Search engine optimisation is something we have all gradually come to know a little about, or at least have heard of. Conversion rate optimisation is something that is still not widely known of.
In many respects conversion rate optimisation is just as important, or actually more important. While strong SEO is imperative at drawing in valuable traffic to your website, if your site is not presented in the correct manor, those visitors will leave quickly and move onto a site that can offer them what they need, this leaves you open to a substantial amount of lost business.
What is CRO?
CRO is the idea of creating a website which is successful at converting website visitors into actual customers. It involves your website traffic reaching the intended goal of your website, for example, if you sell products through your website, your goal will be for your website visitors to convert into paying customers, making online orders through your site.
The starting point for CRO on any website is to analyze your visitor behaviour, and to generally understand your customer. You will be looking at reducing bounce rates, which refer to your visitors landing on your homepage and deciding whether to view more pages on your site, or deciding whether to leave your site and find what they are looking for elsewhere.
Where can I start?
There is no doubt that CRO is a skilled area which involves understanding of shopping habits, a strong website analysis, technical knowledge, and patience to make informed tweaks and trial new approaches.
However when starting out your own business, funds can be very restrictive, and while large corporate companies can afford skilled CRO consultants, new businesses may have to look into CRO themselves.
To start with you will need to get to know your customer, and work out where visitors are losing interest and dropping off. Google Analytics is a great tool for this. Firstly you can see from the dashboard results which pages are more popular on your site, and how long people are staying on your site for, but you can also look into utilizing more of what analytics has to offer.
On the left hand side of Google Analytics, you will notice a set of options. All these options can provide you valuable information about your site, which pages and popular, and which are not. This can be a great start to understanding why some pages are a success and why some aren’t. Are your product descriptions more detailed on one product than another? Or is the photography better on certain products which may attract more interest? All these questions are worth addressing.
However you must make informed changes and not try to guess why people are not converting, as vast amounts of time can go into tweaking segments of the site that might actually have been OK.
Review your analytics, place pop up surveys on your website allowing customers to tell you why they don’t like your website, or ask them how you can make improvements. Invest in some user testing, so professionals can visit your site and review it and make suggested changes. Most of all, keep analyzing and continue to improve what you have to offer.
How can I improve my site?
Generally the more simple, easy to use your website is, the more attractive is it to customers. Clear photography, strong branding, clear buttons and navigations and providing a safe and secure site for your customers will be enough to attract paying customers. Review your website feedback gained from your surveys and user tests and put into action any changes. Test out new layouts and ways of presenting things, and work out what was more successful, and roll it out to the rest of the site.
Even the smallest tweak can make a huge impact on a sale. I was told once by a friend, they were on a website, had found a suitable product, added it to the basket, signed up, but on the last page before entering the payment section, found a spelling error, this error made him loose trust in the site, and he went elsewhere. With this in mind, many customers will react in this way, so your website must be flawless.
About the author: Kirsten works with online businesses seeking hosting help. She works for hosting review and rating site WhoIsHostingThis.