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Repeat Site Visits - A Critical Goal for a Successful Website

By Ayo Ijidakinro

1st visit. 2nd visit. 3rd visit. 4th visit. 5th visit. 6th visit.
Why is increasing the number of times a visitor visits your website a critical goal for a successful website?

Summary: What data should I track for my website to see if I’m doing well? What indicators most greatly affect the success of my website? How should I interpret my analytics to understand why I’m not getting sales? This article will discuss these questions.

Repeat visits to your website by your customers are the most important factor to increasing your conversion rate. To illustrate let's examine a user shopping for a digital camera.

"Jim sits in front of his computer looking to buy a high-end digital camera. He’s been shopping off-and-on for the past three months. His Google searches led him to ZTechCameras.com, a company he had never heard of and wasn’t sure if he could trust. However, after dozens of visits to ZTechCameras and other camera sites, he has come to trust ZTechCameras’ rich depth of accurate advice and is convinced they will provide him with more knowledgeable service for his new camera. Thus, he decides to shun better known competitors and makes his purchase."

Did you see the point? Jim had never heard of ZTechCameras.com and thus initially he did not trust them. However, as the website established a track record of reliability by knowledgeably answering his questions over multiple visits, he came to trust the company enough to make his purchase with them. The same lesson applies to any website selling products or services.

But knowing that repeat visits are important is not enough! How can you design a website that will get visitors to return repeatedly? How can you track if your website is doing well and your efforts to get visitors to return are bearing fruit?

Getting Visitors to Return

The #1 way to get visitors to return is to regularly update your website. Is there any website you regularly read up on? Why do you regularly visit? Isn’t it because every time you visit there is something new to see? If you doubt anything has changed on a website since the last time you visited, do you have any strong urge to visit it?

paper boy reading newspaper
Like a newspaper, your website will be read if it has lots of fresh information. (Photo by KellyB, flickr.com.)

Likewise, with your website you need to constantly keep it changing. The more frequently you add information to your website, the more frequently your visitors will return. For example, most people check the news every day. Why? Because every day there is fresh news. If you update your website daily, your visitors will return every few days. If you update your website weekly, your visitors will return every few weeks.

The #2 way to get visitors to return is to keep them interested. True, visitors will return to your website regularly if you update your website regularly, but the updates also need to be interesting. For example, simply changing the color of your website every day is probably not going to spark a lot of interest. However, publishing an informative article daily or sharing industry news as-it-happens will generate interest that motivates visitors to return to your website.

Setting Goals & Measuring Your Results

How can you determine if your efforts are bearing fruit? There are three numbers that you must track to determine if your website is successfully engaging visitors and getting them to return. The three numbers are: Visitor Loyalty, Depth of visit, and Bounce rate.

Visitor Loyalty

This is a measure of the number of visits a specific user made to your website over a period of time. Usually this data is aggregated into a distribution that you can then view in a chart. Below is an example.

An example chart showing visitor loyalty.
Do you see how most visitors are visiting only once? Have you checked this chart for your website?

A greater visitor loyalty means that your customers are constantly visiting your website. The more times your customer visits your website, the more comfortable he is becoming with your company. The odds increase over time that eventually he will purchase a good or service from you.

An idealized chart showing that you want most users to visit your website more than one time.
In our ideal world, most of your visitors would visit your website many times per month.

To increase visitor loyalty update your website frequently and make sure that your updates are interesting to your audience.

Depth of Visit

This is a measure of how many pages, on average, a visitor to your website viewed before leaving. Below is an example of what this report looks like.

An example chart showing depth of visit.
Do you notice that most visitors view only one page and then leave? What does the chart for your website look like?

A greater average depth of visit means visitors are very engaged by your website. If you have a poor depth of visit distribution, it means visitors are quickly losing interest and leaving your website.

An idealized chart showing that you want most users to go deep into your website.
In an ideal world, most of your visitors would view a lot of pages while on your website.

To increase depth of visit you need to have plenty of quality information on you website. However, you also need a good information architecture.

Bounce Rate

This is a measure of what percentage of visitors leave your website after viewing only one page. If you have a high bounce rate, it means most visitors are leaving without giving your website more than a quick glance. A good bounce rate is below 50%. Anything above 50% deserves your attention.

