conversion rate optimization

What is Conversion Rate Optimization and How to Calculate?

We are all after the conversion rate!

We all want to convert visitors from leads to paying customers and finally to becoming loyal customers. And this is a nutshell how you can grow a business.

You need to get visitors and then convert them into loyal customers. And to grow your business, you can either increase the number of visitors or increase your conversion rate.

If you can get ten loyal customers from the same 100 visits versus the always five previously, then you just doubled your revenue without increasing your audience.

Of course, these are arbitrary numbers, but this demonstrates how important conversion rate optimization is especially when your business is growing super fast, any increase in conversion rates will dramatically affect your bottom revenue.

That is why you need to pay extra attention to conversion rate optimization.

And don’t worry, you have almost everything you need to get started with conversion rate optimization here in this post, so let’s get started 😉

What is Conversion Rate Optimization and How To Calculate?

According to Moz:

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take the desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise.

The CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them from completing your goals.

But, you try to increase the number of people who took action without increasing the number of people themselves. That involves testing and thriving to improve the rate. And it doesn’t happen overnight.

Example of such conversions as we mentioned:

  • Signing up to your list
  • Filling a form for your company to call them
  • Adding a product to a cart
  • Purchasing the product
  • Requesting a quote
  • and so on

Before you get started with all the optimization, you need to know what your current rate is and from there try to beat it and increase it.

And it is very simple to calculate your conversion rate. All you need to do is divide the number of unique people who took the desired action by the number of unique sessions.

And most tools nowadays in their analytics show you directly your conversion rate, so you don’t need to bother about the calculation. They even update it over time to show you if there is any improvement.

Now that we covered that part let’s talk about the main element when it comes to CRO.

7 Elements of Conversion Rate Optimization –

When it comes to Conversion Rate Optimization, people always try to complicate it and always look at one part of it, ignoring the big picture.

That is why we are taking a step back and focusing on the main seven elements that when affected, could increase or decrease your conversion rate.

Let’s start with the first one.

1. Landing Page Design –

Here is the thing, the design is king whether you agree on it or not especially in this high paced world. Read this post to know why.

People will take first impressions from your design, and they could decide to leave your site based on your design, or your design could easily make them develop a sense of trust for your brand before even knowing what it is.

So it is very important to nail the design part. And that is why I recommend people when they start their conversion rate optimization is to do big tests like completely changing their design before obsessing with small things like the button color and so on.

So what should your design look like?

First of all, make sure that your design matches your brand. You can’t have the landing page look in a way that is 100% different than your whole site. You need to make them match either.

After that, the colors and fonts are decided based on your brand, who you are targeting, and what you want to convey with your design. That is why it is not just an easy process of picking any color and going with it.

It takes some time to map out your strategy and figuring out what may work perfectly with the brand that you want to build, and then after that, you go and test your hypothesis.

2. Headline –

Now that you got someone to stay on your site and not making them leave it after checking it, your job now is to hook them with your headline.

That is why the headline is the most important words written on your page. 8 out of 10 people will decide whether or not to read your page based on your headline. Have a bad headline, and you already lost 80% of the people without even making them read a single line after that.

That is why after you have a design, the second big thing to test out is your headline. See which ones get people to stay on your site longer and make them want to take the next step by taking the desired action that you give them.

And how to write a strong headline?

Well, it depends on the page that you are creating, the offer, and what action you want them to take.

But basic guidelines to have in your mind is to make sure that you take your time to do your research and understand your audience, and make sure to use their words in creating a headline that makes them think that you understand them clearly.

And of course, make sure that you always look for successful landing pages and see how you can model their headline in your niche, and test your hypothesis.

Oh, and don’t forget to use power words! Not every word created is equal. This list of words from Smart blogger is great to help you get started to make your headline more powerful.

3. Landing Page Copywriting –

After you hook your visitors with your design and headline, your copywriting skills are then put in use to make sure that you convince them that taking the action you want is the right thing for them without making them lose interest or bouncing from your site.

