Your website gets good traffic, your keywords are optimized for content relevance and your site in general has a great design and layout.Most think it stops there; but they are wrong. SEO best practices can only get you so far, without a conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy, the time and efforts you have spent on SEO will not be fully utilized.
Without conversions, there is only traffic, which does not increase your bottom line at all. You never want to be known as the backup plan or someone’s choice if their first option isn’t available. You want your business to be known and well represented; this is where SEO and CRO come into place.
“Never accept to be anyone’s second choice, you deserve more.”
What Exactly Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
A conversion is, and should be, your ultimate goal.
A conversion isn’t a sale for every business. A conversion can also be someone downloading your new white paper, signing up for your email list, or filling out a survey form that you created.
Know Where to Start
Part of your research should data mining with your site analytics to establish your benchmark, or starting point. Look at your bounce rate and conversion rate metrics. Knowing where you are is key to figuring out where you need to be, and how to get there.
An easy way to start improving is looking at where people drop out of your sales funnel – for instance, if they consistently leave when they get to your cart, try making the checkout process simpler. Or, offer an incentive to complete the order right away, like a discount on shipping or a small, free, gift.
Know Your Target Demographic
Part of your research should also include who your target demographic will be. You likely put this together during your market segmentation and research (unless you are doing it wrong!) but there is always room for tweaking and improvement during this stage as well.
Knowing who and why people are visiting your site gives you a leg up on your competition that may not have done their due diligence in this area.
Know Your Competitors
Take the time to compare your site to your competitors. This can help you determine what you’re up against, what elements you need to add or maybe even what you are doing different or better than them.
It is good to compare things like design, pricing structure, content, engagement tactics, and social media and sharing. By the end of your research, you should be able to set a baseline for yourself and where you need to go.
#2: Content, Design & Development
A careful audit needs to be done on every single word of text on your website. As I have talked about before, your content should be clear and compelling for your readers. If it is not, it should be changed to reflect that point.
Sometimes it is just best to even start from scratch and write all new content. A large part of CRO is rewriting static content to increase sales with stronger call to action and subtle, non-salesy language.
Design & Development
When someone goes online for something, they are first a researcher, then a shopper, then a buyer and then a customer. You want to make that transition seamless for the user.
In addition to your content makeover, you need to now look at your overall design and be sure it makes sense. No detail can be overlooked in the conversion rate optimization process.
- Shape of Call-To-Action Buttons
- Location of Buttons
- Overall Flow of Site (Usability)
- Forms & Fields
Testing, testing and more testing! This is where all of your SEO and CRO efforts come together. You need to be willing to invest in running tests and reports that will ultimately tell you how your efforts are paying off.
You will want to track every move your visitors make on your website. Perform a frequent analysis to identify potential problem areas and make necessary changes that will result in increased sales and lower abandon rates.
Types of testing include:
- A/B Split Testing – a single on-site variable is changed, documented and tested before going to the next one.
- Multivariate Testing – several areas of your site are compared at once.
Elements to Test
- Headline working and appearance
- Product image, placement and design
- Calls to action
- Sales offers
- Button locations
- Forms and Fields
Once you have tested some of these bigger areas, you will also want to keep an eye out for other variables such as body text, font and content. Experimental testing pages are sometimes created to test the overall performance even further.
Be cognizant of your goals and overall performance of your site; in a nutshell this is what CRO is all about.
Without conversion rate optimization, you are operating your business at less than full capacity. CRO is more than looking at your site for visual appeal, all of the elements discussed above must be thought of as well.
Truly effective website performance can only come from the measurement and experimentation of metrics put in place on your website.
Continuously check your website for improvements and monitor it for glitches to improve performance.
Most business professionals are experts in certain areas, if SEO and CRO is not your area of expertise, admit it and hire someone (or a company) that can complete the necessary work for you. Your customers, employees, fellow business professionals and bottom line will thank you.