When we use the word convert, we’re not talking about dropping the top down on your shiny red 1987 Volkswagon Rabbit. We are talking about the ability of your website to convert a visitor into somebody that took an action on your website like filling out a form or buying a product.
While it is crucial to know how many people are coming to your website and how they are behaving while they browse your pages, it is even better if you take it one step further and set up a way to track how many people actually do a specific action that you want them to. This is called conversion tracking. You are tracking the number of people that convert from visitors into leads or customers.
The conversion rate metric is a good reference point you can use to measure the overall effectiveness of your website.
Let’s take a quick look at an example.
Let’s say that you sell red widgets on your website. Let’s say you also already have Google Analytics installed on your website and your reports are showing you that you get 800 visitors per day. That is great! But we also want to see in the reports how many of those visitors actually bought red widgets, and how that affects our bottom line.
You can set up a conversion goal in Google Analytics.
After setting this up, you can create reports from Google Analytics that will not only show you how many visitors you had to your website, but also what percentage of those visitors completed your desired actions – your conversion rate.
Now that you have the conversion rate available in your reports, you can get an idea of how well your website performs each month based on how well it converts.
How else can conversion rates be used from month to month? This metric will help you understand if changes you make to your website increase the overall conversion rate or decrease it.
Let’s say you try a new layout for your shopping cart checkout, and your conversion rate breaks from its average and increases by a couple percentage points in future months. You will know that your change had a positive effect on the ability of your website to convert visitors into customers..
Alternatively, if you see a decrease in conversions after changing your shopping cart checkout layout, you will know with fairly good confidence that your change did not help. With that information you can confidently revert to the old version of the shopping cart checkout, with minimal backtracking, knowing that you will at least restore your old conversion rate, and then proceed to test or try another shopping cart checkout.
This type of incremental testing can be iterated over and over again to slowly improve the ability of your website to make you more money and convert more visitors.