To decrease your bounce rate, make sure your homepage and landing pages* are informative, attractive, and well-linked to other parts of your website. (Read more about effective landing pages.)

Cultivating Repeat Visits, the Best Goal for a Successful Website

If you want to increase your website’s sales there is practically no goal you can set that is more important than increasing the number of repeat visits you get from individual customers. The more times a customer visits your website the greater his trust in your company will grow; as the customer’s trust for your company grows, he becomes more likely to purchase a good or service.

So immediately start looking for ways to get your customers to visit your website more often by regularly updating the information on your website and making sure the information you share is interesting to your audience! By doing this you will have a more successful website that generates more sales.

* A landing page is any page a visitor might see first when they visit your website. This includes pages found through a search engine.

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How to Keep Visitors from Leaving Your Site

By Ayo Ijidakinro

Woman stands in front a store deciding whether to enter.
What compels a person to enter a store? How can you apply the answer to your website? (Image by JimmyHarris)

Summary: How is your homepage like the window of the store in the picture above? 60-80% of visitors will leave from your homepage without ever "entering" your website. Why? Nicholas Grant, discusses the answer and solution below.

Lots of people put stuff on a website just to fill space. If you are one of those people, you could very well be chasing away customers.

A homepage is like a storefront. When you walk into a store or market, or any place of business, what is the first thing you check out when you arrive? “The sales”, you might say. That’s true in a way, but why did you even walk into the store? What you’re really checking out is the atmosphere. If a place doesn’t appeal, you won’t even walk in the door.

Is your website like that store that no one wants to enter? If you feel the answer may be “Yes”, that’s okay because we’re about to fix this problem.

Your Audience is Deciding Whether to "Enter"

Whether your audience is kids, teens, adults or everybody you have to appeal to their viewpoint. For instance, if you are trying to appeal to teens, you must think like a teen. You can’t be putting articles about life insurance coverage on a teen website. After all, what teen is really concerned about that! Or, let’s say that your audience is kids. Would it really make sense to put an article about Job applications on a site that is for kids 5-11? If your homepage doesn't connect with your audience, like window shoppers, they will quickly move on to the next "storefront."

Mentioning your audience's problems is a sure way to get their attention. They'll see that you get their viewpoint.

This brings us back to the atmosphere. Like that storefront, if the atmosphere is not appropriate and appealing, no one will "enter" deeper into your website. So, on your website, be sure to make prominent mention of your audience's problems and avoid irrelevant content.

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Kampyle - An Astounding Website Feedback Tool!

By Ayo Ijidakinro

Kampyle - a free website feedback analytics company - homepage.
Improve your conversion rate by using this excellent, free website feedback tool from Kampyle.

Summary: I just found an incredibly powerful, yet simple to use, tool that I absolutely must share with my readers! If you aren't already doing surveys, you should be using this tool too! It's free. It has plenty of survey and analytical power. It took me only 20 minutes to configure and install on my website. The user experience is elegant. And the tool's feedback has helped companies greatly improve their conversion rates.

If you look at the bottom right corner of my website, you'll see an orange diagonal strip saying "Give Feedback." This little strip is what has me so excited!

The orange strip is a free survey tool delivered by a company called Kampyle. The tool automatically prompts x% of site visitors, the percentage is defined by you, to ask them if they'd like to take a survey. A visitor can also opt to take the survey themselves by clicking on the strip.

Kampyle's feedback tool took me only 5 minutes to install and another 15 minutes to configure. So in 20 minutes my site has been setup with a free, professional looking survey!

Conducting a regular survey on your website is incredibly important if you want to improve your website's ability to increase traffic, increase sales, and improve your customer experience.

Would you like to regularly hear your site's visitors tell you what they think of your website?

Is it valuable to you to hear feedback and ideas for improvement from your visitors?

If the answer to either of the previous questions is yes, then I suggest you register on Kampyle now, and immediately put their free survey tool on your website. It should only take you 20 minutes!

Additional Reading

Conversion-Rate-Experts.com. October, 2008. "14 free tools that reveal why people abandon your website."

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How To: Estimate Your Internet Conversion Rate

By Ayo Ijidakinro

How to calculate web metrics. Teacher at blackboard.
Computing your conversion rate is easy as long as you know how to measure each conversion with your web analytics.

