Use These 5 Steps to Triple Your Conversion Rate

SEOmoz inspired me today. It’s not just traffic. It’s what you do with it.Yes, we’ve heard it all before… traffic development is just one piece of the puzzle. Can you convert that traffic into sales? newsletter signups? blog subscribers? Can you convert it into ca$h money?

If you’re anything like me, you don’t completely ignore monetization. You spend maybe 5 days a year on it. (The other 360 are spent on building traffic via social media, SEO, etc.) In reality, this split should be more like 80/20. Or even–gasp–50/50!

The trouble is, the SEO’s skillset doesn’t really lend itself to a monetization mindset. As a traffic developer, I look at building an authority site like it’s an Epyptian pyramid where every good link is a single brick… slow and steady wins the race, and focus on the links, links, links.

But this sort of focus has its downside. To maximize revenues, you have to think of your Web site as a business… a business which is a constantly shifting experiment (thanks Squirrel).

“But my site has 1,000 variables. I don’t have the time, software or expertise to revise, test and optimize them all!”

Relax, friend. That’s fine. The good news is, chances are your site monetization has a ton of ‘low hanging fruit’… you can probably work on this for six weeks, and triple your conversion rate, before you run out of ‘easy’ stuff to do.

So if you’re a lazy, monetization-challenged SEO like me, please act on the following five steps, and find out what your real conversion rate is:

  1. Conduct a basic conversion rate audit. Conversion Rate Experts have 101 “quick n dirty” points on their conversion checklist. A lot of these points take 20 minutes to implement (for instance: add a testimonial; add a hacker-safe logo; use bullet points near the end of the copy; etc.). If you can find even 10 or 15 points to improve from their checklist, your conversions will improve–maybe double–right of the bat.
  2. Conduct a basic usability audit. A lot of usability issues won’t be covered in a “conversions guide” like the one above, but they will still certainly affect conversions. You can fix a lot of easy issues yourself by going through a basic usability checklist. Then, have an expert consultant go through and catch more subtle issues (make sure to fix the basic issues yourself first, so the expert doesn’t waste their time on stuff you could have figured out anyway). You can get a thorough, conversion-oriented usability audit for as little as $1,000. Following this, your newly usable site will yield even more conversions… I promise.
  3. Now comes the fun part: rewrite some key pages and calls to action. Many times the usability audit will uncover some themes which will help you rewrite your homepage/landing page copy and/or other key calls to action. I tend to write copy from a “me perspective”, rather than a “user perspective”, and the usability report will usually tell me where do I this. With this knowledge, I can come up with more user-oriented headlines and copy (benefits over features, overcoming common objections, etc.). If you feel your copywriting skills aren’t up to snuff–or even if they are, and you just want a second opinion–hire some expert help. Again watch your conversions increase, and spend the extra money on coke Apple gadgets self improvement.
  4. Test a few design variations of your new and improved copy. Now, if we wanted to get really slick, we could test multiple versions of the copy, each with multiple design variations, etc. But I promised you this was low hanging fruit–and I don’t have much patience–so f*ck that. Take your shiny, polished copy (maybe a short and long version) and have ShoeMoney’s guy whip up 3 variations @ $75 apiece. Feed them into Google Optimizer, gear up your volume for a few days, and bam. Either the best performing version has tripled your original (before-step-1) conversion rate, or I’ll refund you all the money you spent on this blog post!
  5. Come to PubCon and get sloshed with me. Now if this list was like every other conversion checklist, step 5 would be “continue to make variations, test and retest.” We have already established however that both of us are lazy SEO’s and have limited patience for this kind of stuff. So, pat yourself on the back, take comfort in the fact that you’ve tripled your conversion rate (and each unique is worth 3x what it was before!), book your ticket to Vegas, and let’s get drunk at PubCon. If you don’t get sick by the end of the night, you didn’t give it your all.

p.s. extra props to myself, for linking actual recommended people for each service I mention… it’s so hard to find good people these days. :-)

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#1 JonKelly on 09.17.07 at 3:27 pm

#5 is the best advice I’ve read in a while. See you there!

#2 brevetoxin on 09.17.07 at 4:48 pm

Indeed, I’ll take you up on #5 as well. If any of these work, maybe I’ll even buy you a drink.

#3 matto on 09.17.07 at 10:55 pm

Good advice as usual. Although I probably only have patience for the last

#4 jeffquipp on 09.18.07 at 12:53 pm

Excellent advice! The great thing about increasing conversion rates is that it not only impacts the effectiveness of search, but all media that drives traffic to the site. Done properly, and if a site’s conversion rates are higher than its competitors, it can afford to promote in media that its competitors cannot.

#5 cre8pc on 09.18.07 at 7:17 pm

I’m thinking that they should do #5 first, get juiced up, then come to me for the usability audit and I can quote any price while they’re floating about. Higher conversions for them and I can buy more bon bons…yes? :)

“The Berg”

#6 admin on 09.18.07 at 8:24 pm

> I’m thinking that they should do #5 first, get juiced up, then come to me for the usability audit and I can quote any price while they’re floating about.

The Berg,

I believe you’ve sown the foundation for a superb pyramid scheme. If you charge $50,000, how about a 50% rip?

#7 yuri on 09.19.07 at 4:41 am

Actually, it only takes a change of mindset to increase conversions ;) Partly, it is about the users, not the site owner. Once the site owner starts creating the site for the people, half of the job is done, really.

What I’d suggest is:
- think about credibility ( , the conversion list should have some of this, but you can think of more
- use information scent (words the visitors know, place them visibly, use call to action on links, such as get more traffic, etc
- for PPC pages/campaigns, focus very closely on keyphrases (as close as a ‘digital camera sony quickshot’ group/landing page, for example)

Focus and attention to details helps :)

Btw, for all those who are wondering how the conversion rate can be starts at +50% and goes up to +150%, in some extreme (unusable) cases, it can get +300-500%.