That starts from the first sentence after your headline to bullet points and subheads.

So how do you write an effective copy? Well, I could go on for hours about it, especially that we don’t specify the offer and the actions your audience need to take.

But in short:

  1. Do your research: Again. You need to understand your audience and make them think you understand them more than themselves. That means surveying your audience or reading reviews of people on other sites.
  2. Make your sentences short
  3. Sprankle some power words
  4. Give extra care to your subheads. After all, people scan more than they read, and this is the part that is almost guaranteed to be read.
  5. Use bullet points and take some time to write a good one. People love reading bullet points when they are in the scanning mode
  6. Avoid fancy words and write in the reader’s words… again.

Now, you have done a crash course in copywriting. Put it in good use, and you will see a good improvement in your conversion rate. If you want to read more about it, check out the following resources:

4. CTA Buttons –

Now that you wrote a great copy and you have convinced the visitor to take action, they need to click on the Call-to-Action button to confirm that action.

If they don’t, then everything else didn’t matter to them. Everything leads to this point.

That is why you need to care about the call to action you place on the button. Just putting the boring submit button won’t do much for your business.

There are a lot of tests done concerning the CTA button. Here are a few of the things to keep in my mind:

  • Obviously to make it stand out. You don’t need it to blend like your any text on the page. Your user needs to know what to do.
  • Using the word ‘me’ showed to be effective: Instead of saying sign up, saying sign me up can improve your conversion rates, make sure to test it out
  • The color of the button should only be used for the call to actions. Don’t use blue because your brand is blue. Use such a color that when your audience sees it, they know they need to take action, like hyperlinks and so on.
  • Don’t use the word submit ever – this is such a depressing word in CTA world.

Having those in mind, you can go on and test anything else. But don’t get obsessed with the CTA button until you crack other things first like the design and the headline.

Once you optimize those things, you could look for optimizing the CTA button.

5. Site’s Navigations –

I am pretty much sure you may find this one intriguing but bear with me for a second.

One thing you need to improve in your conversion rate is usability or user experience as Google loves to say.

Having navigation can help you do just that. Yes, some landing page may not have navigation to increase conversions, but that is not always the best option.

Having a good site architecture and showing it through the navigation is important to improve the usability on your site and increase conversion rate.

And if you think that having a good UX won’t boost your conversion rates by much, then check this. Voicer saw an improvement of 75% when they fixed small UX problems.

75% is huge. Huge!

That is why you can’t ignore this. Neil Patel went as far as saying that a good site structure is all you need to improve your conversion rates.

That is insane and shows how important Usability and User Experience is for improving your conversion rates.

6. Page Speed –

No one will disagree with this. Page speed is uber important nowadays since we are living in a high paced world as I said.

Every second more it takes to load your site you are losing conversions, and it is already proven.

According to skilled.co, when they were doing tests on a healthcare company, they found out that pages that loaded in:

  • 4 seconds had a 1.9% conversion rate,
  • 3 seconds had a 1.5% conversion rate,
  • 2 seconds had less than 1% conversion rate,
  • 7 seconds had less than 0.6% conversion rate

That’s crazy. Imagine how much you are leaving conversions on the table because you have a poor page speed.

Still can’t believe the importance? Here are 12, not just 1, case studies assembled by the people at skilled.co in a very good way in the infographic below to prove my point.

That is why you need to care about your page speed when it comes to increasing your conversion rates, and you will notice the difference yourself.

7. Signup Form –

This is the final step. You can’t get the lead without getting people to fill out the signup form. You can’t get the money in your pocket without having people use their credit cards (as a form of subscription as well).

That is why you need to have a great signup form to make sure that you are not losing conversions along the way.

