A Starter’s Guide to Understanding Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization -  illustration: Crazyegg.com
By: Jason Garcia

Conversion Rate Optimization

Does your startup business have a website? It probably does. So what then do you know about Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)? If you have not heard of it, let’s just say you don’t really have an idea on how your website is performing.

Startup businesses are naturally obsessed with their websites. After all, it is one of the cheapest ways to promote a company or brand. But if CRO tactics have never been part of the conversation, it is time to start talking about it now. CRO is a method of using analytics and user feedback to improve the performance of your website. It is essential in measuring key performance indicators as well as acquiring new customers, registrations, and downloads. In short, it helps a start-up website convert passive visitors into valuable customers.

Why should I care, you ask? Because you want more traffic, you want a higher conversion rate, and you want a better return of investment.

The best thing about CRO is that it converts the right people and not just blindly optimizing conversion rate. Every business needs to target the right audience if they want to grow their company. Everyone else may just be a waste of time.

Here is a beginner’s guide to CRO and the strategies that you can work on.

Build a strong landing page

Look at the top landing pages of your website and create a plan to optimize them. A landing page is responsible for building first impressions and an under-optimized one could turn visitors away.

Conversion rate optimization -  illustration: techmagnate.com

Start with the headline. It must be able to grab viewers’ attention and get them to read on. The copy or the body must be clear and concise. Have a creative element on the landing page too, which will reinforce your headline and draw people in. The image you use must be gripping and persuasive. Depending on what you offer, it could be long-form or short-form. It would also be great if there is a specific action that page visitors can do such as tweet it or download it.

Remove the clutter

Understanding conversion rate optimization does not only mean knowing what to put but also what to remove. Startups can have the tendency to overwhelm their visitors because they want to put out as much information or visuals as possible. But too much text or color could prove too much and they could end up hurting you rather than helping you. Remember that you want to make visitors aware of who you are and what you offer. You want them to perform an action. You don’t want to give out your medical history on the first date, would you? The important thing is to keep them asking for more.

Limit scope and use the right words

Your website should be able to answer questions right away. You don’t want viewers to be navigating your website for 10 minutes just to find it an utter waste of time.

Remember that Google loves websites who can give direct answers. While you may be tempted to optimize pages to cater to a broad audience, you could be compromising user experience. And in the end, everyone will just leave. You have to focus on the structure of your website. A well-designed site architecture will be a big help.

Also, as in SEO, you have to be very clear with your words with CRO. You have to make sure your website and its visitors are speaking the same language. For example, instead of “request a quote,” say “request pricing.” And as much as you can, don’t link to a form that they need to fill out. Give the pricing to them right away. And of course, you have to mean what you say. If you say “free hosting,” it really has to be free.

Re-think free trial duration

Offering free trials is an important conversion rate optimization strategy. But you shouldn’t just guess the length of duration. According to a study, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startups lose 80% of their users during the free trial period. So how long should you offer free trial? There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the average time from sign up to conversion. This all depends on the type of company, product, service or market condition. The key here is to be flexible and offer free trial long enough for your prospective customers to appreciate your product. If you still have no idea, start with the standard 14-day trial period and see from then on.

Speed always wins

No strategy, regardless of how great, can make a difference if your website is not fast enough. A study found that a one-second delay in page load time can have a significant impact. A one-second delay translates to 11% fewer page views, 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.

You should not make your viewers wait. You don’t want them to be waiting for 30 seconds just for an uninteresting content to pop up.

While you’re trying to apply these CRO tactics to your website, don’t forget that content is still king. It is what ultimately converts. It is also key in how your pages perform in organic share. Finally, you have to monitor and measure your website’s performance. Set a benchmark and see if you are heading towards the right direction. Check how your landing pages are performing and which pages visitors commonly exit.

SEO and CRO are complementary strategies that would build up your audience and eventually make them stay. Make sure you understand them clearly and apply the best formula for your website.

About Jason Garcia:
Jason Garcia is a blogger and Business Manager

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