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How to Build a Website That Converts

Building a conversion-focused website might seem like a no-brainer. Of course you want a website that will produce conversions. Why else would you do it?

While most people have the best of intentions to improve website conversions and website conversion rate, the reality is that it’s often kind of half-assed. That’s not to say that no effort or thought went into the new site. Typically, it’s quite the opposite. However, the reality is that most people aren’t experts in web design. They don’t know how to increase your website conversion rate because they aren’t website conversion optimization experts. We sometimes focus more on the look and feel of the site, mistaking it for conversion optimization, which leads to a half-assed approach to web design.

What Is a Website Conversion?

A website conversion is any action you want users to take that can be tracked and measured towards your ultimate business goals.

What Are Some Common Types of Conversions?

Conversions come in many shapes and sizes. Oftentimes, organizations will identify primary conversion, secondary conversions, and even tertiary conversions. Identifying and prioritizing your conversions will help you to better optimize for those that will drive the most to your business goals.

For a B2B lead generation website, a website conversion might be the submission of a contact form or a request for a demo. You might also measure interactions with a live chat function or an interactive project estimate tool.

For an eCommerce website, the primary conversions are transactions and sales. You will want to measure your conversion rate based on transactions, but also view how this affects your revenue and bottom line.

Choosing the right conversions will be key to understanding your conversion rate and the ability for your website to convert.

To measure the conversion-friendliness of your website, we use a conversion rate.

How Is a Website Conversion Calculated?

Calculating a website conversion rate in Google Analytics is simple.

Conversions / Sessions = Conversion Rate %

You may need to slice and dice the data to only pull in primary conversions (GA by default pulls in ALL conversions which may not be helpful if you have secondary goals like newsletter sign-ups or whitepaper downloads.)

For example, let’s say I own a consulting business for event planning. I have two primary goals set up: contact form and schedule a consultation. I combine these two to get my total number of conversions, then divide by the number of sessions in that same time frame.

100 Conversions (50 contacts + 50 schedule a consultation) / 2,000 Sessions = 5% Conversion Rate

What Is A Good Website Conversion Rate

It’s an age-old question and, unfortunately, it completely depends on the industry. You’ll see a wide range of conversion rates depending on B2B, B2C, eCommerce, and lead generation focus.

While there is no definitive answer, we typically see that a 3-5% conversion rate is pretty average.

As far as the number of conversions, this also varies by industry. A B2B lead gen site with a very specific product offering might produce only 5 leads per month, but they might also only get 100 visits per month. So those 5 leads would fetch at 5% conversion rate.

Additionally, those 5 leads may produce $500,000 in revenue for the organization, so improving the conversion rate by 1% or 2% could have a significant impact on ROI.

How Can You Track Website Conversions?

Website conversions can be tracked a number of ways, but the easiest and most common is utilizing Google Analytics.

Google Analytics provides a handful of methods to track conversions on your site and can be configured specifically to your needs.

For lead generation websites, the most typical way to track conversions is through a destination page. When a user fills out a form, they are usually brought to a thank you page. Once a user reaches this page (only accessible by submitting a form), it can trigger a goal completion to be sent to Google Analytics for further analysis.

For eCommerce websites, the most typical way to track conversions is by utilizing Google Analytics eCommerce tracking. This type of tracking is more technical in nature and will require implementation by a development team. Once completed, transaction, sales, and revenue data will begin sending to Google Analytics to be viewed in reporting.

Why Are Website Conversions So Important?

Website conversions are the lifeblood of any organization that relies on a website for sales. Research is done almost exclusively online, with your website at the center of the ecosystem.

Providing a rich, conversion-focused website will ensure that you are engaging customers appropriately and providing them with the clearest path to your products and services.

What Is a Conversion-Focused Website?

A conversion-focused website is a site that is optimized for conversions. While it may seem simple, optimizing a website requires expertise, data, and patience.

A good website has calls to action (CTAs) listed consistently across the site and keeps things simple.

A great website anticipates the user’s needs and optimal page paths to create an experience that is geared towards helping them find the shortest path to conversion.

Thinking about the user’s needs as you create static pages and landing pages will help you to increase engagement and, ultimately, conversions for your product or service.

How Do I Optimize My Website For Conversions?

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to improving your website conversion rate. However, following best practices, employing proven expertise, and utilizing hard-to-deny data can be a great way to approach improving website conversions.

When looking at your website, you should consider:

  • Page layouts following UX best practices. Does it tailor to the user’s path in a logical way? Are there any roadblocks or opportunities for improvements?
  • Shortest page paths. What is the fastest way to move users from initial touchpoint to conversion? How do you find the appropriate balance between information and pushing towards a sale?
  • A/B Testing. Are your expectations ringing true for customers? Will a new page layout be more appealing to your users and increase conversions?
  • Call to Action (CTAs). Is your primary call to action clearly visible? Is it easy for a user to convert when they are ready? Do you give them multiple options for converting?
  • User-focused information. Try to answer your user’s questions as quickly as possible. Whether it be information specifically about your products or services or specific resources on FAQs, providing them a path forward is the key to an optimized website.

While this checklist will certainly get you started on your path to optimization, you may want to consider employing an agency to help you build a more comprehensive conversion rate optimization plan.

What Is a Conversion Page?

A conversion page is one that is meant to convert the user. It’s primary function is to push users towards a CTA to complete a goal. Conversion pages should take into account the journey the user has taken thus far.

For higher consideration products, you may not want to push users to a conversion page preemptively. Conversely, lower consideration products may benefit from dropping users off on a conversion page as quickly as possible.

For example, let’s say you work for a healthcare system and you are focused on Cardiology. You likely don’t want a conversion page as a first touchpoint for someone searching for more information on a diagnosis they just received. You want them to read more about the diagnosis, consider treatment options, learn why you are the best treatment option, and then reach a conversion page to schedule an appointment.

On the other hand, let’s say you work for a company that sells coolers. You’re heading into the Fourth of July weekend and decide to push your best seller: an American Flag cooler with a giant bald eagle perched on top of Mount Rushmore. You’re pumping a ton of money into Instagram and need to drive sales quickly. In this case, dropping users off on a conversion page is a great way to encourage sales and push users down the website conversion funnel faster.

Identifying the best way to utilize conversion pages is an integral part of website conversion optimization.

How Do I Get Started?

The first thing to do is to identify your primary conversion points. Make sure you have a handle on what is important to you and to your business.

Then, utilize the checklist above to ensure you have the highest level considerations in check.

Utilize data to drive your decision making and try to see your website through the eyes of your users. If that proves difficult, consider employing a group of users to test your website and record their experiences. Sometimes just getting another set of unbiased eyes on your website can unlock valuable information that will help you to better optimize your site for our users.

When all else fails, consider hiring an expert for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to help you build an optimization strategy. In some cases, increasing a conversion rate by just 1% or 2% can be enough to pay for the investment of expertise for a whole year. Consider the return over the effort.

Happy optimizing!

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

  • Web Design

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About the author

Kyle Brigham

Kyle Brigham is the Chief Strategy Officer at Marcel Digital. He specializes in client services and project management, but also original Nintendo games and ping pong.