An Introduction to Conversion Rate Optimization for Your Website

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Making sales is the whole purpose of marketing. The problem is that you can’t force someone to make a purchase. That’s why many marketers believe that getting more website traffic is the best way to raise revenue. That’s just not true. 

‌No matter how many people visit your website, you won’t make any sales if you can’t convince them to make a purchase. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to convert your visitors into customers. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about web conversions, how to optimize your conversion rate, and the tools that will make the whole process easy. 

‌Ready to learn more? Then let’s dive in.

What Is a Website Conversion?

“Conversion” is the term for getting someone to take the action you want online. Most websites track their success by recording how many conversions they achieve. You can also set conversion goals to help guide the decisions you make for your website. 

Most websites have a specific conversion that’s considered most important. For example, an e-commerce website’s goal is to get people to convert into customers by making a purchase. Similarly, the purpose of a personal trainer website is to convince people to sign up for training sessions. These are “macro-conversions” because they’re the biggest commitment a site visitor can make.

There are plenty of smaller micro-conversions you can target, though. You might want to get people to do things like:

  • Sign up for your newsletter
  • ‌Start an account
  • ‌Add a product to their cart
  • ‌Visit a certain page

‌These types of conversions make people more likely to complete a macro-conversion in the future.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

The more conversions you make, the more customers you’ll win and the more revenue you’ll earn. Increasing the number of conversions you achieve helps your business grow. You measure the number of conversions you achieve with your “conversion rate.” Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of raising your rate. 

‌You’ll never see a 100% conversion rate, and that’s okay. If every single person who ever visited your site made a purchase, it’s a sign that you’re not connecting with enough potential customers. Most people need to visit a site a few times before signing up or buying something. However, you can still do things that make people more likely to buy from you. 

‌CRO is all about making your website user-friendly. It’s important to pay attention to how people use your site, and make small changes to see how it affects your metrics. It takes time, but it’s worthwhile.

How to Calculate Conversion Rate

Your overall conversion rate is the number of site visitors who do what you want divided by the total site traffic, then multiplied by 100%.

If you make 100 sales one day, and you had 500 visitors, then your sales conversion rate was 100/500, or 0.2. You achieved a conversion rate of 20%.

‌You can also track more specific conversions. For example, you could track how many people who visit a landing page go on to make a purchase. In that case, you’d divide the number of conversions coming from that page by the total number of page hits. This narrow perspective can help you improve the CRO for specific parts of your website.

Why Is Conversion Rate Optimization Important?

Obviously, you want people to buy from you or sign up for your services. Conversion rate optimization helps you make that happen.

‌Think of it this way: people who make it to your website are your strongest audience. They’ve already clicked on your ads or searched for your products. They’re pre-disposed to like your company. However, a confusing, ugly, or inefficient website can make it harder for these people to make a purchase. A poorly optimized site will reverse a lot of the work you’ve done to bring people in.

‌Conversion rate optimization keeps that from happening. Instead of guessing what your customers like, CRO helps you make educated improvements to your site. You learn why visitors leave without converting, then experiment to fix those user experience problems. As a result, you can convince many of these prime prospects to make a purchase.

12 Incredible Conversion Rate Optimization Statistics

The whole point of CRO is that you shouldn’t just assume things are working. Here are 12 impressive statistics that show that CRO really makes a difference.

  1. ‌Just 38% of small businesses have a structured CRO strategy in place.
  2. ‌Most companies spend $92 on marketing for every $1 they spend on CRO, so there’s plenty of room for improvement.
  3. ‌Slow-loading websites decrease your conversions by 7%.
  4. 70% of marketers who perform CRO also use that knowledge to improve their general marketing.
  5. ‌The average ROI of CRO is 223%, and many marketers report even higher numbers.
  6. 62% of companies have fewer than six landing pages.
  7. ‌Companies with 40 or more landing pages have 12 times more conversions than sites with fewer than six landing pages.
  8. ‌The average conversion rate for a landing page is between 9.87% and 13.28%.
  9. ‌Most sites see conversion rates between 1% and 3%.
  10. ‌Barely half of companies that use landing pages test them.
  11. ‌A/B testing is the most popular form of CRO testing.
  12. ‌Improving your CRO testing and targeting methods can improve your conversion rates by 300%. 

Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization

Raising your revenue is the biggest benefit of CRO, but it’s not the only one. When you make CRO a priority, you’ll also see improvements like:

  • ‌A better understanding of your customers: Great CRO means you’ll spend a lot of time studying what your customers like and dislike. That knowledge is helpful to every part of your business. You can use it to not only improve your website user experience (UX) but also to design better marketing and products. 
  • A higher ROI: You put a lot of effort and money into getting people to your website. When you increase your web conversion rate, you get a better return on that investment (ROI). Every dollar you spend getting people onto the site earns you more money, so you either bring in more revenue or get to spend less.
  • More audience trust: Part of CRO is convincing people that your business is trustworthy. When you build a better website through CRO practices, you’re also building your audience’s trust. Professional, approachable websites are seen as more reliable, and trustworthy sites convert and keep customers more often.‌
  • Easier business scaling: Improving your conversion rate makes it easier to scale up your business. There are only so many people on the planet. No matter how excellent your marketing is, eventually you’ll run out of new people to bring to your site. When you’re converting more visitors into customers, you can grow your business without worrying about a too-small audience.

Elements of Conversion Rate Optimization

There are three steps to excellent conversion rate optimization:

‌Collecting quantitative data: Quantitative data is “hard numbers,” or your website’s metrics. This is stuff like the total number of visitors to your site, how many people clicked on different pages, and what demographics are visiting most often. You’ll need this information to learn your business’s baseline conversion rates. You’ll also need to keep track of it in the future to discover if you’re improving or not. You can install CRO tools on your website to record this information for you.

‌Collecting qualitative data: Qualitative data is any kind of information that you can’t assign a number to. It includes customer feedback, complaints, and suggestions. This type of info is harder to collect, but it’s more valuable. Instead of having to guess why people leave or stay on a page, you can just ask them. You can use surveys and user testing to learn what people like and what they think needs improvement.

‌Making potential improvements: Once you’ve collected data about what and how to change your site, you can actually make those changes. It’s best to only make one change per page at a time. If you adjust too many things, you won’t be able to connect your improvements to any one change. Slow and steady changes make it easy to spot which adjustments are working and which aren’t. 

‌Once you’ve made improvements, it’s time to collect data again. You’ll repeat these steps as long as your business is running. Why? Because your site will never be “perfectly” optimized. Over time, the internet and your customer base are bound to change. 

‌It’s easier to continually improve your site than it is to let things slide. When you make CRO a part of your regular operations, you never have to worry about conversions falling off.

Best Practices of Conversion Rate Optimization

Online, the idea of “best practices” is complicated. The tools and techniques that worked best two years ago might not work today. Customer preferences change, so your methods need to change, too. Instead of focusing on low-level tips, like “make your call to action impossible to miss,” you should focus on high-level practices. 

‌These three strategies will help you change with the times without getting stuck on minor details.

Plan Out Conversion Funnels

A conversion funnel is a path that your customers follow that convinces them to make a purchase. For example, they may click on an ad, which takes them to your blog. From your blog, they click on a suggested product. On the product page, they add something to their cart. Finally, they decide to purchase everything in their cart. 

‌You already have a conversion funnel in place if your site is more than just one button to buy something. To plan out your conversion funnel, think like your customers. Where do your ads send people? What do they see on that page? Is there a clear call to action that’s guiding them to the next step? 

‌Check for barriers like pages that don’t have a clear call to action and remove them. Set up the funnel to guide people painlessly through their purchases.

Perform A/B Testing

A/B testing is the process of comparing two (or more) potential changes. It’s an excellent tool for getting quantitative data on possible improvements. 

‌To A/B test something, you need a tool that will show each version to a portion of your audience. A random half of site visitors will see version A, and the rest will see version B. Then, the tool will track how people reacted to each version. You’ll have hard numbers on which version led to more web conversions, so you can make the more successful change permanent.

‌You can A/B test just about everything on your site, including:

  • ‌Page titles: Test two variations on a page title, like “Reviews” and “Customer Testimonials,” against each other.
  • ‌Position of pop-ups: Check whether customers prefer large, central pop-ups, small banners at the top of the screen, or small chatbox-style pop-ups.
  • Phrasing of calls to action: Some customer bases respond well to urgent calls to action, while others don’t like being pressured. Try different versions to see what gets better results.
  • ‌Color schemes: Before overhauling your branding, test color schemes against each other to see which themes your audience likes more.

‌Product descriptions: There’s such a thing as too much information. Try different styles of product descriptions to see which one gets more people to put the item in their cart.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Before modern data-collection tools, you had to rely on your gut feeling or a small selection of customer feedback to improve your store. Today, though, opinions and gut feelings are the worst way to make decisions about your business. Your gut feeling could be completely off-base, and you might make your company worse. 

‌You have the opportunity to collect data from and learn about your audience. You can use all this data to make informed decisions. Unlike gut-feeling decisions, a data-driven approach ensures that your focus is on giving your customers what they want. Even when trends change, using data to guide your strategies will keep your business on the right track.

The 7 Best Tools to Improve Your CRO

You don’t need to go it alone. There are plenty of tools you can use to make CRO a no-stress part of your regular site maintenance. Here are the top seven tools to improve your conversion rate optimization.

