Wingify Conversion Optimization Blog
Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Guides, Hacks and Secrets
on Website Conversion Rate Optimization

Is bounce rate and conversion rate related? Short answer: No

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.

balance

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:

Bounce rate = Number of visitors who spent < 30 seconds on the website /
Total number of visitors


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:

Conversion rate = Number of non-bounced visitors who completed the goal  /
Total number of non-bounced visitors


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?

6 Eye Tracking Studies and What do they say about Website Conversion Optimization

I have collected 6 research studies on visitor eye tracking and done the studying for you. Here is what eye tracking studies talk about conversion rate optimization:

glance

15+ Free A/B Split Testing Resources

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.

Tools

Guides

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.

Stop measuring number of pageviews on your website! Measure the right metric: Visitor Lifetime Value

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:

  • Goals – what goals you want the visitor to complete; it can be signups, downloads, leads, clicks on ads or purchases
  • Value of those goals – you should put a dollar figure to each of those goals. What is a signup worth to you? What is a lead worth to you? What is average sale made per visitor?
  • Conversion rate for those goals – out of 100 visitors who visit your website, how many complete goals you have defined. That value is called conversion rate.
  • Visitor retention – on an average, how many visits does a visitor make on your website. Is that value 1, 2 or as large as 5-10? With each additional visit, you get a chance to have the visitor complete your goals and deliver value to your business. You are doing an extremely poor job if on an average most of your visitors never come back. Have them come back to your website!

Based on these parameters, a simplistic formula can be derived for visitor life time value:

Visitor life time value = [ (Goal 1 monetary value * Goal 1 conversion rate) +
(Goal 2 monetary value * Goal 2 conversion rate) + ….  ] * Visitor Retention Rate


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).

Total website value = Number of (unique) visitors * Visitor life time value


So, all in all, there are really only two ways to increase total website value:

  • Increase the number of visitors to your website
  • Increase visitor life time 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?

Seven actionable ideas to optimize e-Commerce website conversions for the holiday season

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:

  1. Split test a holiday themed website – too afraid to overhaul the website for holidays? Split test by including a fraction of visitors and see if it increases conversions. As our past experience says, it should.
  2. Target visitors from other countries with the non-holiday themed website - even if you theme your website, don’t loose visitors from countries other than where holiday season is on. Visitors come to your website from all parts of the world; some of them will be from regions/countries where they don’t have this holiday season. Don’t confuse them, just serve them with a different website template.
  3. Segment the visitors on week of the day and time of the day – during holidays, clear patterns in different types of visitors emerge because their is frantic online shopping. See how buying behavior changes with the time or day; leverage that information to better target your offers and achieve even more conversions
  4. Split test gifts v/s direct purchases – in holiday season, having calls to action which let visitors gift items instead of purchasing may indeed increase total revenues
  5. Send targeted holiday offers through email based on visitor profile – segment your previous customers on city, country, past purchases, kids and other parameters and send targeted offers to them
  6. Leverage holiday sentiment effectively – for example, a perfect ad copy that plays on holiday sentiments: What are you gifting your child this Christmas? In last two hours, 52 moms already gifted this super-fast toy-car for their kids this holiday season.
  7. Create a sense of hurry – have offers like ‘Flat 25% discount only till Christmas. Buy Now!‘, or ‘Buy at old price. Prices increasing 30% in the New Year

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.

Why your bounce rate is high and how to fix it – top 6 reasons why visitors immediately exit your website

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:

  1. Expectation mismatch: by to the source they arrived from. Your visitors are expecting to see something on your website while your page talks about something else. This happens a lot of times, especially when you have paid advertising for a specific offer and you link that advertisement to a generic page such as your homepage. Matching the expectation of your visitor is very important. Your site might be talking about multiple different things, but a visitor arrives on it just to learn more about what the source said you offer.
  2. Organic search irrelevance: increasingly search engines are getting better at finding relevant content for a user search query, but they are still not perfect. I’m sure while reviewing your web analytics reports, you must be regularly surprised by: ‘how come this search query found this page on my website’. Your visitors too feel the same. Try comparing your bounce rate for organic visitors (those who came via search engines) v/s non-organic visitors (those who came via other sources); you would definitely see that the former metric is higher than the latter.
  3. Your website sucks: your visitors expect a good looking, easy on eyes website upon arrival. They are already sick of advertisement-loaded, poorly made websites all over the Internet and if yours is no better, they won’t be very happy about it. Give your visitors a pleasant surprise by having a website with the right contrast, right typography, right layout and right color scheme. Hire a top-notch designer and pay him whatever you can but please make sure your website looks good.
  4. Lack of call to action: this could perhaps be the single biggest reason for why visitors bounce from your website. Once visitors have gone through the page they landed on, don’t let them struggle on what they should be doing next. Guide them to the actions you think are optimal for that page. If it is a blog, you want them to subscribe to blog updates. If it is a corporate site, you may want them to go through relevant case studies and whitepapers. In nutshell, don’t let them think too hard to what is their expected next action on this website. Guide them gently using calls to actions placed prominently at the right places on the website. Mostly, these right palaces are the ones where visitor has just completed his original purpose (for which he landed on the site) and is wondering what to do next.
  5. Too many options: this is the opposite end of the previous point of having no call to action on the landing page. Having too many options for a visitor can also lead to higher bounce rate. This is partly the reason you will observe that bounce rate on your homepage is probably higher than your other inner website pages. Having too many links/calls to actions competing for visitor attention can increase anxiety and lead to visitor leaving the website for a better alternative.  This is where experienced conversion optimization firms (such as Wingify :) ) and good web designers help you in creating proper layout with different calls to actions appealing to different kinds of visitors, hence reducing bounce rate.
  6. 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:

    • Segment bounce rate by landing/entry page: your website overall bounce rate conveys absolutely no actionable information; it is vague and it is imprecise. Best way to get a true picture of your website bounce rate is to see bounce rate for individual landing/entry pages. Using your web analytics tool, see which are the top 20 landing pages on your website and what their individual bounce rates are. You will be surprised to know that there is a dramatic difference in bounce rate across different landing pages.  Your top priority should be to fix or optimize pages/categories which are most trafficked and have highest bounce rates.
    • Surveys: there are many tools on the web which allow you to survey visitors who are about to bounce, just before they leave the website. Though I particularly don’t like such methodologies because they frustrate an already unsatisfied visitor, you may find them useful for your website and audience type.
    • Visitor movies and heatmaps: you can use tools such as Clicktale to record mouse movements, clicks, scroll activity and keypresses of your visitors to find out what exactly they do once they arrive on your landing pages. It can be a tremendous way to find out that, for example, most of your visitors don’t really notice your ‘SIGNUP NOW’ button in the sidebar. (And you thought people aren’t interested in the offering) Similarly, you can use tools such as Crazyegg to see heatmaps to find out where on the page exactly visitors are clicking/engaging and if it is optimial.
    • Testing: usually the only way to find out what works is to test it. You should setup a split test to try multiple different website designs, layouts, styling, calls to action, etc. Hire a testing agency, if you wish, but make sure you are doing testing on your website continuously to always 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?

Three effective tips to get started with conversion rate optimization

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.

To repeat: “Click Here” is bad; while “Free, no obligations Download” is good.

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:

  • Remove all extraneous links from pages within the conversion funnel
  • Remove all unnecessary steps from the conversion funnel
  • Don’t put too much focus on up-selling other offers
  • Only ask for information that is completely necessary in completing the conversion process. Visitors are hesitant to reveal their information if it unjustified
  • In the case of shopping carts, clearly let the visitor know about postage and packaging costs, taxes and your returns policy as early in the process as possible
  • And make sure that you remind your visitor what they’ve added to their cart by placing a link back to the product

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:

  • Assuring your visitors that you value their privacy and that you have a secured site. This can go a long way to instil confidence in any interactions that visitors have with your website. This can be done by adding HackerSafe (or similar) badges that show that you take the issue of website security seriously
  • Having a professional looking and uniform layout throughout your website will give the impression that your website is well designed and professionally maintained. This would include having consistent placements of navigation buttons and branding throughout the website
  • Displaying your privacy policy wherever you ask personal information from the visitor

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.

Hello world, welcome your new buddy for Conversion Rate Optimization!

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.