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As SEO continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly enmeshed in other aspects of e-commerce.  An area that businesses need to focus on is conversion rate optimization or CRO.  SEO is the practice of getting traffic to a specific site; CRO is keeping them there.  Why is this so crucial?  Because web owners pay over $56 billion per year to generate traffic, and only 2 to 3 percent of visitors convert.  If the conversion rate can be increased by even a few percentage points, it can translate into significant earnings for any web-based business.  How can you boost your CR?

  • First, find out what your conversion rate is.  Google Analytics offers free enterprise-level tools to help you do this.  Get a sense of where you’re starting at so you can better strategise.
  • Next, look at web design, including layout, colors, fonts, and images  Is it pleasing to the eye or does it tend to want to make visitors head for the back button as quickly as possible? Look objectively, and think like you would in a physical store: is everything laid out neatly and logically? Does it look inviting?
  • Navigation is key, particularly for mobile users.  Make sure your home page is accessible via one-click from any page on your site, and use clear tools that visitors are familiar with, such as a menu on the left hand side of the page or across the top of the page or a sitemap.
  • Do you have a strong call to action?  Do visitors know what you want them to do?  Believe it or not, this really helps.
  • How’s your speed?  A one second delay in page load time decreases conversion rates an incredible 7 percent.  This could be deadly to sites that depend on conversions.

Many of the steps you can take deal with how your site looks; let’s take a closer look at how it runs.  Speed is important, and Google does take load time into consideration when factoring rankings.  Take the time to test your site speed and improve customer experience.  Here are a few tools to help you:

  • Page Speed Online. This Google tool tests your page load time and provides useful tips on how to boost speed.  There are a lot of other tools that do similar jobs, including SlowCop, iwebtest, and SearchMetricsSpeedTest.
  • or JPEGmini.  Tools like these compress graphics, reducing image sizes so pages load faster.  You get the graphics you want and the speed you need.  A win-win.
  • Tagman.  This accelerates JavaScript tags.
  • JavaScript Optimiser.  You can remove comments, whitespace, and unnecessary characters to save time.  You can also shorten function/variable/class names.
  • Online CSS Optimizer.  This helps you reduce the file size of CSS, or cascading style sheets.

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