As a web entrepreneur and a web designer with over a thousand happy web clients I know how profitable a well-designed, well-planned website can be. That’s why I spend a lot of my time encouraging, pleading and coercing people to think about their website and web results. When you want to get more results from your website you have to decide what you should focus on first:
- More website traffic, or;
- Converting more of your existing web visitors.
Both options are valid. Both can bring you more revenue. If you have a brand new website then building traffic HAS to come first; but if you’re getting an OK level of visitors (and that number varies for everyone) then you need to think about what happens once they arrive at your site. There’s no point pushing for more traffic if they’re bleeding out the other end without getting the result you need. First benchmark your conversion rate against your industry. A conversion rate between 1% and 10% of your total traffic is pretty normal, depending on your industry. So how do you fare? It needs some work, right? That brings me to what we call in the biz as ‘conversion rate optimisation’ or CRO.
What is conversion rate optimisation and how does it affect web results?
It’s increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers, or simply getting more web visitors to carry out a desired action on your website. That might be subscribing to your newsletter, or downloading an eBook (awesome idea for getting those email details), or filling out an enquiry form. Here’s the sorts of things that can influence the conversion rate of your website:
- Website loading speed
- Overall website design
- Website navigation
- The overall message being communicated
- Quality of your graphics
- Ease of getting to your goal page (the conversion)
- The simplicity of your shopping cart process
- …and lots more.
Some people think that improving conversions rates is all about going hell for leather changing every technical and graphical element on your site and then sitting back expectantly looking at your conversion rate for a day and then going madly hell for leather again. It’s not. Any CRO professional will tell you the TRUE goal is to work out HOW your customers think about their problems and the solution you are offering.
Is your message/solution matching their needs?
That’s how you move customers from their first discovery of your brand, through their ‘testing and consideration’ stage right through to that ultimate conversion: a sale! And that’s why you need some big picture thinking. Running blindly into time-consuming and/or expensive changes could be counter-productive. So rather than focus on the colour of your ‘buy now’ button, perhaps you need to consider the true source of your low conversion rates. Is it your headlines? What if the content of your blog is boring? Maybe visitors are taking a dislike to you because of a dodgy photo, who knows?! So, how do you find out? You ask. You survey. You fact find. You DON’T madly change elements of your website; not without that big picture understanding. That could mean carrying out an online survey via your website, or setting up a survey via SurveyMonkey to ask your mailing list what they thought of their website experience; it might even mean having a face-to-face focus group where you supply the chips and dips and an open mind! Considering how much money you COULD be making from your website, it’s a no brainer. Do it. Put in the work now and you will reap the rewards, faster than you might imagine. Now, once you think you’ve cracked the big picture problems affecting your site, THAT’s when you can look at the elements of your site. And when it comes to that, there are some right ways and there’s some wrong ways, but I’ll save that for another day. Oh, alright, I can hear you groaning from here. I don’t want to leave you high and dry. If you want a really practical ‘nuts & bolts’ how-to guide to getting more conversions out of your website I’ve created the Ultimate Website Conversion Checklist which can improve the results of any website. Just make sure you don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees! Until next time my ABN’ers. Bianca