What Are the Core Elements of Conversion Rate Optimization?

By  //  March 21, 2022

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When a website operator decides to use large amounts of resources – time and money – in its search engine optimization, success comes quickly: the site will appear at the top of the results lists, and visitors will increase. But what happens when this does not translate into an increase in turnover?

Having many visitors on your website is not synonymous with many orders, downloads or inquiries. When visitors are active and subscribe to the newsletter, purchase items, or fill out a form, the website generates revenue or leads. This is what is known as conversions. 

Therefore, conversion rate optimization is essential for online marketers. This is one of the reasons that they need to hire an agency that specializes in ecommerce merchandising and marketing. 

The main objective is to measure the long-term relationship between web traffic and conversions, resulting in a conversion rate. Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics can help improve UX and usability, content, design and other such aspects of the website. But what exactly are the steps and methods to be followed for conversion rate optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is primarily concerned with observing, analyzing, and improving the conversion rate, which is one of the key performance indicators (KPIs). It also helps to measure the success of websites, especially eCommerce websites. Ultimately, conversion optimization aims to increase sales by adapting various components such as usability, design, and content.

Why is CRO so important for web success?

Advertising is still a lucrative and precious source of revenue on the World Wide Web, but today it is secondary. Instead, much of today’s web offerings are tied to commercial interests that prioritize selling products and services or subscribing to their newsletters. The mere subscription of users to the newsletter is often more important than the sale of advertising space.

Regardless of the website’s conversion target, the average number of users reached is a huge priority but is not everything. 

For example, an online store with 100,000 visitors per month logically promises a higher sales volume than one that 10,000 potential customers only visit in the same period.

However, if the store with less traffic is better able to better entice customers to make a purchase, the advantage of the store with more traffic (necessarily linked to a greater amount of resources) may not pay off. The same is true for newsletter campaigns. Therefore, only newsletter campaigns with a strong conversion rate can meet the desired sales goals.

Since websites differ significantly in structure and appearance, it is not possible to formulate a universal solution for conversion optimization. The problems presented by websites can be very varied. For example, some websites require navigation changes, while others may lack specific instructions (calls to action) that transform users into buyers.

The components mentioned above might be included in other cases, but the buttons to fulfill the conversion goal are not well placed. Therefore, it is important to decide on a case-by-case basis which website components need to be optimized to improve the conversion rate. Otherwise, you could make the mistake of modifying the elements that work well, thus creating new problems.

Five Core Elements of Conversion Rate Optimization

To achieve satisfactory results on your website, you need to follow these five basic principles.

Analysis of the status quo

You need to analyze the status quo by asking the following questions:

 What is the business objective of conversion optimization?

What elements of the website are relevant to the desired conversion(s)?

What are the visitors’ expectations and motivations?

What is the bounce rate of users, and when do they leave the site?

This will help serve as a starting point.

Conversion optimization assumptions and planning

You need to also evaluate your core conversion driving factors by asking these questions:

What are the pain points in the conversion process?

What effect do the weak points have on the visitors’ motivation to act?

How can user interaction be improved?

You will then need to design a roadmap for conversion rate optimization.

Come up with various changes to help with conversion rate optimization

At this stage, you will need to start formulating possible changes. This being with conceptualizing alternative pages, interactive elements, layouts or content. You can also create simple adaptations as well as complete restructurings are possible. The online version available to the public remains unchanged in the meantime (optimizations must be implemented separately).

Carry out a test run of the optimized components

At this stage, you should start testing the changes that you have made. Then, you can implement some test components that will be carried out with A/B or multivariate testing.

You must monitor ongoing tests using specific software or analysis tools such as Google Analytics or Matomo. You must implement test data and selection of the most promising variants to optimize conversion.

Commissioning

You need the following at this stage:

Incorporation of the optical components in the online version.

Performance monitoring of the newly introduced variants in order to revert to the original version if necessary (due to technical problems or deterioration of the conversion type).

Documentation of the acquired know-how.

Use of the data collected on the functionality of your website for future conversion rate optimization.

At this point, you will have finalized the process and should have improved your conversion rates considerably.

What steps can you take to optimize conversion rates?

Depending on the type of website in question, there will be different aspects that promote or impede conversion rates. The user’s actions are influenced by various usability factors, the content and the visual or structural properties of the website. These can be used alone or in combination with each other to ensure the desired progress.

Shopping cart optimization

Of course, shopping cart optimization can only be carried out in eCommerce. However, if you run an eCommerce site, then it is a critical element of conversion rate optimization. 

The conversion goal is clearly a purchase transaction. In other words, getting users to complete the checkout process for the items in the shopping cart. The decisive factor, however, is the time at which the user enters the items in their shopping cart. You might only have a few visitors that use the shopping cart option or the visitors that have already selected the products they want to buy have a high bounce rate. This is an indication that taking steps to improve shopping cart optimization may be necessary.

These problems may be due to an overly complicated ordering process, a shortage of payment options or a lack of trust.

As measures we propose, for example, the following:

Integration of trust elements (Trusted Shops)

Additional payment options (PayPal, credit card, direct debit, etc.)

Simplification of the ordering process, e.g. visitors can place orders without registration.

Pop-up reminder if items have been in the shopping cart for some time and the purchase has not been completed.

Usability optimization

Usability is not only one of the most important criteria for search engine ranking, but it is also a decisive factor that will affect your conversion rates. It does not matter whether the website is an online store, a news portal or the homepage of a company. Usability refers to the intuitiveness with which a visitor can move around the website and capture information. Therefore, the structure of the pages, the visual hierarchy of the website and the interactive elements used should be checked during conversion rate optimization for weaknesses.

The more harmony there is in coordinating the various components of a website with each other, then conversions will be higher.

Key components to check in the usability analysis are, for example:

The navigation menu should present the different topics of your webpages to visitors and links them together.

You should have interactive elements such as buttons or forms in which the visitor, on his way to the defined conversion, must make or fill in the required information.

You must improve the readability of texts and integrated text elements, which include emphasis, contrast and style.

It is usually prudent to have an internal search function to make it easier for the user to find content. 

Content optimization

Often, the content of a web page offers great opportunities in terms of optimization, starting with the content of the meta tags. It is easy to attract the user to your website with keywords such as “free” or “cheap” through Google results. However, these keywords create an expectation that must be met, otherwise the user quickly leaves the website and the opportunity for conversion vanishes.

The quality of the content of the website is of vital importance, because if you offer content that meets the expectations of visitors, the chances of conversion will increase. It makes sense to use different types of content (text, images, video, etc.) to offer visitors the optimum degree of variety.

When it comes to conversion optimization, calls to action (call-to-action) that have already been made, as well as their formulation and skillful placement, play a special role.