Summary: This article teaches you how to compute your conversion rate. Calculating your website's conversion rate is a first step to accomplishing your online objectives. Typically, retail websites exclusively consider a purchase to be a conversion. However, what you consider a conversion may differ, depending on your goals.

The Equation

Web Site Conversion Rate = Number of Visitors who Take a Desired Action / Total Number of Visitors on Your Website

The above equation is simple. The trick is identifying what your desired actions are and knowing when to measure that the goal has been met.

What is a Conversion?

Now for some nomenclature. A visitor is considered converted whenever he takes a desired action on your website. Google calls desired actions your website's goals.

The following are examples of goals:


  • User registers for your newsletter.

  • Customer buys a book from your website.

  • Reader emails your article to a friend.

Tracking your Conversions

How do you know that one of the above goals has been hit? Google's approach is to track when a user views one of your confirmation pages after a desired action is completed.

For example, if a visitor has registered for your online newsletter, you might have a Thank you page that thanks the user for registering. Google would suggest you then measure your goal as being successfully reached whenever a visitor sees your Thank you page.

Similarly, if a user is buying a product from your website, you would measure success, not when the user adds an item to his shopping cart, but when you display the purchase receipt to the customer.

Read more about Google Goal Conversion and how to set it up for your website.

Putting It All Together

So in the above examples, the number of times visitors view your Thank you page or the number of times visitors hit your purchase receipt page would make up the top part of the conversion equation (e.g. the number of visitors who take a desired action).

The bottom part of the conversion equation is simply the total number of unique visitors to your website.

Do you have any follow-up questions about how to calculate your website's conversion rate?

Related Articles

Vertster.com. 2008. "How to Calculate your Conversion Rate."
Clickz.com. July 25, 2005."Calculate Your Conversion Rates."

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To Increase Sales, Don’t Be Yet Another Site with a List of Products!

By Ayo Ijidakinro

A website shopper overwhelmed by dozens of websites all selling the same products.
Customers are overwhelmed with product selection on the internet. Your website can't be just another list of products. [Click Here to See a Larger Image]

Summary: Is your website just another of thousands of websites selling the same products? If so, instead of getting sales, you may just see yourself adding to the noise and confusion on the internet.

Yet Another Site with a List of Products

A golfer wants to buy a new set of Nike golf clubs, the ones Tiger Woods uses. He does a search on Google for ‘tiger wood’s golf clubs’. How many results do you think he’d find? No doubt he would find hundreds, if not thousands. Likely, the golfer can buy the clubs from Nike directly, from a website specializing in golf clubs, from eBay, from a sporting goods website, from Craigslist, and the list continues... Do you see the problem? Virtually any product you can think of is being sold by hundreds if not thousands of websites! Therefore, for you to get a sale, you must do more than offer just another product. You have to provide explanations and information that dispels confusion and helps the customer organize his product search.

Address Fears that Prevent a Purchase

To convince a customer to purchase you must address three customer fears that prevent him from making a decision. Customers fear…

  1. Buying the wrong product (See #4 in this list).
  2. Buying the right product at too high a price.
  3. Being stuck with a disappointing product.

The last two are simple to address. Offer a good price and offer a good return policy. Most companies already do these two things well and I’m sure you are as well. But what can be done about the first fear?

Help the Customer Choose the Right Product

The other day I needed to buy paper for a direct mail campaign. I knew I wanted paper that would make a good impression but at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, I’m not a direct mail expert, nor am I a paper expert; so I was not sure which classification of paper would satisfy my goals. All of the paper and direct mail websites I visited gave me prices for different technical classifications of paper, but none explained, in layman terms, how the paper feels to the touch or how it might perform when used for direct mail. The options were overwhelming. Frustrated with all of these websites, I finally had to seek help from an expert at a local paper shop. A kind saleswoman pointed me to products that her direct mail clients use and explained how each paper is perceived psychologically by the recipient. Satisfied with her answers, I bought all of my paper from this paper shop.

What is the point of this story? I was not able to make my decision online because no website gave me the information I needed to help me choose the right product. Thus, every single one of those websites lost my business.

