Improving Website Conversion Rates

Improving Online Conversion Rates

Generating More Sales Utilizing Existing Traffic & Visitors

Revised August 30, 2017
Originally Published August 6, 2008

Businesses can improve the return of their online investment, and increase revenues, by improving the website (or online presence) conversion rates of existing traffic.

Improved conversion leads to more online sales, and increased lead generation WITHOUT spending more money for additional traffic or advertising.

What Is A Conversion Rate?

The online Conversion Rate (CR) is the number of sales or leads that are generated from a site's current number of visitors.

Conversion Rates are easy to calculate:

  • Find the number of orders "Total Orders" or "Total Leads" generated from the website/profile for a given period (e.g. one month or one year)

  • Using analytics, find the number of unique visitors "Total Unique Visitors" for the same given period (e.g. one month or one year)

To determine the Conversion Rate (CR) take Total Orders (or Leads) and divide by Total Unique Visitors; then multiply the result by 100 to get the conversion percentage, also known as Conversion Rate.

    Example Equation

    (TOTAL ORDERS / TOTAL UNIQUE VISITORS) * 100 = CONVERSION RATE

    For example, say for the month of November a site had 10,000 unique visitors and 250 orders. Using these numbers, one would divide 250 by 10,000 which is 0.025 and multiply that by 100 for a result of 2.5%.

    (250 / 10,000) * 100 = 2.5%

    This shows that 2.5 visitors out of every 100 visitors are converting to a sale or lead.

More Profit, No Additional Investment

Once a business has figured the Conversion Rate, what does it mean?

As a good rule of thumb, the following are some decent guidelines for evaluating a website or online platform's Conversion Rate, and what it means to the business:

  • Over 5% Conversion: The business is in what's called a vertical market where there's probably little to no competition for customers, or customers must purchase from the company with little alternative choices

  • 3-4% Conversion: The website is doing an excellent job with few to no areas for improvement

  • 2-3% Conversion: This is an average rate and means the website is doing a decent job with only a few areas for improvement

  • 1-2% Conversion: The site or profile could use some definite improvement to convert traffic to orders or leads

  • Under 1% Conversion: The website is in need of a good deal of help and should be analyzed from all areas

By improving the online conversion rate, a company can increase profit, and bring in more money!

Increasing Conversion Rate (CR) usually entails optimizing the current website (or online presence) content for a better customer experience.

Areas to Improve

In general, no matter how good the Conversion Rate, there are always areas to improve content and customer experience. There are numerous methods that can be used to improve Conversion Rates, including A/B Testing scenarios.

A/B Testing Scenarios

A/B Testing allows a webmaster or marketing team to determine whether one particular factor has a better response, or Conversion Rate, than another factor being tested.

By testing "A" versus "B" scenario, one can determine which will leads to improved response, user experience, and ultimately better conversion.

The factors being tested against each other for effectiveness can range from overall website layouts, to content choice, graphical interface choices, Calls To Action, or even product/service choices.

Literally anything can be subjected to an A/B Testing scenario for Conversion Rate improvement.

The following are a few main areas to focus on that generally improve any website's (or any online presence) Conversion Rate (CR):

  • Calls To Action (CTA) - One method of improving conversion is to use clearly identifiable calls to action (CTA's). Sometimes visitors are interested and want to proceed, however are uncertain of what to do next.

    By clearly showing the customer where to click to proceed, a website can greatly improve its overall conversion rate (CR):

    • Make sure each page of the site clearly & identifiably has CTA's that prompt the user to act & move forward.

    • Test different CTA's usinig A/B Testing to see which variations generate a higher conversion rate versus others.

  • Accuracy, Professionalism & Security - Portraying a competent, professional, and secure organization is imperative to converting visitors to paying customers.

    Making sure that a website contains accurate information with a professional appearance is a key factor to improving a website's overall conversion rate. It's important to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.

    • When customers come to an online site, and find mistakes, and/or a presence that looks "home-made" it's often a turn off to buying.

    • If a website gives an appearance that is unprofessional or incomplete, customers are going to wonder if their purchasing experience will be just as incomplete, and will most likely go elsewhere to conduct business.

    • Consumers today want to make sure all their online interactions are secure. A big part of ensuring security today involves using SSL to encrypt information sent between the server and the user's computer.

  • Customer Care - Often, customers leave a website without purchasing because they're unsure of what will "happen next" and what kind of customer service they will receive should they need assistance.

    A good, solid website presence will have a complete "Customer Care" section detailing all issues, and questions a customer could possibly expect ranging from:

    • Customer Service Contact Information
    • Shipping & Handling Rates & Timelines
    • Return & Exchange Policy
    • Dispute Policy
    • Terms & Conditions
    • Other specific FAQ's relating to the industry or business
    • Leave no question unanswered!
    • Provide a Live Chat option during normal business hours for questions
    • Provide full contact, phone and email for all other questions

      A good website to review for a solid customer service and help section is Amazon. You'll note they cover about every issue one could possibly imagine in detail, so the customer is not left wondering "what next?"

  • Product/Service - When it comes to describing the company's products and services, remember to write the content from the point of view of the customer; discuss how this product/service will solve the customer's problem.

    As well, give full disclosure and describe all aspects and views. The more detailed information available to the consumer about the product/service often results in a successful purchase and satisfied customer. An informed customer often leads to a happy customer.

    An additional benefit from having a wealth of information on every product and service page, is this information will help a site to become a recognized encyclopedic authority on a subject; thus helping to receive top ranking in search engines.

  • Help Section - A detailed Help and Tutorial section will let customers know that information is available for help once they've purchased their product and service; thus again building trust and making the customer feel comfortable in purchasing from the business. A help section can cover a full array of issues ranging from simple question and answer sections, to more complex and detailed tutorial sections on using the product or service.

  • Testimonials/References - Testimonials and References give the customer peace of mind in knowing that a company has a history of doing as promised and following through. Often testimonials & references can be expanded upon by providing in-depth case studies on customers the company has assisted in the past; what obstacle(s) they faced, and how the product or service solved that issue for the customer.

Summary of Increasing Conversion

Ultimately increasing conversion requires making prospects feel confident, comfortable, educated, and secure in moving forward. Pending the aforementioned are achieved, online website, profiles, and marketing campaigns often experience a higher Conversion Rate (CR); higher CR usually results in overall increased online profits!

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