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How can you improve your company’s conversion rate through E-commerce?


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How can you improve your company’s conversion rate through E-commerce?

The writer asks:

My company is a local department store. We have an online shop using an e-commerce website, but when we invest in ads we get very little return. I have been told that I need to work on my conversion rate. What is the best way to improve our companies conversion rate?

Ask your own question


Here is how you can improve your conversion rate…

J says:

Conversion rate optimization should be considered in two ways.

The first is the “Journey” of conversions. It goes something like this:

Stranger => Visitor => Lead =>
Customer => Repeat Customer => Advocate

Each “arrow” implies a conversion rate from one step in the journey to another. Each industry might have slightly different steps, such as e-commerce having more of a “Add to cart” step instead of a “Lead” step, but the overall concept here will remain the same. The reason this is important for this question is because each conversion rate will be affected by different parts of your digital marketing strategy. Finding the bottleneck/ worst conversion rate in this journey will help you determine what things to work on first to improve your overall conversion rate.

The second consideration is the mindset of a user as they convert. They go through 4 “stages” before deciding whether to convert or to pause/exit the Journey. Those stages are:

Discovery, Understanding, Decision, and Observation.

These stages loop back on themselves, so if the “decision” that gets made is to “not convert” you can influence their next Discovery stage with additional marketing, which is why the more users see ads and visit sites the higher their chance for conversion becomes.

Example CRO mindset using these two considerations would be if you had a great Click-Through-Rate (Strangers => Visitors) but a bad Add-to-cart-rate (Visitors => Leads) and therefore low sales, CLV, and reviews/ratings. It wouldn’t help to try to improve your Abandoned Cart email campaign since that is on the other side of the choke point. Instead, you would want to look at things like:

  1. Is your Shopping UX working well and are products easy to find (Discover)
  2. Are product pages clear and rich with content about features and reasons to buy (Understanding)
  3. Is your call to action clear and is everything working on a technical level (Decision)
  4. Does the site help move customers to the next step towards checkout with ease, or allow customers to continue shopping if necessary. (Observation)

Okay, so all of that is to answer the question this way:

Q: “How can you improve your company’s (overall) conversion rate?”
A: By finding the worst conversion rate and looking into which part of that rate is affecting a user’s stages towards converting, then improving those parts until the choke point clears and you can move on to the next part.

There is no “one perfect tip” for CRO because it’s genuinely a process, but it’s not magic either. I am constantly teaching my clients how to think in terms of improving conversion rate optimization and they are growing because of it.

If you are interested in more of my thoughts on CRO here are a few recent articles:
Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization in a Mobile Era

Preparing your eCommerce Website for the Summer 2021 Shopping Season

Customer conversion optimization: Where you should start and what you should do when you already have an established website

And a case study of one of my clients in e-commerce:

Case Study: Automated Dynamic E-Commerce Homepage for National Cycle Sports Retailer

-J Toral, Digital Marketing Coach




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SEO for CRO: The basics and not so basics of getting it right

How to leverage SEO for eCommerce customer conversion

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Talking about SEO for eCommerce businesses can get super complex super quick. The topic has been abundantly covered, with many experts detailing all the moving components that need maintenance for the most effective SEO results. There are just two problems: hiring outside experts can quickly run up your operating costs, and doing everything yourself is a time-consuming undertaking that can detract from other business-critical activities. As a compromise, eCommerce business owners need to pick and choose a more balanced approach that can get them just as great of results without running up the marketing costs and compromising other critical operations. Here is where many of the same experts exalting SEO best practices fall flat. Advocating best practices is often done under the presumption that readers are in a state where they can dedicate the right resources and have all the time and money necessary for the tasks. For small business owners, that is not the case, so to help, here are the basic and not so basic SEO activities that you – as an eCommerce business owner – should be doing.


I. Keywords

Keywords are the foundation of every SEO strategy. They allow your business to target buyers by creating a nexus between what your eCommerce website offers and what your target buyers are looking for. Keywords allow search engines, like Google or Bing, to contextualize your website and offer it up as a solution to online shoppers looking for your products. While finding the right kinds of keywords requires intensive research, this process itself is not complicated. You may already have some idea of what these keywords might be, just based on what your eCommerce website offers. However, this is just a start. You need to dig deeper – and without guessing – refine down your ecosystem’s keywords. Knowing what your customers are searching for, what your competitors are ranking for, and most importantly, what your competitors are not ranking for but that your customers are searching for will help generate the best keyword phrases.

