The 5 Conversion Rate Optimization Techniques That Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know
By Marc Howard
As an entrepreneur if you think the secret to getting more clients or more sales is more traffic to your website–think again.
These businesses listen to “pros” who tell them that they need to attract more visitors to their site or spend thousands in paid search ads to draw in more potential customers.
Its not that that is bad advice it’s just premature advice. I mean who doesn’t want more traffic and visitors to their website?
I’m going to explain why this is like buying a new engine for your car when all you really needed was a tune-up. By the end of this article you will have actionable steps to tune-up your website and get more out of your existing traffic without spending a dime on more traffic.
Welcome to the specialty of conversion rate optimization (CRO). CRO is the technique of using analytics, user feedback and testing to improve the performance of your website.
This really boils down to understanding what visitors really want when coming to your site and providing it to them.
Before we get touch the surface of the many ways that you can better optimize your site for conversions it’s important to first get to know your KPI’s (or key performance indicators).
For example a typical website could have the following KPIs:
- Increase website visitors by 25%
- Increase email opt-ins by 10%
- Decrease bounce-rate (the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page) by 15%
According to KISSMetrics 50-90% of all website visitors visit a site once and never return. What if there was a way to make more of those visitors stick around?
CRO optimizes existing traffic to maximize the conversion to a particular goal (or KPI).
This means instead of spending more money acquiring more traffic via paid search (PPC) or organic SEO techniques, you are simply becoming more efficient with the traffic that you already have.
For example, let’s say that your blog (or website) gets 100,000 unique visitors a month and you are struggling to collect more email optins. If you acquired 1000 emails for every 100,000 visitors your email conversion rate is a measly 1% (100,000/1000=100 or 1% of 100,000).
Improving your email opt-in rate by 5% takes your email list from 1000 emails to 5000 emails–a significant boost. So without any new traffic you were able to increase your email list simply by increasing your conversion rate of existing traffic!
So how can this be done and what’s the reason why most conversion rates are low?
This could be for dozens of reasons such as a hard-to-see email optin form; an unattractive color scheme; low-quality images; cheesy stock photos or perhaps the biggest issue I see these days–a poor call-to-action.
For instance, having an email form that simply has Name, Email and a button that says “Submit” is typically not very compelling and does not tell the user how there life will be better if they sign-up.
In other words it does not answer the “what’s in it for me” question that we all ask ourselves.
After reviewing many dozens of websites and blogs for CRO here is my list of top recommended best practices to maximize conversions:
You know a good CTA when you see one. Its usually a large, bold and highly visible tagline or a short phrase that quickly communicates either what the site is about or what value the site will provide for you. Some great examples:
DigitalMarketer.com: “Traffic. Conversion. Engagement. Which do you want to boost today”?
Upwork (formerly Odesk): “Where will great work take you? Find freelancers to tackle any job, any size, any time.”
VideoFruit: “Step-by-step formulas to grow your business”.
If your CTA is clear and your intention is to collect an email address–the best location for the email form is above-the-fold (or visible without having to scroll down the page).
This psychological growth hack couples a compelling CTA with the logical next step–filling in your email address.
How many times have you found yourself on a great site but had to hunt around for an email signup form? Most people are lazy (yes even yours truly!) so make it easy for them to get your message and sign up for your list with a form in clear view.
If you cannot embed your form or have limited HTML experience consider a free email pop-up form like SumoMe. Just make sure that it’s visible and has a compelling CTA and also most times a great bribe like a free ebook or report does wonders for CRO!
According to WebIris.org, “47% of users expect your web page to load in under two seconds” and “57% of users will abandon a page if its load time is 3 seconds or more”.
Test your page speed in seconds using the free Pingdom Website Speed Test tool.
Now that Google recently updated their search algorithm to factor in whether a site is mobile-friendly, sites that fail this test are given lower rankings in Google search from mobile devices.
The reason is that Google prefers to reward mobile-friendly sites with higher search rankings as there are considered more user-friendly and thus have lower bounce-rates as they are easy to see and navigate on a mobile device.
You can test your site in seconds with the free Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. Just type in your site URL and within seconds it will not only tell you whether your site passed or failed but also why it failed and exactly how you can fix it! You can send the results and recommendations directly to your web guy or gal to action ASAP.
Despite popular belief Google isn’t physic. In fact the primary way Google indexes and categorizes your site is via metadata. Metadata is information that helps explain what your web page is about.
For example, let’s take a look at the Google search below for “blogtrepreneur”:
Here is a breakdown of the meta data:
- Title Tag: “Entrepreneur Blog | Blogtrepreneur – For Busy Entrepreneurs”
- Meta Description: “blogtrepreneur is a leading Entrepreneur Blog, helping you turn your entrepreneurial dream into a reality with the absolute latest tips, news and advice!”
The takeaway is that if you don’t give your page a title and meta description not only will Google have a hard time figuring out what your page is about but people will too.
Now let’s see an example of a title and meta description that is quite vague and more than likely not optimized to describe the page using the search term “eco friendly shower head”
What is this search result trying to communicate? What is its CTA? Why would anyone ever click on it?!
The bottom line is that using descriptive metadata that clearly communicates why a person should click on the link helps to maximize conversations and also helps Google understand what the page is all about enabling a more relevant search experience.
For a quick check of what you blog or website’s meta data looks like for each page go to Google and type site:www.yoursite.com.
It will list all the pages that Google currently has in its index and the Title and Meta Description for each page (if you gave it one). Be sure to update any pages that are unclear to make them more descriptive and clickable.
In short better CRO means more business, more leads and better converting traffic. A higher conversion rate means greater ROI and is much more cost effective than trying to find more visitors.
Most sites don’t have a traffic problem, they have a CRO problem. The tips above although just a partial list of the many other factors can get you well on your way to higher conversions and a growing business.