And how to get one that converts very well? Here are few tips to help you improve your conversions and increase your signup form submissions:

  • Place the form above the fold: You are not guaranteed to have your audience scroll down. It won’t take long to grab the attention of your audience, or you will lose them. Once you grab it, you don’t have it for a long time, so place the form above the field before you lose it again.
  • Have a clear call to action on the signup form. Don’t just say you can signup by doing this and that. Give it to them directly and ask them to signup to receive the bonus
  • Decrease the number of fields. Remove the ones that you don’t need like the address if you are not a physical company, for example. A 5-field form outperformed a 9-field form by 34%.

If you want more on how to improve your conversion on signup forms, check out these articles below:

How to Start Conversion Optimization?

Now that we are done with the seven basic elements knowing where is conversions affected and few tips and strategies to increase your conversion rates without wasting your time, now it is time to know what you need before you start the process of conversion optimization.

Conversion rate optimization doesn’t just have an idea that you want to test but you go and test it and hope for great results.

You need to make educated guesses based on your audience and how they interact with your page. And how to do so? That is what you are going to discover next.

The first key data point…

Collect the Heatmaps –

You can’t start testing when you don’t know what your visitors do on your site. Where do they look? Where do they click? What grabbed their attention and what didn’t and so on.

One way to get this data is to sit beside people once they visit your website or just to run a heatmap to get an understanding of hot areas on your page that grabbed your users attention.

Once you start the heatmap analysis, which I will tell you how in a few moments, you will then wait for people to visit your site and how they interact, and based on the data you get, you will start forming a hypothesis of where your conversion rate is dropping and ideas on how to improve it.

A product that I love using to collect heatmap data is Hotjar. There are many others like Crazyegg as well, but I love Hotjar because I could use it with the steps below as well.

Here is a simple illustration of how a heatmap looks like:

Seeing an image like the above, you can ask yourself why there were more clicks on the left item, for example.

You can also see if people are scrolling or not — the percentage. You can also see where to place your CTA and how to get more people to do that action.

One thing to keep in mind is that you need a good sample size to have clear, accurate data. A good rule of thumb to have in mind is to check it once you have over 2k impressions on your site.

Heatmaps are a great way to get started and see how people interact on your site, but that is not enough. It is a great start though.

Collect Analytics –

Analytics is super important when it comes to conversion rate optimization. It all starts with first tracking your performance and seeing how you can improve after that.

And one of the top tools already used by most people is Google Analytics.

Here are a few things to do once you login in your Google analytics to start seeing where your site is leaking money. But first, you need to understand your audience.

  • Start by looking at the sessions number on your site and users number. You need to make sure that your users’ number is always increasing
  • New visitors vs returning visitors: Does it take multiple times for people to convert? You need to be clear on the percentage for both
  • Traffic channels: Not every channel is the same. Check organic vs paid vs referral vs direct vs social channel and have an idea about the difference in conversion rates
  • After that, check page views per user, average time on site and bounce rate. If the bounce rate is high and the average time on site is very low, then there is a problem with the UX of your website or traffic source or maybe the copy or design on the page. You need to tackle each problem
  • Take a look at each segment separately: Check mobile data separately. If you see the numbers falling make sure that your site is optimized for mobile
  • Make sure you have goals on your site for every desired action you want your audience to take. I mean everything from a click to putting their credit card on the form and paying you money and make sure to see this funnel regularly to see where it is leaking.
  • Always check for leaks in each traffic source, each browser, each device, each landing page, and so on.

You could check out these two resources to help you with Google Analytics and using it to optimize your conversion rates:

Customer Surveys –

Customer surveys are a very intelligent way to understand your audience completely. After that, your job as a copywriter is to completely convey that through the word that you write to convince people to check out your product.

Without the survey, a lot of things will not be known for you about your audience. You could use your customer surveys to understand things like:

  • What clicked with them and made them signup to your product?
  • What were they skeptical about?
  • Which part of your product did they like most?
  • Which part they didn’t expect to like, but they found it to be more important than you think?
  • What didn’t they like and why?
  • What made them come to your site in the first place? What are their pains and desires?
  • and so on

It is very hard to ask all this in 1 survey. But you need to always be on the hunt for data about you and your site.

