In the early days of the world wide web, a website's success was measured by the volume of visits; the more of those you got, the better.
However, this was soon realised to be a crude metric to be judging the performance of a website. With the main aim of the majority of websites to get a user to perform an action of some sort it made more sense to be measuring the users actions in conjunction with the number of visits. As such, the idea of measuring a website's conversion rate was born utilising conversion tracking.
What Is A Conversion?
A conversion on the web can be almost anything, from downloading a document, signing up for a newsletter or purchasing a product; basically anything that takes an action.
Most visitors to your website take some form of action on it, like clicking on menu links, reading blog posts or watching videos. It's up to you to determine what the goal of a particular page is and then to base your conversion on that goal. A conversion then occurs when the visitor reaches the goal.
What Is Conversion Tracking?
Conversion Tracking is a form of website traffic analytics that measures the effectiveness of a source directing visitors to a web site and persuading them to take a desired action. The source could be a referrer, a search engine, a search phrase used etc. It could also be a characteristic of the visitor for instance the country, age, income etc. The desired action could be the completion of an order page, the sign-up of a newsletter etc. The effectiveness is expressed as a percentage called the Conversion Rate.
How Do You Calculate Your Conversion Rate?
To start with, you'll need to determine what you're conversion goal actually is, a product sale or contact form submission are amongst the most common types. Then you'll need access to your analytical data to be able to get the number of sales or number of form submissions as well as the total traffic to your website for your chosen period of time.
Then you simply use the data you've gathered as follows:
- Number of Form Submissions / Number of Visitors x 100 = % Conversion Rate
- Number of Sales / Number of Visitors x 100 = % Conversion Rate
Your conversion rate is a ratio of how often visitors convert to whatever your goal is, expressed as a percentage.
How Do You Improve Your Conversion Rate
Conversion Rate Optimisation is about analysis on a case-by-case basis. Examining the success of your goals, scrutinising where problems may lie, and experimenting with solutions is required until you’re confident of the results.
Unfortunately, there are no magic remedies for poorly performing sites because there are simply too many variables at play. What works well for one site, may be disastrous for another.
Consider the idea that your users have arrived at your site, fully committed to fulfilling your goals. Every poorly designed bit of navigation, every vague instruction, every illogical layout is another hurdle between your user and successful conversion. Hurdles can take many forms and they may not always be obvious, but identifying them is extremely important.
The most common conversion hurdles are
- Calls to Action - These need to be clear and concise, not only visually but the language used is very important too.
- Forms - These need to be as minimal as possible, avoiding asking for information that from the users perspective isn't required.
- Language - The tone and structure of what you are saying needs to match your websites audience to gain maximum empathy with the user.
- Element Positioning - Prominence of key messaging is important to give maximum exposure to the goals of the page in question.
Improving your conversion rate effectively can be done with small tweaks to your pages but to be truly effective it requires looking at your entire business structure, your off-line efforts and your overall marketing strategy to build a complete picture behind the data to be bring truly meaningful results to your testing.