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Regardless of whether you're a for-profit business or a nonprofit organization, getting visitors to your website is only the beginning. There are certain actions you want your website visitors to take. Motivating your site visitors to act is known as a "conversion," and it's the primary goal of most business websites, as well as a key objective for many mission-based organizations.

Conversions may take many forms, depending on your business/organizational model, including:

  • Placing a sales order
  • Sending a service inquiry
  • Making a donation
  • Completing a volunteer form
  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Downloading a trial or special offer

Unfortunately, many organizations are so focused on driving visitor "traffic" to their websites that they lose sight of the reason they want those visitors in the first place—to get users to take a desired action, to convert those visitors into new customers, clients, or supporters.

What Conversion Optimization Involves

Conversion optimization is the process of modifying your site's target landing pages in ways that will inspire a greater number of site visitors to take the desired actions. This process borrows from several areas of web development, including:

  • Content & Messaging—letting visitors know what you want them to do, and providing them with a compelling reason to do so (i.e. "call to action")
  • User Psychology—understanding what it is that will appeal to your target visitors
  • Design & Layout—presenting the action triggers (e.g., signup form, shopping cart) in a user-friendly manner that makes it easy for visitors to take the desired action
  • User Experience—making it easy for visitors to navigate your site and find what it is they're looking for, and guiding them toward action triggers while building a general sense of comfort and credibility

Why You Need Conversion Optimization

Conversion optimization goes hand-in-hand with other Internet marketing efforts such as SEM/SEO/PPC. If you're spending money on PCP or SEO campaigns to drive traffic to your site, make sure you're realizing the greatest possible return on investment (ROI) by converting the maximum number of site visitors. Sound conversion optimization principles make websites instantly more productive and profitable without a single new visitor because you're increasing the conversions among the visitors you already have.