Are you losing business because you don’t help the customer choose the right product? On the internet, when the customer is faced with a bewildering variety of options, and he can’t sort out which product is right for him, he simply won’t buy any of them.

Don’t Just Explain Why to Buy a Product, also Explain Why Not To

To choose between options the customer needs to know why to buy a product and why not to buy a product. For instance, a car website may say, ‘buy a truck if you need to haul large loads, but don’t buy a truck if you need high fuel efficiency.’ This helps a customer narrow down his options depending on what is more important, fuel efficiency or payload hauling.

Drug companies have been doing this for years. Have you noticed how many drugs have one version that is ‘fast-acting’ and another version that is ‘long-lasting’? This increases sales by forcing the customer to choose one desired effect over the other, depending on how he feels.

Conclusion: Help Customers Select the Right Product

Your website is not the only source for any product on the internet. Therefore, to get the sale you have to do a better job of explaining your products than your competitor does. If a customer is confused, he would rather not buy any product, than take the risk of buying the wrong product. Thus, to generate sales, you need to do an excellent job of helping the customer buy the right product by offering informative product descriptions and information to help him decide between similar products.

Related Articles

Dmiracle.com. 2008. "Are Your Customers Sick & Tired of Choice?"

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To Increase Website Traffic and Sales, Answer Customer Questions

By Ayo Ijidakinro

Surprised smiley face. Loss of sales and frustration results when your website does not answer questions.
Frustration and a loss of sales results when your website does not answer questions.

Summary: Do you hate a pushy salesman that doesn't listen to your questions? Like a pushy salesman, your website will lose sales if it is so intent on selling to the customer that it fails to answer ALL the questions the customer wants answered before he will buy your product or service (See web marketing mistake #10).

The Internet Is a Tool to Answer Questions

Why do you use the internet? Isn’t it to get information? You’re not alone. 74% of men and women research online before buying any product or service (BigResearch, 2007). What are these 3 out of 4 men and women researching? Of course they are looking for answers to a wide variety of questions. So then, you do well to ask yourself, ‘Is my website answering all of my customer’s questions?’ If not, you may be losing 3 out of 4 potential clients.

Don’t Just Answer the Obvious Questions

Of course the #1 question most customers have is price. However, don’t stop at answering this question alone or you will still lose a good chunk of those 3 out 4 online researchers. Let me illustrate.

A certain man is interested in buying a set of golf clubs, and he finds a set he likes online. He likes the price, but he isn’t sure the clubs match his height. He searches the website for the shaft length, but it is not listed. Uncertain that these clubs will match his height, he decides not to buy.

Do you see the point? The man was going to buy the clubs, but because one of his questions was not answered, he decided against it. On the internet, your customer can not physically see, touch, or feel your product; so questions regarding dimensions, look, feel, and texture must be answered online (See #3 and #4 high-profit website redesign priorities). The same applies to selling services. If questions are not answered the customer would rather not buy than run the risk of buying the wrong product (See #4 high-profit website redesign priorities).

Conclusion: Analyze Your Website to See if You Are Answering Customer Questions

So take a look at your products or services. Can you try to think of ALL the questions customers might want answers to before they purchase your product or service? Once you’ve done this, take a look at your website and see if you’re answering these questions. If not, make the necessary changes before you lose additional sales.

Additional Reading

CopyBlogger.com, 3 Questions Your Website Must Answer to Succeed
CopyBlogger.com, Don't List Fake Benefits, List Real Ones

References

BigResearch.com. 2005. "More Consumers Researching Online Before Buying in the Store"

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Benchmark your Conversion Rate Using Fireclick.com's Industry Data

By Ayo Ijidakinro

Example conversion rate data from Fireclick.com.
Use Fireclick data to establish reasonable conversion rate goals for your website.

Summary: The Fireclick Index is a great resource for site conversion rate data. I was very happy to find it! Use it to benchmark your site's conversion rate.

In a previous post I discussed the importance of benchmarking your site's conversion rate against your industry's average. In the post I mentioned that finding good benchmark data is difficult. Today I stumbled upon Fireclick, a great website for industry average website conversion rate data.

I suggest you take some time to review Fireclick's data, because a good understanding of your competitive environment is necessary to set realistic goals for your website.

