Conversion Optimisation: What is it and why should I care?

Written by Tom Greenwood - December 16, 2011

conversion optimisation

It is easy for businesses to confuse their online presence with a popularity contest instead of a commercial venture. They track their visitors attentively and celebrate any increases in traffic. Of course, if these businesses intend to stay in business they need to make money.

Having thousands of visitors to your website is nice, but the objective for any business should be to convert these visitors into paying customers. This is what conversion optimisation is about. Basically if you have a website that needs to generate sales or leads, you should care about conversion optimisation.

To improve your conversion optimisation, think about what will encourage a visitor to become a customer:

Choose a website design that is suitable for your business

If you are selling a product like insurance or legal services you probably want to convey professionalism and reliability. If you are selling clothes to teenagers you probably want to convey that you understand fashion (at least fashion as teenagers see it). Choosing an appropriate look for your website can be a good step toward earning the trust and admiration of a potential customer.

Make it easy for customers to find information

Many customers will do some research before making a purchase. They are likely going to be interested in your products, guarantees, return policy, shipping costs and any other fees. If it is hard to find the information that they want, they might easily give up and visit a different website instead.

Write compelling content

Consider what customers want. Then tell them in clear, concise and compelling langiage how your business or products can fulfil their needs.


Make sure your spelling, grammar and punctuation are correct. This is particularly important if you are selling a professional service. Think of your website as a CV and make sure that you present a credible image at all times.

Don’t annoy customers with pages that take a long time to load

Website visitors hate sites that take a long time to load and they consider a long time to be measured in seconds, not minutes. Many will abandon a page that takes more than 10 seconds to load. Consider using a platform such as WordPress that will generate streamlined code to load quickly. A professional web designer can also find ways to design pages and tweak settings to speed things up.

Create a mobile friendly website

If you think that many of your customers will be shopping from a mobile device (which is increasingly the case – especially for affluent web users) then make sure your site will function correctly and look good on small screens. You may need to set up a separate version of your site for them.

Remove hurdles

Don’t make it difficult for customers to make an enquiry or make a purchase. Place your call to action prominently, reduce the number of steps/pages that they need to visit, make everything easy to follow and understand, and don’t ask them questions that you don’t need to.  Also, let people use the payment option that they want. More payment options will mean more people can and will buy your products.

Reduce anxiety of completing payment

People are naturally cautious about entering their contact or credit card details into a website.  A familiar logo of an industry association, credit company or a recognised security logo may help assure a customer that you are a legitimate business and have the correct security protection in place.

Conduct analysis

You can use free software such as Google Analytics or the programs provided by your hosting company to see what pages on your website are the most popular. Find out where your potential customers get stuck and troubleshoot.

Test your site

You can design multiple versions of your site and see which one gets the most conversions. Perhaps your customers don’t like a particular font. Or maybe they like more colours. Similarly, you can try different wordings of headlines, different button and form designs, different imagery and other important content to see what sells.  You can also use tools to analyse user behaviour and request feedback from users to help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your design better.


Conversion optimisation is about forming strategies to improve the proportion of visitors to your website that purchase something or make an enquiry. This can be achieved by improving the usability of your website and streamlining the checkout procedure. If marketing and selling online is important to your business, consult with professional web designers familiar with conversion optimisation to ensure you get top results.  Even if you already have a good website design, the important thing to remember is that web design is not a one off event, but an ongoing process to continuously improve your websites effectiveness and profitability.