Is the Biggest Barrier to Improving Conversion Rates You?

An Econsultancy report on conversion rate optimisation found that “Technology is no longer the major barrier preventing companies from improving conversion rates. The challenge is becoming one of people and process.” Ah. So you are the problem!  Why are we impeding our own progress, and how can we turn it around?

We have access to a host of tools that can help improve conversion rates, from emulators to page speed testers to Analytics.  We have the capability to make our websites incredibly sophisticated; but despite this, conversion rates are not increasing. As Bryan Eisenberg, author of Call to Action and other books, says, “Most websites do not have a massive traffic problem, but every website in the world has a conversion problem.”

Part of the problem is that we do not prioritise it.  The US, for instance, spends $91 out of every $92 on traffic; the other dollar is lavishly spent on conversion. Yet it’s conversion that will convert that traffic into our paydays.

Eisenberg notes that typical ecommerce sites have a shopping cart problem; 72 percent of the time, they are abandoned. Café Press, on the other hand, has a 15 percent abandonment rate. Why? While there are many factors at play, the layout, ease, and personality of your site plays in. He mentions five changes that can help conversion rates:

  • Button labels. Dell changed from “learn more,” to “help me choose.” Conversions leapt after this simple change that is more inviting, personal, and helpful.
  • Headlines.
  • Form headings. Forms are a black hole for visitors. Start them out on the right foot.
  • Form fields. Keep them on the right foot. Again, simple things mean a lot. For instance, having a field for “Company,” can decrease conversion rates by up to 20 percent! If you don’t need it, don’t ask for it.
  • Badging. This can increase conversion when you use them on products. “Best of 2012” is an example.

With these tips and others, you can start putting all that traffic you’re getting to good use. Remember, without completed calls to action, that first place spot in Google doesn’t do you all that much good.


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