Jayson DeMers , CONTRIBUTOR
Conversions are a major key to making your website successful. Even if you have ample traffic to your site, driven by search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, or just a great reputation, none of those visits will mean a thing unless you have the power to convert those visitors into actual customers. In effect, you’ll be translating your visitor numbers into bottom-line dollars for your company.
If your site isn’t converting, all that traffic and all those potential opportunities are going to waste. Fortunately, there are a handful of common reasons why your site isn’t converting, and all of them can be remedied with relative ease.
How to Calculate Your Conversion Rate
Conversions can be defined in many ways; for some companies it may constitute the purchase of a product through an e-commerce platform. For others, it may simply be the completion of a signup form for an email newsletter. However you choose to define a conversion, you can track your metrics by setting up a Goal in Google Analytics, or alternatively tracking your conversions through a backend system of your choice.
As for what constitutes a “good” conversion rate, that depends on your business. Most companies see between 2 to 3 percent of their incoming traffic eventually convert, but that could increase or decrease depending on the amount of commitment necessary for conversion—for example, the purchase of a $10,000 piece of machinery would probably convert less than filling out a contact form. If you’re seeing less than 2 percent and your conversion ask isn’t significant, you’re likely facing a conversion problem.
Whatever the case, if you notice your conversion rate is subpar, it’s likely due to one of these five common reasons:
1. Your users don’t get the chance to convert. Take a look at your site and determine how many opportunities there are for a user to convert. If the only opportunity you have is a contact form on your contact us page, your big problem could be that your users want to convert and simply aren’t able. Make it easy for your users to convert by placing conversion opportunities all over your site. Include them in the header or footer of every page, or consider having a temporary popup appear when a user has been on your site for longer than 20 seconds.
2. You’ve annoyed your users. It’s also possible that you have, in one way or another, prompted your users to leave before they can get to your conversion opportunities. If you notice that your site has an unusually high bounce rate, this is likely the main problem. Conduct user surveys, use heat maps or otherwise analyze how and why your traffic is reacting to your site layout. Is your navigation difficult? Are your aesthetics displeasing? Do you have too many ads or too little information? Make your users feel at home by inviting them into your site with a warm, intuitive design.
3. Your users are distracted. It doesn’t matter if your contact form is on every page if that form is overshadowed by other material. This is commonly a symptom of companies who try to do too much with their website. They stuff their pages full of images, text, and other distracting items. Rather than focusing on providing the most valuable information for their incoming users, they bombard their users with everything they can think to throw. As a result, incoming users are too distracted to finalize their conversion process. If this is the case, try to minimize your design and focus only on what’s most important.
4. Your value isn’t sufficient. People aren’t just giving you conversions. They are exchanging a conversion for something. In the case of an e-commerce platform, they are giving you money in exchange for a product that is worth the value of that money. In the case of form submissions, they are giving you information in exchange for something else of value. If a user determines that your value offering isn’t worth the amount of money or information you’re asking for, you’re not going to win any conversions. Try offering better values and see if your conversion rates improve.
5. You aren’t targeting the right people. Your designs, your copy, and even your offerings should all specifically cater to one or a small range of user demographics. If you’re trying to please everybody under the sun, you’re going to end up alienating your audience through generalities. Whether you’re writing for everybody or just writing to the wrong people, improper targeting can completely ruin your chances at earning a high conversion rate. Study your demographics using Google Analytics and market research, then adjust your designs accordingly.
Address these problem areas as soon as you can—every lost conversion is a lost sale, and lost dollars you may never be able to recover. Take the time, effort, and resources you need to make corrections to your site and start earning your share of money from your inbound traffic.
Also remember that “optimizing for conversions” can never be a one-time process. It’s impossible to, with one set of long-term changes, maximize your potential to earn conversions from your incoming traffic. Instead, you’ll have to pay close attention to your metrics, constantly learn new things about your audience, and make gradual ongoing tweaks to improve.