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How to Diagnose and Repair Conversion Rate Problems

How to Diagnose and Repair Conversion Rate Problems

How to Diagnose and Repair Conversion Rate ProblemsThere’s almost nothing in the world more frustrating than a website that doesn’t convert as well as you expected it to. After all, you’ve put hours upon hours into building your website, planning your products, and carefully orchestrating your launches. So, why aren’t your visitors handing over their credit card info as frequently as you expected them to?!

If you find yourself feeling frustrated with your website’s performance, don’t worry. Conversion rate problems are incredibly common, but they’re also incredibly fixable. To learn more about the steps that may be needed to get your site back on track, consider the following conversion rate problem scenarios.

Choose the one that best meets your needs and apply the recommended solutions, but keep in mind that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process that often requires regular, consistent commitment to see results.

Scenario #1: You Have No Web Traffic and No Sales

The first conversion rate problem is one that’s common to all new or under-utilized websites. You aren’t making any sales because you simply don’t have enough people arriving on your website in the first place!

Think about it: Average website conversion rates tend to fall between 1 to 5 percent; that is, between one and five people out of every hundred that arrive on your website will wind up converting to customers at some point in time. So, how do you think your sales figures are going to look if you’ve only got an average of ten visitors each day?

If you aren’t making sales because you don’t have any visitors, your first concern shouldn’t be for improving your revenue numbers. It needs to be getting more people on your site in the first place!

Fortunately, there are dozens of different ways to promote your website and bring additional visitors onto your pages. At Single Grain, we’re partial to SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing, although you should also consider pay-per-click (PPC) advertising if you’re looking to bring about the fastest bump in total traffic numbers possible (and, assuming you have the budget to do so).

Once you have a steady stream of traffic, you can diagnose further conversion rate problems on your website using the next three scenarios.

Scenario #2: You Have Web Traffic With a High Bounce Rate

Now, let’s say that you’ve got a regular flow of visitors coming into your website, but you still aren’t seeing any sales. In fact, when you take a look at the data found within your Google Analytics account, you’re surprised to see that most visitors are only spending a few seconds on your site before clicking away.

In digital marketing terms, this is referred to as a high “bounce rate,” meaning that people land on your website and then bounce away without clicking through to any of your other pages.  Typically, a high bounce rate occurs when Web visitors don’t feel an immediate attraction to your website’s content. There are a number of different scenarios that can lead to this scenario:

  • Your website’s design is dated or unattractive, causing website visitors to believe that the content or products you have to offer won’t be a good fit for their needs.
  • The information that’s immediately apparent on your website doesn’t match up with user expectations about what they’d find upon clicking through your website. As an example, if your meta description hypes up your page’s content, natural search visitors may be disappointed if they encounter lackluster copy once they arrive on your site.
  • Your website is broken or inaccessible, forcing users to click the “Back” button rather than investigating your content further.

Because it’s impossible to know which of these factors or others is causing your low conversion rate, you’ll need to begin with a little diagnostic work. First, use a cross-browser compatibility testing tool to ensure that your website functions appropriately on all Web platforms. Just because your site looks fine on your computer doesn’t mean that someone running a different computer system or browser is able to access your website!

If everything looks good, your next move should be to install a heat mapping tool like Crazy Egg that estimates visitor eye movement on your website. The information generated by this type of program should enable you to identify weaknesses in  your site’s design that are causing visitors to click away before engaging further with your website.

Scenario #3: You Have Web Traffic With High Engagement Rates, But No Sales

Now, suppose your website receives a good volume of traffic, and that these site visitors actively engage in your content by reading your posts, checking out your products and sharing your content on social networking websites. But when it comes time to pony up and actually purchase the items for sale on your site, your actual conversion numbers fall far short of what your traffic volume would lead you to expect.

In this case, it’s likely that visitors don’t see a compelling reason to purchase your products. Generally, this is more of a marketing problem than a website structure problem, but it still deserves your attention! A lack of product interest could result from a number of different situations, including any of the following options:

  • The benefits of your product aren’t immediately clear to visitors, leading to an overall lack of interest in your company’s offerings.
  • Your products aren’t advertised prominently enough on your website to attract interest.
  • Your website has too many competing priorities that draw visitors away from your sales funnel to other areas of interest.

If you find your site falling into this scenario, your new best friend is the split test. Split testing allows you to compare different versions of your individual webpages against each other by serving them up at random to site visitors and measuring the resulting conversion rate of each variation.

As an example, if you’re worried that Web visitors might not be converting because they don’t immediately understand your product’s benefits, try running an A/B split test that compares two-page variations with different headline options. Run your test until the data it’s gathered is statistically significant, and then pit your winning variation against a new challenger in order to make your website as effective overall as possible.

Scenario #4: You Have High Abandonment Rates within Your Shopping Cart System

This final conversion rate problem is probably the most frustrating at all, though it’s unfortunately common amongst website owners.  Visitors arrive on your website, check out your products and add them to their shopping carts, before abandoning your website entirely before a purchase is made.

This situation is referred to as “shopping cart abandonment” and represents a major loss of revenue for online retailers. In most cases, high abandonment rates result from two situations:

  • Buyers aren’t convinced that your products are worth the prices you’re charging for them, or
  • Buyers don’t feel a sense of urgency to complete the buying process.

If your buyers aren’t sure that your products represent a good value for their money, they’ll be naturally hesitant to buy. At the same time, if there’s no compelling reason for shoppers to purchase right away, you risk losing potential buyers due to environmental distraction.

Again, this is more of a marketing problem than an issue with your website’s structure. Consider a few extra split tests that focus on the quality of your sales copy, paying particular attention to the way you structure your product’s benefits statements or any devices intended to induce urgency. Over time, the impact on your overall shopping cart abandonment rates should be substantial.

Of course, the four scenarios described here only represent a few of the potential causes for on-site conversion rate problems (though the recommended solutions should give you the tools needed to solve any other related issues you encounter).

If your website is experiencing a different type of conversion rate issue, share your concerns in the comments section below and I’ll offer any guidance I can.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / AlexRoz

Category SEO
Sujan Patel When I Work

Sujan Patel has over 12 years of digital marketing experience and has helped hundreds of clients increase web traffic, boost ...

How to Diagnose and Repair Conversion Rate Problems

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