January 21, 2010

What Counts as a Conversion on my Web Site?


Hostway Team

By Melissa J Luther

The term conversion is confusing to many small business owners, because most people think only of a sale as a conversion. However, a conversion can be almost any action a visitor takes on your Web site. It all depends on your goals.

Any of the following are a potential conversion:

  • Subscribing to a newsletter: One of the easiest ways to build an email list is to have potential customers subscribe to your newsletter. A sign-up is evidence of interest in your service or product.
  • Submitting a form: A visitor who takes the time to fill out a request for more information or a contact us form is interested and worth the designation of conversion.
  • Downloading a file: Many businesses give away little freebies like an ebook or whitepaper. By tracking downloads you can gauge interest in the subject.
  • Visiting a specific page: Often ebook giveaways, newsletters or email advertising campaigns contain links to specific landing pages within a Web site. Clicking through to one of these pages signals interest and is a conversion.
  • Phone Call: While not strictly a Web site conversion, a person who calls after visiting your site was influenced by it, and is worth tracking.
  • Initiating a Live Chat: If you are set up to chat online with potential customers, then tracking this activity is very useful. Younger visitors may be more likely to want to chat online rather than pick up the phone, so this is a good complement to tracking phone calls.
  • Commenting on a blog: Visitors love blogs, and they love to comment on blogs. If your goal is to engage your potential customers, then blog comments should be considered a conversion.
  • Completing a sale: Of course, a completed sale is the main goal of any ecommerce site.

You may have one or more these types of conversions on your Web site. Different parts of your site may have different goals, requiring different conversions. This is perfect, as it allows you to appeal to a variety of visitors who may be in different stages of the buying process. Someone just starting research may sign up for your newsletter to learn more about you. Someone who has narrowed their choices may submit a contact form to ask specific questions. Of course, the person who has made a decision may complete a purchase on your Web site.

To determine your conversions, figure out your goals and then decide which types of conversions will give you the best information about how well you are achieving those goals. Each type of conversion should be tracked separately.

About the Author

Melissa J Luther, owner and founder of LookSee Information Solutions, LLC helps small businesses create and maintain a strong online presence. She takes a multi-channel approach, with a well-optimized Web site as the center of an online presence that includes content creation, PPC advertising, linking and social media as appropriate.

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