Most of us spend an awful of of time on getting more traffic to our websites. What we don’t do enough of is look at what happens to that traffic when it arrives and see how we could get more from what we already have. When you look at it logically it makes a lot of sense financially to look at ‘conversion marketing’. If you are currently converting 1 in 100 people into customers it often makes a lot more long term sense to change that to 2 in 100 rather than driving another hundred visitors to get the same impact (in fact why not do both). However the problem is that conversion marketing is seen as complicated. The following blog will try and show you some straight forward and easy to implement techniques that will help you get more from your website.
The Importance of Goals
Since most of us use Google analytics* thats what we’re going to focus on. If you are using analytics without having set up goals, you’re missing out the most useful functionality it has to offer. A goal doesn’t have to be a purchase, it can be a sign up for a email list, downloading a white paper, or any other action you want the user to carry out. Normally you tell Google analytics that your “Thank you” page is how you know a goal has been completed. This is the page that says “Thanks for signing up for our emails” or “Thanks for downloading our white paper”. However it could just be product page that is deep within your site that you are keen for people to see.
The alternative to these “URL destination” triggered goals are to look at “Time on Site” and “Number of Pages”, both at which can help you set a threshold level that after which you see it as a completed goal. This makes the assumption that if a visitor has seen a certain number of pages or stayed for a certain period of time that they are engaged with your content.
Bounce Rates and Exit Pages
Bounce rates and exit pages can tell you where your site is not working. A “Bounce” is when somebody arrives and leaves on the same page of your website. This tells you one of two things. Either the page they landed on has fulfilled their need from your site (maybe they just wanted your telephone number) or, and more likely, the page wasn’t right for them and they left to go somewhere else. The pages with the highest bounce rates are the pages that we can focus our efforts in improving to try and lower our bounce rate.
Exit pages are the pages where people are leaving your site. By simply trying to improve these pages you can reduce the amount of people leaving your site before they carry out your desired action or have suitable engagement with your content. What you now need to do is work out how to improve these pages, and this is where Google Website Optimizer comes in.
Google Website Optimizer
Google Website Optimizer (GMO) is yet another free tool from Google that can help you improve your website. GMO allows you to version test your webpages and do something called multivariance testing. This essentially means you can try multiple versions of your webpages, and see which version ends up getting people to complete your goals. It’s particularly good for testing different versions of copy, headings and images, but not for completely different page layouts. You will need some technical knowledge to set it up, but the site has step-by-step instructions.
A couple of things to bear in mind about variance testing are (i) that the more variances you are testing the more visitors and data you need to get any meaningful results and (ii) you actually needs some decent versions of your content to do any testing. For example, if you just test a load of different, but not very good, page headings, you probably wont see any meaningful results.
Hopefully this blog has provided a few pointers the right direction as to how you can start to get more form your site traffic. For the next steps have a look at a few of the links below. Google Conversion University has loads of useful video tutorials on using the Google tools I’ve mentioned. For more from me check out the Internet Marketing Podcast or follow me on Twitter.
Google Analytics: www.google.com/analytics
Google Website Optimizer : www.google.com/websiteoptimizer
Google Conversion University: www.google.com/support/conversionuniversity/