One of the questions we hear most frequently has to do with traffic. And it might surprise you to know that the people asking it aren’t people who don’t get enough traffic. Instead, it comes from people who have plenty of traffic that just isn’t converting.
Attracting thousands or even millions of people to your website won’t help you if those people don’t convert. Whether you want them to subscribe to your list, schedule an appointment, or make a purchase in your online store, the content on your website must be geared toward getting them to take action.
That’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in.. and for those readers who are still missing the traffic piece, be sure to reach out to us.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
You’re probably familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but you might not know about conversion rate optimization. So let’s talk about it.
Simply stated, conversion rate optimization is a methodical, scientific way to take traffic and turn it into profit. By reviewing and optimizing certain elements of your website, you can convince the people who visit your site to take the action you specify.
In other words, CRO can’t replace SEO, but it can enhance it. You still need to think about SEO, but the time and effort you put into optimizing your site for conversions will pay off in a big way.
The key to CRO is testing and evaluating data. Interestingly, it usually takes longer to optimize a low-traffic site than a high traffic one because it takes longer to get reliable data.
What to Consider before You Optimize
Before you attempt to optimize your site for conversions, you have to crunch the numbers and do some statistical analysis. It’s a good idea to review:
- Data from your site; and
- User behavior
Both of these things can help you make decisions about how to optimize your site. For example, your data can tell you how many visitors your site gets and how often they convert. That number will give you your current conversion rate:
25,000 visitors with 2,500 conversions gives you a 10% conversion rate.
User behavior can help you pinpoint trouble spots. You might notice that people are abandoning your opt-in form or bouncing away from a particular landing page. Whatever their behavior shows you, you can analyze it to come up with a hypothesis to test to improve your CRO.
Review the User Experience
You can’t expect to have good CRO if you don’t take the time to look at your site from a user’s point of view. Here are some things to consider:
- Does your site have plenty of white space? Is the text broken up with images, bullet lists, and other formatting to make it easy to read?
- Is there anything preventing people from accessing your website? Can people with color blindness see it? Do all of your videos include closed captioning?
- When people visit your site, is it easy for them to understand what to do to convert?
- Are your copy, images, and other content all working together to persuade users to convert?
It may be worthwhile to pay for some user testing so you can get a neutral opinion about your site’s functions and features. Another alternative is to conduct a customer survey to help you identify potential areas of improvement.
How to Optimize Your Site
Now let’s run through the basic steps you should follow to optimize your site for conversions. Ultimately, every element of your site should be open to scrutiny. Your design, content, and usability can all have an impact on conversions.
- Dig into your data to calculate your current conversion rate and look for clues as to where your site might be falling short. It’s a good idea to look at bounce rates, abandoned forms and carts, and other metrics to get an idea of where you can improve.
- Conduct user testing, customer surveys, or both.
- Evaluate the results of the testing and/or surveys. You should pay close attention to any words or complaints that crop up more than once as those should be the first things you address.
- Come up with a hypothesis for a single element. If you think your call to action could be more strongly worded, then come up with an alternative to test.
- Run an A/B test to determine which option does a better job of convincing people to convert.
- If your new options wins the day, update your website accordingly. If it doesn’t, it’s time to come up with a new hypothesis to test.
Optimizing your site for conversions is a painstaking process, but a worthwhile one.
The best SEO in the world won’t help you if you can’t convince the people who visit your site to convert. Instead of focusing on keywords, look at your statistics and user experience and let them point the way to a higher conversion rate – and higher profits for your company.