Examples of What Fireclick's Data Reveals

Fireclick reveals that the average website conversion rate is 2.2%. However, conversion rates vary greatly by industry.

For example, catalog companies have a site conversion rate of 6.8%. Which lends further evidence that direct mail can do a lot to improve your conversion rate. (Of course you must balance this against the added cost sending out direct mail.)

The worst industry, by conversion rate, is electronics with an average of 0.8%.

Conclusion: Benchmark Your Site Against this Data

So far, this is the best resource I have found for freely available, real-time, accurate conversion rate data. I hope you are able to use this to successfully benchmark your website!

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Is your website competitive? Let's Ask Google’s New Benchmarking Tool

By Ayo Ijidakinro

Screenshot of Google Analytics Benchmarking Service
A screenshot from Google's new Benchmarking service.

Summary: Google has launched a new benchmarking service to enable business owners and executives to compare their website's statistics against the industry average. This tool can help you to gain insight into how your website stacks up against your competitor. This is necessary if you are going to increase your site's conversion rate, yield maximal benefits from website promotion, or increase site traffic. In this article we will discuss the tool in more detail and analyze why it is so valuable.

Have you ever been sitting, looking at your website statistics, trying your best to analyze the data, but just feeling like you have no idea whether your site’s statistics are good or bad? You keep wondering, ‘how do I stack up against my competition?’ Unfortunately, you can’t just call your competitors every week and ask to swap data. But without knowing how your competitors are doing, you feel like your site’s numbers give you little real insight as to how your company is performing.

Fortunately, Google has helped to lift the fog. Google Analytics has released a new benchmarking tool to enable companies to easily compare their website’s statistics against industry averages. Amazingly, this free service can help you see if your website is doing well versus websites in your industry, doing poorly, or just performing at an average level. Google’s Analytics Benchmarking tool can give you insights into your own success and failure and those of your competitors.

But what is benchmarking and why do business owners and executives need a benchmarking tool to maintain a successful website? It is beneficial to examine the answer to this question.

You may know your website’s statistics (e.g. number of visitors, pageviews, etc.), but is that enough to know whether or not your website is performing well? No. Your website’s level of success, whether good or bad, can only be determined by comparing your site against competitors. This process is called benchmarking. Let me illustrate why benchmarking is necessary with an example.

In college, students are graded on a curve. Students who are far above average receive the A grade; students that are below average receive the C, D, or F; average gets you a B. It is impossible to determine your grade from your exam score without also knowing the average.

For example, while in college, I once scored 45 out of 100 on a final exam. When I saw my score I was in shock. I was almost certain I had failed. But did I fail the test? No. In fact, I aced it. It turned out the average on the test was a 25 so my 45 was an A+. Only by knowing the average could I accurately judge my success on that test.

Measuring website performance is the same. If 10% of visitors to your website end up purchasing, is that good or bad? It depends. If your competitors are getting 30% of visitors to buy, then you should be asking, ‘what am I doing wrong?’ If this were college, you’d be receiving the F. However, if your competitors are only getting 2% of visitors to buy versus your 10%, then your company is performing at an excellent level! You deserve the A+! Again, site statistics must be benchmarked against your competitors to accurately judge your success. On their own, statistics provide limited insight.

So undoubtedly you see the importance of benchmarking your website’s performance against the industry average. Google’s new Analytics Benchmarking service is an excellent tool that now makes benchmarking easier than ever. I urge you to strongly consider the use of this tool, or any similar benchmarking tool you are aware of. As a result of benchmarking your website, you will know with confidence whether your website is great, without need of improvement, or uncompetitive with urgent need of an upgrade.

Notes
  • To use the Google Analytics Benchmarking service, your website must be using Google analytics.
  • Google Analytics is a free service.
  • You can sign up for Google Analytics at: http://www.google.com/analytics/indexu.html

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Great Product Selection Trumps Elegant Website Design. Re-emphasized lessons from The Popcorn Factory

By Ayo Ijidakinro

Screenshot of the homepage of The Popcorn Factory's website.
There is nothing outstanding about The Popcorn Factory's website. The key is their product selection.

