April 7, 2010

Using Conversion Rates to Troubleshoot Your Website

Posted by 2Checkout Category IconConversions & UX

Karon Thackston

What do you think of when you hear the term “conversion rate?” Most people envision a single figure that represents the percentage of site visitors who convert from lookers into paying customers. But that’s only one type.

Simply put, a conversion rate can measure any point at any step throughout your buying process. In addition to giving you a metric with which you can track how often people take action on your site, conversion rates can also help you troubleshoot your website.

Micro Conversion Rates Leave Clues

Typically, you’ll hear online marketers talking about macro conversion rates and micro conversion rates. The difference is simple. Macro conversion rates are those that result in a direct sale (or the fulfillment of some other action). Micro conversions are those that don’t result in a direct sale. While they may not provide revenue on their own, micro conversions leave vital clues as to how your copy (and other page elements) is doing its jobs.

For instance, let’s say you sell website hosting services. You may have your sales funnel set up so that visitors get an overview of your various types of accounts on the home page. Then they click to which package they feel might suit them best. Next, you offer links for them to compare the assortment of packages to make sure they’re getting the one that is a best-fit for their needs. Finally, the visitor has enough information to make a decision and click your Buy Now button.

Each of the clicks that came prior to the Buy Now button would count as a micro conversion. What if you notice that there are high conversion rates between the home page and the basic package page, but then the visitor exits your site? That’s a good indication that something is wrong on that particular page.

Is it the copy? Possibly. Is there a technical glitch that prevents visitors from going further into the sales funnel? Could be. By tracking the micro conversions that lead from your home (or other entrance page) to the final sale, you can determine where breakdowns occur. Once you’ve found the trouble spot, make slight changes one at a time. Change the headline, beef up the copy, check your links, add bigger or differently colored buttons, etc.

When you begin to see positive results, you’ll know you’re on the right track to improving your overall conversion rate.

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