The data above can give you insights about what parts of your product to ignore and what to stress on more.

You can also use the same words of respondents and how they describe their pains and problems to improve your copy. Since they are thinking this way, others are thinking the same way, and using the same words will make them think that this product was created just for them, thus, increasing conversion rates.

That is why you should always be surveying your audience, and do it before every time you want to find out why your pages are having a high bounce rate and thus wanting to improve your copy.

Usability Tests –

As I mentioned above, user experience is very important for your conversion rates, and how few tweaks can dramatically boost your conversion rates.

That is why usability tests are important to understand if there are any problems with your user experience and methods to help you improve it.

Usability testing is important to find out if the visitors can find the information they need and understand it well or not, and if any blocks or frictions come between them taking action or not.

The best thing about usability testing is that you don’t need a lot of conversions to benefit from it. Unlike A/B tests where you need at least a hundred things if not more conversions to make sure the data is correct and that this is the best variant. With usability tests, all you need is just ten people. Sometimes even less!

It will also give you data, not just statistics on why things didn’t work and even ideas on how to improve it.

So how do you do a usability test? You can get started with user testing where random people are sent to your site, and they should write a report on it.

That is, of course, not the perfect thing to do. The best thing to do is to recruit people yourself from your audience and see their response as they visit your site and then collect the data. The data here will be more specific and more useful to you.

You can check out these guides about usability and how to use it to your maximum benefits:

 

13 Conversion Optimization Tips to Take Your Conversion Rates to The Next Level

Now that we are done with the basics and have the data we need to form a hypothesis on what is broken and what needs fixing and ideas on how to improve, the next thing we need to know is how to optimize to get your conversion rates to the next level without waiting too long for results.

And I didn’t bring 1 or 2 tips, but 13 of them to ensure you see results with optimizing your conversion rates.

Let’s get started with the 1st one.

Just Start With A/B Testing –

I know how hard it is to convey yourself to get started with A/B testing. But here is the thing, unless you prove that something is working, then you don’t know for sure if it is the reason why your funnel is leaking conversions or not.

That is why you need to get started with A/B testing.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting A/B testing:

  • Test big things first before testing smaller things: Instead of testing the color of your buttons, test first if the design of the landing page is good or not, maybe test 2 different copies against each other. Once you have a winner, start testing smaller things like headlines, forms and so on
  • At least get 100 conversions: Don’t be in a hurry and finish a test when you don’t have enough data even if the difference is huge. It is good when you are just starting to focus on getting at least 100 conversions. If you can get bigger samples that would be better.
  • Test 1 thing at a time: Don’t just go all in changing multiple things and running just 1 test. This way you won’t know for sure what is driving your conversions up and what doesn’t. That is why after you nail big things like design and copy and want to start testing smaller things, always focus on testing one thing.
  • Have a goal and focus on it: What is your goal? Is it to get more leads? Good, then don’t bother with open rates and clickthrough rates. You can’t make it that complex.

If you want to dive deeper into A/B testing, check out the articles below:

Run A/B Testing After Collecting The Data –

This is what separates the pro conversion optimization experts from amateurs in the space.

Don’t just go with your intuition and test different things. Use the data which we just talked about before starting to talk about the cool optimization tips.

I mean things like heatmap, your Google Analytics, Surveys, and usability tests. Study these data very well before thinking about starting your A/B testing.

When you test based on intuition, it may work, but most of the time it won’t. So instead of just going randomly with tests. Take a step back and collect the data and then start testing.

This will completely change the game of conversion optimization for you.

But what if you don’t have enough data yet?

That is why A/B testing isn’t the only thing you could do to improve.

You could do things like…

Heuristic Analysis –

The heuristic analysis is a technique mainly developed to help with problem-solving.

