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What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
A good website attracts hundreds of views, helping many people understand and know the product/service you offer. It’s one thing, though, to attract people to your website. Converting these prospects to actual leads is a whole different thing. When it comes to web design, specifically with WordPress, there are no truer words than ‘first impressions matter,’ because in the super-busy cyberspace you fish for customers from, you literally have seconds to prove to a prospect that your offer is worth their time. Every prospect lost represents a lost opportunity to grow and profit your company! Therefore, while a good website will attract hundreds of views, an even better one encourages visitors to perform the desired action. Increasing your chances of visitors performing the desired action involves what is known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Conversion Rate Optimization can be thought of as systematically increasing the percentage of visitors to your webpage who respond to your call-to-action. Your call-to-action may be:
- to leave an email address or sign up for your newsletter
- fill out a form for a download
- buy one of your products/services
The conversion rate of a website is found by dividing the number of conversions a webpage generated by the number of unique visits to the page. More of this later on of course. Optimization relies on understanding how people navigate your page, what encourages action and what discourages it. Essentially, it involves learning people’s behaviors. This suggests that CRO is an ongoing process in which the astute UX Designer learns and continuously refines their conversion strategy. That involves a lot of data gathering and analysis as well as thorough testing. Before discussing its importance to your WordPress page, though, it would be helpful to establish some background in Web Design Conversion Rate Optimization, starting with its building block: the conversion.
Calculating a Page’s Conversion Rate
As mentioned above, the conversion rate is a function of conversions per the number of unique visits to your page. What counts as a ‘unique visit’ differs depending on the call-to-action. Should the CTA be to purchase a product, then the goal is to persuade people to buy as many times as possible. In light of this, every visit to the page counts as unique as it presents yet another opportunity for a visitor to buy something. So say we have one prospect visiting our page 5 times, 2 of which he/she buys something. The conversion rate would be:
Conversion Rate = 2 / 5 = 40%
On the other hand, if the CTA were to subscribe to a service, people who have already subscribed would not count as unique. In a nutshell, the conversion rate is calculated in terms of unique conversions per the number of unique visitors to a page. With this backdrop, one could already imagine that UX design aims at increasing the conversion rate rather than just increasing traffic to your page (directing traffic to your page is what Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, does. Converting that traffic into leads is what CRO does). Remember, every prospect lost represents a lost opportunity to grow and profit your company. Web Design Conversion Rate Optimization is thus a cornerstone of putting quality over quantity. It saves time, money and grows the engagement of prospective clients. Granted, webpages will differ in function and design. It follows that areas of interest will be optimized accordingly. But why the fuss, though? If your WordPress page works on what you feel is a comfortable wavelength, should you bother to further optimize it?
Understanding the Importance of Conversion Rate Optimization
CRO is richly invested in understanding people’s tendencies while they are on your page. What do they interact with the most? Where do they spend the most time? Which pages are barely touched by visitors? The efficiency of your page as an agent of conversion will only increase with experimentation. There are no shortcuts (at least, there are no free ones in most cases). The truth is, Conversion Rate Optimization is more important today than it has ever been and critical to the success of your WordPress website. This is because:
- Buying products and services online is growing in popularity. In 2019, for example, online shopping, for the first time, constituted the majority of all retail marketing (a contributing factor to the so-called ‘Retail Apocalypse’).
- People’s online habits continue to evolve. This affects the average length of time someone will spend scrolling a page as well as the likelihood that they will access the site through the homepage. You can access some of this data if you install Google Analytics on your WordPress website.
- Expectations continue to rise. People buying online are spoiled for choice and this invariably affects the competition in the market. The demand is high not only for quality products and services but also for a pleasant experience during the acquisition of these. Take loading times of your page for example. According to experts, a competitive page will take no longer than 1.5 to 2 seconds to load, otherwise, a client is likely to look elsewhere.
- Pay-per-click costs continue to rise. The main culprit is, of course, Google Adwords. In the past, new businesses, as well as small ones, could easily gain traction and get attention through the pay-per-click service while their SEO was also on the rise. Today, that option continues to drop in popularity as the demand for pay-per-click services continues to increase. What especially irks business owners is how they observe an increase in spending budgets on pay-per-click services while noting a drop in their conversions on their website. Now more than ever, your site needs to do the attraction itself because paying for increased traffic is becoming less viable. When going through a website design process, make sure your site is already being optimized for conversions. That way, you’ll avoid having to revamp your site in the future.
- People are skeptical of webpages that look illegitimate, and pages that have not been continuously optimized start to look painfully illegitimate. They start to miss out on providing clarity in terms of a straight path from the page to completing the transaction. If your WordPress page serves an online store, for example, your inventory list would need to be easily searchable and grouped appropriately to make finding things easier. Additionally, it would be a good idea to have an online shopping cart that is readily visible and accessible with the option of checking on items currently stored therein. Finally, completing the purchase with a single button tap would make for great ease of use during the purchase.
Even in the face of these very specific demands and changing landscapes, UX Design and Conversion Rate Optimization should not be done only out of a sense of obligation. There are massive benefits for WordPress sites that successfully and masterfully optimize the conversion rate of their webpage.
Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization
CRO will mainly bolster two facets of your marketing:
- Marketing Return on Investment (ROI)
- User Experience
Marketing Return on Investment. You can exponentially increase the return you make on marketing activities if your regimen of CRO is well made. As highlighted earlier, CRO shines a spotlight on quality over quantity and when it comes to your WordPress page, CRO will focus on making the most of what you currently have. It will use your current acquisition efforts to get higher conversion rates. Objectively speaking, any experiments you make with elements of your pages that eventually increase conversions are incremental wins for your business. Increases of as little as 1% can mean 1% extra income daily which, depending on the scale of your business, could translate into hundreds and thousands of extra income for the business.
By helping to attract the right kind of customers for your business, CRO allows you to grow your business with or without the scaling of your target audience without the worry of running short of potential customers.
Enhancing User Experience
Social media is a great way to market, connect with and establish a loyal following from clients. With its advent, products and services can get more views, but this comes at a price. With more content asking for our attention on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on, the attention span of the average user is decreasing. Since people have less time to spend ogling over everything online, there comes an intermittent demand to ensure that the advertisements people do look at are worth their time. CRO will help you tweak your webpage layout to include those elements people seem to enjoy spending more time interacting with. Heatmaps, click maps and a wide array of other tools help anyone delving into UX Design to better understand people’s behavior while navigating your site. Included in this wide array are the user session recording and replaying utilities which, very literally, show the journey a user took while navigating your site. Hotjar is a service that really helps you understand the behaviors of your clients.
With enough insights into the behavior of prospects, one can extrapolate the strong points of their user experience as well as its pitfalls. CRO makes your webpage understandable to visitors. Visitors who find the site intuitive and easy to use are far less prone to shopper anxiety. This is critical to building trust because only through trust will potential customers give you their credit card information, bank details or other highly sensitive information. If users’ experience on your webpage has very little friction, they are less likely to look to your competitors for solutions. In the long-run, CRO scores you the trust on which you can expand your customer base.
Overall, Conversion Rate Optimization ‘gives and gets’: Through it, you give your clients a smooth journey to getting what they want and you get a steadily increasing income as well as more customers. After hammering on why a webpage owner should consider systematically optimizing their conversion rate, it remains to question how one can do it. What practical steps could you take towards performing CRO on your WordPress site?
Successfully Optimizing my WordPress Site
Throughout this article, it has been stressed that CRO is deeply rooted in understanding people’s behavior as they navigate your site. It goes without saying, then, that your first port of call when working on your site is understanding, where to optimize, what to optimize and who to optimize for. This makes up step one of four essential steps you need to take in the process of optimizing your page. The complete list is as follows:
- The Research Stage. Pick out areas where you could do better. Ask a lot of questions to understand your market, your business, and your webpage.
- The Hypothesis Stage. The information gathered from your research can help you to formulate a hypothesis, which ideally expresses a change you wish to bring to effect, the effect you wish to observe and the reason for implementing the change. For example, you could hypothesize: “I believe that by adding current, popular hashtags, I can increase the reach of my account by 5% since more individuals are going to discover my content.”
- Based on the hypothesis, you know what action to take (add hashtags), what effect they will have (increased reach for your post) and a reason for taking said action (to gain exposure for your content). Prioritize your hypotheses along lines of potential, importance, and ease to guide your optimization in the best direction.
- The Learning Stage. Here, reflect on your test results. Refine the strategy and start again!
Here are a few practical tips to get your WordPress site conversion optimization going (by website element):
- Homepage: Consider adding emphasis to your links. This will draw visitors’ attention and guide them to investigate the page more. You can make links to product information stand out, put a free offer on the forefront or add a chatbot to encourage visitors to air out their uncertainties. Remember to illustrate your business’ value-add in a clear, concise way.
- Pricing Page: Modify the pricing intervals. In some instances, it is a good idea to show prices per year while in others, you may want to show the price per month. It is also recommendable to explain why the prices offered for each product are a real bargain. You may do this by adding product information or even contact information for people to inquire about getting quotes.
- Blog: Repeatedly and consistently stress a call-to-action. Since this is a blog, the CTA may be an invitation for readers to learn more, possibly by subscribing to a newsletter or by redirecting them to more of your content. You can sweeten the deal by offering a reward for visitors’ responses to your CTA.
- Landing Pages: Since these are designed to make people take action, its major calling card is showing what visitors can expect to receive from cooperating with you. A demo reel or product preview can go a long way towards making a visitor hit that CTA button.
The Bottom Line
Conversion Rate Optimization seems to be the future of the marketing industry. When done well, a webpage does all the work to bring in leads and generate revenue for its owners. Now, more than ever, it is important to establish a thorough and rigorous scheme of optimizing your conversion rate. One could even argue that UX Design would be wasting the forward surges made by SEO if it didn’t establish such schemes. The beauty of CRO is that it comes not as a burden but as an investment for anyone who wants to continuously see the quality of their client base grow.