10 Essentials of Conversion Rate Optimization

conversion rate optimization

Conversion Rate and Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate

A website designed to sell a service(s) or product(s) requires one essential: the conversion of viewers to buyers, conversion rate optimization, best practices and more. A company website that traffics in a large number of viewers, yet has low sales numbers in relation to the viewer count, has one of two problems, a poor product or a poor conversion rate.

The definition of conversion rate is, the number of a website’s viewers that become customers; the number of viewers that ”complete the goal.” Simply, conversion rate is the percentage of a website’s viewers that buy something (companies that aren’t selling anything also use conversion rate analytics — free download sites, for example, — but the concept remains the same).

Conversion rate is critical to the success of a company that relies heavily on its website for sales.

Assuming a poor conversion rate isn’t a symptom of the product(s) or service(s) being sold, the form and function of the website determines the conversion rate. In other words, if a website is marketing a service or product that sells everywhere except on that website, presumably, it’s the website that is preventing sales.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process by which web developers maximize the conversion rate of a website — how they prevent what is commonly known as the ”bounce rate.” The fastest way to reduce bounce rate is by optimizing a website’s conversion funnel (C.F.). Check out the following conversion rate optimization tips.

10 Conversion Rate Optimization Musts

1) Conversion Funnel

When a visitor lands on a website, the website should begin directing their navigation toward the goal (a purchase). The method used to move visitors from the landing page to the checkout page is called a conversion funnel. Almost every conversion rate optimization theory and method is somehow related to the conversion funnel, and many similar theories are covered across a similar conversion rate optimization blog.

Unlike pushing a baby around in a stroller, a website can not make navigation decisions for the visitor. What the designers of a website can do is use suggestion, innuendo and enticement. In other words, website’s conversion funnel works like a carrot on a stick.

Think of a conversion funnel like a treasure hunt. A website conversion funnel does not push, it leads. Landing page optimization, too, pushes websites with the highest conversion rates prompt users where to go.

2) No Conversion Funnel Barriers

Once a website developer understands the concept of a conversion funnel, the next step is to understand what barriers prevent a user from completing the goal. Understanding conversion rate optimization definitions are important. For example, barriers include things like links that lead viewers away from the website, pages that don’t move users one step closer to completing the goal, dead-end pages, poor navigation to and from pages, pages without side or top menus and inconsistent hyperlink icons.

3) Call to Action – If the purpose of the website — the end game — is not clear, visitors will bounce. If the purpose of a website is to sell clothes at discount prices, the call to action ”buy clothes at discount prices” or ”but 10 and get one free” must be abundantly clear.

4) Express Lane – Keeping in mind that the purpose of a conversion funnel is to move people to the complete-goal page every page on a website should have a link that takes them there directly. The link to the complete-goal page should use the same icon or hyperlink text and be located in the same place on every page.

The express lane link to the complete-goal page is the single most important button in a website.

5) Graphics – Graphics should only be used to enhance the call to action and move visitors through the conversion funnel. Graphics that do not serve a specific purpose should never be placed on a business website.

If graphics are used appropriately, they will always either signify something or add to the specific purpose of the page on which they are placed. For example, an image of a desert does not coincide with an ad for a heavy winter coat.

6) Usability – If the user can not move from the landing page to the complete goal page with clearly defined navigation tools — preferably with more than one avenue option — the website has poor usability. Poor usability may be the greatest conversion funnel barrier.

7) Originality in Simplicity – A website must be original in it’s simplicity. Simplicity is a means of assuring usability and functionality. Originality is a look that keeps viewers interested. It is the design combination of the two that increase conversion rate.

8) Bargains, Deals, & Free Stuff – While they aren’t very technical, they are very effective. People are drawn to discounts. Post discounts and deals in big, bold letters in order to make them more appealing. Discounts reduce bounce.

9) Positive Comments, Reviews & Social Media – If people find that others trust company, they are more apt to trust the company themselves. Positive reviews and accolades may not convert a viewer, but they can prevent them from bouncing and they make a lasting impression which means they may cause a viewer to return to your site and become a customer later.

10) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Simply, can people quickly find your website when they are searching for it on a search engine? While SEO is not directly related to CRO, it is the first barrier of the conversion funnel.

Conversion Rate Optimization: The Meat and Potatoes Versus the Dressing

Once a site developer produces a efficient, clean and appealing conversion funnel through optimization from the search engine, to the landing page, through the site and to the goal completion page, all the other conversion rate optimization methods merely enhance the work he has already completed.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.