What is conversion rate optimisation

Simply put, conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the practice of getting existing website visitors to perform a desired action without incurring any extra advertising or marketing costs.
But what does this really mean? To understand CRO fully, you need to be familiar with the term ‘conversion’. A conversion happens when a visitor to your website performs an action that you want them to take, for example; signing up for a newsletter, creating an account with an email address, making a purchase or downloading an app. These conversions should be measured and divided by the number of visitors to your website, giving you an accurate conversion rate.
Conversion rate optimisation combines analytical tools and user feedback to improve the performance of your website. Web traffic is valuable and CRO allows you to identify and resolve any issues with your site that may be stopping existing visitors from performing the actions that you want them to.
A good CRO strategy can transform your website, gaining more customers without paying for extra advertising, boosting profits and encouraging existing customers to return. The returns can be massive, a simple increase in conversion rate on an ecommerce website from 1% to 2% essentially gives you double the sales.
Before an effective plan can be put in place there are a number of engagement metrics that must be analysed first. The bounce rate, the number of people who leave after viewing a single page, should be taken into account. A high bounce rate indicates that visitors do not find what they are looking for on your website and may suggest that the practices you are using to draw traffic to your website are targeting the wrong audience.
The exit rate is another metric that needs to be looked at when creating a conversion rate optimisation plan. A high exit rate on specific pages should act as a red flag, alerting you to obstacles or problems that are deterring your web visitors. Alongside this, take a look at the average time spent on the website by users and the average number of pages they look at with each visit. Once you have closely analysed these metrics you can begin building your CRO plan.
Begin by using Google Analytics to set up goals and funnels as a way of measuring visitors actions. Goals can be set to measure the time it takes visitors to complete specific actions whilst using your website, such as visiting the contact page. A funnel tracks the visitors path towards the goal – which pages they visit and how they ultimately get to the goal you have set.
The focus of CRO is to improve a user’s experience when visiting your website, so it is important to identify any issues they may be experiencing. Read through emails or live chat logs and see if patterns or recurring problems arise. User testing websites and user surveys are also great ways of discovering any obstacles that may arise whilst using your website.
Taking a look at your competitor’s websites can also provide insights into any features or improvements that yours may be missing. What do they do well? Ore there any issues you find using their website that could possibly be avoided on your own?
There are also a number of useful software programs that can help you develop a detailed CRO plan. Crazy Egg provides you with heat maps, scroll maps and click-tracking overlays all designed to show you how visitors use your website. Whilst step-by-step, Wizard driven software Wingify, allows you to perform easy A/B testing of your optimised website with full statistical reports.