It is something between having hard-core data that you get from A/B testing about what works and what doesn’t versus rolling the dice trying to guess if something is working or not.

It is more about taking an educated guess about what might work or what might not.

So what is the benefit of using heuristic analysis?

The main one is that you don’t have a high-traffic site enough to help you do A/B tests with a large sample providing enough data. Having a low-traffic site isn’t an issue anymore when it comes to conversion optimization.

It is also good when you have a limited budget and is short on time.

But the main con is that you need to be a little bit an expert when it comes to UI and being aware of best practices on Conversion optimization, which is mostly what you are going to discover in the coming point.

The question is, does it work?

Well, an online roller skate shop got a 69% increase in conversions after applying the heuristic analysis.

If you want to know more about heuristic analysis and how to apply it to your business, make sure to check the following guide:

Copywriting and Psychology –

Copywriters are in such a huge demand for a reason. They are the ones who can articulate words properly to get the conversion.

So if you want to get more conversions, a fast way to do so is by hiring a very good copywriter. But that is an expensive option plus it’s not available for everyone.

And we can’t talk about copywriting without mentioning psychology because if you understand the behavior of people who are surfing online, you can use it to improve your conversion rates.

Understand the behavior of your visitor, use the right words to persuade them to take action, and you have the conversion.

And I can literally talk about each one of these for hours. But instead, you can check out the following resources to help you when it comes to copywriting and conversion optimization:

Optimize Your Conversion Funnel –

Now that you have the base right and you know about copywriting, and psychology take a big look at your funnel and then try to look for big wins that will instantly increase the money you get in your pockets.

So how could you do so?

The first step is to look at conversion rates on your Google analytics that we set up before, and take a look at the number and see the pages where conversions are not as good as you expect.

If you have an established funnel, give a more look at the far end in your funnel. An increase in the conversion rate at the checkout page will drive you actual money instantly. You could then optimize by going to the beginning of the funnel.

If your funnel isn’t established well, then start with the landing page, since this will lead to more people to go the rest of the pages giving you the ability to start testing these funnels.

What to do? Take a look at the funnel and see if there’s anything lacking from a copywriting standpoint or usability? Try to see and improve. Of course, you will see different ideas to test in the rest of this post.

But I would suggest you take a look at yourself and put yourself in the shoes of your reader. Do you understand what is created on the site?

Is there any way you could improve it and make it easier to take action and move seamlessly from step to another? How to make sure the reader stick and not bounce back (your design and copywriting.)

Once you come up with some answers. Continue reading for more ideas to test.

Try Different Form Styles –

As we said in the beginning that forms are a very important element of a landing page and if you mess it up, then you are putting a lot of money on the table.

The thing is that it is easy to increase conversion with less work.

Here are a few things to test:

  • Test the reward that you are giving to people and see if you could increase value
  • Decrease fields as much as you can
  • Test form layouts with big fields.

By the way, form 3 was the most efficient form in this study.

  • Test your CTA Copy. Check the call to action before the form and on the button

These are a few of the ways you can increase conversions by optimizing your form.

Change the Design/Website Usability –

One thing you could do is to change your design and test a new one completely. This is not a small test that you could run to try and improve things by a small percentage.

As we mentioned, usability is very important, and a new design may be more useful to your readers than your old ones.

That is why I recommend people to always start by testing their design. The problem may not be in the copy, but the biggest one may be in your design.

Test Different Call to Actions and Colors –

This is another one of the small things that you could run that could improve your conversion rate without much work from your end. Changing the CTA is nothing compared to changing the complete design of the page.

So what could you do to improve your call to action?

  • Change the design of your CTA. You could see an improvement as demonstrated in the image below by 35%.
  • Change the shape of the button by adding arrows, for example.
  • Change the copy on the button. Don’t go with the same old submit and download button.

Short tip: try using ‘me instead of you on the signup form, as shown below:

  • Test size. Bigger doesn’t always mean better:

These are a few ideas to test. I am sure you can see possibilities of how your CTA is affecting your results. So take it a little bit more serious.