The kinds of keywords you should be prioritizing on your eCommerce website will also depend on your industry. Businesses looking to sell big-ticket items like vehicles and boats or offering local shopping and entertainment experiences will likely need to give locality-based keywords a more prominent consideration. However, other types of eCommerce websites specializing in more general, lifestyle, or hobby transactions will likely need to rely more on object names, brands names, and other industry keywords that are more important to your buyers. Generally, the smaller the average price of the items you sell, the less likely you will need to lean into geographical keywords.

Overall, finding low competition, refined to your niche keywords, is what you should be aiming for, as these will allow you to rank higher in the searches, with less effort on your part. In short: a higher return on your investment of time and energy, and money (if you’re outsourcing). That’s your starting point for basic CRO minded SEO.

II. Content

‘Content is king’ shouts every marketing expert from the proverbial internet peaks – and this is true. Content is what tells your story and builds trust between your buyers and your eCommerce store. Content signals to buyers that you are serious about your products and are unafraid to give transparent reviews, feedback, help, and industry insights because you, as an eCommerce website, are a trusted resource, and your visitors shouldn’t hesitate to do business with you.

Still, eCommerce websites frequently misunderstand and underuse content because of a running assumption that it only refers to blogging or social media. This assumption isn’t particularly accurate. While having a blog helps generate website traffic, funneling visitors to product pages, and converting visitors into buyers, there are other forms of content that your eCommerce product pages should lean in on. The nice thing about product pages is that they are generally already well optimized for customer conversion – especially if you’ve built your website through an eCommerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce. Both of them do this type of optimization automatically. The product pages will already have a visible and well-placed header, product description, a ‘buy-now’ button, and other visual cues. However, there is more you could be and should be doing. Take advantage that buyers are already trained to use eCommerce product pages to seek additional product information, like FAQs and user reviews at the bottom of the page. If you do not offer at least some of this type of content, your buyers are a lot more likely to click away into a different tab to do additional research and buy from a competitor who does offer this information. Even if you’re not in the position to provide reviews, consider what types of questions your buyers are often looking up when shopping for your products – add those to your FAQs. A bonus to this approach is that the search engines will pick up on your product pages carrying this type of content and will more likely push your website to more prominent positions in the search results.

III. Site Structure & Mechanics

Another important component of any SEO strategy is optimizing the “underbelly” of the website. Structured data, microdata, and metadata are really the three kinds of hidden parts of the page that affect this, and making sure that those are all very, very well done is important. This optimization is a very technical component of your SEO strategy, and yes, many eCommerce platforms and website builders already provide an automated version of this. However, automating these components leaves you with generic blurbs that don’t do you any favors. Anyone with a similar product website who also relies on automated inputs will likely have language not much different from yours, thus lowering your search engine ranking along with anyone else relying on automatic website data. There are extra plug-ins that can help with these activities, but they still rely on manual finagling to truly optimize your eCommerce website.

If you’re not sure what these structural optimization activities are, a great place to start is to check out Search Engine Land’s SEO Periodic Table which outlines and prioritizes SEO activities that create the best immediate impact on your eCommerce website. Lastly, you should absolutely have Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager all configured at this point


Once getting the basics down, the “not-so-basic” activities should be your next priority. Here is where your SEO for CRO strategy will make the most impact and propel you higher in the results and give better customer conversions. These activities can be broken down into two steps:

I. Bring it all together

By themselves, keywords are great, but they are even better when they are used strategically throughout all your content and website data. Your eCommerce product pages should most definitely include hyper-specific keywords in the content and underlying page structure. Search engines love seeing consistency, which also improves context, thereby also improving your search engine results and thus improving your potential of funneling clients to your eCommerce website.

Content is also a powerful tool, but it is even more powerful when it is linked and referenced to other parts of your website. Yes, keywords bolster your search result rankings, but these results also improve by creating backlinks throughout your pages. Mentioned a sister product on your product page FAQs? – Link it. Mentioned a brand name when speaking about a product? – Link it. Referenced a whole type of product solutions in your blog posts? – Link it, and link the product page back to your blog. Oh, and do not forget to update the metadata to include keyword references.

