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Website conversions and the conversion pathway

Website conversions are the whole reason that we build a website in the first place. Here we take a look at how you define a conversion, and how you build a pathway to maximise them.

What is a conversion?

Website conversions are a defined goal that a user can achieve on your website. A conversion can be many different things to different people or businesses. Even when the goal is the same the conversion can still be achieved through different methods.

To define what a conversion is to you, first you need to determine the goal of your website (landing page).

Let’s begin with what is the purpose of your website? Why did you build it in the first place? You’re unlikely to be reading this article if you’re in the ‘I built one because my competitors have them’ basket. If you are then try asking yourself “why did they build a website?” Should that goal be the same for you?

Once you’ve defined the goal then think about what the user on your website does to achieve that goal. Here are some examples:

Goal: get more leads to call my business
Conversion: a phone call to your business

Goal: get users to buy a pair of shoes from my site
Conversion: completed purchases of shoes on your website

Goal: get users to watch my YouTube video
Conversion: a user watched the entire video from start to end on your site

For me writing this article, my goal may be for you to read the entire article and share it with your friends or colleagues (and thus helping my SEO). Or it may be to have you subscribe to our newsletter to receive future posts.

Whatever your goal is, there should be a clear way on your site to then track if a user has achieved the goal. Read my article here on how to determine which conversion method is right for you.

Why are conversions important?

Besides the obvious reason of business success, one of the main reasons that conversions should be important to you and your business is that Google Ads love them, and of course we all want to make sure Google is happy.

If a user is converting on your website it means that the content on your site is relevant. The user has visited your site, found something of interest and then converted. When you then place ads with Google you can define your conversion pathway to them. You can also assign a dollar value to each conversion. Google can then use this information to optimise your advertising, using the data they collect to display your ads to users they have deemed more likely to convert. This means you spend less money on wasted leads and see your conversion rates increase.

Build your conversion pathway

Once you have defined a conversion, then you need to optimise the pathway to the conversion so that it is as clear and easy as possible for your users to achieve it.

Relevant Traffic

Needless to say, the more people that see your site then the more conversions you will get, but does that mean you are getting a lot of users to your site for whom that content or goal is not relevant? Having this type of traffic negatively impacts your bounce rates and average time on site, which then impacts your SEO and SEM performance.

Make sure whatever method you are using to drive traffic to your site is generating the right traffic.

User Experience

Once the user lands on your website then first impressions count. Your website should be fast, you shouldn’t have any redirects or pop-ups that are distracting the user (pop-ups can be used but in the right way), and content should be engaging making the user want to stay. Content should be context appropriate as well. Mobile users may not want to download a file to get the information they need.

A negative experience when a user lands on your site sees your bounce rate increase.  You lose leads before they have a chance to convert.

Clear Call To Actions

Call to action’s are where you try to draw the users attention to a certain element on your page and ideally your call to action should be linked to your conversion pathway.

A call to action can be many things such as a bright coloured button that says “Click Me”, or a live chat box that pops up on the side of the page and prompts the user to start a conversation.

call to action example
a call to action should be simple and stand out from the rest of the content on your page

Your call to action should stand out on the page and be the thing that draws the users eye. Placement has to be correct (i.e. should it be at the start or the end of your article or video?), and in context (is it the right type of call to action for the page?).

Once you have grabbed the users attention then the user should be prompted to take an action, which is either your conversion or a further step down the conversion pathway.

Short and Simple

You shouldn’t be asking your users to jump through hoops to achieve your goal. Generally, the fewer steps a user needs to take down the conversion pathway the more likely they are to convert, but be sure that they have all the information that need first. Not giving them the detail to make an informed decision will also reduce your conversion rates.

This is again context based. Someone going to a restaurant website to find a menu should be able to access it directly from your landing page, where are someone who is shopping for clothing is more likely to browse deeper into a website and take several steps before completing a purchase.

The rule is to keep the steps to conversion as short and simple as you can.

Track Your Conversion

Once your customer has converted then you should be able to track it. Ideally, this is automatic and linked straight into your analytics and advertising platforms. Knowing how many customers have converted, the value of those conversions, and key demographic information such as age, sex or location, is powerful information for the next step.

Testing and Optimising

This is kind of the next level stuff that the really big guys are using. Because your customers and the market is constantly evolving, what it working this week may not be what is working next week. Therefore you really need to start testing different methods, different content and different call to actions continually improve (read more about this here).

Are you finding 75% of your customers are female? Then perhaps you should be changing your messaging to appeal more to the female demographic?

Are you finding that you are receiving more customers from one town over another even though you commit exactly the same advertising dollar in both regions? Well then maybe you need to take a look at exploiting this.

Test, change, optimise and keep doing it so that you don’t fall behind. There is no single best solution because if there was you would already be doing it.

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