Your website is your digital storefront. Your website visitors are the patrons that walk in, peruse your products, and chat with the store manager on recommendations. But what about the people that leave without touching anything? Or peek through the door, say ‘nope’ and immediately turn around and walk away? If you’re seeing a large number of website bounces or exits, it may have something to do with your website.
CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, is the practice of minimizing these exits and bounces and maximizing the number of conversions taken on a site. Conversions are important markers of customer interest, from newsletter subscriptions to purchases – they indicate that you’re doing something right. The practice of maximizing conversions isn’t just a straight path of checklists – it involves a lot of reporting, testing, improving, and repeating. CRO never really has an endpoint, but it does have a starting point, which is committing to improving your website conversion rate!
Usability, design, and content are the key players in Conversion Rate Optimization, but there are endless possibilities to improve your conversion rate. That fact can be an exciting and encouraging, but also a bit overwhelming if you don’t have a plan of action.
How do you optimize your conversion rate and keep your visitors on the path to purchase? By improving your conversion pathway from A to Z.
Goal conversion tracking in Google Analytics
Research and plan efficiently
To get to where you want to be, you need to know where you are.
Tracking website activity, engagement, flow, and conversions are the best way to find actionable insights for CRO. This can take time, money, and extra platforms to track efficiently, but it can also be a ‘choose your own adventure’ of how in-depth you want to get into the process. If you’re ready to dive deep into your conversion data, here are some great places to start.
Set up goal conversions in Google Analytics
This way, you can track not only eCommerce, but also contact form submissions, content downloads, or any other action you want your audience to take on your site.
Goal conversion tracking is set up within Google Analytics, and there are options to use a standard goal or to create something custom. By setting these goals up, you can see when, where, and how someone completed that conversion, and be able to track conversions when you start the CRO process.
Track website movement and activity
Tracking how visitors use your website is a fantastic way to understand how successful your user flow is, and if website visitors are using the website the way it’s intended. Web activity tracking tools like Hotjar can show you where visitors look confused, what pages grab attention, and what sections of a page they are spending time on.
For example, you might see that multiple people are trying to click an image that isn’t linked or filled out a contact form after spending time reading a specific value you offer.
All of this info will help you shape and improve on how visitors can use your website from identifying confusing pathways to finding new opportunities.
Understand what content retains website visitors and what content doesn’t
Google Analytics user flow is a great option for when you want to understand more about how visitors are using your site without needing to purchase a new platform subscription. You can see which pages act as great landing pages, and which pages experience a higher drop-off rate than most. You can see your current winners and potential improvements all based on user flow.
MadeWell skips the tons of product lists to showcase one new line at a time
Be selective about your messages
You don’t want your site to look like a grocery store coupon handout. By minimizing content and only including the Calls to Action that you want to prioritize, you cut down on extra stuff that can distract or overwhelm users. A clear, simple page offers a calm user experience that will guide users down the purchase path instead of offering them several forks in the road.
The main reason for not over-crowding your site is to make the main Call to Action clear and obvious. Whether that CTA changes per page or stays the same, each page on your site should have a clear direction forward for anyone ready to take the next step.
Including the main CTA on the website, the toolbar is a great way to offer that path no matter where the user navigates.
Create a smooth and fast user experience
When was the last time you used a slow website? Or the last time you entered a website on mobile, only to discover it wasn’t mobile friendly? Chances are, you didn’t give these sites the time of day unless you had to.
Having a smooth, timesaving experience means having a site that loads quickly and looks beautiful on desktop, mobile, and everywhere in-between, so there’s no need for users to spend time zooming in on pages or trying to decipher tiny font. It means that if you have a question, you can easily navigate through the site to find the answer. It’s clear how to purchase, contact the company or research more about the company on other platforms.
Smooth user experience may include saving return-customer information or simplifying the repeat purchase process so it’s simple to come back for more, and the initial purchase is clear and easy to minimize cart abandonment.
Even something as simple as making sure your images optimized can affect the big picture user experience. Each small time-saving step you work on adds up to improve your website flow exponentially over time.
ThirdLove creates content that users want to fill out.
Grab attention with your content
Start with an attention-grabber that persuades users to stay on the page.
Catchy headlines and imagery leave the readers wanting more, so they will continue to read and see if the entertainment continues. This first-impression information will introduce your new website visitors to your brand voice, values, and set the tone for communication going forward.
People love talking about themselves. An initial product quiz that allows the user to get to know your brand while also relating it to themselves and how it can improve their lives. A Quiz is also helpful in gaining contact information and segmenting new users and target them with the content they want to see.
By offering that leading content your website visitors want to see, you will entice your visitors to stick around and learn more about your products or offerings.
Evernote sets the scene for a calm, organized website experience
Understand how design affects conversion rates
The best websites have a perfect marriage between usability and design – and you can’t truly have one without the other.
Great design means having colors, images, and the overall visual layout that evoke the emotions you want your website visitors to feel. From assured to calm to invigorated, the design is crucial for creating the digital environment you want your viewers to experience.
Web design affects conversation rates through readability, or in many cases, skimability. If a user can’t easily read why a product is so great, they may miss the value props that add up to a purchase decision. Skimability is created with simple and professional fonts, white space, and clear headers. Without these, your website may look like a dissertation, and read like one.
Those eye-catching headlines, bright pops of color, and beautiful images will draw the users in, and the value and content will keep them on the path to purchase. Talk about a dynamic duo!
Offering value to those who stick around
Reward those who stick around for a while. People that spend a long time on a page researching, comparing products, and reading reviews are showing an active interest in your content. These are the people that would most likely appreciate and act on additional content.
This additional content can look like a pop-up with gated content, an offer to start a conversation over live chat or a lightbox with a discount on the product they’re looking at. All of these strategies are great for getting your viewers to the next step – offering up their contact information, so you can continue the conversation even after they leave the site.
By having these interest indicators available on the site, you can gain great insights into how and why people are consuming your content. By tracking these actions as goal conversions, you can track progress and continue to improve your conversion rates.
HubSpot always includes a Call to Action for further research in their blog posts
Highlight content that streamlines brand and product research
Offering potential customers the ‘inside scoop’ on your product and company can cut out some steps in the purchase process and increase conversions.
Content that lifts the curtain of a beautifully-branded and careful campaign can help potential customers gain a well-rounded view of the product without leaving the site to do research.
Product how-to videos or demo videos can help customers see how they would utilize a product or service, and how it would fit in their lives. Having customer reviews available on your site creates a space for social proof to increase trust in the product. A Frequently Asked Questions section or page allows you to guide the conversation on what people should be thinking about when considering a purchase and is a great spot to reiterate your unique value.
All of this content has many benefits, but the one commonality each type of content can take the place of outside research so users can stay on your site from start to finish.
This list is a great start but only scratches the surface of the possibilities for improving your overall website quality. Is it time to give your website an upgrade? Reach out to our team to discuss optimization priorities for your website!