Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO): The Basics

CRO - Conversion Rate Optimization

The goal of most websites is to rank among the top results on search engines and gain a consistent flow of traffic.

But it doesn’t end there.

How successful will your business be if none of those visitors make a purchase quickly?

This is where conversion rate optimisation comes in.

Conversion Rates Explained

What is a Conversion Rate?

A conversion rate is a measurement of the number of visitors to a site that executes a desired action.

The desired action could be different depending on the type of business or website you have.

For example, an eCommerce site would likely consider a conversion to be a sale.

However, for a blog or recipe website, a conversion might be a user signing up for a newsletter. The conversion rate is presented as a percentage of the amount of visitors who ‘convert’ to a sale or sign-up.

It’s useful to keep up with your conversion rate, as it’s a solid indicator of how well your website is performing. It can also help you to spot issues with your site, and remedy them before it’s too late.

How to Calculate Conversion Rates

You can calculate your conversion rates with a simple equation.

Are your palms already starting to sweat from sudden flashbacks to high school maths lessons?

Don’t panic.

This one is easy peasy lemon squeezy, and, nobody is going to penalise you for using a calculator.

First, take your number of conversions and divide this by your number of visitors. Then multiply your answer by 100, and voila, that’s your conversion rate.

For example, if 200 people downloaded your e-book in November, and the number of visitors to your website throughout November was 10,000, you would calculate 250 divided by 10,000, which equals 0.025. Then multiply 0.025 by 100, and your answer is 2.5. This means your conversion rate for the month of November was 2.5%.

You can get more specific with your conversion rates, depending on the conversion you’re calculating.

For example, if you are calculating how many visitors downloaded an e-book which is only available on certain pages of your site, then you’ll want to adjust your equation to only include the number of visitors who landed on pages where the e-book was available for download. The total number of visitors to your website might be 10,000, but the number of visitors who landed on pages where the e-book was available may only be 3,000. In this example, your conversion rate just went up from 2.5% to 8.3%.

What is the Average Conversion Rate?

The average conversion rates vary wildly depending on what industry you are in and what you consider a conversion to be. In terms of sales, in the third quarter of 2023, the conversion rate for online shoppers in the UK was 2.6%.

Average conversion rates can work well as a starting point for comparisons against the performance of your own website, but don’t get hung up on trying to match average conversion rates.

Success looks different for every business.

What Affects Conversion Rate?

Conversion rate can be affected by any number of factors, including SEO issues such as slow loading times. Maintaining an awareness of your conversion rate is a good way to monitor what is and isn’t working on your website. For example, if conversion rates suddenly plummet this may indicate a problem with your site, such as a broken form or a product page that won’t load.

Conversion rates can also be affected by poor user experience such as a website that’s hard to navigate. More commonly, conversion rates are affected because your site simply isn’t offering what the visitor was looking for. This is why you must get to know your target audience inside out, so you can give them what they want.

CRO vs SEO

SEO is the process of optimising a website to help it attract more traffic through search engines.

CRO is the process of optimising a website to encourage the existing traffic stream to convert from visitors to paying customers.

While both strategies are designed to improve your website, the goals here are slightly different.

Conversion rate optimisation is great if you already have plenty of visitors landing on your website. But, if you lack visitors, you need to focus on SEO first and foremost.

For established websites, CRO and SEO work hand in hand.

You can have one without the other, but a strategy that encompasses both is going to achieve more success all round. CRO and SEO also have some crossover. Optimising a website with SEO is going to improve the user experience, which in turn can make visitors more likely to stay on your website long enough to make a conversion.

How to Improve Conversion Rate

Improving your conversion rate is known as conversion rate optimisation (CRO). This can be achieved using the following methods:

Understand Your Audience

Knowing your audience and what they are looking for is crucial for increasing your conversion rate.

Gaining an understanding of what is preventing your visitors from converting is one way to get to know your audience better. You could find out vital information from visitors using feedback forms or create a test panel to try out your site and offer opinions.

Use SEO Tools

SEO tools such as Google Analytics can help to give you a clear picture of how visitors are using your site.

You may be able to draw conclusions using analytical data, for example, if users add products to their basket and then abandon their basket once a delivery charge is applied, you might conclude that your delivery charge is too high.

Add Calls to Action

Calls to action can encourage visitors to make a conversion. Consider adding calls to action to blog posts on your website, as well as your pages with the greatest amount of traffic.

Use a Chatbot

A chatbot is useful for finding out what might be preventing a visitor from making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. Have a chatbot ask visitors if they have any questions, and then aim to answer these to convert that visitor. You can also use chatbot data to make necessary changes to the website for future visitors.

Add a Pop-Up Form

A pop-up form is a great way to gain newsletter subscribers, especially if you offer an incentive, for example, a 10% discount for signing up.

Highlight Links

Highlight your most popular products or services with links in contrasting colors, and ensure they are positioned in a prominent spot on your website. This makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for, and make a conversion before they get bored or distracted.

If you’ve ever wondered what UX and UI are, now you know. In this case, UX is responsible for the positioning of the links, while UI involves the choice of colors.

In the End

Anyone with a website has an action they want users to perform, whether that’s downloading an eBook, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase.

By optimising your website with conversion rates in mind, you can effectively increase the percentage of your users who carry out these desired actions, therefore making your website more measurably successful.

Need help to devise an SEO strategy? That’s what we’re here for. Reach out for a chat today.

Karli Edmondson-Matthews
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