…You wonder what functions you really need, you register a domain, design a logo, put a layout together, and draw some fancy graphics. You spend some time on the copy, you add a couple of social media channels, contact partners, set a launch date. At last, the website goes live… and now what?
Unfortunately the mere fact of launching your new website is not enough to call the whole undertaking a success…
How to check whether or not you’ve worked in vain? Does your shiny new website achieve any goals and produce any results? Sometimes receiving new wire transfers straight to your bank account is not a sufficient measure of success… because how do you know that you couldn’t be receiving more of them? Maybe there’s something that can be improved? If you want to find that out my advice is:
Track your conversions, if you’re not doing it already.
What is a conversion
Here’s a short definition:
“A conversion is any action which had been specified earlier, that can be done by your website’s visitors.”
A conversion might be specified for example as: a click on the “add to cart” button, a new user creating his profile on your website, a new comment on your blog. Let me say that again: it can be any action you are interested in.
Why is all this hustle worth the effort
Every website is created to achieve some kind of goal. The goal can and will be different for different websites. New social website’s goal will probably be to attract as many new users as possible. E-commerce shop’s goal can be to sell as much stuff as possible. Simple website for a small mom-and-pop business might have a goal to attract as many new customers as possible.
Without specifying what a conversion is for us, we won’t be able to tell whether our website achieves its goals in an effective manner or not.
If you have an e-commerce shop and each day you manage to sell 10 products, and that’s all you know when it comes to your performance, then you really know nothing. Looking only at the transfers themselves you can’t really tell whether 10 sales a day is good or bad. For example: if you have 100 visitors a day then 10 sales is a great result, but if you have 100,000 visitors a day then a great result suddenly becomes a tragic one.
You will be able to evaluate your efficiency only if you learn how to track your conversions.
How to specify what you should consider being a conversion for your website
The easiest approach is to refer to the main goal of your website. If it was supposed to sell your products then you should specify a conversion to be a single sale of one of your products. If it was supposed to bring new customers to your business then you should specify a conversion to be a new client appearing at your doorstep after seeing your website. And so on. You have to decide for yourself really…
Real ninjas track conversions on several different levels. They don’t specify a conversion to be just one single action but rather a whole sequence of actions. An example sequence for an e-commerce shop might look like this:
- Someone adds item to a shopping cart
- Presses the “Go to Checkout” button
- Finishes the transaction and does the payment
- The final amount exceeds $100
Such a sequence gives many possibilities when it comes to measuring efficiency of an e-commerce shop (in this case). Of course specifying a conversion is just the beginning, the first step. The crux lies somewhere else.
Tracking conversion rates
Here’s where the hard part begins because after specifying what a conversion is for you, you need to develop/get some system for tracking it. The easiest way is to use the tools provided by Google Analytics or Google AdWords. However, sometimes you will have to hire a programmer and develop a so-called “tailor-made” solution.
In theory the whole thing is rather simple. The only thing you have to do is to measure what is the ratio of the number of visitors who have made a conversion to the total number of visitors on your website.
For example: if your conversion is a single sale in your e-commerce shop, and every 250 visitors you manage to get 4 sales, then your conversion rate is 4/250 = 0.016. This result is usually presented as a percentage, so: 0.016*100% = 1.6%
As you can see you have to have 2 things to be able to do such calculations:
- A system counting how many people visit your page
- A system counting how many people convert
Then you simply divide one by another, and get your result. As I’ve said before all of this can be done with a little help from Google. All you have to do is spend some time rummaging in the settings of Analytics or AdWords.
Using the data for improving your results
Let me just quickly remind you that you’re doing all this hustle so you can improve the results of your website, make it achieve its goals more efficiently. If you have any data regarding your conversion rate, you will be able to start introducing some changes on your website, and carefully observe what impact they have on your results.
One of the well known facts in internet marketing (and one of the most surprising at the same time) is that a website’s headline has a major impact on its conversion rate. You can check for yourself once you have your own conversion tracking set up…
You can do such tests by setting up a basic headline, leave it for a while, and then come back and check what the conversion rate of the site was. In the next step you change the headline to something different, leave it for a while again, and then come back and check what the conversion rate was. After such a test you can compare conversion rates for both headlines and say which one was better. (A better headline is the one that gets a higher conversion rate, not the one you like better… just wanna make it clear. ;))
(A quick note. This kind of split test can be done with Google Website Optimizer, which I’ll write a piece about soon.)
Tracking conversion rates gives you really big opportunities for improving your website and your business. With such a simple mechanism you can easily make more money without any additional investments… or like others like to call it – you won’t be leaving money on the table any more.
Do you have any examples from your own experience how conversion tracking has helped your website’s results? What was the improvement in your case? Maybe there was a factor you would have never suspected to have any impact on the conversion rate, but it did anyway? Please, share your experience in the comments.
Here’s a list of articles you may also enjoy:
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- Increase Your Conversion Rate by Shutting Up – Conversion Voodoo provides Landing Page Optimization services and tools for high traffic websites.
- Understanding Which Website Conversion Rate to Use « Website … – website-conversion-rate-which-option Website conversion rates are bandied about the ecommerce industry all the time, and despite many being familiar with the concept, I consistently find that a lot of people are a bit fuzzy on their …