target viewer demographic, the action you are trying to get them to take – but here are a few basic areas to examine:
1 – Call to action. Is the next step visible and quickly understandable to the viewer?
2 – Proof. Do your customers have a reason to trust you? Sure, you’re telling them it will benefit them to make that purchase, but they’ll be more likely to bite if you include testimonials from previous customers.
3 – Clarity. Can your users quickly find what they’re looking for? Is it intuitive? Study elements of other web pages to see where they usually occur. A “Log In/Sign Up” button is usually located in the upper right corner of the page. The business’ contact information should be at the bottom of every page. How many clicks does it take for the user to reach their goal?
4 – Aesthetics. This should be obvious, but too often it’s the reason a potential client leaves the site before doing anything. They google what they’re looking for; a link to your site is the first result; they click it, and there’s something wrong. It doesn’t even have to be a glaring problem, like red text on a red background. Elements like the colors you use, the placement of the CTA and other important aspects of the page can affect how that page converts.
It could be something as minor as a header bar someone coded incorrectly, which is now too short for the content, so a few words are off. That’s all it takes to destroy someone’s trust and quickly go back to the search to check out your competitor. If your site doesn’t look clean and competent, you won’t get conversion results regardless of how high your search engine rankings are.
This is just an introduction to conversion rate optimization: what it is, why your business needs it, and a few things the process involves. The next step is to dive a little deeper into the process: You can learn from a tutorial, download a conversion optimization program to give you relevant statistics, or even find a specialist to provide guidance for your individual case! The journey will be different for everyone, so get creative and enjoy it!
Nick Rojas applies his entrepreneurial experience as a business consultant for startups. He marries hands on expertise with a passion for marketing, sales, and financial growth strategies to help business owners achieve new heights. Follow Nick on twitter @nickarojas