Summary: The other day I wrote an article that analyzed the key reasons for The Popcorn Factory's astounding 29.5% conversion rate in December of 2007. To translate, this conversion rate means that nearly one out of every three visitors to The Popcorn Factory's website actually bought something! Today, I want to re-emphasize those lessons in a more concise manner so that you can improve your own site conversion rate.

After looking at the success of The Popcorn Factory, and the relatively simple website they use to generate this success, the natural question is, "does website design really matter?" The answer is No...to an extent. How can we show this?

First, from the standpoint of aesthetic beauty, The Popcorn Factory website is not one of the more attractive websites out there. It's design is very plain, and really not very attractive compared to the really good sites. There are no pictures of beautiful people eating popcorn; there are no animated videos; the color scheme is a rather bland pastel purple, dull pink, and red.

Secondly, there are few calls to action and no empty marketing slogans like, 'Putting quality first.' or, 'Perfectly popped popcorn every time.' They do have an Easter sale currently on the website, but it doesn't scream at you with flashing lights or multiple exclamation points!!!!

Put simply, the website does exactly what its supposed to. It sells popcorn. No more. No less. And sell popcorn it does, very well in fact.

As mentioned, the key lesson from The Popcorn Factory is the importance of choosing products that are already primed for success. Don't choose a product that will require you fight an uphill battle just to get customers interested in it.

Warren Buffet has been known to say, 'Give me a great [profitable] industry and poor management any day, over great management and a poor [unprofitable] industry.' What did he mean? He meant that a profitable industry allows even the worst managers to have a measure of success. Whereas, an unprofitable industry will make even the best managers look like perennial failures.

The same applies to websites. As an owner, it is better to have a poor website selling a great product everybody wants, than to have a great website selling a product nobody wants. The website selling the in-demand product will win every time.

Does this mean that anything we can say about website design then is invalid? Absolutely not. If the Popcorn Factory improved their website, no doubt they would also improve sales. Warren Buffet would not turn down great managers in a great industry. That's a one, two punch. Similarly, no company would be wise to turn down having a great website, just because they're already selling a great product.

What's the conclusion? Absolutely, review your product selection, and make sure you're selling products that the customer already needs or strongly desires. Once you've reviewed your product selection once, review it again. Keep doing it until you know your product selection is excellent. Then, once you've done this, start investing in improving your website to further improve your conversion rate. Don't do this process in reverse.

Review your products, then improve your website. If you do these two things, in this order, you put yourself in position to maximize sales growth and profits.

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[Video] Site Review: Conversion Rate Success for a Skating, Surfing, and Active Wear Website

By Ayo Ijidakinro



Summary: Today I review a skating, surfing, and active wear website to look at what they do well and what they can improve on. As always, the goal of this review is to look for lessons business owners and executives can use as they think about how to improve their site conversion rate. This website does a very good job of using a black background to target the young skater demographic. Also, a large prominent picture on the home page draws in the shopper. Watch the video to learn more.

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What is a Good Website Conversion Rate?

By Ayo Ijidakinro

Top ten websites by conversion rate in December 2007.
Chart based on marketing research data from MarketingCharts.com.

Summary: The best retail websites have a double digit conversion rate. If you are a retail website you do well to set a conversion rate target of greater than 5%. However, some websites, especially those that also mail customers a print catalog, can obtain a site conversion rate greater than 10%.

Just what is a good website conversion rate? For reference, Amazon.com had a 17.6% conversion rate in December 2007. This number can help us set a baseline goal for our websites.

Your website conversion rate should be one of your most tracked website statistics. Why? Because it doesn't matter how many visitors you have; if your conversion rate is zero that means your website has generated zero business. Thus, improving your conversion rate is often the most reliable and cost-efficient way to increase your sales.

Your conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of website visitors who spent money with your company by the total number of visitors to your website. For example, if your website had 10 purchases last month and you had 100 total visitors, then your conversion rate would be 10% (e.g. 10% of customers spent money on your website).

A well designed website is generally going to have a higher conversion rate. You do well to ask yourself:
  1. What is my conversion rate today?
  2. Am I happy with my current conversion rate?
  3. Is my current conversion rate good for my industry?
  4. What can I do to improve my conversion rate?
Unfortunately, conversion rate statistics for each industry are difficult to find. I did, however, come across data from MarketingCharts.com that lists the top 10 websites on the internet by their conversion rate!

