Improving your conversion rate is the holy grail of Internet marketing.
By hiking up that conversion rate, you can get more results with the same traffic. Of course you should never stop trying to get more traffic and improving your rankings — but by focusing on your conversion rates, you can exponentially improve your results almost overnight.
Getting traffic takes time, especially if your main source of visitors is SEO. Setting up new campaigns, making changes to existing ones and testing new back-link sources can take days, weeks, if not months! If you need results quicker than that, then it’s time to learn about conversion rate marketing.
Conversion Rates Explained
The most basic definition of a conversion rate is the percentage of your total visitors that took a desired action.
- You have a total of 100 visitors come to your site a day.
- You rack up five sales that day.
- Your conversion rate is 5 percent.
Conversion rates are vital because it’s measuring the efficiency of your site. The better your site is at converting raw visitors into paying customers or whatever other outcome you desire, the higher your conversion will be.
Like compounding interest, it’s magical to watch conversion rate in action.
By analyzing your site, running tests and making improvements, those same 100 visitors might yield 10 sales a day. You’ve doubled your income without increasing traffic and prepared your site to better reap the rewards of your traffic-building endeavors.
Not only will conversion rate improvements help you get more results from the traffic you have now, they can also get you higher rankings.
Google and the other search engines rank sites on hundreds of factors, and one of those is conversion rates. The better your site converts searchers into users who like your content, the higher the search engines will rank you.
Tied into this ranking factor is your site’s bounce rate, which is the percentage of users who click through the search engine results to your site but don’t do anything else or click the back button. The higher your bounce rate, the more your site is dinged.
Search engines make money by getting users to search the Internet through them. The paid ads are the revenue source, but people will stop using a search engine if it provides sub-par organic search results. Therefore, it’s imperative that they are serving up quality results that their users want to engage with.
Sites that have a high conversion rate from the search engine results page as well as a low bounce rate are ideal because they provide the best results for all involved.
Increase your conversion rates and you’ll increase your rankings as well as your results.
Conversion Rate Factors
Now that you understand the importance of conversion rates, it’s time to figure out what can improve them.
If you’re getting people to your site just fine but no one is doing what you want them to do, then you have some conversion rate issues. Assuming that there are no technical issues and you’re showing up in the rankings, it’s time to look at the different factors that might be turning people off when they hit your site.
Here’s a couple of the most common conversion rate killers:
How your site looks plays a huge role in whether or not people stick around to convert. An ugly, unprofessional or confusing site will put a bullet in your conversions.
Is your site committing any of these design sins?
- White/light font on a dark background: This literally hurts the human eye and makes it uncomfortable to read.
- Small font: It might seem fine to you, but the bigger the font (within reason), the better.
- Poor navigation: If your site doesn’t let users move around easily and explore the content, they are never going to convert.
Beyond the design of your site, content is the most likely culprit if you have a poor conversion rate.
Examining your post/page titles, headlines, sub headlines and copy could yield some insight as to why people aren’t converting. Some of the most common content mistakes are:
- Large blocks of text: Most people don’t actually read web copy, they scan it. If they look at your site and see giant blocks of text, they will most likely not bother to continue and click away.
- Misleading titles: If you make grandiose claims with your headlines but don’t deliver in the content, don’t expect people to convert and become customers. This includes your meta data, such as your page description and title.
- No calls to action: Sometimes you’re so wrapped up in the content you created that you forget your goals aren’t apparent to your visitors. You have to plainly and very clearly tell people what you want them to do. Make big buttons, use direct language and guide people exactly where you want them to go.
Diagnosing Conversion Rate Problems
Although you might have narrowed down the probable causes of your conversion issues, unless you want to take shots in the dark you need a methodical process to find, test and fix errors.
These simple methods will help you find potential issues that could be leading to conversion issues.
- Google Analytics: By looking at your analytics reports, it’s easy to see where people are dropping off of your site. Look at your individual pages’ bounce rates, and focus on those with the highest. If you have goals set up, see what pages have lower conversion rates than others.
- Heat Maps: By using heat map click-tracking programs like Crazy Egg, you can see exactly where visitors are clicking on your site. This will let you see where you are wasting valuable real estate, whether you have poor calls to action and other issues that are killing your conversions.
- Over the Shoulder: Have someone you trust to be impartial and go through your site. It’s low tech, but it works! Have them give you feedback on what they did, why they did it and why they didn’t do what you wanted them to.
It’s time to put your scientist hat on — if scientists wore hats, that is. Slip on your metaphorical lab coat and test out the potential sources for your conversion rate woes.
It is best to tackle one element at a time and test your changes against each other. This is commonly referred to as an A/B test. Of course you can test as many factors as you please at the same time but it will be much harder to tell which one affected any changes you might see.
You can test two versions of the same page at the same time using a programs like Google Analytics Content Experiments. Or, if your traffic is steady enough, you can make your changes and wait to see how the new data looks.
Just because you have fixed the biggest issues plaguing your site, it doesn’t mean you should stop trying to improve. Take the better-performing elements and test them against new ideas. Continue testing other elements as well and keep improving your site one percentage point at a time.
Plugging Leaks and Making More Money
When you understand what factors affect your conversion rate, how to hunt them down and how to fix them, you are effectively plugging leaks in your Internet marketing boat.
You will stop losing valuable traffic that you have spent so much time, resources and money generating. Instead, that traffic will convert and fuel your site’s monetization even more, all while also helping improve your overall rankings and SEO.
Traffic is important but is wasted on a site with poor conversion rates. Make sure your house is in order and get the most out of what you have coming in.
How have you improved your conversion rates? What were some of your biggest surprises when you checked your site? Let us know in the comments!