The conversion rate of a website is the percentage ratio of the number of people who follow the call to action on the website, to the total number of visitors visiting the website. Let us take the example of an online florist shop, FlowersGalore.com. The store gets 2000 unique visitors on Monday, at the end of the day, 40 people have successfully purchased bouquets online. So for Monday, the conversion rate will be,
(40/2000)*100 = 2%
That’s it? Just 2%? Well, it may sound less, but 2% is actually a decent conversion rate for e-commerce stores. The average rate of conversion for ecommerce is usually found to be between 2 to 4%. It can be calculated daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly; the permutations are infinite.
Conversion rate is not just the number of people who purchase stuff on your site though. It can be anything, from subscribing to the site, signing up for a newsletter, leaving a review, filling up a form, and taking part in a survey, to creating an account, downloading your app, following a link, or sharing the product on a social networking site.
Basically, the ‘Converts’ are the people who are persuaded to do what the respective Page wants them to. This is what conversions are about, and this is what we shall be discussing in this chapter.
Of course yes! For two main reasons.
- It is a shade easier to increase the number of converts from your existing visitors than trying to increase the number of visitors itself.
- Greater conversion rates increase the credibility of your site with customers and suppliers alike, which in turn boosts your market share.
A high conversion rate typically symbolizes that people easily find what they are looking for on the website and are satisfied enough with the quality, so as to close the deal. Implementing a cohesive conversion funnel gives you an edge over your competitors and thus helps you maximize profits.
However, merely wishing for better conversion rates doesn’t work. Agreed that you cannot cater to every perspective or take every point of view into account, but you can definitely determine the core aspects that need work from the general consensus.
Identifying the core aspects from a series of informed analyses and aligning optimization of the site with your company’s unique goals, to successfully increase conversion rates is conversion rate optimization.
Some Important Terms of Conversion Rate Optimization
Before we dive into conversion rate optimization, here is an overview of some terms that we shall use throughout the article.
Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who leave your site after viewing a single page. Naturally, a high bounce rate is a negative factor.
Conversion Funnel: The flow of your website that leads a visitor from the landing page to the conversion page. For example: Home? Product Page? Checkout
Unique Visitors: The number of visitors who are visiting the site for the first time, for the specific test duration.
Remember the first time you purchased a product on Amazon and then again a week later? You were a unique visitor the first time, the second didn’t count.
Total Visitors: The total number of hits the page receives, irrespective of who the visitor is.
So you logged in to Amazon, filled your cart, but left; and came back after two days. In the meantime, you also added an item to your cart from your phone. All three of your visits will be counted individually, despite the fact that it was you the whole time.
Let us begin by making one thing clear at the outset; conversion rate optimization does not depend on one, single, all-alleviating solution. It is a web woven from many different strands that ultimately work together to bring your site up to the perfect score. What works for another site may not work for yours, nor will previously successful strategies continue to show the same rate of success year after year.
Having said that, there are certain techniques you can use to stay up-to-date with the trends on your site among customers, and tweak your strategies accordingly. There are three main stages of conversion rate optimization:
- Site Analysis
- User Polls
- Testing and Documentation
- Let us talk about each in detail.
Stage 1: Site Analysis
To optimise the conversion rate, you need to first know what the existing conversion rate is! This is where site analysis begins. You can track every page on the site to determine the audience response and mark patterns using an analytics service such as Google Analytics or KISSmetrics.
It is a good idea to set up fixed segments, say a maximum of 1000 unique visitors, to make comparisons easier. Using a category of unique visitors as opposed to total number of visitors is advantageous as it will give a truer value of conversions. Whichever you use, it is necessary to be consistent.
Here are some of the key questions that you will be looking up answers for, as you run these tests:
- What is the bounce rate for my website?
- Is there any particular Page my visitors keep exiting from?
- Where does the conversion funnel clog?
- What is the average load time for the site?
- What is the maximum load time for my Product Pages and for which Page?
Once you have satisfactory answers to all these questions, you have a tentative idea where your site is falling short of your customers’ expectations. Based on these hypotheses, draw up a questionnaire and ask your users to participate in a user survey.
Stage 2: User Polls
A first-hand opinion from your existing and almost customers can give you a genuine feedback as to what they like and do not like about your website.
Let us continue with the florist’s example. A few, quick, and well-worded questions at the end of the purchase can tell you exactly what was the factor that nudged the visitor towards a purchase and away from it.
