Nobody knows the exact figure of how many new websites are launched every day, but with over 128,000 domains registered in the last 24 hours alone, you can get some kind of idea of the rate at which the World Wide Web is continuing to grow.

When we were first introduced to the wonders of the internet back in the nineties, websites for small and medium businesses were seen to be a luxury item. As the internet grew, more and more businesses realised that in order to remain competitive they needed a website. The introduction of cheaper web services and easy to use Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress made that step a whole lot easier and having an online presence soon became a commodity.

With the internet growing at such a rate it was not long before businesses looking to stay ahead of the game realised that in order to drive traffic to their site, they needed some form of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) showing more longevity than paid search, SEO soon became the commodity service.

The competitive nature of the internet means that businesses are now looking to take their online presence to the next level and to streamline the performance of their website. Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is fast becoming the latest must have service if businesses are to remain competitive in such a volatile environment.

How do you define a conversion?

In order for us to explore Conversion Rate Optimisation, we must first understand exactly what a conversion is. Many people are under the misconception that a conversion is a sale on a site, this is not the case. We define a conversion as persuading a visitor to carry out ANY action you want them to. This can be a sale on a site, the completion of an enquiry form, the visitor making a phone call to your company, or something as simple as them clicking a link.

How do you measure your sites conversion rate?

You can easily measure the conversion rate of your website by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors to your site and then multiplying it by 100. This will give you your conversion rates as a percentage. A statistic worth considering – Future Now Inc. claim the average website conversion rate is around 2.6%

So what exactly is Conversion Rate Optimisation?

It is all very well driving traffic to your website, but what if your website is underperforming? How do you make your website deliver the kind of results you want it to? Conversion Rate Optimisation is the science of website performance management. It allows you to continually improve your websites conversion rates by looking at the way visitors behave when they are on your site. Rather than looking at a conversion rate of 5% and thinking “WOW, that’s 5 people out of every 100 that have bought form your site” consider this. 95 people in every 100 that have not bought from your site! Why???

Much of Conversion Rate Optimisation can be attributed to writing persuasive copy, but a large portion of it is exploring the reasons why people don’t buy (we refer to “buy” as a conversion) and the trigger messages that encourage people to buy. CRO also covers the architecture of your website, how and where you lay out your call to actions (Over following posts I will look at these individual reasons in more depth). Every market place, industry, and website is different so what works for one site might not necessarily work for another site, so Conversion Rate Optimisation relies heavily on split testing to give you a definitive answer as to whether or not the changes you are making are actually working.

Why do I need Conversion Rate Optimisation?

CRO allows you to make instant improvements to the performance of your website and ultimately your bottom line. The smallest tweak can make big differences to the amount of business generated by your website. Let’s say your website currently converts at 2%. You make a couple of small changes and all of a sudden your site converts at 3%. Whilst in conversion percentages it may not seem like a huge jump, in real terms this is a 50% increase in revenue!

The joy of Conversion Rate Optimisation is that it you can get these instant improvements from your existing traffic without having to invest in expensive or timely marketing strategies aimed at driving more traffic to your site. You can tap into the potential of customers who are already visiting your site but choosing to buy from your competitors!