Do you get a lot of traffic to your website that doesn’t convert into sales/subscriptions?
Why are these people not spending money on your site?
To answer these questions, you need to look at how potential customers are engaging with your website. Once you know this, you can make changes accordingly.
This is called conversion rate optimization.
What is a Conversion Rate?
To start off, let’s make sure we are all on the same page. A conversion rate is measured as a percentage of the total number of visitors who actually commit to whatever your site is aimed at.
We’ll keep the numbers simple for this example.
If your online shoe store has 100 visitors in a month and 2 of those buy a pair of shoes, you have a conversion rate of 2%. If your online newspaper has 1000 visitors a month and 300 of those subscribe to your newspaper, you have a conversion rate of 30%.
Bear in mind that these are just examples, if you had a conversion rate of 30% you’d be doing pretty damn well (to put it lightly) and certainly wouldn’t need any help optimizing your site.
Across all industries, the average landing page conversion rate is roughly 2.4%.
Using this basic math, check what the rate of conversion is for your website.
How Can I Get More Conversions?
Now you know how many visitors to your site are actually converting into customers, you have two options to ultimately increase your profits.
Let’s go back to our shoe store analogy to explain them.
i. Increase the traffic to your site.
Your site originally had 100 visitors per month, 2 of whom bought shoes. If you increased this to 200 visitors, we could predict that roughly 4 of them would buy shoes. You have doubled your money this month, but your conversion rate is still 2%. That means there are 196 potential customers who visited your site, but didn’t purchase anything.
ii. Increase your conversion rate.
With this option, alterations that you make to your website can influence more of those who visit your site to convert. So now, if you still have 100 visitors a month, perhaps 6 of them will buy shoes. Your conversion rate is now 6%. Once your site is optimized, you can focus on increasing traffic to it.
The second option is clearly the better long-term plan.
Steps for Conversion Rate Optimization for a WordPress site.
1. Understand Your Goals.
Each page of a website should have a different goal and you should know what these are.
Some goals are easy to figure out. For instance, a ‘Shop’ page has the goal of selling a product, an ‘about us’ page informs the reader about the company and their operations, a ‘Support’ page often provides a way for customers to ask for help or answers FAQs.
Knowing the goal of each page is crucial to being able to optimize how visitors interact with its content.
Important: Don’t layer one page with multiple goals. This will become overcrowded, the attention of the user won’t be focused on the thing they are looking for, and they are less likely to continue engaging with your website.
Baby steps: To start out, choose a single page to optimize. For example, if your website offers online Spanish courses and you offer free 30-min trial classes to new students then this is a great page to optimize. People are more likely to convert if they enjoy the trial class, and they don’t have to commit financially to take you up on this offer.
2. Calculate Your Current Conversion Rate.
Understand what your current conversion rate is in order to see if future changes have a positive or negative effect.
Here’s a video to show you how to check conversion rates using Google Analytics.
3. Find Your Problems.
Before you make adjustments, you need to understand why visitors aren’t making purchases on your site.
You need to direct your visitors on a path through your website in the direction that you want them to go.
What does this mean? Let’s take a look.
Every visitor to your site goes through a funnel. The funnel outlines the minimum number of steps a person needs to take in order to complete an action. Every visitor will start the funnel, but not all will progress through to the very end.
An example could be:
1. Visit your homepage.
2. Click on ‘Shop’.
3. Click on a product.
4. Add to basket.
5. Click on ‘Basket’
It is called ‘funneling’ because at the start of this process there are a lot of people. With each step more and more people will drop out, getting fewer and fewer as we go down the process, until the ones that are left at the end make a purchase.
The fewer the number of steps a person needs to take the better.
In this example, we could add ‘Buy Now’ as step 4 and take the customer straight through to payment. We could also add some special-offer products to the home page, cutting out the need for users to click on ‘Shop’.
Using Google Analytics you can see how people are navigating your website and, most importantly, where people are dropping out.
By analyzing this data you can determine better, more direct, paths to your call to action.
Lovesdata.com has a great step-by-step guide to tracking navigation.
4. Create Your Hypothesis
Once you’ve found a particular problem that you want to solve you need to think of a way that you can improve your website in order to do this.
This could include but is not limited to:
· Ensuring your CTA is visible (making it larger/changing font/color).
· Changing the colour of your homepage (How colour affects mood).
· Changing your funnel steps.
· Changing the position of testimonials, reviews, products, etc.
· Checking if your CTA requires too much scrolling.
· Checking how your information is displayed on mobiles/tablets/desktops.
You need to come up with a few different hypotheses to test.
Example hypothesis: I think that if I make my ‘Buy Now’ button larger, more people will click on it.
5. A/B Testing
Now you’ve got a few hypotheses you’re going to need a tool to test the alternatives to see which is best. We like to use Google Optimize.
To do this you need to serve different versions of your page to different users. You’ll use the original version and a couple of modified versions.
Over a set amount of time, you will be able to see how each version of the page is performing in respect to conversions. We recommend running a test for one to two weeks (though sites with lower traffic should run tests for longer periods).
The one which has the most conversions will now become your actual page.
Important: When testing ensure that you only change one thing at a time, so that you can test this without influences from other variations. You also don’t want to alter your marketing strategy at this time, as this may compromise your results.
Baby steps: Don’t make too many changes too quickly. You want to make sure that the alterations you make are having a positive impact overall. For example, the installation of a ‘Buy Now’ button might increase your conversion rate, but it might make people spend less overall as these customers have got what they wanted quickly and can now leave.
Once you have chosen which version to use you can make this your final choice.
Now, you can start another test with a new hypothesis, comparing just the latest version and some new variations.
Conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process that will need constant monitoring and updating.
When someone performs an action on your site that you wanted them to do, this is called a conversion.
To encourage more of the visitors to your website to convert, you need to first find out why they aren’t already completing your call to action.
Once this is established, you can formulate ideas on how to improve the way people interact with your site and test these.
Finally, you keep repeating the analysis and testing process in order to optimize your website as much as possible.