So you have put in time and effort into SEO for your website, traffic has increased tremendously, however your sales are lagging behind and are yet to see a similar increase. It is time for you to meet CRO, short for conversion rate optimisation, SEO's less famous brother. Less famous, but certainly not less talented, as website conversion optimisation is a powerful tool at increasing revenue, leads and engagement with customers.
Whereas the focus of SEO is increasing the number of visitors of your website, conversion rate optimisation is a scientific approach which focuses on the quality of those visits. You see, not all visits are created equal. Admittedly, all brand exposure is a good thing, however the visits that matter the most are the ones that turn into sales, subscribes or application downloads.
Generally speaking, a website conversion is getting a visitor to perform an action that is beneficial. That being said, different websites have their own unique goals and needs. A non-profit political action website will be looking to engage customers differently than an online store, which in turn will be having different needs than a real-estate consultancy business. The crucial first step to improve website conversion rate is about defining what a conversion in your industry is. Surely all customer engagement is to be sought after, however in a world where everything is important, nothing is important. Choices need to be made, and those choices need to be informed, measurable criteria, by means of analytics and user feedback.
Your conversion rate is the ratio between the number of visitors that convert and the total number of visitors. To give an example, an online store that has 10000 unique visitors a month and gets 100 of them to make a purchase, has a conversion rate of 1%. Beyond this, there are many other metrics that matter, which together help paint the picture of where on the way to website conversion lies that bottleneck.
Once you have measured your current conversion rate and what drives it, the road has been paved to build hypotheses and then put them to the test. So, there are two primary approaches at doing this. One method is to create two versions of the same model, that differ in only one page element, be it headline, picture or a single button. This is called split testing or A/B testing, and has the benefit that, when controlled for variables, it offers reliable data while at the same time not requiring huge samples to be statistically significant.
The alternative is multivariable testing, and is a more holistic approach to website conversion optimisation, which pits two or more working models against each other, that are often built from scratch. This allows for testing multiple page elements at the same time, in different combinations, and provides invaluable data on the synergies between them.
Conversion rate optimisation is the iterative method of forming hypotheses and building models, running tests and measuring results with the end-goal of making the most out of the traffic your website already has. This makes very cost effective tool in the online marketer’s arsenal, which beyond the tangible effect of increasing revenue it allows you to gain a loyal, engaged segment of customers, and they will often market your business for you.