What can we learn from this list? I can identify at least two lessons:
  1. That conversion rates in excess of 10% are possible for a retail site. Compare this to your site.
  2. That sites that send out a physical catalog to customers dominate the conversion rate list. Perhaps you can include direct mail marketing in your budget.
This list leaves us with some questions. For example, what makes The Popcorn Factory such a successful website?

If we can learn lessons from successful websites that have proven their ability to convert website visitors into paying customers, then we can generate more income from our websites.

To accomplish this, I will soon be analyzing some of the companies from this list and sharing that analysis on my website. Please check back for the analysis.

In the meantime, why don't you examine these top ten websites and see if you can determine why they are so successful at converting website visitors into paying customers. Then apply these lessons to your website. If you'd like help improving your site's conversion rate, give me a call and tell me that you're looking for help improving your website's sales.

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How Can You Tell if Your Website is Effective?

By Ayo Ijidakinro

View of top content Google Analytics report for Ayos Website Design
Above: Example Google Analytics Top Content report for Ayos Website Design

Summary: To improve your site's conversion rate you must be able to tell if an how your website is effective. The only way to tell if a website is effective is to have an analytics package such as Google Analytics. With an analytics package you can measure how customers are interacting with your website. Google Analytics is one of the most popular packages and it is free. Other packages are available from other companies at reasonable cost.

How would you prove that you have a good website?

As with most aspects of business, opinions are not very reliable. One man's beauty is another man's ugliness. Put another way, the website you think is great may be horrible to the customer. Thus, the only way to prove whether your website is good is by measuring it at work with real customers.

To illustrate, let's ask another question. How does a sprinter know he is fast? Can he just say, "Well the wind seems to be going pretty fast by my head. I must be fast?" Nope. The sprinter might think he's fast, only to be smoked by his competitors on race day. Indeed, a sprinter must keep close watch on the time it takes him to complete his race. If his time is faster than other runners, he knows he is fast. Measurement is the only way.

How can you measure your website? First you must figure out what you want/need to measure. The simplest statistic you might want to track is the total number of visitors. Yet, this statistic won't get you very far.

More detailed statistics are generally better. For example, you might want to see what percentage of users, that are finding your website from Google, are requesting product information from your company. Is the number lower or higher than you expected?

A popular statistic in retail is your shopping cart abandonment rate. What if 99% of shopping carts that are started on your site are being abandoned? That would be frightful. It would indicate that 99% of users, intending to purchase from your company, somehow were scared away. Perhaps a small change to your shopping cart would make a huge difference.

Depending on the design of your website, you can get all of the statistics mentioned, and more, from a website analytics package such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free resource that allows you to get awesome analytical data about traffic on your website.

In this post, I will not show you how to integrate analytics for your website. Nor will I recommend what metrics you should measure. That's for each company to decide separately. But I will tell you that, unless you have some sort of analytics package for your website you will be operating blind.

So don't assume you have a great website. Invest in a good analytics package today and prove it through measurement. Google Analytics, one of the best packages around, is free. So there is no reason for delay. Once you start measuring your website, you are on your way to improving your site's conversion rate.

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[Video] Improve Site Conversion Rate By Using a Better Background Color

By Ayo Ijidakinro



Summary: A study by Lindgaard, in 2006, showed that customers form an impression of your website in 50 milliseconds. A negative first impression will lower your web site conversion rate. A major component of the customer's first impression is color. White or light backgrounds tend to yield a better impression than black or dark website backgrounds. This video is a discussion with examples.

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Increase Site Conversion By Making Text on Your Site Scannable

By Ayo Ijidakinro

Studies of how users read on the Web found that they do not actually read: instead, they scan the text. A study of five different writing styles found that a sample Web site scored 58% higher in measured usability when it was written concisely, 47% higher when the text was scannable, and 27% higher when it was written in an objective style instead of the promotional style used in the control condition and many current Web pages. Combining these three changes into a single site that was concise, scannable, and objective at the same time resulted in 124% higher measured usability. Such improved usability will increase your site's conversion rate.

Read the full Alertbox at: Jakob Nielson Alertbox - Writing for the Web

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