You may have heard the word before, but in the web world “conversion” doesn’t mean a religious shift. Rather, it means shifting your web audience from inactive members to involved participants. The term is commonplace in e-commerce, where any e-commerce business owner needs traffic to result in a cash transaction. If someone isn’t buying from your site, it’s like someone walking out the door.
Conversion reaches beyond e-commerce and is an end-goal of any site that’s designed to get a viewer to take action, either through a donation, subscribing to a newsletter or obtaining a free download. It’s an art that requires steadfast dedication to perfect…and even then it always needs tweaking.
But you don’t have to do it alone, since it’s easy to take advantage of several great tools out there to help make the process more streamlined and effective.
Google Analytics – Google Analytics can asses everything on your site, from the amount of visitors, to unique hits per page, to peak times, to geographics and more. It can be used in a number of ways to see what efforts are working, and which aren’t.
Perhaps the most important metric Google Analytics will reveal is the length of time someone was on your site. Anything less than a minute and you can consider the individual a completely uninterested party. If you’re an Analytics beginner, this is the first thing you have to discern of your site visitors. If you find your visitors are leaving quickly, then consider changing up your home page. It could be the design, the content and even the graphics that are turning people away. Also consider what type of keywords attracted people to your site. If you’re ranking for the wrong keywords, you’re hurting your traffic and site worth. This is where you should take the time to bring on board a trained SEO professional.
A popular Google Analytics competitor can be found in Clickdensity, which offers many of the same services but a more targeted assessment of your website.
Google Website Optimizer – Once you’ve mastered Google Analytics, you’re naturally poised for the next step…and that’s conducting your own experiments to see which choices work best for your business. Google’s website optimizer lets you have two different versions of a page so you can see which page your visitors prefer. This is called split testing or “A/B testing.” Keep in mind that the process is still very scientific and far exceeds the usual focus group inspired answers. It’s not just about what people like, it’s about what’s making people act. What’s getting you the sale, what’s getting you the membership, the donations, the subscriptions? Something as simple as a graphic switch, a layout change, a color swap and even different keywords can help you determine whether a strategy is effective or not.
Userfly – Whether or not you go the Optimizer route, you should be taking advantage of Userfly’s free service of 10 sessions/month. Userfly acts like a digital one way mirror, allowing you to watch visitor movements as they navigate your site. This works best for sites that have more processes or content to go through. Perhaps there’s one section of your site that’s a bottleneck to traffic? Perhaps users give up on lengthy forms half way in or maybe a certain page tends to confuse people? Whatever it is, you’ll be able to pinpoint it with Userfly. E-commerce users will find that most of their conversion fails when it comes to check out. Checkout processes are too long, or there’s some other glitch that customers find frustrating. Even something as simple as not allowing customers to “continue to shop” can deter a final transaction.