Website Conversion rates explained


Website Conversion rates are something you’ll hear being discussed quite often when it comes to websites and website design but if you aren’t familiar with the digital world then it can all sound a little foreign. To shine some light on this often confusing topic, we delve into the world of conversion rates and conversion rate optimisation. Let’s start by defining conversion.

When we discuss conversion, we’re talking about a visitor to your website that carries out a desired action but what does that look like exactly? Well, this could be anything ranging from signing up to your email newsletter or creating an account with a login and password. It could also incorporate making a purchase or downloading an app. Whatever the intention is for your visitors, then that action is what you’ll measure and what you’ll look at to optimise.

This is where conversion rate optimisation comes in to play. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a somewhat structured and systematic approach when it comes to improving the performance of your website.

The direction and approach you take can be informed by insights that relate specifically to analytics as well as user feedback. These will all be defined by your website’s unique objectives to take the traffic you already have and expand on it further. Many people often mistake conversion rate optimisation for strategies based on guesses or simply what everyone else is doing at the time. CRO is about quality, not quantity so it’s important to note that getting more users is indeed a great thing but getting more users regardless of quality or engagement is not the way to go.

When conversion rates are discussed, there are a few key terms you’ll no doubt hear. These key terms below are concepts and ideas that’ll come up continually so it’s a good idea to make yourself familiar with them and keep yourself one step ahead of the game.

Call to Action

This is a primary button or link within the user interface that requests the user takes a specific action leading to or in the very least towards, a conversion. This could be anything from a ‘buy now’ button or a ‘sign up’ button or even a ‘download’ link.

Conversion Funnel

This is the primary pathway or flow that visitors will follow to complete a conversion. A great example of this would on Amazon where it begins with Home page > search results page > product page > check out.

Split Testing

This is the testing of two different versions of a page or interface element in which both are compared against each other. Each element or page is measured in terms of effectiveness and then compared with each other. This could be something as simple as measuring the effectiveness of a red button against a green button.

Multivariate Testing

This is the testing of multiple variations of a number of different page elements in several different combinations. This is all in order to determine the best performing elements in the best performing combinations. A good example of this would be a multivariate landing test in which many variations of the picture, copy and calls to action are tested in a number of combinations to find the best performing variation.

In order to gauge your current rate of conversion you’ll of course have to measure a number of different things. This will help to identify trouble spots and design a course of action. These statistics can all be found using Google Analytics or other such analytic services. The numbers that are critical when it comes to CRO can be found below.

  1. Your total conversions is quite simply the number of people that have done whatever is defined as converting i.e. email newsletter or making a purchase etc.
  2. To get the conversion rate itself you need to divide the total number of conversions by the number of visitors to your website i.e. a website with 10,000 visitors and 100 conversions has a 1% conversion rate.

It’s also incredibly important when discussing conversion rates that you look at how long people are spending on your website along with which pages are being visited. Looking at things like bounce rates, exit rates and engagement metrics is the first step when it comes to making sense of your conversion rate.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people that leave once they’ve viewed a single page. Therefore it’s easy to understand that a high bounce rate isn’t a positive thing. It signifies that for whatever reason, people simply aren’t finding what they’re looking for and are leaving quickly.

Exit Rate

There can also be a specific exit rate for each individual page. This is the percentage of people that leave once they’ve viewed that particular page. Exit rates allow you to find out what users view specifically before moving on. Discovering a high exit rate on a particular page can be somewhat of a red flag.

Average Time on Website

The average time that your users spend on your website gives you a general idea of how long people are hanging around for. A high bounce rate generally correlates with a low average time on the website as visitors aren’t sticking around long enough to do what you want them to do.

Average Page Views

Average page views is an engagement metric that shows you just how many pages the average visitor rifles through before leaving. More page views can either indicate engagement or a lack of clarity in the conversion funnel if there’s no conversion to speak of.

Hopefully this has explained conversion rates a little further or in the very least, brought them to your attention. If you think conversion rate optimisation could be the key to improving your business then contact us today. Here at Wecan Media, our team of experts can explain the next vital steps for you to take and turn your website’s conversion rates around for the better.