Conversion optimization is the practice of analyzing your digital presence, typically your website, in order to identify opportunities for improving its performance specifically in order to increase the rate at which visitors take a measurable action such as creating an account, subscribing to a newsletter, or buying a product.
These are some things you'll want to consider when looking to optimize your site.
1. Website Analytics
Take an in-depth look at your website analytics to see how people are arriving at the page on which you want them to convert.
- Where are they initially coming from?
- Direct traffic?
- Referral links?
- Search engines?
Determine which sources of traffic are better at converting and focus on improving the conversion of those.
If referral links are doing well, which links in particular are they? Visit the website that is linking to you and try and figure out why it is sending you such quality traffic.
2. Through The Users' Eyes
Put yourself in the head of the visitor to that page and try to determine their motivation for clicking on the link to your site and, once you get to your site, go through the process of converting as if you were that visitor. Are there any obstacles to conversion?
If it is search traffic that converts, what search engines and search terms convert best? Do the same thing for search by using the query that is converting and clicking on your link.
Be sure, however, to be logged out of the account associated with that search engine. If you are using Google, for example, be sure you've logged out of Google because Google customizes search engine results based on your past search behavior and what it knows about you. You'll want to see an unbiased set of search results.
3. Conversion Path
How many pages does a visitor need to go through to complete the conversion? In a typical eCommerce, situation, for example, once visitors "check out" they'll need to enter their credit card information and their shipping address and then they'll get a confirmation page that the transaction has been successful. Create a conversion funnel by track all of those pages using your website analytics.
Using Google Analytics, for example, you can set up Goals where you input the URLs of the pages that are required to visit in order to complete a trasaction: e.g. Verification of Purchases, Billing Form, Shipping Form, Confirmation of Purchase, where a completed transation would be indicated by those who visit the Confirmation page.
By tracking all of the steps to a complete transaction, you can get reports that visualize a Goal funnel and the pages at which people abandoned their transaction.
You can then take a look at those pages to try and figure out what is causing abandonment.
Are you asking for only the essential information needed to complete the conversion? People often ask for way too much unnecessary information, which annoys the visitor. You want to make it as easy as possible to complete the conversion.
For email newsletters, for example, I always recommend asking for the email address and nothing more. You can always go back and ask those subscribers to fill out more information on their profile in a follow up survey or to get additional exclusive content.
5. User Experience Design
Design is often a barrier to conversion as well: Both visually and functionally.
Is your site visually appealing and is it obvious what you want visitors to do? Are your forms easy to understand?
6. A/B Testing
Think about doing A/B or multivariate tests on pages of your site to see if you can improve conversion rates for individual pages. Google Optimize will help you do this.