Conversion rates are an essential statistic for website owners. You need to know how many customers are of value to you: such as buying a product or subscribing to your newsletter. The conversion rate is this number compared to the number of people visiting your website; often expressed as a percentage.
Low conversion rates are akin to a shop where everyone walks around to look at your displays, but don’t actually buy anything. The counter is empty and your till is gathering dust.
Web designers must understand conversion rates just as much as website owners. Without a comprehensive knowledge of these rates, you’re not taking into account the needs of your users. You aren’t reaching your full potential and your performance could suffer.
Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of conversion rates.
What are Conversion Rates?
Source: Stefson on Flickr
The definition of conversion rate is the number of customers who visit a website, and perform a desired action.
Conversion rates are used in physical stores too. Someone might count the number of customers coming through the door and the number of people making a purchase.
For any site run by a business looking to make money, conversion rates are the most important statistic. Too many websites waste time on gathering as much traffic as possible. This pointless if you aren’t converting this traffic into something of use. All you’re doing is throwing money away by trying to maintain these high traffic rates.
What Makes Conversion Rates Different from Other Metrics?
Every other statistic you can pull from a website will involve lots of technical things. As a web designer, you may not understand nor care about them. Your job is how the website looks and functions for customers.
An unpopular website without a lot of traffic can increase success simply by upping their conversion rates. Gaining higher conversion rates force you to concentrate on what the user sees, what they experience. What happens behind the scenes is the realm of Google only. Your users don’t care about this.
The Myth of the ‘Ideal’ Conversion Rate
Firstly, you should ignore the idea you’ll always have a 2-3% conversion rate (http://www.usereffect.com/topic/myth-of-two-to-three-percent-conversion). This is a myth. Some websites do get this sort of conversion rate, but they don’t always get this conversion. It’s not an average. It might be lower or it might be higher. A lot of it hinges on what you’re measuring and what the business does.
Throw all this out of the window. The ideal conversion rate is the conversion rate which keeps management happy.
Is it the Percentage or the Traffic?
A recent infographic produced by the company RedEye demonstrated conversion rates have declined across retail sites. Yet, the infographic (based on the data gathered by RedEye) shows market size increasing.
This raises a very important point about how conversion rates work. The percentage will always get smaller as the traffic increases. It isn’t realistic to see them form an upwards correlation.
You need to decide whether the number of conversions or the percentage is more important for you. Generally, the percentage only becomes important after at least six months to a year of tracking since one or two conversions can distort it.
How Can You Improve Your Conversions
Improving your conversion rates is a matter of endearing yourself to the user. Make the user experience better than that of your competitors. Do everything you can to present a good product and you’ll eventually be able to increase your conversion rates.
Make a good product
It goes without saying you need to provide people with something they would be willing to spend money on. Many websites have high traffic levels with low conversion rates since their products aren’t attractive.
Your website should be as accessible as possible. Make it simple to get information and place an order and you’ll be able to take advantage of the desire to make an impulse buy.
Asking too much information is bound to put people off. Privacy is a big issue on the Internet today. Only keep the information you actually need. If you don’t need to know their address, don’t ask for it.
Unique Selling Point
Have a unique selling point. What separates this website from every other website? Every company needs to make itself memorable with some sort of unique selling point. Consider giving a special branded free gift with every purchase, for example.
A reason to return
Give them a reason to keep coming back for more. Many shoppers prefer to reflect on their decisions before parting with their money. Often, websites are forgotten and carts are abandoned.
Open up your website
We already discussed the relationship between conversion rates and traffic numbers. Now you need to consider how you’re going to increase traffic numbers. Web designers have a big influence on the number of people who will have access to the website. Accessibility is the key to success.
Start by making sure the website is available on as many browsers as possible. A lot of older or less experienced web users will still adhere to Internet Explorer. They won’t even know of the existence of Firefox and Google Chrome yet. Try to make the site usable on some of the older browser versions.
The next thing you need to do is provide more entry points. The easiest way to do this is to bring social media into the mix.
Companies find they’re initially discovered through an advertisement on social media. The added interaction and the amount of time the average person uses social media makes this essential. As a web designer, you don’t have to make their accounts. You should recommend them, though.
Finally, you should be trained in how to make your websites responsive. Responsive web design improves conversion rates. It does this by enabling visitors to browse effortlessly on the go – regardless of device. Without responsive design the site or a dedicated mobile website, your design will appear distorted and unusable.
As we can see, conversion rates are essential for both website owners and web designers. There are so many ways of improving conversion rates. What you need to do is keep updated on the latest marketing news. A successful marketing campaign will always lead to better conversion rates.
Keep learning how to improve your conversion rates and your results will improve over time.