Conversion Rates and Unreasonable Desires

We want you to get everything you want from your website. But we have to recognize that some desires related to websites are unreasonable.

Look at this want ad, an actual job posting at a popular freelance marketplace:

I am willing to pay $1.50 each for good quality research article of min. 500 words including images and link to where you got the resources from. For my freelancer blog, i will also like to have quality tutorials that include images and steps.. and other freelancer research topics such as css, web design, development etc..

You can’t get a good quality research article on any topic for $1.50.

You also can’t get compelling content from whoever looks like they have the most free time around your office each day, a professionally designed website absolutely free, or a six figure income from your blog with only a few minutes’ work before spending the day on the beach drinking rum punch.

We have a new client who wants to spread the word about his product without having to share his party photos on Facebook. In fact, he doesn’t want to do any social media, and is wondering, given the current emphasis on social media, whether there’s any point to having a website if you’re not willing to tweet about it.

He’d really like to get his website online and then relax and let the website take care of itself.

Is that unreasonable?

It depends how long a time frame you’re thinking about, how competitive your field is, how you define success, how good your website is, and how lucky you are.

If the world has been eagerly waiting for a product like yours and searching for it online fruitlessly, you might be able to put your excellent product on a good website and let word of virtual mouth do the rest. After all, if other people tweet about you and tell their Facebook friends about the great thing they found online, you don’t have to do it yourself. You won’t reach your goals as quickly as you might if you aggressively spread the word or hire someone else to do so, but slow growth can be good.

We’ve done a couple of experiments with free content that prove that you can get traffic simply by posting something people want, placing one or two good links, and watching the visits flow in. Have a good call to action at such a page when people arrive, and there’s no reason to think this wouldn’t produce good ROI.

Here’s the equation you need to consider:

daily visits x conversion rate x average spend = site income

If you have 100 visits a day, a conversion rate of 2% and an average spend of $50, then you’re going to make $100 a day. For a new website, of course, you can’t know what your traffic will be like till you get online and start working on it. But if you already have a website, then you should be able to determine whether your goals for your site are reasonable or not.

If you have numbers like those in the example and you’d really like to earn $1000 a day instead of $100, you can do it in several ways:

  • Bring 1000 visitors to your site without changing your conversion rate or average spend. You can’t expect to have the same conversion rate from all types of traffic, so an increase in traffic won’t automatically fulfill this goal, but working hard to increase traffic would be a good move. Increasing your traffic tenfold will require an investment, so you have to make sure that you consider the cost of the added time or money (and often time-money) when you do your figuring.
  • You can increase conversions. Improving your content or your site design will often do this. If you don’t have any other changes except in conversions, then you’d have to increase your conversion rate to 20%, an amazing rate. This is probably an unreasonable goal. However, if you double your conversion rate and increase your traffic to 500 a day, you’ll have met your goal.
  • You can increase the average spend. Our new client has one product — but it’s the kind of thing people might buy for a gift. Offering free shipping with the purchase of two, along with some persuasive copy, might get people to buy two. Maybe not ten, though. Encouraging people to buy more products, upselling services, or raising prices might all be methods to increase the average income per shopper — but increasing the average spend tenfold may be unreasonable in the short term.  Clearly, improving this metric along with the others will make it more doable.

So look at your site income, your costs, and the reasonableness of your online desires. Get realistic about what you can accomplish, with or without social media. Then set yourself some goals. It’s still the new year, right?

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