10 Step Guide To Conversion Optimisation

conversionWhether your website is set up for eCommerce, lead generation or is highly content-driven you can’t just expect traffic to come careering in and immediately make purchases, fill in forms and read or download your key content. Implementing Conversion Optimisation techniques can improve your site’s performance and your bottom line, so here are 10 steps to take towards dramatically improving your website conversion rate today.


The first step is the most important. You ask yourself, what do I really want my website to do? Chances are the answer is something along the lines of “increase conversions” or “make money”! Think about what your website visitors need to do to for your website to achieve its goals. They probably need to fill in forms, buy things or obtain information. What you really want to ask is: “How exactly will my website engage my audience in such a way as to lead them towards the kind of conversions I need?” Does your site have the right tools to enable those goals to be met? If you want to drive customers to a physical store do you have a store locator? If you want them to contact you for information then give them a phone number or a contact form.


You may well have several goals. It’s important that you give these goals an order of priority and then focus on the most important. When designing your site, your homepage or your landing page, this goal will help you design your primary call-to-action, or CTA, and it will probably influence any PPC or Social Media campaigns you are running and keywords you are targeting.


If you haven’t already done so, it’s important that you now set up some Web Analytics on your site before you go any further. Use a tool such as Google Analytics and begin measuring as soon as you can. The more data you have before you start conversion optimisation the better. That said, conversion optimisation is a continuous process and can’t really be started too soon, so long as you follow a good methodology. So don’t wait around for weeks or months for your analytics to build. Get started by setting some goals and take the time to become familiar with your chosen tool. It is your best friend and will allow you to get to know both your site, its visitors and their behaviour.


Just as it can be ineffective to have streams of traffic coming to a non-conversion optimised site, it is the same for a well-optimised site with little traffic. The important thing here is to concentrate on getting the right people to your website or landing page. A hundred interested visitors at the right stage in their buying or information-finding process are worth so much more than a million indifferent visitors who just happened to stumble across your website. Whether you choose SEO, PPC or Social Media as a means of driving traffic will depend upon whether you are creating brand awareness, promoting a short-term campaign or pitching your products and services. Whatever your aims, choose your keywords and traffic-driving strategies carefully.


Traffic will have to land somewhere on your website, be it direct to your homepage, via an organic search to a product page or a campaign-specific landing page. Different customers will have different needs and different means of getting to your site. Depending on their mode of transport to the site (e.g. SEO, PPC, Social Media) and depending on if they have used any specific keywords to get there, you should show an appropriate landing page. Don’t just dump them onto your homepage every time and let them find their own way. If I search for “portable hard drive” I expect an organic or PPC link to take me either to a product listing page showing me all portable hard drives or a specific product page about hard drives. Think about what your customer wants, take them somewhere relevant and make it clear what they need to do next to proceed.


To understand how your site engages your customers, you need to place yourself in their situation. This is important for creating that leap from “what do I want my customer to do?” to “what does my customer want to do?”. Create customer personas and back stories for each of your different customer types and think about where they are in the conversion process, are they searching for general information or are they ready to buy. Then be that person and take their journey from beginning to end. Perform a search. Does your ad or organic link show up? What happens when you click on it? Do you go straight to the relevant page? How easy is it to go through the buying or conversion process? This can be hard to do objectively when you are so familiar with your business and your website so ask friends and associates to do it for you and to give you feedback on their experience searching and navigating your site. Alternatively, consider conducting a formal usability test.


So you’ve got the right people to the right pages on your site. Can they quickly and easily find and do what they need to? Online users are an impatient species – and yes, that includes me. They don’t want to think or waste time. They want to find what they’re looking for, do what they came to do and leave. If they can’t achieve their objective quickly and easily they’ll go somewhere else. There’s a great web usability book called “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. It’s one of the most important aspects of conversion, don’t make your customer think, don’t distract them and don’t waste their time. When they finally get to the converting page don’t give them any good reason to leave until they’ve converted. This is particularly pertinent with eCommerce sites. Have you ever noticed that many checkout pages don’t have site navigation bars? As soon as a customer has to think they delay the purchasing decision, giving time for buyer remorse to set in and for the customer to wonder if they really need that new portable hard drive after all. Don’t let this happen.


Consider the power of buttons. If all that your visitors see are text links, how can they easily determine which one they should click on without reading everything? (And remember, we don’t want them to waste time or think). Our brains evolved in a visual world not a textual one. We see images more quickly, clearly and vividly than text so use them when you can.

That said you should not forget the power of words. Label your buttons clearly so that it is obvious what will happen if they are clicked. Don’t be abstract, funny or clever. If your customers have to guess they’re likely to either get it wrong or pause for too long. If the text is too long, you make them think. Keep it short and sweet, clear and concise.

Be wary of overusing buttons. Remember that your primary call to action, your primary conversion point needs to stand out. If you have a dozen similar buttons for your micro-conversions your call to action will be missed.


It’s all very well for me to tell you to make your call to action clear, persuasive and attractive but how will you know what your customers like? Easy, test it. There are many online tools that allow you to easily test variations of your page against your goals to determine what the best design and layout is. Google Analytics even includes a free tool called Experiments. With most of these tools you have the option of either split-testing (AB) or multi-variate testing (MVT). With split testing you pick one element on your page, say your call to action button, and test different variations, for example a blue button versus a red button. Despite the name you can split-test more than two variations. An MVT involves multiple elements on the page, for example a headline and a button, and variations of these. You choose the elements and variations and the tool will produce the various combinations and let you know when a winner has been identified.

But don’t stop there. Once you’ve identified whether red performs better than blue, consider testing the winner against a green button, change the text or move it across the page. Keep testing until the improvements are so minimal it is no longer worth the effort. Then pause for a breather and begin again. Conversion optimisation is a continuous process so keep testing and improving for as long as you have a web site.


Your customer has finally done what you (and they) want and converted. Hurray! You will probably show them a confirmation or thank you message. But consider what more you can give them to go that extra mile and achieve the holy grail of client delight. Can you offer them a free download or a discount on their next purchase? If they have completed a secondary conversion then take this opportunity to re-present them with your primary call to action. If they have already completed your major goal then there could be secondary or micro-conversions they missed. Give them another chance to sign up for your newsletter. But don’t make them give you information they’ve already given. Make it easy – just give them a button to click. Now, should that be red or yellow?

To find out more about Conversion Optimisation,contact us or call 1300 853 597.

Image Courtesy of Digital Marketing Suite

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