Are you making these common conversion optimization mistakes?

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 21 Jun, 2016
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If your site is failing to turn a satisfying number of browsers into confirmed buyers, it’s very likely that your conversion optimization tactics are the source of the problem.

As marketers, we spend much of our time and effort on actually getting  traffic to the site in the first place – from hours of painstaking data mining to eke out the very best click through rates on paid search, to countless hours polishing off blog posts, securing backlinks and brainstorming compelling email subject lines. 

All of these activities generate traffic but, if that traffic isn’t completing the cycle and following up on their initial interest with a purchase or subscription, it’s time to do some digging. Conversion optimization errors can render all of your hard work generating traffic obsolete, so it’s worth running through this checklist to make certain you’ve not fallen into a conversion optimization black hole.

Mistake 1: Your landing pages aren’t tailored

There’s absolutely no point in spending time and money creating attractive email campaigns or directing budget at paid search if your landing pages are generic. In an ideal world, you’d have a niche landing page for each campaign you’re running with plenty of relevant information, images, a clean layout and a clear call to action. 

Solution: Landing pages are critical to paid search success and the fuel that drives better conversion rate figures. Creating a dedicated landing page for each product or service you offer is a good first step. But, to truly optimize your site for conversions, you need to squeeze out every last drop of performance. That means testing those new landing pages. A/B testing using a tools such as Optimizely can help you refine each landing page, getting a step closer to a well tailored, high converting page each time. 
Be regimented about testing once the initial hurdle of landing page creation has been crossed. Test one thing at a time, note the performance change and then take your new knowledge and go one step further. 

Your social media efforts and organic search campaigns probably won’t have such clearly defined landing pages. But, you can still optimize pages based on intent. Consider (or flat out ask via a questionnaire or call) your visitors what they want to achieve on each page. Is it to find a phone number? Read product specs? Download something? Once you know the intent, you can set about tailoring the page to make that aim achievable. 

Mistake 2: You’re using split tests all wrong

There’s no better way to discover what your audience wants than by using split tests (see above). It might seem like a simple enough exercise but there is an art form to the perfect split test. If you’re not on the ball, it could be harming your conversions, taking up time and generating lots of useless data. 

Solution: The most common mistakes made with split testing are:

  • Letting tests run on for too long
  • Showing different versions of the page to Google than to users
  • Letting pages purposely made for testing be indexed

If you’re going to run split tests to determine anything to do with your site, make sure you’re testing things of significance such as the placement and type of call to action. Have a fixed start and end date and make sure it’s implemented in line with SEO best practice to avoid doing long term damage to your rankings. 

Mistake 3: You ignore your bounce rate

Many businesses make the mistake of concentrating too much on website traffic, and ignoring other important metrics. One such metric is bounce rate. If your bounce rate is high, soaring traffic figures mean very little.

Solution: Conversions will only come from having more of the right kinds of traffic. A high bounce rate suggests your visitors aren’t finding what they want and leave, presumably to go to a competitor site. Depending on the industry, what’s considered a ‘good’ bounce rate will vary so there’s no benchmarking or standard rate to target here. 
The only real way you can decipher whether your bounce rate is hindering your efforts is to keep an eye on it. Produce reports so you can see peaks and troughs and look at where your traffic is coming from. 

Mistake 4: Your marketing is disjointed

It can be all too easy to think of some great straplines that will catch users’ attention in adverts. Easier still to find a superstar graphic designer to whip up some amazing banner ads and give your social media covers and graphics an Oscar-worthy makeover. You might build a great relationship with a blogger who gives your products the official stamp of approval with an Instagram endorsement or glowing testimonial. Despite this, you still aren’t logging the conversions you’d expect. It could be that your marketing is disjointed. 

Solution: Much of today’s digital marketing methodology dictates that you spend a lot of time focusing your efforts away from your site – cultivating relationships with influencers and engaging, curating and collating the best social media content. Link building for SEO demands serious outreach efforts. What’s left then to dedicate to your actual site? 

If your best creative and the majority of your attention is focused outside of your site, you could be guilty of letting it slide. This means your external image is slick, polished and ready for its close up – but this shiny, professional look and stellar content doesn’t extend to your standard product pages, homepage or blog. 

Aiming for consistency and directing resources at your site is just as important as the focus you place elsewhere, otherwise those clicking on a link expecting to see the main event will be faced with the warm up act and likely to leave straight away. Try our tips for optimizing your content for maximum conversions in tandem with looking at how you can transition your efforts off site to the domain itself. 

Mistake 5: Your mobile presence hasn’t been considered

Google called it when they said mobile search was topping desktop. If this wasn’t an early indicator that your site needed to be optimized for mobile viewing, you could well be losing thousands of dollars worth of conversions every day. 

Solution: Prioritize your mobile website development this second. Google has made major strides forward by putting mobile high up on its agenda and your site needs to keep pace with that focus. A poorly designed and poorly functioning mobile site is not just frustrating for the user, it is a costly mistake that you cannot afford to make with more people using mobile for search than desktop. You can find some tips on getting your site mobile friendly in our mobile page speeds article here.

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