To set the definitions right, it is generally agreed that bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who exit the website immediately after arrival. Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete website goal, which may be a signup, subscription, purchase, download, etc.
Most people believe that bounce rate and conversion rate is inversely proportional. That is, if bounce rate goes up, conversion rate would go down and if bounce rate goes down, your conversion rate will go up (because apparently you will have more interested visitors). On the face of it, this seems to be true and hence the proposition that fixing the bounce rate OR the conversion rate alone will achieve business goals seems to be true.
Sadly, this relationship between bounce rate and conversion rate is an illusion. To understand that there is NO relationship between these two metrics, you need to know what bounce rate really is. Does the bounce rate talk about visitors who viewed just one page on your website? Or should it capture more nuanced idea of visitors who stumbled across your website by chance? Most web analytics tools define bounce rate as the former: that is, a single visit is considered a bounce. Bounce rate, defined in such a manner, conveys completely wrong information.
Increasingly, visitors are becoming goal oriented. For example, if they need to see your shipping policy, they will Google it, read about it and leave your website. That visit is not a bounce: visitor got what he was looking for. Similarly, most of you will exit after reading this post for say 3-5 minutes. Do I consider you a bounced visitor? No, not at all. You were engaged for a long time, how could you be classified as a bounced visitor. However, the web analytic tool I use will classify you as a bounce because you just read one page on the website. Realize that bounce rate which you are reading out from your tool is not what it says. Scrutinize definitions and understand what the metric is saying to put it in the right context.
So, what is the best way to represent bounce rate? I think bounce rate is best captured by measuring what percentage of visitors spent less than 30 seconds on your website. Any time spent which is less will signal that visitors arrived on your website by chance and is NOT at all interested in what you are offering, hence quickly went back to what he was doing. All other visitors spending >30 seconds, even if they just see one page, should be classified as non-bounced visitors. To summarize:
Unfortunately, measuring exact time spent by a visitor by web analytics tools is difficult and most of them will approximate this number. That said, I think bounce rate should be defined by time spent on website and not by pageviews.
Coming back to conversion rate, how is it related to bounce rate? As traditional thinking goes, the visitors who bounced bring the conversion rate down as they have no chance of completing the website goal. I fully agree that bounced visitors (by definition) have no chance of completing the conversion goal. Then, I ask, why to include bounced visitors in conversion calculations at all? To truly reflect the progress you have been making on your website, conversion rate calculations should NOT include bounced visitors. Bounced visitors never really cared about your website, non-bounced are the ones who engaged and spent time going through what you are offering. Conversion rate should capture how good a job your website is doing for getting those visitors (who care about your website) to complete the goals. Conversion rate, ideally, should be calculated as following:
So, now we have two metrics which are not at all related to each other: bounce rate and conversion rate. Both of these metrics convey different information regarding how you are performing. Hence, both of these metrics should be separately optimized. Optimizing bounce rate is for convincing more number of people to engage with your website. Optimizing conversion rate is for convincing the visitors who are already engaged to complete your website goals. Reducing bounce rate AND increasing conversion rate are two different activities. Remember that.
What are your views on relation between conversion rate and bounce rate? How do you and your web analytics tool measures bounce rate?
There are NOT a lot of free resources available on the Internet for A/B Testing. This post tries to lists the best tools, guides and resources for A/B Testing. As it will be an ever growing list, feel free to make suggestions for additions into the list.
Show case of existing A/B Tests
If you have any other suggestions for additions in the list, I will be happy to add them. Just leave a comment.
When people install a shiny, new (and possibly free) web analytics tool, few of the initial metrics that they obsess on are: number of pageviews and number of visitors. There is nothing wrong with measuring how many visitors come to your website; it is good metric that gives an illusion that you have everything in control on your website. If website traffic increases, it is good. If traffic decreases, it is bad. What metric can beat the effectiveness of such a simple heuristic!
The real problem arises when website owners never look beyond these simple metrics. Relying and optimizing website around these metrics is a serious error. What you indeed need to optimize should be something I call visitor lifetime value.
Visitor lifetime value, to put simply, is a concept borrowed from traditional marketing where they use something called customer lifetime value. The idea goes like this: every customer has a potential to deliver certain lifetime monetary value (read sales) to your business and a business can only survive if its customer acquisition cost (money spent on acquiring the customer) is less than customer life time value.
A similar concept can also be applied to websites. Every visitor who comes to your website holds potential to deliver certain value to you and you should know what that value is. Visitor lifetime value has following components:
Based on these parameters, a simplistic formula can be derived for visitor life time value:
Tracking and optimizing a single metric like visitor life time value gives you THE best perspective on whether your activities on the website are really worth it. If you aren’t calculating and increasing visitor life time value, you are loosing a lot of opportunity to drive your business ahead. The metric also attaches a bound to what you should be paying for acquiring visitors through paid advertisements, banner ads or affiliates. You cannot spend more to acquire a visitor more than what you expect to derive from him.
Coming back to measuring number of visitors to your website, I lied when I said it is a worthless activity! If you see visitor life time value, it is money/sales/business that a single visitor is expected to deliver to your business. Multiply that value by the number of visitors and you get total website value (in monetary terms).
So, all in all, there are really only two ways to increase total website value:
You must be measuring number of visitors already. But ask your web analyst or web analytics tool to calculate visitor lifetime value and total website value for you. Track it, optimize your activities around it and base your decisions on these values. Because, after all, these are the only values that REALLY matter to your business. Agree?
What are your thoughts on visitor lifetime value? Any additions to the formula? Do you calculate this value for your website?
Holidays are near. I hear you say: yay! Holidays have always been a very happy period for marketers, businesses and customers alike. Businesses want to cheerfully sell stuff and customers want to gladly buy stuff. What a perfect setting!
