Guide to Conversion Optimization for Beginners
How can you make more sales and increase your revenue? I’m sure that you’ve all heard and read a lot of tips and tricks on how to improve sales on your website. But at the end of the day, if your website isn’t properly optimised, you won’t be getting the results you need. In this post, I’ll share my top tips for how to optimise your website for conversions.
Why optimise your website?
As I mentioned in the introduction, a website that isn’t properly optimised could be hindering your success and your full potential.
Think about it: what if you could double your conversions without putting in any extra effort towards driving more traffic to your website? Say at the moment you’re converting about 1% of your website visitors; if you could convert another 1%, that means you’re effectively doubling your revenue – and all just by making some changes to your website.
Although it can take a while to get your website just right in order to improve your conversion rate and get a better return on investment, it is very much worth it; in fact, it is more cost effective to employ conversion rate optimisation (CRO) than to find new ways of getting more traffic.
Now, let’s get into how you can get started with your website’s conversion rate optimisation…
The basics of CRO
CRO is essentially the science behind creating a website that drives more users towards converting – whether that is downloading a certain file, watching a particular video or buying something.
Basically, CRO involves a lot of testing on your website and making small changes to the wording and design. Imagine you had a physical clothes store: just like you would arrange that store in order to improve your sales, by placing certain clothes at the front of the store, or putting some yummy sweets in the check out line, for example, you would make changes on your website to make the visitors’ experience more pleasant and make them more likely to buy/download/etc.
Before you start: gathering data
Before you start making changes to your website and optimising it, it’s important to know as much as possible about your visitors and your website: what paths are they taking on your website? How many conversions are you currently making? What does the conversion funnel look like?
The best place to start is with Google Analytics. Set up a conversion goal by going to Conversions->Goals on your dashboard. Once you’ve set up a goal, you will be able to see an overview of your conversions as well as visualize your funnel. This way, you will be able to find any roadblocks on your website that are keeping you from getting a better conversion rate.
Another way of gathering data is to ask your audience directly through surveys. For example, you could send an email with a few questions for every person who buys something from your website or alternatively, for every user who abandons a shopping cart, for example.
The more data you gather, the easier it will be to make the changes you need to improve your CRO.
Testing your website for usability
Testing your website for usability should be one of the first steps you take once your website is ready for the public. The way it works is you create a scenario that involves a user traveling through your website and performing a particular set of tasks. The experience is then recorded and analysed in order to figure out if the website is easy to use and potential visitors will find it easy to perform those particular tasks.
You could take two routes with this: either use random people to test your usability, or employ a professional. There are also plenty of useful tools that you can use to help you observe how users are using your website.
Starting to test and optimise
Now that you’ve likely started to identify some of the issues with your website that may be affecting your conversion rate, it’s time to start testing different variations. The best way to start optimising is to employ A/B testing. There are multiple tools that you can use to do this, such as the free Google Analytics Content Experiments framework, which allows you to test almost any change you could think of to see how it affects your objective.
First off, make sure you define what your objectives are: do you want more people to buy a specific product? Download an e-book? Subscribe to your email list? Whatever it is, being clear about your goals will help you with deciding on the changes you should be making to your website.
Then, start writing down a list of all the potential changes you want to make.
A/B testing, also known as split testing, means comparing the results of two variations of a web page to see which one makes the most conversions. Keep it to one variation at a time so that you can tell exactly what it was that has helped you get more conversions (or less conversions, in some cases!).
Here are some of the things you could be testing:
- Headlines and subheadlines: are your headlines catching users’ attention?
- Calls to action wording: a different call to action may resonate better with your audience
- The call to action button: is your call to action button clearly visible
- Content: is the page too cluttered and taking away from your calls to action, for example?
- Testimonials: change the testimonials you choose, as well as the look
- Colours: colours can have a huge impact on the user experience; not only that, but certain colours will help make the most important elements on the page stand out
- Visual content: different images and videos can have a massively different impact on your website visitors
- Awards, badges and other social proof: change up the mentions you use a social proof to see which one resonates better with your audience
- Forms: if you have a form, change variations of both design and wording
- Fonts: experiment with different fonts as well as different sizes for the wording
- Positioning: try out different positioning your website content differently; for example, your call to action button.
- Pricing: try offering a free trial, for example, or advertise there’s no need for credit cards
Conversion rate optimization can have a big impact on your website’s success. Although it can be quite a bit of work, it’s worth it; in fact, as I mentioned earlier as well, it’s more cost effective than trying to find more traffic sources for your website. With just some testing, you could discover a version of your website that will effectively double your conversions.
What you need to remember is this: gather as much data about your website and your visitors as possible, perform a usability test to discover any potential barriers to making more conversions and get started with testing different variations to your website copy, design and much more. Have you tried A/B testing for your website? Which changes had the biggest impact on your conversion rate? Let me know in the comments section.
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