The questions you could ask here could be something along the lines of:
- What is the factor that clinched the deal for you at FlowersGalore.com?
- What is the one thing you would like to change about the store?
- Would you recommend FlowersGalore.com to a friend?
- How would you rate your user experience on our website?
And so on. As you evaluate the responses, look for patterns in the answers. For example, if you get free shipping, exotic variety, great discounts, etc. as the recurring factors that sealed the deal, you know your conversion strengths.
On the other hand, the factors that turn up in the ‘need a change’ section, can help you determine the areas where you are still grey. Some of these factors could be necessitating an account to make a purchase, problems with the delivery and service, lack of customizable bouquets, etc. Optimizing these will be our next task. Do note that if the customers are making a purchase despite these drawbacks, it implies that your pros outweigh your cons, which is a plus point for your site. Contrarily, if these aspects are putting off customers from completing the transaction, you need to make them a high priority to optimize your conversion rates.
Recommendations and ratings are a part of measuring the user experience. Pay special attention to the language used here. What do users frequently say about your site? Is there any product they are particularly happy with? The comments can often give you ideas for future promotional campaigns and product descriptions, while highlighting the product’s features.
Conduct these user polls for a significant sample size, with respect to your traffic, to obtain unbiased results. These can be either based on a fixed number of visitors or for a specific time duration. NEVER end tests before time. The initial responses might be great, propelling you into the seventh heaven of delight, but calm down, these tests have a tendency to even out over time. Ending tests prematurely often leads to false positives and makes them redundant for site optimization.
Stage 3: Testing and Documentation
You now have the numbers (the quantitative data) and the user opinion (the qualitative data) in your hand. It is time to start testing. Sort the areas of optimization by priority and then design your test. Here, you need to decide what are the expected goals of your optimization. What is it that you will be measuring during the test? Is it the number of downloads for your product? Or is it number of subscribers? Deciding this helps you interpret the results of your test as you have set a baseline for the metric to be measured.
Let us say that it is your Product Page that customers seem to have a problem with.
You hypothesise that there could be three changes that can make a difference:
- Changing the location of the Call to Action from below the product to beside the product
- Having a short product description instead of a detailed one
- Adding a testimonial section below the product, where there was none
Have you noticed a pattern here? Each of these hypotheses is being used to test an either/or solution.
Case A: Location of the Call to Action below the product
Case B: Location of the Call to Action beside the product
Case A: Detailed Product Description
Case B: Short Product Description
Case A: No Testimonials Section
Case B: Addition of Testimonials Section below the Product
This type of testing is called A/B testing or Split Testing. Here, you direct an equal number of visitors to each of the distinct versions of the pages and analyse which gives you a better conversion rate.
It is a good idea to start with small changes initially, and then moving on to bigger ones once you get the hang of it. Always remember, test only one change at a time. If you make multiple changes simultaneously, you cannot determine which change caused the positive/negative impact during optimization.
It has been statistically proven that even minor changes can have a significant impact on conversion rates. In case the responses do not show a distinct difference, it implies that your hypothesis was off the mark. Not to worry though. Create another and start testing again!
You can ask your friends to help out here as the required changes might not always be obvious to you, what with you being the site designer. Talk to people, in your field, in completely unrelated fields, across varied age groups and tech-savvy inclinations. Include a variety of people in the tests while sticking to your sample size.
Conversion rate optimization for WooCommerce can be implemented with the help of several plugins that cater to the different aspects of optimization. Here is an overview of the tools and plugins that can be used to optimize conversion rates for a WooCommerce site.
WooCommerce does not have dedicated analytics plugins which can be used to analyse your site. However, it integrates with several independent analytics platforms directly or via a third-party plugin which helps you avail of those functionalities, if in a roundabout manner.
Here are some examples of popular analytics softwares and their respective extensions for WooCommerce.
One of the most efficient analytics softwares, Google Analytics is a complete solution for x-raying your website. From basic bounce rate calculations to advanced options such as cohort analysis and conversion tracking, the platform offers everything.
Google Analytics is a free software and it integrates with WordPress via the freemium Google Analytics by MonsterInsights plugin created by Chris Christoff and Syed Balkhi.
KISSMetrics analyses your sales funnels, enables real-time interaction with front-end users, and tracks revenue over time. WooCommerce itself has an extension for integration with KISSMetrics, which sets up a customizable KISSMetrics control panel in your WooCommerce Dashboard.
