Many online marketers instinctively feel that by getting increases in traffic, their marketing efforts are automatically a success. While this may be the case for many companies, an often more important KPI is how that traffic behaves while on-site. Just a small increase in conversion rate can have big impacts on a company’s bottom line and bumping your conversion rate by five percent could be a smashing success. In this article, we’ll outline some of the key areas that should always be considered when trying to optimize your website for increased conversions.
Establish Conversion Goals and Metrics
You’ve most likely identified what conversion metrics matter most to your business, but if you haven’t, now is the time to do so. Completing this essential step allows you to better focus your optimization efforts on elements that matter most.
Depending on the type of website you operate, the conversion metrics that are most vital to you will vary. E-commerce websites are probably most concerned with conversions relating to product sales, adding to cart and other actions related to making a purchase. For B2B websites, you may be most concerned with newsletter sign-ups, leads generated, whitepaper downloads, etc.
Whatever the case may be, establishing your goals and conversion metrics and setting them up for tracking is a key component in the foundation of conversion rate optimization.
Use Your Analytics
Understanding your website traffic is crucial in many areas of online marketing and CRO is no different. By looking at segmented data like traffic sources and digging into each one, you will gain a better understanding of where your most valuable traffic is coming from. You may find the highest rate of converting traffic comes from referrals, while organic and direct traffic show lower rates of conversion. If this is the case, you may want to focus more efforts on increasing your backlink profile. Or you may want to take a closer look at your top organic landing pages. If you find your organic traffic is converting at higher rates, it may be time to invest more time and effort into SEO.
Whether you decide to focus on top performing traffic sources or underperforming traffic sources, understanding your traffic will help you decide the most important areas to concentrate your efforts.
Promote Pages That Convert Well
If you know what pages convert the best, great! If not, you will need to do a little more digging into your analytics. Hopefully, you have conversions set up in Google Analytics and can easily see which pages or set of pages convert the best. When you have identified your best-converting pages, it’s important to utilize them on-site and off-site, if you’re not already doing so.
Make sure the pages are easy-to-find and linked to from several areas on-site. This includes your header navigation, footer navigation and CTAs and anchor text links from relevant content. Your top converting pages are most likely highly visible, but doing a site audit or running an internal linking report to see how many pages are linking to your top converting pages can be helpful. Make sure that any related content including articles, blogs etc. are pointing to these pages.
Similar to ensuring high visibility to converting pages on-site, you want to ensure high visibility of converting pages off-site, as well. This means posting related social content to your top converting pages with CTAs designed to get people to click or otherwise interact.
On-Page CRO Tips
Understanding how viewers absorb the content of webpages is another key element. Optimizing your web pages for conversion is often referred to as landing page optimization (LPO) and is essentially a part of CRO. An entire post can be dedicated to effective LPO, so we’ll focus on just a few of the basics.
Headlines on these pages need to be concise and to-the-point. Ensure your headlines encapsulate the entire pitch of the page.
Different images and the size of them can yield different results. A/B testing may be necessary to understand which images work best.
Copy and Product Descriptions
Similar to headlines, copy should be informative and to-the-point. Nobody wants to read unnecessary text. If your text is too long, try and shorten it down to be more readable and user-friendly.
Much of CRO revolves around a strategy regarding calls-to-action. A lot of research exists around how and where to use CTAs. According to Google research, the most viewable place on a page is right above the fold, but not at the top of a page. Anchor text CTAs have been shown to be effective, as well. Used throughout the content or as a standalone heading between paragraphs, anchor text CTAs should always be considered as they can lead to more clicks than buttons do.
The use of CTA buttons has long been a staple in increasing conversions. A/B testing is likely to yield the best answer here as the color, size, placement and text can all drastically impact the number of clicks a button receives. In general, buttons customized for each landing page are highly recommended.
A/B testing sometimes goes hand-in-hand with successful CRO. When the necessary time, effort and resources can be allocated into landing page A/B testing, the result can be amazing insights that can lead to significantly higher conversion rates. There are many different elements that can be tweaked, which can have a drastic impact on the amount of conversions a page receives. Essentially, this entails creating an alternative version of an existing page and split testing the two to see which performs better. Consider using A/B testing for converting pages and tweak all the elements from the above section one at a time to see how the perfectly-optimized page should be structured.
CRO is no simple matter, as it takes patience and deep understanding to effectively execute. However, using these five points as an outline for digging deeper into your CRO is likely to yield positive results. Remember to think about the quality of your traffic — not just the quantity.