What is Conversion Rate?

Conversion is a general term that you can apply to whatever you want a website visitor to do when they are interacting (or “engaging”) with your website.

If a visitor takes an action that you want them to take – for example join your mailing list, call your business, or even make a purchase – that can be labeled as a conversion.

Since not every website visitor takes the action you want them to take, web marketers talk about a ‘conversion rate’. The conversion rate is a way to say how many visitors to your site did want you wanted, and is usually given in percent. So if 5 out of every 100 visitors to your website joined your email list (or whichever action you wanted them to take), then you could say you have a 5 percent conversion rate.

The reason for talking about conversion rates is because it is common for it to be a low number for many websites, even below 1 percent. Optimizing the conversion rate to a higher percentage is crucial for business no matter what the number is, and that process is often referred to as CRO, for Conversion Rate Optimization. CRO goes hand in hand with SEO when it comes to getting more business from your website.

How Does One Optimize Conversion Rate?

Nothing can be optimized unless you know what you are starting from. Therefore, it is crucial to be able to measure your conversion rate in some fashion, and determine a baseline measurement value from which you can compare with future numbers, in order to determine if your efforts (or your webmaster’s efforts) are bringing about more conversions (visitor actions) within your site.

Measuring conversion rate is typically done over some period of time such as 30 days and often requires special Google Analytics configurations, or configurations within Google Adwords for those who are running paid search campaigns. In the case of Google Adwords, if you include a tracking phone number with your ads, Google will be able to know how many people dialed that number and then provide that detail in the Adwords performance reports. In the case of Adwords, Google can give a conversion rate and even an average cost in advertising dollars per conversion (per phone call in this example).

An especially important method of measuring conversion rate, when conversion is a user action such as submitting form information or joining a mailing list, is to add Google Analytics event tracking to important user action elements in your site. With event tracking, you’ll be able to see the percentage of visitors that take certain actions, and even where those visitors who took the action came from – for example from a paid ad or from an important referring site.

Conversion is also commonly reported for ecommerce websites, where the number of purchases is reported into Google Analytics, and then Google Analytics compares that with the total number of visitors to the website to let you know the percentage of visitors that turned into paying customers.

It is often tough to get an accurate conversion rate when you don’t have a lot of visits to your site, such as for a brand new website that is still gaining publicity. For websites like these – typically with only a few hundred visits per month – or for Adwords campaigns where only a few hundred visits per month are being bought, the number of conversions can vary a lot over time, and any conversion rates month to month due to the normal ups and downs of visitor actions.

If you don’t feel like getting into Google Analytics conversion rate measurement configurations, or if your site traffic is at the lower end, such as under a few hundred visits per month, you may wish to avail of a tool like the one at http://www.ismywebsitegood.com . With this tool, you can run a ‘call to action’ test where a set of random web visitors are brought to your site and shown your homepage for only 7 seconds. This 7 second initial time interval is important, because statistically, people want something to do on a website within the first 7 seconds, such as watch a video or click on some link that relates to their intent. If they don’t see such an option, they are more likely to leave your site and search for another site with more options to engage.

Using the call to action test tool above, you’ll be able to get a report on what portion of visitors to your site can sense something to do within the first 7 seconds of arriving on your site. If that portion is below 50 percent, then you’ll want to consider ways to adjust your homepage – or any landing page that you send paid traffic to, in the case of Adwords campaigns – in order for people to sense as soon as possible how they can delve further into your site in order to reach content that matches the goals or interests that brought them to your site.

For assistance with conversion optimization, or configuring Google Analytics event tracking and conversion reporting, contact us today to get details and pricing for our conversion optimization offerings.