5 Steps to a Conversion Friendly Website

Posted in: Marketing, Work on March 7th, 2012

Google Analytics Conversion Data

So you’ve got yourself a fancy schmancy website with all the bells and whistles, the graphics reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Irises and your content worthy of a Pulitzer. Let’s assume you are generating traffic, you have setup goals in your preferred web analytics tool and you are seeing some conversions (product purchases, lead generations etc). But of course, being the distinguished website connoisseur that you are, you understand that your web strategy is an evolutionary process; it’s never complete and you can always improve. So you decide you want to make sure your website is conversion friendly, but where to start?…. I’m glad you asked!

As usual, this article will assume you are using Google Analytics and reference Google Analytics terminology, but the principles can be applied to any website using any analytics software.

1- Identify Macro and Micro Conversions

Web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik suggests that optimising and analysing only major conversions means ignoring most of your website visitors because macro conversions are completed by a small percentage of your visitors. Of course, these macro conversions are usually your moneymakers so it is important to identify them first. For many non-ecommerce small business websites the macro conversion is a lead generated by a “contact us” form and for ecommerce sites a macro conversion is a purchase.

Micro conversions, on the other hand, are the small actions most of your visitors take, actions such as clicking a link to a social media profile, downloading a document, viewing an important page, commenting on a blog post, looking at a job listing or subscribing to your RSS feed. A micro conversion could also be a part of a macro conversion, for example, clicking on a link to your contact us page or clicking the add to cart button.

The best way to identify these macro and micro conversions is to first think about what you want your customers to do and browse through your website looking for related calls to action; then figure out what your customers want to do by checking your analytics reports to see what your top content is and by asking your visitors using a survey tool such as KISSinsights.

Secret squirrel tip: for more ideas on micro and macro conversions look at your competitors’ websites to see what their conversions are and how they focus attention through calls to action.

2 – Setup Goals for Each Micro and Macro Conversion

Basically you will setup goals for each conversion. I won’t go into the technical details here but you read my Quick Look at Analytics Goal Setting article and the official Google Analytics Help Center for technical information.

3 – Cost to Value Ratio

Here is where you figure out how much it costs you to maintain or create sections of your website that generate conversions and compare that data to revenue generated from those sections. This helps you decide on which sections to improve, what you can eliminate and where there is room for new content. For example, is paying a graphic designer to create a beautiful new PDF brochure every month generating enough sales to continue this strategy? Note, this does not take into account traffic generation costs such as online advertising, social media, SEO etc.

Assign Value to Each Conversion

In Google Analytics you can assign a value to each goal. Value is easy to establish when the conversion is a purchase, but with general lead generation, value estimation is trickier. One method is to look at the number of leads generated and divide that number by the total sales ($) generated from online leads.

For micro conversions this gets a little more complicated and involves some guesswork. How can you assign value to a document download? Let’s look at an example…

Say you have 500 downloads of an informative product document in PDF format. You check your Google Analytics visitor flow report and see that after downloading the document, 100 of those people go to your Contact Us page and 10 contact you. Of those 10 that converted to a lead, you generated $5000 in sales. Therefore, a reasonable estimate of download value is $10 ($5000 generated/500 downloads).

You can apply the same logic to most micro conversions and if you find it gets too complicated, just make an educated guess.

Assign Costs to Conversion Content

This is not an advertising related  measure, this simply measures your cost to maintain or create the content required to generate a conversion. For example, how much does it cost to create a product video (assuming each video view is a micro conversion)? Or how much does it cost to write a blog post every day (assuming you are tracking conversions generated from blog views)? Remember, cost is not just actual $ spent on staff wages or hiring designers and developers. It could be your own time or the missed opportunity to make money elsewhere.

4 – Identify Traffic Sources and Behaviour

First look at where your website traffic is coming from by checking your Google Analytics Sources report (traffic sources). Do you have a strong social presence which drives traffic? Are you advertising online? Are you generating traffic from email campaigns? Are you getting referral traffic from other websites or blogs?

Secondly, create segments for your major traffic sources using Google Analytics Advanced Segments and use these segments to figure out what those visitors do once on your site (behaviour). Do they bounce straight away (bad – needs action)? Do they convert straight away (good – means you are doing something well, learn from this!)? Where do they land on your website? What pages do they visit? How deep do they browse? Do they often exit from a certain page? Are they leaving and engaging on Facebook or other social sites? Answering these questions will lead you to improving content for each segment and hopefully increasing conversions.

5 – Make Changes, Test and Track Progress

The final step to achieving a conversion friendly website is actually implementing the alterations and tweaks you identified during analysis (steps 1-4). Yes, there may be many items on your list, but each one should be assigned a value/cost and an ease factor so you can start with the easy items and the tasks that involve the highest net gain for your business.

Not all changes will have a positive effect on your website so you should be constantly testing by analysing your data to ensure your modifications actually increase value, rather than cost you money. You can use Google’s Website Optimizer tool to conduct A/B or multivariate testing. For more info check out Google’s tutorial on A/B testing.

Finally, as you or your web design company make changes, use Annotations in Google Analytics to track these changes and monitor the effects of these changes on your website data. Here is a great article from Luna Metrics on how to use annotations.

So there you have it, 5 steps towards achieving conversion greatness! This may sound like a lot of work, but in the end what is the point of having a website without identifying goals, tracking conversions and constantly improving.

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