How to improve your online conversion rates and boost sales

Contributor - Michelle Symonds

Small business owners working on their business website using CRO to improve their online conversion rates

Conversion Rate Optimisation is about turning browsers into buyers and making more sales online. Michelle Symonds explains how to significantly improve your online conversion rates

When you run your own business, it’s important to continually assess the results of your online marketing efforts. In a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaign, for example, key indicators of success are high rankings in Google, click-through rates (CTR) to your website and visitor engagement.

However, all of these metrics are meaningless unless the website traffic you generate also leads to sales. That’s why conversion rates are such an important measure of success and why Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a key part of any successful digital marketing strategy.

What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?

Turning web visitors into buyers has varying success rates across different sectors. But what is a good or bad conversion rate? And how do you know if your rates are the best you can expect in your industry? Before you start looking at average conversion rates, it’s vital to make sure your own conversion rate is as good as possible.

There are many ways to bring more high-quality leads to your business website and a good starting point is to take steps to increase your conversion rates.

To do that you need to identify the keywords and search terms that indicate a clear visitor intent. Use these “intent” words and phrases in your online copy and create specific landing pages that meet the needs of your target audience, with enticing calls-to-action and clear next steps towards making a sale.

Remember that while landing pages are important sales tools, they can also provide important information that helps build trust and credibility for your brand on the way to a sale. So don’t rush your buyers into a sale before they are ready.

Using website analytics tools to boost conversions

Test the effectiveness of your landing pages with website analytics tools such as HotJar or CrazyEgg. Heat maps and user recording tools can show where your website visitors are most focused, which elements on the page are working and where you are losing potential customers. You can also set up a number of conversion events in Google Analytics 4 on a single page to find out where the drop-off points for users are. Make improvements to the page based on the knowledge gained from tracking user behaviour, test again and repeat until the conversion rate is the best it can be.

Once you have increased conversion rates as much as possible, it’s worth comparing that with your sector's average conversion rate. Once you understand how your business performs against competitors within your industry, you can look at how or why you are failing (if indeed you are) and learn lessons to help you achieve even better results.

What are the average website conversion rates?

Across all industries, average conversion rates are around 2.35%, according to research by Wordstream. However, the top-performing 25% of websites are seeing conversion rates approaching double that, at 5.31% or more. The top 10% are achieving 11% or even more.

There are some common traits in all of the most successful landing pages. However, you’ll never outperform your competitors if you simply imitate others. Increasing your conversion rate by a factor of two or three is possible by following best practice and by testing multiple landing page variations, but it’s worth considering a more radical change to achieve exceptional conversion rates.

Conversion rate optimisation for longer-term impact calls for more significant changes than just tweaking a few words, colours or the positioning of a call-to-action.

How to improve your online conversion rates

Get creative with your offers. Come up with an offer with a point of difference that’s more compelling than that of your competitors. It needs to be of value to the individual but not something they can easily get elsewhere. To find something new, try brainstorming with colleagues or ask your customers what you can do to help them. Once you have some new ideas, test them to find the one that is most successful. This process should be ongoing as customer wants and needs change over time.

Keep customers on board. Draw your prospects in gradually and be patient. One of the quickest ways to lose customers on the sales journey is to ask for too much information at the beginning of the process. Our research at Ditto Digital for one of our clients revealed that even having an optional field on a form for the customer phone number deterred people from submitting the form compared to no phone number field at all.


Pro Tip

Analyse conversion events in Google Analytics 4 to understand why people start completing a form but fail to submit it.


Play the waiting game. Give the prospective customer the offer without taking all the details you need. You can collect the information at a later point. Once the user has spent time getting to know your business, they are more likely to give you the extra time required to sign up and progress their buying journey.

Test the waters: Be prepared to test a variety of angles and creative ideas. You should aim to create at least four landing pages with different offers, flows and messages and then carefully track conversion results. This is where tools like HotJar and CrazyEgg really come into their own and can be automated to deliver different pages.

Prioritise quality over quantity. We talk about the percentages of conversion rates, but this isn't the whole story. The leads you generate must be high quality. If your rates are high but the leads are of no value and don't turn into a sale, they are worthless. Focus on optimising your landing pages to bring in quality conversions that take customers to the end of the buying journey so your business sees a return on your time and effort.

Conversion Rate Optimisation is a balancing act. It’s about what you add to your landing pages but also what you remove - any barriers that could see users drop off your web page, perhaps never to return.

Your lead quality will improve if your strategic landing pages are optimised and highly focused. Identify and remove the barriers that are stopping your prospects from converting, and find out what works best for your audience. Meet their needs, and they will meet yours.

Three things to do right now to improve your conversion rates

  • Test the effectiveness of your web pages using analytics tools such as HotJar or CrazyEgg.
  • Use Google Analytics 4 to find out where you are losing website visitors in the sales journey.
  • Create and test optimised landing pages tailored to the needs of your target audience.


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Michelle Symonds

Michelle specialises in Technical SEO but provides a range of other digital marketing services. Her strong IT and web expertise, gained developing software and websites for many years, is fundamental to devising her SEO strategies.

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