II. Measure, refine, re-optimize, repeat and repeat again

You’ve done everything above and are seeing improved results – more people are clicking on your eCommerce website, more transactions are taking place, and more money is coming in. Great! However, walking through these steps once is not enough. Search engines love websites that remain freshly updated and will prioritize those websites that continue to provide the most up-to-date, mobile-friendly, and engaging content, especially as new competitors filter in. So what should you be doing? Reference the analytics available to you via Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Tag Manager to give you a snapshot of your performance over a period of time and always go back and optimize for your lowest-performing activities. By tackling your weakest components, you will gradually elevate your website’s performance above and beyond what you can do in one sitting (unless, of course, you’re looking to spend a significant amount of $). This approach will also continue to ensure that your eCommerce website remains fresh and updated for search engines and your customers alike.

Lastly, don’t fall prey to “easy” shortcuts that are offered by black hat tactics. These are often substantially more labor and skill-intensive and are quickly discovered by respective platforms, resulting in bigger and bigger penalties in the long run. While they may provide an immediate boost, this boost is often artificial and can backfire, creating a need for a more expensive and intensive solution.

If you would like more content like this, or you want to learn more, join my mailing list or reach out.


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Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization in a Mobile Era

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Mobile eCommerce (“mCommerce”) has been increasingly accelerating in its prevalence across the Retail Landscape. In 2020 over 79% of U.S. smartphone users (that’s roughly 182 million people) have made recent purchases using their mobile devices. Additionally, over 80% of Shoppers use their mobile devices while shopping at physical store locations to supplement their retail experiences. Mobile shopping isn’t going anywhere and will likely soon be a primary method of shopping for most consumers. These trends are exactly why focusing on your retail website’s mobile-first conversion rate optimization approach is now paramount to any eCommerce success. Here are a few Concepts to get you started:

I. Consider how users interact with mobile websites.

Unlike using a desktop browser, the mobile experience is in portrait mode. This difference means that more attention and thought need to be given to the various elements of your website like button and link placement, image resolutions, layouts, loading times, pop-ups, and more from a visual and functionality perspective. User experience needs to be comfortable and not frustrate your eCommerce website visitors less they click away. A comfortable browsing experience it doesn’t frustrate website visitors yields more engagement and repeat customers. This kind of approach also prepares your website for the upcoming Google SEO update, dubbed page experience.

II. It’s time to lean into a mobile-first approach When developing your pages.

There is a shift happening and has been happening for a while and how the public-at-large approaches the internet. They’re still an ample amount of desktop users, especially during work hours. Overwhelmingly, however, mobile internet use is tipping the scales. In 2016, For the first time, desktop devices accounted for less than half of all internet traffic! The 2020 Global events have accelerated the transition to mobile, especially with activities like shopping. Internet user behavior is changing, and that means website managers need to catch up. If you haven’t done a rebuild or an update in a while, now is the time – but consider doing it backward. Start with a mobile version of your website, and then we work it into a desktop version as its complementary component. This approach will help figure out which order to load your elements in, avoid unnecessary scripts, and improve the overall efficiency, all of which affect your website visitor experience and your conversion effectiveness.

III. Lean into technical tricks that help you optimize

First, consider using one of the many already optimized website layouts available for free and for purchase across the different website building platforms. However, if that’s not your flavor, don’t sidestep some of the more critical practices in the mobile era. Pay attention to and use of applications like lazy loading big assets, setting up screen resolution breaking points, integrating popular and secure autofill check at options, and giving higher priority to optimizing your product pages over your main landing website. Your goal should be to enable people to find what they are looking for quickly, load your website seamlessly and without headache, and finalize customer purchasing without unnecessary extra steps. This approach makes your customers, the Google search algorithm, and your bottom line happy, a win-win all around.

Lastly, be strategic about where you focus your efforts. While mobile eCommerce also includes the use of tablets, pay attention to your website’s analytics, and you will likely discover that this type of device use is not as popular and doesn’t garner as much of a demand from website visitors. At the same time, emerging platforms like crypto DeFi payment options are picking up traction, so they might make sense to consider in the future.


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Case Study: Automated Dynamic E-Commerce Homepage for National Cycle Sports Retailer

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In this case study, we go over the results of an extensive homepage and product page update for Texas Cycle Sport.

