We say it all the time. Your website has two purposes, and two purposes only:
If you’re like most businesses, you probably focus a lot on the first one (via PPC, SEO, Email, Social Media, Blogging, etc.), and very little on the second. But there’s no point spending a lot of time and money getting traffic to your site if you can’t “convert”.
What is a conversion?
A conversion is usually an action you want a visitor to take when they visit your site such as:
- Calling a number
- Completing a form
- Subscribing to a blog or email
- Downloading a whitepaper
- Signing up for a free trial
- Becoming a fan or follower of your brand
- Making a purchase
The typical website should have a primary conversion goal (e.g. purchase, quote form completion) and a few secondary conversion goals (subscribe to blog, sign-up to newsletter). And every page on your website should have a clear call-to-action to these conversion goals. Yes, every page.
Okay, so what is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
Remember the old saying, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure?” Well, this holds true for CRO. Conversion Rate Optimization, or Website Optimization, is simply a process to measure and improve your website’s conversion goals. It involves testing, testing, and more testing. Split or Multivariate testing are usually the two methods used to optimize a website’s conversion points.
Split testing, also known as A/B testing, means to set up two web pages (or ads) that are identical except for one variable that is different, and likely to affect a user’s behaviour. Split testing example:
In this case, you have two landing pages: same headline, same image, same call-to-action; the only difference is that the colour of the “Buy Now” button. Half of the visitors would see the “original” page, and the other half would see the “variation” page. This simple test increased the conversion rate from 1% to 4.5%.
Multivariate testing is a little more complicated. It involves chopping a webpage up into different elements, and testing to see which combination of the different elements work best together to produce the highest conversion. Let’s use the Acme Widgets example above. We could create two different headlines, two different images, two different versions of body copy, and two different colour “Buy Now” buttons (it can be more than two versions, it could be 100… but let’s keep things simple). A multivariate test would show random combinations of the headlines, images, copy, and buttons to determine which combination produces the best results. Typically Split and Multivariate testing require special tools to set-up and execute experiments.
What Should I Test?
Conversion Rate Optimization is one never-ending experiment. Your website could always be converting better just like your business could always be selling better. When it comes to testing, there really aren’t any best practices, you’re always starting from a question you don’t know the answer to. Here’s some questions to ask of your site:
- Could that headline be more effective?
- Could that sign-up form be shorter?
- Is that image right for this product or service?
- Is that sales copy too long (or too short)?
- Could my navigation be organized better?
- Should that “Buy Now” button be higher up on the page?
- Is that price too high for my product or service?
- Would more people call if the telephone number was red?
The bad news? You probably don’t know the answers to any of these questions. The good news? You can with testing and embarking on a Conversion Rate Optimization strategy. Now, go forth, and CONVERT!
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