1. HotJar

Not everyone has a head for numbers. If you’re more of a visual person, HotJar can help. The tool tracks how people engage with your site and gives you heatmaps of what they use most. These heatmaps show you where people spend time and what they look at most. 

‌HotJar also provides videos of how real people interacted with your site. There’s no need to interpret a spreadsheet; you just get intuitive insights into how people really react to your pages.

2. Google Optimize

A/B testing can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With Google Optimize, you can incorporate A/B testing into your website in minutes. You have complete control over what you test and when.

‌Google handles presenting your audience with your different versions and gives you a clear summary of all the data you collect. It will even let you know which version performed better according to the metrics you selected and by how much.

3. Google Analytics

You also need to keep track of your site metrics outside of your A/B testing. Google Analytics is a simple tool that measures all the information you could ever need. You can get real-time reports on traffic, your audience demographics, where they came from, and how many conversions you made. Best of all, it’s free.

4. Google Tag Manager

If you want to track your metrics more effectively, using a tag manager can help. These programs allow non-programmers to adjust how a website tracks visitors and where that information goes . Google Tag Manager is a free solution that makes it easy to connect your site to any analytics program you like.

5. Funnelytics

Conversion funnels are a fundamental part of CRO. However, they can be difficult to understand without a visual. That’s what Funnelytics is designed to provide. You can use this tool to organize and track the success of your conversion funnels. You get a clear map of where people are entering your funnel, where you’re trying to send them, and how many conversions happen at each stop along the way.

6. Google Pagespeed

The simplest way to improve your web conversion rate is to make your website load more quickly. Google Pagespeed looks for ways your site is inefficient and gives you free suggestions to improve it. 

7. Google Search Console

If you want to look at all of your website’s statistics in one place, Google Search Console is the right tool for you. You can check everything from page loading speed to how your site is seen by search engines. It will also send you alerts when your website experiences problems that might hurt your CRO.

CRO Improvements in the Real World

Simple CRO changes can make a big difference. Here are two case studies that show how even tiny adjustments can increase your conversion rate dramatically.

Mozilla Speeds up Landing Page and Increases Conversions by 15.4%

For a web browser, the number of annual downloads is all-important. Mozilla Firefox has been competing with Google Chrome since Chrome was launched. For a while, Mozilla was being firmly beaten by Chrome. One of the best things the company did to fight back was simple: it made it easier to download Firefox. 

‌The Mozilla team did some research, comparing the loading speed of their landing page against Chrome’s landing page. It turned out that Chrome’s page loaded significantly faster. It became clear that some people probably chose to download Chrome over Firefox just because it was quicker. 

‌So, the Mozilla team did some A/B testing. They developed a page that loaded 2.2 seconds faster and tested it against their original page. The optimized, faster-loading page saw 15.4% more downloads than the old version on the same day. That simple UX improvement led to more than 60 million additional downloads annually. A few seconds makes all the difference.

A/B Testing Increases data36's Landing Page Conversions by 96%

Landing pages need to be fast, but they also need to be thorough. According to studies, longer landing pages can increase conversions by up to 52%. Data36 decided to test that for themselves by A/B testing its primary landing page. 

‌The test was simple. The original landing page was version A. It was about 1500 words long and contained a single 5-minute video. Version B was a much longer page at about 4000 words long. It had four videos, for a total of 12 minutes of run time. The longer page explained everything about the product and included FAQs, testimonials, and much more imagery. 

‌The test followed A/B testing rules perfectly. Site visitors were randomly shown one page or the other without taking their demographics into account. Both pages were visited by more than three thousand people over the testing period. 

‌The results were clear. At the end of the test period, the longer landing page led to nearly twice as many conversions than the original, short page. That’s a massive increase. The rigorous A/B testing showed that the improvement wasn’t just a matter of chance: people really do prefer longer landing pages. 

Make the Most of Your Website

Conversion rate optimization is the simplest way to increase your revenue and get new customers. By using the right tools and testing techniques, you can take your website from good to great. CRO not only lets you learn from your customers, it helps you design your entire site around what they want. 

‌CRO is an iterative process. You don’t need to overhaul your entire site all at once. You can focus on improving things over time, and you’ll see more conversions with every change. If you’re ready to start capturing the right leads at the right time, contact Redstitch today to discuss your conversion goals.

Picture of Written By: Wes Davis

Written By: Wes Davis

Wes is a seasoned marketing expert with over two decades of experience in the industry. His extensive portfolio includes working with some of the biggest players in the business world as well as small and family-owned business, devising effective marketing strategies to boost growth. He is driven by a passion for helping businesses of all sizes reach their full potential and has a proven track record of delivering measurable results. Outside his professional life, Wes is a devoted family man, a passionate dance dad, and coaches high school baseball. He enjoys traveling and photography as well, capturing moments that matter across the world.

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