Conversion Rate Optimization: Turning Clicks into Sales

Attracting new visitors to your website is only halfway to success. It’s vital to turn user traffic into conversions. How can you do that? At this point, mastering the art of conversion rate optimization (CRO) is no longer a choice – it's a necessity.

In this guide, I’ll explain the concept of CRO, dive deeper into the definition of conversion, and empower you with tactics for building your own CRO plan. So, buckle up, and let’s bridge the gap between clicks and conversions.

What is conversion rate optimization?

At its core, conversion rate optimization involves measures to boost the number of users who take a desired action on your website. Those actions may include making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a form, or something else.

Think of CRO as fine-tuning your website to ensure that every interaction with your audience has maximum impact. CRO might include tweaking the website layout, refining call-to-action buttons, simplifying the checkout process, improving product descriptions, and more.

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But remember that CRO isn't just random guesswork. It’s inseparable from discovery and experimentation. Before making any changes to your website, you need to analyze user behavior, conduct testing, and make data-driven decisions to motivate hesitant visitors to take action.

Understanding conversion rates

Before we move to developing a CRO action plan, let’s figure out the general terms first:

What counts as a conversion

Simply put, a conversion is when a website visitor completes an action. The type of conversion mostly depends on your website's goal.

Here are a few conversion types:

  • E-commerce conversion: making a purchase on your website.
  • Lead generation conversion: providing contact information, such as requesting a quote or subscribing to a newsletter.
  • Content engagement conversion: downloading a whitepaper, watching a video, or sharing a blog post.
  • Click-through conversion: clicking on an ad and then completing a desired action on your website.
  • Account creation: registering an account on your website.
  • Event registration: signing up for workshops, webinars, or other meetups.

Calculating your conversion rate

The conversion rate is the percentage of converted users.

Calculating this metric is simple: take the number of conversions, divide it by the total number of visitors to your site, and multiply by 100 to get the percentage.

Here’s the formula:

For example, if you had 371 conversions from 10,000 visitors, your conversion rate would be 3,7%.

What is considered a good conversion rate?

Now, the million-dollar question: how do you understand that your conversion rate is good? Well, the answer varies depending on your industry, your business model, and even the specific goals of your website.

Check the average online shopping conversion rates across various niches, according to Statista:

Conversion rates across niches by Statista
Source: Statista

Generally, a conversion rate starting from 2,5% is considered pretty solid. But remember, what matters most is improvement, so strive to optimize your conversion rate continually over time.

Importance of a user-centric approach to CRO

When you put the user first, magic happens. By prioritizing the needs and desires of your visitors, you're inviting them to have the best possible user experience. Here’s why it’s vital for your website's success:

Getting data-driven insights. Analyzing data about user behavior and preferences is always rewarding. This valuable information can help you make more informed decisions for CRO. Continuous conversion rate optimization with a focus on user needs is a foolproof way to drive even more conversions.

Building trust and loyalty. A website that feels designed for people creates a positive brand image. If users interact successfully with your website, they are more likely to return and engage repeatedly. Otherwise, they simply turn to competitors. According to Think with Google, 88% of users won’t visit websites with bad UX again.

CRO fosters long-term relationships and customer loyalty. Plus, happy users are more likely to spread the word of mouth and recommend your website to others, fueling your organic growth.

Gaining competitive advantage. Consistently delivering exceptional experiences sets you apart from competitors. In fact, CRO not only increases customer satisfaction but also enhances brand reputation, positioning you as a trusted authority in your industry.

How to build your CRO plan: 8 steps

Finally, we’re done with the theoretical part and ready to proceed with the CRO action plan. Here are the eight basic steps of conversion rate optimization:

Step 1: Conduct user research

Before you start making actual changes to your website, take some time to explore user data. Through surveys and interviews, gather feedback from your target audience to learn their search intent, needs, and preferences.

For instance, you may ask users about their shopping habits, pain points, and preferences when they navigate websites. This data will be helpful for the next CRO steps.

Step 2: Develop buyer personas

Developing buyer personas as part of CRO is the right way to understand your target audience better. Here’s how the use of buyer personas helped organizations to be more effective, according to ITSMA:

To develop buyer personas, seek demographic information, and analyze customer feedback. Who are your potential customers (age, job, location, etc.)? What are their goals and challenges? What kind of information do they seek online?

Identify common traits and characteristics among your target audience segments and create detailed personas that represent different customer profiles.

Say, you run an e-commerce website for organic food delivery. One of your buyer personas may look the following:

Example of a buyer persona

Age: 25-30

Gender: Female

Location: Boston, MA

Job: Entry-level specialist in a tech company

Income: $60,000-$80,000

Needs: Convenient and affordable organic meal options that align with their busy lifestyle.

Pain Points: A limited selection of healthy food is available for delivery. Meal planning and grocery shopping are time-consuming, especially with their hectic schedule.