Clicky is a comprehensive web analysis tool that works completely in real time. You can track individual visitors, their actions on the site and even assign custom user names for your reference. Clicky integrates with WordPress via the Clicky by Yoast plugin, developed by Joost de Valk.
We have already seen why conducting user polls and user testing is necessary for your WooCommerce site. Here are some tools to aid you in the same.
SurveyMonkey has various survey templates that ensure quick and easy survey creation. It also provides target markets for conducting surveys and offers different attributes from which a simple as well as in-depth poll can be created. Zapier has a WooCommerce-SurveyMonkey integration using trigger-and-action links.
Qualaroo is a great tool for creating varied and extensive user surveys that allow you to nudge visitors with questions at different points of the conversion process. These responses can be analysed later to derive optimization changes to your website. Qualaroo does not have a plugin to integrate with WooCommerce. However, it provides an instructional guide that explains how you can insert a widget for the same, into your WordPress header.
Olark is a live chat application that adds a pop-up chat window to your website. The Ilmenite Olark plugin adds this functionality to your WooCommerce store.
Testing and Documentation
Testing and documentation are the two parts of hypothesis verification. To do that on WooCommerce, and thereby optimize your conversion rate, these plugins can be useful.
Visual Web Optimizer
Visual Web Optimizer comprises of various A/B and multivariate testing options that help you continuously analyse performance and implement conversion rate optimization strategies. The software uses behavioural filters, usability tests, and heatmaps to help you narrow down to the best option to increase conversion rates. Visual Web Optimizer integrates with WooCommerce via an integration plugin.
Optimizely helps you create user-friendly A/B tests in a quick and easy manner. It also helps in targeting specific audiences and includes features such as experiment scheduling, conditional activation of user tests and more. It too has an integration plugin for WordPress.
CrazyEgg focuses heavily on heatmaps to determine where users click on your website. This helps to determine the cold areas of the page which can be optimized to increase conversion rates. The CrazyEgg Heatmap Tracking Plugin is the official WordPress plugin that works with WooCommerce.
Apart from the site analysis and user testing options, there are plugins for WooCommerce that help you optimize the Pages on your site, to increase conversions.
WooCommerce Review for Discount Extension
A product by the developers of WooCommerce, the extension, WooCommerce Review for Discount lets you provide customers with discounts when they leave a review. Not only does this encourage more customers to leave genuine reviews, it also ensures recurring visitors to avail of those discounts!
WooCommerce Points and Rewards
Addition of gamification and rewards is an age old strategy to improve the user experience. The WooCommerce Points and Rewards extension integrates this functionality so that customers start identifying with the website more and more, which leads to increased conversion rates.
YITH WooCommerce Wishlist Plugin
Permitting the creation of wishlists on your e-store is beneficial in more ways than one. It keeps reminding users that there are products to their cart that they would like to eventually purchase. It also saves users from having to navigate to the required products time and again, thus reducing cart abandonment. The YITH WooCommerce Wishlist Plugin is one such that adds the wishlist feature to your WooStore.
WP GeoIP Country Redirect
If you have noticed, every major site automatically redirects you to your local circle, even if you have entered the global address. This ensures site localization and helps you easily find all the related information about the product availability, shipping and pricing options quickly, without necessitating excessive navigation. A logical flow of the website is always beneficial to conversions, hence, the WP GeoIP Country Redirect Plugin can be a great addition to your store, especially if you have clients across different countries.
Conversion rate optimization is a continuous and ever-evolving process. There are no two identical solutions to any problem you face during site optimization. Often, store owners simply copy all the changes made by a popular website in the hope that their conversion rates will increase similarly. This is sheer idiocy.
Conversion rates need to be optimized based on the kind of visitors you have and the kind you wish to have in future. Would you prefer to have a couple of one-time, passive visitors or instead a single visitor who will genuinely like your product and recommend it to a dozen more? Converting quality visitors is as important as the number of conversions itself.
Conversion rate optimization is not just about the now, it is also about the later. If you simply use tips and tricks to temporarily boost your conversion rates, your website will definitely suffer in the long run. You might find websites speaking of a 200% increase due to some change they have effected. But these statistics are either by fluke or a false positive. It is better to create a strategic plan for conversion rate optimization and implement it one change at a time.
Stick to your site, run the appropriate tests, and make the necessary changes. Whether it is as small a change as a differently coloured button, or as great as adding customer testimonials, keep your site your own. Remember, for conversion rate optimization, imitation is definitely not the sincerest form of flattery!