What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Ideally, businesses use their websites and apps to expand their market outreach, grow their customer bases, and increase the number of conversions from visits into purchases. To convert more customers, companies need to craft user-friendly websites and apps and then use conversion metrics to evaluate the success and rates of those conversions.
CRO or conversion rate optimization defined
While conversion optimization sounds pretty intimidating, it’s actually a fairly easy concept to understand. Conversion rate optimization is the process of increasing the percentage of conversions from visits to purchases, etc., on a website or app.
The CRO measures a paid inclusion campaign’s success by measuring the number of visitors completing the action: purchasing a product, completing a form, or another specific page goal. Greater conversion rates indicate a more successful website/app and campaign.
Why CRO is important
If you’re paying for traffic to find your site, you want the most return on investment (ROI); the higher your conversion rate, the better the ROI.
The average amount of time someone spends on a page is less than a minute. You want to catch and hold your customers’ attention so that your bounce rate is low.
Keep people on your page longer to increase conversion rates
Want to reduce bounce rates? Try these tips:
- Keep your website design simple and tidy. Make it easy for people to find what they need. Optimize your page for browsing on laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.
- Improve page readability. Go for larger font sizes and avoid fancy serifs. Break paragraphs into smaller chunks and use headings, sub-heads, paragraphs, bulleted lists, and plenty of white space to your design advantage.
- While cliché, it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, so incorporate high-quality images. People prefer pictures over words, so earmark some of your budget for pictures from Shutterstock, hire a photographer to shoot stock photos, or source royalty-free images on sites like pixabay.com and pexels.com.
- High quality images are usually high-resolution images, which means they’re larger in pixels, pixel density, and file size and if you don’t optimize them for the web, they’ll slow down the load time of your website.
- Did you know that millions of people watch hundreds of millions of YouTube videos each day? Tap into that source by posting a few videos on your website—these videos can boost user engagement and most certainly increase the amount of time people spend on your site.
- Get onboard with internal linking. If you don’t link pages within your site to each other, people are less likely to visit them. Internal linking also benefits your page’s SEO—for free! Make sure, when you’re incorporating those links, that they connect not just to other pages within your website but also relevant, external articles.
- Incorporate calls to action (CTA). You might ask visitors to sign up for a mailing list, complete a survey, register for a free account, or get bonus content by performing some other action. Using CTA encourages visitors to interact with your website rather than passively scrolling through information—and they may find other information that’s useful and helpful which may, in turn, increase your conversion rates.
- Add industry-specific comment-worthy content that your visitors can trust. Regular blog and article posts also invite another opportunity for CTA, when you invite readers to add their own experiences, ask questions, or make other relevant comments.
- Create a success stories or reviews section—or both! Who doesn’t love a good success story? People relate to those stories and want to see how someone else fared after using your product or service. People are naturally inclined to share stories, so use that inclination to your advantage.
- Prove your credibility. Real photos, testimonials, industry-leading content, and links to your social media presence will help establish your business’s credibility, increase brand awareness and build influence. When your site includes secure signs, BBB ratings, awards, and certifications, your visitors will feel more confident about sharing information and purchasing your services and products. Here’s a good resource for leveraging social proof to build a business.
- Don’t let ‘em go! Target people as they’re leaving your site by giving them a final opportunity to subscribe to a mailing list or request additional information. Offer little rewards, like a discount code or free sample.
Other ways to increase conversion rates
How else can you increase your conversion rates? Well, you have a variety of options that are determined by the ultimate goal of your website/app. You can maximize the chances of a conversion by:
- Presenting and regularly updating information customers will find useful.
- Structuring each of your website’s pages to focus on the uniqueness of the products or services you sell.
- Providing a variety of payment options.
- Clearly stating your return policy.
- Clearly stating your policies on protecting your customer’s personal information.
- Presenting all information clearly and concisely.
- Making it abundantly clear what you can do for the customer.
- Making it as easy as possible for your potential customers to quickly find what they need.
Determining the areas to target for optimization
You’ll want to decide which of your conversion funnels to optimize. Most experts recommend focusing on the part of your website that receives the most traffic first. Or choose the page that generates the largest number of conversions. You might also consider optimizing the highest value pages or pages that—when compared to the rest of your website—are underperforming.
For more specific suggestions on how to maximize CRO, check out this resource from Qualaroo, which includes more details on its importance, the basics of CRO, building and testing optimization plans, UX and funnel optimization, landing page optimization, reducing bounce and exit rates, and much more.
Setting up & measuring conversion rates
You’ve got several ways to measure conversion rate optimization. It’s important to set up a conversion so you can track events and thresholds which will set a benchmark for determining the successful performance of your website. So, for example—if you see 100 conversions in March, and you have as many or more in April, you’re doing well. A declining number might indicate a problem with UX, the site’s message, its navigability, or a drop in SERPs.
There’s a wide variety of data-gathering tools you can install on your website—Google Analytics, KISSMetrix, Mixpanel, or user interaction software like CrazyEgg. Once you evaluate which makes sense for you, let them run for a few days to gather data and then you can analyze what they’ve collected.
Evaluate average time users spend on the page, the hard and soft bounce rates, and the conversion rate—ideally, you should identify and optimize the most valuable conversions.
Optimization’s ultimate goal includes getting the right customers—who will purchase your products or use your services—to your website. Revisiting the data regularly and making tweaks will fine-tune your optimization so that your market reach expands and more people become aware of—and interested in—your brand.