By understanding your customers on a deeper level, you can tailor your CRO strategies, from website design to messaging, to resonate with their specific needs and motivations.

Step 3: Gather hard data

Utilize Google Analytics or other tools to gather data on user behavior, such as website traffic, conversion rates, and bounce rates.

These metrics will show how visitors interact with your site, from where they click to how long they stay. Thus, you can identify areas that confuse visitors or make them leave empty-handed.

This valuable information fuels your CRO efforts, allowing you to fix roadblocks and optimize your website for smooth sailing and more conversions.

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Step 4: Conduct competitor research

Another vital CRO step is understanding what's working (and what's not) in your industry. For that, you can analyze competitors' websites to identify opportunities and ways to stand out.

Pay attention to their messaging, design elements, and conversion tactics. If a competitor offers a unique feature or promotion, consider how you can adapt or modify it to attract more customers.

By staying informed about your competitors' activities, you can enhance your conversion rate optimization tactics and outperform the competition.

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Step 5: Set SMART goals for CRO

Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals to guide your CRO activities.

For example, instead of simply aiming to "increase conversions," set a SMART goal like "increase email sign-ups by 20% within the next three months."

By setting clear goals, you can focus your CRO efforts and track progress effectively.

Step 6: Optimize the user experience (UX)

The recipe for good UX is simple: make it easy for users to find what they want and do what they need to do. For that, you can audit your website and identify areas for improvement with the help of a usability testing tool like UXtweak.

When you approach conversion rate optimization, make sure that the following UX aspects are in good shape:

  • Navigation elements: buttons, menus, search bars, etc.
  • Page speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Clear forms and checkout process

Users hate complicated websites because they make everything more complex than it needs to be. For instance, if users can’t intuitively find buttons where they expect them to see, or have to fill out a million things when trying to buy something – they will leave faster than you say "Oops."

Tip: You can check Core Web Vitals and mobile-friendliness of certain pages or the whole website by running a scan in WebSite Auditor.

If you want to revise a specific page, navigate to Page Audit > Technical Audit and explore the Mobile Friendliness and Page Speed section.

Download WebSite Auditor

To check the same parameters for the whole website, go to Site Structure > Site Audit and find the corresponding factors in the list. For more details, read our comprehensive technical SEO guide.

Remember, a seamless and intuitive user experience is key to effective CRO. It keeps visitors engaged and moves them smoothly through your conversion funnel.

Step 7: Optimize your messaging

Refining your messaging is crucial for conversion rate optimization because those texts can encourage users to take action. Tailor your texts to address pain points and highlight the benefits of your products or services. Here's where you can enhance wording for CRO:

  • Homepage headlines
  • Product descriptions
  • Call-to-action (CTA) buttons

Craft attention-grabbing messages that communicate the value proposition of your product or service. Use clear and concise language to convey what sets your brand apart and why users should take action. Words like "exclusive," "limited time," and "special offer" can be great for CRO as they motivate users to take action.

Example of a good CTA: “Get 50% off your first purchase!”

Example of a bad generic CTA“Click here”

Tip: Adding keywords to your messages is also important for effective CRO as it helps you boost your visibility in search engine results. By incorporating relevant keywords into your website copy, product descriptions, and CTAs, you increase the likelihood of attracting targeted traffic (which is more likely to convert into leads). To find relevant keywords for CRO, download Rank Tracker and check our keyword research cheat sheet.

Step 8: Test your CRO strategies

Implement A/B tests to experiment with different variations of your website elements, such as headlines, CTAs, and page layouts. For example, you might test two different product page versions to see which generates more conversions.

By testing and iterating, you can identify what resonates best with your audience and perform conversion rate optimization with maximum effectiveness.

FAQ about conversion rate optimization

How do I improve my conversion rate?

To improve your conversion rate, you need a solid CRO plan. Start by understanding your audience and their needs. Plus, analyze competitors to learn the market’s best practices. Then, optimize your website to make it intuitive and easy for users to take the desired action. Test different strategies, such as improving your messaging, streamlining the checkout process, and optimizing your CTAs to see what works best for your audience.

What can help you analyze conversion rate optimization?

Analyzing conversion rate optimization (CRO) involves using tools like Google Analytics to track key metrics such as website traffic, bounce rates, and conversion rates. Customer feedback can provide valuable insights into user behavior and help identify areas for improvement. Additionally, A/B testing is an excellent way to experiment with different approaches and see what resonates best with your target audience.

How do you measure conversion rate?

Measuring conversion rate involves calculating the percentage of visitors to your website who take a specific action, like making a purchase. To calculate the conversion rate, divide the total number of conversions by the total number of visitors and then multiply the result by 100.

Final word

Conversion rate optimization is not only about increasing numbers. It’s about enhancing the user experience that consistently translates into sales.

Keep in mind that CRO is an ongoing process that demands research and testing. By prioritizing user-centric strategies and staying agile in your approach, you can turn clicks into lasting relationships and meaningful opportunities.

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