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Conversion Rate Optimisation

The importance of copywriting, and how to get more out of your web traffic.

Many web design clients are obsessed with getting more traffic to their e-commerce websites – they will spend thousands of dollars on Google Adwords campaigns and SEO in the vain hope that more is merrier. Surely more web traffic equals more website sales right? Not necessarily, and in many cases you many be throwing your money away. Let me explain . . .

E-commerce website management is a growing industry and a semi-scientific approach is beginning to emerge to help website owners get the the most out of the internet traffic they already receive. Why spend thousands of dollars getting more traffic to achieve more sales when you can boost sales with your existing visitors to achieve the same result? This is called Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and in some cases may be as simple as making slight changes to the words you use on your web pages.

Conversion Rate Optimisation is all about measuring, tweaking and testing – you collect data from your website visitors, usually through analytics software such as Google Analytics or Piwik, you tweak web pages or part of web pages that seem to be performing poorly and you measure the changes against the status quo. For instance, if very few of your website visitors are taking any action on your “Buy Red Widgets” page (by action I mean clicking on the “Buy Now” buttons or clicking on links to learn more about the red widgets), you have a big problem on your hands. Imagine if all your visitors were coming to the website via Pay-Per-Click advertisements that say “Buy Red Widgets” – obviously most of your visitors have a strong intent to buy red widgets, but very few actually are.

To find out why so few of your visitors are converting into customers it’s important to be objective. Avoid asking friends, colleagues and acquaintances to critique your website. Although they may come up with some interesting theories, all their ideas will be based on speculation and some may even hurt your feelings. This is where raw data comes in handy – it’s objective, and, like a good detective, will eventually lead you to the culprit of your low conversion rate.

The first thing I usually look at when asked to help improve the conversion rate of a website is the Bounce Rate – it’s the percentage of website visitors who only view a single page on your website rather than clicking through to other pages. In an e-commerce website this effectively correlates to the purchase conversion rate, as visitors will always have to make clicks to purchase products and services. Bounce rates above 50% are concerning and anything above 80% herald an emergency.


Case Study: E-Commerce Website with a High Bounce Rate and Low Conversion Rate

conversion rate optimisation

The picture attached is a real-life example of an e-commerce website that had a high bounce rate and a low conversion rate. You can see that in some time in early June the bounce rate decreased from about 75% to 0% and remains steady on about 3-4%. So what did I do to achieve such a reduction, and in-turn achieve a much higher conversion rate? Simple, I tweaked the web copy.

People often underestimate the power of words, especially in web design where they tend to get caught up in page layout and font selection. But a simple change in tone can be the most effective thing you can do to increase website sales.

In this example, I only changed two things about the website copy to achieve huge results:

1. People don’t read they scan:

There is nothing wrong with having a lot of text on a website, in fact in many instances it can be beneficial, especially with search engine optimisation. However, the way people engage with most websites mean that you have to grab there attention within a few seconds.

To improve the website’s bounce rate in the above example I broke up the text into more manageable chunks, replacing long paragraphs into smaller sentences, used bullet points and numbering where I could. I created strong value propositions in bold sentences and generally made the content easier to skim on a whole. The most important change was breaking the text into smaller chucks and having the visitors click through if they wanted to find out more. Thus the visitor could seemingly see more when they landed on the page and get to where they wanted to be quicker than before.

2. Change the tone:

Building trust online works in much the same as the offline world – if you show affection and try to help people, you will build a bond faster. If you talk in a conversational tone and tell stories, people feel like they know you and want to buy from you.

In the above example it was just 2 words that were letting them down – they had “Buy Now” buttons plastered underneath all of their products, and it was destroying the relationship they were trying to build. When you click a “Buy Now” button, you feel like you are making a huge commitment. Remember a website visitor usually forms a relationship with you in less than 30 seconds, and this is far too short a time to be getting someone to commit.

The solution was simple – change the “Buy Now” buttons to much more friendly “Learn More” buttons. This small change in copy writing increased the conversion rate by 14%!


If you want to improve the profitability of your e-commerce website, your best return on investment will be looking at improving your conversion rate. Conversion rates can be studied with analytics data and changes can be tested against the status quo. Often small changes in copy writing are the culprit and fixing them can lead to huge improvements in profitability.

Where do I get help?

If you would like help with conversion optimization, the experienced team at IT Itch is just a click away. We’ve helped all sorts of e-commerce websites with digital growth and we would love to help you too!

Click here to tell us about your unique website and your goals, problems and concerns.