If you are a webmaster or you have a business that depends on attracting customers to your website, you are probably already tracking and analyzing your site’s traffic statistics and keeping tabs on your social media activity. It is great to have a record number of visitors to your site or to have people like and share your posts. When your site makes a big jump in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), one might even do the slow clap, give a “woo-hoo,”or break into song. I may or may not have done those things, but that’s not important.
What is important is understanding whether or not the time and money you spend attracting people to your website is actually translating into business. What you should be asking yourself is this: What percentage of people who come to your site complete a meaningful action that generates, or converts into, revenue for your company? Tracking these conversions can tell you if all of the work you put into your website is paying off.
Managing your website without tracking your conversion rate is like playing the stock market but not checking to see if you have had a return on your investments.
“Without action, the best intentions in the world are nothing more than that: intentions.” ― Jordan Belfort, The Wolf Of Wall Street
In this blog article I will discuss what conversions rates are, how to track them, and what you can do to improve your site’s conversion rate.
What is a Conversion?
A conversion is a tangible action that a user completes while on your website. Conversions can consist of making a purchase online, signing up for a newsletter, downloading a product or a free trial, providing contact information, scheduling an appointment, downloading a whitepaper, etc. On the Accelebrate website, our most important action is having a potential customer fill out our contact form because, for us, that is the first step toward becoming a client for our training services. In a nutshell, a conversion is any action that you want a user to complete on your site that supports your business goals.
How do I Track My Conversion Rate?
A conversion rate is the percentage of a site’s visitors who actually complete a desirable action. Once you have identified your most important actions, you can track them in Google Analytics.
- If you have not done this already, get a Google account so you can use Google Analytics. You cannot use Google Analytics without a Google account.
- Decide which route you want to use as the path to a conversion in your own website. For example, Accelebrate’s goal completion location is our /contact/thank-you page because this is the page served to the user after they successfully complete our contact form. The thank you page is Accelebrate’s success URL. Make sure your success URL is different from any other URL in your site.
- Finally, embed Google Analytics code into the code of your success page (or pages if you have multiple goals). This snippet of code will allow Google to track the conversion rate on your success page(s).
You can then configure Google Analytics to track your conversions to give you a conversion rate.
- Log into Google Analytics
- Click on the “Admin” link on the top left.
- Click on Goals.
- Once there, follow the prompts to set up your goal and your success URL.
- It will take at least 24 hours for Google Analytics to start tracking your conversion rates.
The Conversion Rate Dashboard view in Google Analytics
Bonus time! Here are some interesting facts you can throw out at parties when things are getting dull:
- Only 18% of websites convert more than 5% of visitors into actual business.
- A conversion rate of 2% is considered good for most e-commerce sites.
- Amazon.com’s conversion rate is 9.6%.
- You are 75% more awesome than 92% of all webmasters. Ok, I just made that one up.
How to Improve your Site’s Conversion Rate
“If you can’t tell the difference between which part’s the idea and which part’s the execution of the idea, you’re of no use to me.” -Peggy Olson, Mad Men
Channel your inner Mad (Wo)Man and create well-written, useful, and persuasive text that will compel your users to complete a goal. Do not stuff keywords in to your marketing text because you think it is good for SEO (for more information on creating high quality content, please read my previous article on SEO for 2015). Using some keywords is fine, and may get a user’s foot in the door, but it will not keep them there or persuade them to take an action. To accomplish that, you will need content that is meaningful and serves a purpose based on your user’s needs.
What do screen sizes and attention spans have in common? They are shrinking.
If you want people to stick around long enough to be persuaded to do something, you should provide content that users can read easily on a desktop computer or a mobile device, and keep the prose to the point. Consider using responsive web design with an RWD framework like Bootstrap for your layout. Offer content that is free and helpful. For example, Accelebrate offers free tutorials on some of the topics we teach. If you own a garden center, you could publish seasonal gardening tips, or, if you own a yoga studio, you could write about the health benefits of certain postures. Give your users a little gift; it might just entice them to take an action.
Make it Easy – Create a Clear Call to Action
Now that you have created content that is relevant and helpful, your user may be ready to take the next step. You will need to create a Call To Action (CTA) that is clear and easy to understand.
On the Accelebrate site, one of our CTAs is the same large ‘Request Information’ button graphic that is linked to our contact form and placed on the top right corner of our home page and each landing page. There is no magic color, placement, or size of buttons, but the button should be prominent on your page and convey what you want the user to do.
Do not have too many CTAs on one page. Your page will end up looking cluttered and confusing. If users are confused, they are likely to just do nothing at all.
Bottom line: Your CTA should stand out and clearly state what the user will get.
Can you easily find and understand the CTA on this page?
How about this one?
Finally, track your conversion results and keep tweaking your site. You may need to play around with your text and your design to see what works. That is the part that may take some time, effort, and patience, but it will be worth it when you see your hard work translating into sales.
Author: Anne Fernandez, one of Accelebrate’s SEO team members