Even though eCommerce sales and conversions generally increase in this season, they can be optimized even more. If you are looking for ideas to increase conversion rate specifically for holiday season, the following list will serve exact that purpose. How to optimize ecommerce conversions for holidays? Here’s how:
Use all of the above ideas for increase sales for your business but keep a general tip in mind: run lots of split tests to test different ideas but at a time include only 10-15% of all website visitors because you wouldn’t want too many lost sales opportunities if different versions/ideas perform poorly. But, of course, this depends on the total traffic. If you are a small e-Commerce store, you may not have luxury to get test results with just 10-15% of visitors.
What are your favorite strategies for holiday-specific conversion optimization? Tried any of the strategies described here? Would love to hear your experiences and viewpoints.
The most important metric that you should be tracking on your website is its bounce rate. It is a number which tells what percent of visitors leave your site after browsing just one page or within first 10 seconds (exact definition depends on the web analytics tool you use). Higher the bounce rate, higher the number of potential customers you loose because bounced visitors thought your website has nothing for them to offer and leave without any further interaction. With ever-reducing attention spans and ever-expanding options online, your visitors have very little motivation in actively exploring your website for what you offer and how it benefits their day to day lives. So, it becomes responsibility of the first page a visitor lands on to convince him that spending time here is worth it.
Optimizing (reducing) bounce rate is thus tremendously important to your business. There are multiple reasons why visitors leave immediately after arriving; the most prominent amongst them being:
How to fix the high bounce rate?
As different websites serve different goals and cater to different audiences, there is no sure shot way of fixing the bounce rate. Though there are several general methodologies you can try for reducing the bounce rate:
As Avinash Kaushik says, the only good bounce rate is the one which keeps reducing month-by-month. So make sure you focus your website optimization efforts first one bounce rate and then onto other metrics.
What are your strategies for reducing bounce rates? Do you think you are doing a good job on your website (as far as optimizing bounce rate is concerned)? Are you satisfied with your existing bounce rate?
To get started with conversion rate optimization, first let us agree to what conversion rate really is. Simply put, the conversion rate of a website is the percentage of visitors or visits that result in completion of a conversion event. Conversion event is a very broad term and it totally depends on the (business) goals of a website; it may be user registration, purchase, whitepaper download or free trial, etc. Obviously, a business desires that more number of visitors (ideally all) complete the conversion process.
Conversion rate optimization is a huge discipline in itself as there are numerous methods for increasing the conversion rate of a website. However, if you are just getting started to get serious about squeezing the maximum out of your traffic, following are three basic yet super-effective tips:
1) Test your “Call to Action”:
Your “Call to Action” is the main button or link that persuades the visitor to start the conversion process. Call to action can be your registration or checkout button. Needless to say it is the most important part of the conversion process. Your call to action should be the most prominent part on the page and should excite the visitor to start the conversion process. Different elements should be tested in order to see what works best. Try varying message, size, font and colour of the button or link. A quick tip: it is always best to avoid using texts that are vague and don’t convey any meaning. For example, commonly used examples of less effective call to action are “click here”, “submit”, “read more,” etc. Are you using such buttons or links on your website? Change them immediately. Instead, you should use more descriptive and persuasive text that tells your visitors where they are going and why they should go there. This will then drive your visitors to take the desired actions. Placements of the call to action is also important and it is recommended that this be above the fold and be near points of attention.
Ideally, you should setup a split test for testing different variations of your button or link. However, to begin with you can tweak your call to action so as to make it most prominent element on the page. A person standing 15 feet away from the screen should be able to recognize your call to action.
2) Simplify your conversion funnel:
The conversion funnel is a set of pages (like the checkout process or registration form) that leads to your conversion goal (like a product purchase or subscription). Most web analytics tools (including some free ones) can be configured to allow you to visualize where your visitors are leaking from your conversion funnel. You may be surprised to know that most visitors abandon step 2 of your conversion funnel because you are asking for their personal details when they are not motivated enough by step 1 to warrant that. A complicated conversion funnel needs to be simplified in order to push the traffic through to the final conversion page. A few tweaks to simplify your funnel thereby increase your conversion rate:
3) Don’t let your visitors doubt your business trustworthiness
No matter how persuasive your call to action is or how simple your website is, if you do not give the impression of trustworthiness to your visitors or give them confidence in your website, you are not very likely to improve your website’s conversion rate. Your visitors need to know that you are not fly-by-night operation and you are here to remain. There are different methods which you can apply on the website pages to increase visitors’ confidence in your website and products. These include:
Those were simple yet extremely effective tips which many businesses fail to consider. Many a times, the conversion rate is sub-optimal and business owners aren’t even aware of that. They are too happy with their single percentage point conversion rates. But now that you know there are tons of tweaks that you can do which will directly impact your website sales and revenues, you should better get started now!
How is your experience with these tips? Tried them on your website? Do share with us your story.
We are starting a new blog on conversion rate optimization today. It will contain tips, tricks, hacks, guides and secrets for converting your website visitors into your customers.
If you are serious about your business online and don’t have a clue what your conversion rate is, stop reading right now! You cannot optimize what you don’t measure. First step is to know what percent of your website visitors take the action which you want them to. It can be commenting on your blog, signing up for your service, making a purchase, or even simply browsing through as many pages on your site as possible. Fish out your web analytics help and setup conversion goals for your website now. We can guarentee you that you will be in for a reality check when you see that number
Make sure you subsribe to the blog either through email or through RSS, because we are going to post very exciting stuff here on a regular basis. If it is about conversion optimization, it is going to be on this blog (eventually).
Happy to stay in touch with you. Welcome us to the world of conversion rate optimization.