Proper website design and structure is a vital part of any search engine marketing strategy. Due to the high complexity and expertise required to effectively optimize a website and increase conversion rates, it is extremely difficult to provide an insight into all the moving pieces without writing an entire e-book on online marketing.
Regardless, we at CHEGO feel it is important the online public understand the mechanics involved and the value of undertaking the process of site conversion optimization.
Website conversion optimization is the process of improving all aspects of a website to increase the conversion rates of sales or leads generated. A properly optimized website will have a direct and positive affect on both paid search advertising and search engine optimization initiatives. It can make all the difference between online success or falling short.
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Search engine algorithms take into account technical and onsite issues when determining the authority of a website. In the case of paid advertising, optimizing a site will improve quality score and, therefore, decrease costs per click and increase profit.
A properly optimized website will be viewed by search engines as a site with greater authority and higher quality, which increases the chances a website will be ranked higher in search engine results.
In other words, the end-result of site conversion optimization labors adds value to all ongoing online marketing efforts.
Site conversion optimization is a massive undertaking and in many cases it would be recommended to build a new website from scratch. Of course there are particular circumstances that do not allow this to be an option. To name a few:
- websites with massive custom databases that are impossible to rebuild,
- cost-benefit of switching to a new website is more expensive than optimizing the current site,
- highly-trafficked and well-established websites that would lose their foothold if they switched to a new site,
- high volume and low margin e-commerce websites with API hooks linked to external sales platforms that drive a significant portion of their sales (i.e. shopping feeds, affiliate partners, etc.).
The process of site conversion optimization is not focused on a single objective, instead the process addresses both macro and micro level issues with a website. Site conversion optimization reviews analytics, onsite content, ease of use, technical site reports, internal and external link structure, calls to action and much more – all for the purpose of increasing profit from online advertising efforts.
Website Conversion Optimization Strategies
Most website owners, though unaware of it, are already actively engaged in some level of website conversion optimization. Micro-level disciplines or practices of site conversion optimization include:
- the use of analytics to improve website performance,
- construction or improvement of landing pages,
- set up or reconfiguration of website navigation,
- enhancement or creation of website content, and
- much more.
Failure to understand the polycentric connection between all these disciplines or practice can seriously sabotage website optimization efforts. A change in one aspect of a website may have a correlating effect on other website elements. Moreover, failure to properly document changes when made and track the effect those changes made, will make it difficult to identify and correct which updates work for a website and which do not.
Technical Issues that Affect Website Conversion
The consensus among most qualified experts is that when optimizing sites to convert better, one must first address issues that hinder the performance of the website as a whole. The high-level issues that should be initially addressed can usually be found on the back end of a website through deep analysis and are most likely issues of a technical nature.
Both analytics data and a thorough online audit will uncover most issues. Examples of common technical issues that should be optimized to improve the overall user experience on a website are as follows:
- Load time problems,
- Broken or invalid code,
- Broken or invalid links,
- Improper link structure,
- Missing analytics pixels,
- Cross browser compatibility issues,
It is extremely important to remedy a website’s technical issues since it improves the statistical accuracy of a site’s analytics data. Further, it allows non-technical issues that affect the usability and conversion rates of a website to be addressed without the aforementioned technical issues getting in the way.
When a site is plagued with technical issues, the internal analytics data that a website receives through reporting tools represents not only user feedback data, but also technical issues the users encounter while on the website. These unknown variables obscure the ability to identify the true issue that need to be fixed.
After the technical issues of a website are fixed, it is easier to optimize a website and improve its functionality and usability. Variables of a technical nature no longer skew the results!
In other words, if a website works properly, site users will behave differently while on the website, which allows for more accurate identification of usability issues and eliminates the need to figure out whether poor site conversion issues are caused by a technical or non-technical reason.
Non-technical Issues that Affect Website Conversions
Analytics data is used to identify website areas that should be optimized to increase website conversion rates. Analytic metrics such as: bounce rate, average time on site, typical exit pages, site traffic funnels/flow, on-page behavior and average number of pages viewed per visit are indicators that are analyzed to identify site weaknesses. The data gathered from these sources will dictate website features that can be optimized to improve the internet user experience and, ultimately, lift conversion rates.
Sites often have issues that need to be addressed in many areas. Below is a brief and non-exhaustive list of universal site aspects where usability may be improved:
- Search Features
- Clarity of Content
- Product Descriptions
- Definition of Services
- In-Page Links
- Landing Pages
- Calls to Action
- Confidence Factors
- Privacy Policies
- Reviews & Testimonials
- On Site
- Off Site
Site conversion optimization, for the most part, is an intimidating and confusing process. However, disregard it and that beautiful website will be just that – pretty, but ineffective.
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The optimization process has an extraordinary number of interlinking components that need to be properly monitored, maintained and updated on a regular basis. Some of the processes even require additional expert level assistance that can only be achieved by specialists in the online marketing field.
We realize website conversion optimization may seem daunting and burdensome, but it is imperative for a website owner to implement comprehensive site conversion optimization strategies to maximize his or her website’s full online potential and avoid being unfairly penalized by search engines. The rewards that can be gained through site conversion optimization make it worth the time and effort. If uncertain whether website conversion optimization is right for you, conduct an online marketing audit and find out!
Give website conversion optimization a try, call or contact us to get started today.