How Many Visitors CAN Your Website Convert?

You’re on top of your game, providing compelling content – researching trending keywords – even running test PPC campaigns before optimizing organically. But chances are that no matter what you do, you’re only converting a small percentage of your visitors. Have you ever stopped and asked yourself…why?

First off, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. No one converts 100% of their website traffic. No one.

With that out of the way, the next logical question to ask would be: How much of my traffic CAN I convert?

50% – 30% -10% – 5%…..?

The question is rhetorical, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t TRY and find out the answer. In Tim Ash’s excellent book, Landing Page Optimization, he discusses the “Myth of Perfect Conversion” based on previous client data.  The basic premise is this: roughly HALF of your visitors will NEVER say yes, regardless of what you do. Even if you are hyper-targeting your audience, it’s very doubtful you’re converting upwards of 50% of your traffic. (unless you only get 10 visits a month, and even then….)

He breaks it down even further, by integrating the no-maybe’s and yes-maybe’s into the mix, as shown in the image below. (click image for larger view.)

visit_to_conversion_ratioMost sites that are converting 0.1 – 2.0% of their visitors are probably only getting those conversions from visitors that would buy their product or service no matter what changes they make on their site. They’re either convinced that you’re the only one that has what they need, don’t have time to go somewhere else, or are strong-willed and feel compelled to do whatever it takes to complete their task – no matter how hard you make it for them. Thank goodness there are people like this out there. Unfortunately, there just aren’t ENOUGH of them.

The no’s on the other hand – well, they’re just like the yes’s, but opposite. NOTHING you do is going to get them to convert. Maybe they just happened to click on your site by accident, maybe they’re from out of town and they’re looking for someone local, or maybe they’re looking for your competitor instead. Segmenting out this portion of your audience is crucial to increasing your conversions for the remaining group.

This leaves the maybes: yes-maybes, maybe-maybes, and no-maybes.  How do you change their minds? There are three things you need to do, and I bet you already know them:

1. Track everything – banner ads, on-site call to actions, transactions, etc.

2. Analyze – where are they coming from, what pages are they landing on, what paths are they taking, which keywords brought them to your site, which keywords convert, etc…

3. Test variations and Optimize – Start simple. change one thing, and analyze results. If you test too many things at once, you make it much more difficult on yourself to try and figure out WHICH of the things you changed made the difference. You can also wreck your current conversion rate in the process, which you DON’T want to happen.

We get push-back sometimes from our clients when we tell them we need to run some test variations – mostly because of the time it takes. So we often start very small and simple, changing an image or a heading font or some text, etc. Once we show them how the small changes can create significant actions with their visitors, they tend to sign on and get more involved – which is the best thing that can happen. Experimentation is key, because the fact is – none of us know for sure which change is going to have the biggest impact.

Anne Holland’s landing page testing site is a great place to test your intuition – I highly recommend it.


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