Conversion Rate Optimization – What Is It and How Can You Increase It?

Every website that is engaged in selling products or services seeks to convert visitors into customers. The goal of the website is to persuade a visitor to do something, whether it is purchase a product or sign up for a newsletter. This conversion takes place only if the visitor likes the website, the product or the service. Since conversion is so important, most websites make some effort to measure it. When you divide the number of customers by the number of visitors, you will get a percentage known as the conversion rate, which is the rate at which visitors become customers. Obviously, the higher the conversion rate, the higher the profits for the business.

Increasing the conversion rate is a side effect of improving the website design. The conversion rate is really a psychological measure of how comfortable the customer feels ordering from the website. A business that seeks to improve the conversion rate for its website must optimize the website and discover what visitors prefer. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a methodology that helps businesses to increase the rate and make their customers happier. CRO focuses on the psychological factors that surround persuading visitors to become customers.

For instance, a key finding of CRO is that visitors respond to the perception of authority. The more authoritative or expert-like visitors find a website to be, the more likely they will convert and become customers. Thus, authority greatly increases the chances of a successful persuasion. It is critically important to understand the difference between persuasion and force or manipulation. People are okay with being persuaded, but not with being coerced or manipulated. Persuasion is a subtle effect that accompanies being convinced, and thus it precedes action. Research shows that authority and credibility make customers feel confident of the status of the website. CRO focuses on this by optimizing the website for maximum credibility.

Other factors that play a role in increasing the conversion rate include ease of navigation, memorable slogans and content that emphasizes the benefits for the visitor. Making it easy to navigate through the website is a key factor in improving the conversion rate. A visitor that cannot easily find the purchase page will soon become frustrated and give up. This will increase the website’s bounce rate, which is a measure of the number of visitors that leave the website immediately after landing on a page. The bounce rate is the bane of all online businesses and the enemy of the conversion rate.

CRO helps a website make its visitors feel secure enough to become customers and purchase a product or sign up for a newsletter or email service. CRO helps websites turn even low traffic into high profits, and is the next step in the e-commerce revolution.

Eric Wyatt writes specifically on conversion rate optimization and landing page design.

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