Try Putting a Video on the Homepage –

Videos are one of the so-called hacks that work most of the time to increase conversions, but you need to test it of course 😉

As mentioned by a report by ReelSEO, an online resource that has videos and even if visitors didn’t watch it, converts at a higher rate than those pages that don’t have a video. It creates a sense of trust.

They saw an increase in results between 46.22% and 27.05% when a video was added to a page.

That is why having a video may improve your page conversion rate. But what to do to make sure that you get the max results.

You can learn more about the use of videos to improve your conversion funnels by reading this post:

Remove All The Distractions –

Sometimes having more than enough can decrease your conversions. Giving your user 1 action to accomplish and not allowing them to do other things may be good to drive your results to the action that you want.

This is a checkout page of an online retailer, and this test was done by the team at MEC Labs.

When they removed top and side navigation from this page, they got a 19.95% increase in revenue per visit to the checkout process. 20% increase in revenue without increasing your visits is a thing that anyone may want.

But make sure that you don’t affect usability that much. Sometimes a sacrifice in the short term may be needed.

You can check this guide for more about eliminating distractions and increasing conversions.

How to Eliminate Distractions and Increase Conversions

Increase Page Speed –

No amount of customization will provide great results if your site takes a lot of time to load in today’s world.

I already mentioned the importance of page speed in the essentials.

So if you didn’t get it yet, one quick tip to improve conversions is to increase your page speed.

And to get started on how to improve your speed, check out this cool resource from the team at Crazy Eggy with 20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Improve Conversion in 2019.

Test Your Pricing –

One point that surprisingly delivers a boost in conversion rate/revenue is testing your pricing.

One thing that people don’t think about is that they become obsessed with the conversion rate that they forget about the most important goal that they have. For many, that goal is increasing revenue.

One quick way to increase your revenue is to increase your prices. Yes, that may mean a decrease in conversion rate but if that means more revenue at the end, then why bother with the number unless you want more customers in your list.

This is something that Neil Patel touches on in his post, What Spending $252,000 On Conversion Rate Optimization Taught Me.

If you double your prices and your conversion rate go from 5% to 3%. You are still the winner at the end. So take time and reflect on what gets you nearer to your goal. Don’t be obsessed with your conversion rate.

Anyway, here are a few things that you could do with your pricing without changing how much you price to help increase your conversion rate:

These are a few of the experiments that have been proven to impact your pricing. Make sure to test them out. You could check this article for more experiments:

Optimize for Mobile – 

Mobile traffic is increasing rapidly, and if you don’t treat it separately and give it the extra care, you are leaving a lot of conversions.

Nowadays, 70% of media time and 79% of social media time is done through mobile devices. Ignore mobile on your desktop.

But why at the end people get higher conversion rates on desktop and not on mobile? One good reason for that is the decrease in page speed when loading a site from mobile. And not seeing things on the big screen may affect.

A site that loads in 5 seconds or less generate 2x the revenue from mobile traffic than the ones that load in a long time.

That is why the first step to increase conversion rates from mobile is to optimize the performance of your site on mobile.

Another thing to do is remove popups on mobile. They don’t work. Test it but 90% of the time you will find it not to be working.

You can check out these three guides to help you with mobile conversion rate optimization:

Conclusion

Conversion rate optimization is very important to improve revenue to your site. And as you can see, it is not an easy process. But it is much simpler than getting traffic.

It may be fun for a lot of people who love testing and trying things.

And if it can increase your conversion rates generating more revenue to your business, I am sure you are going to enjoy 😉

This guide is enough to get you started with conversion optimization. You learned everything from the basics and essentials to the tips that you could use to get results from conversion optimization.

What is left?

Taking action and testing things yourself. This is the best way to learn more about what works and what doesn’t. There is a lot of studying in this post, so don’t waste your time and get right to optimizing your site the right way 🙂