The static homepage presented an issue with both merchandising and generating search traffic. Updating it included many frontend and backend improvements allowing the site to dynamically update its layout based on which products were featured or on sale.

The user experience improvements on the product pages were also intended to reduce issues for users on mobile devices and to improve the overall look and feel of customizing products before adding them to the cart. 

The results of the work internally were that the workflow for the client was greatly improved saving them hours of work each day, amounting to hundreds of hours each year recovered for regular business operation. 

Externally, the results as shown in the case study were a massive increase in search traffic, converting at a higher rate than ever, nearly double sales year over year. 

Bottom line: This client is making more money with their website and spending less time managing it.

Results Preview

  • Increase in sales


  • Increase in average order value


See the full case study

Ready to improve your website?

Results like the ones Texas Cycle Sport got after they decided to focus on conversion rate optimization are not uncommon. Like we proved here, it doesn’t take build a whole new website to double your online sales either.

Schedule your discovery session to see how working together could change the way your business works online.


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Preparing your eCommerce Website for the Summer 2021 Shopping Season

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While eCommerce was already on the rise, 2020 was the year it took off. With more people stuck at home, especially during the summer vacation months, eCommerce websites experienced a surge of new customers and order volumes. With the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, still grimacing at the possibility of a ‘back-to-normal’ 2021 summer season, it is likely we are headed for a repeated state of affairs for eCommerce websites during the upcoming summer months. 

But where do consumers shop? – There are many options as new websites continue to pop up in the online retail ecosystem. The ones that take advantage of Customer Conversion Optimization best practices, are the ones that ultimately benefit from stay-at-home shoppers. 

Here are 4 ways to instantly boost your chances of retail success and elevate your eCommerce venture: 

Be wary of big eCommerce platforms

This is not to say that there is no benefit from doing business on big retail websites like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or others. However, it is essential to understand how optimization and customer conversion on those websites work, which hurdles you face, and which strategies exist to overcome the obstacles you face. Shoppers on those websites are significantly more likely to purchase products listed atop their search queries. These products are typically there because they either are a part of Amazon Basic’s brand or belong to retailers who were first adopters in that space. Therefore, trying to place your products at the top of those search queries is an arduous task since you will be competing against Amazon itself and retailers who have already proven themselves through existing volumes of sales and customer engagements. Unless you are the first comer in your niche, you may instead want to focus on a different tactic: referred sales, aka “advocacy campaigns.” Adjusting your marketing efforts to work with influencers who can funnel their loyal followers to do business with you can yield much better results. The benefits are that you will not be fighting against big platform search engines and their AI-based optimization, and you will be outsourcing your conversion activities to a person who already has built up trust among the target group.

Moreover, affiliates create content that help with that other thing you should be doing: Content.

Yes, content is still the king.

However, it is also often misused in favor of quantity over quality. Consider what your shoppers are looking for. Yes, your products are “it,” but there are other pieces in what your customers are looking for in their conversion journey, and that is a combination of reviews, how-to’s, ideas, and other content that depends on what you’re selling. If you’re selling toothpaste, it may not be obvious. Still, an article on how else the product can be used (i.e., cleaning that engagement ring or removing soap scum) can lead to increased sales, especially with well-placed product links in the body. Content can also be repurposed to drive new website visitors from other platforms, including social media and other blogs. Content creates a hook for the consumer to become your customer and builds a relationship by turning your website visitors into repeat customers.

Evaluate what drives your summer sales and optimize it

There is a notable difference in what drives shopping behaviors across the different seasons. Fall has more back-to-school shopping activities, and winter takes the lead on buying big-ticket wish list items for the holidays. Summer is a different beast where shoppers are a lot more likely to be spontaneous, picking things up on the go as they traverse their more lackadaisical days. These purchases tend to be less in monetary value but happening more frequently and often with a sense of urgency. During this time, customers appreciate expedient fulfillment.

There are also many more chances to grow customer loyalty during the summer months than the winter ones. Even though customers may be buying a lot cheaper items, smaller items mean that they are a lot more likely to return to your eCommerce website if they had a great experience. So make sure that the checking out process is as flawless and straightforward as possible. If you see lots of cart abandonment, this is a telltale sign that you should revisit that portion of your website and soon! There is always room for improvement.

Consider how your existing products fit into social causes

Are your products ‘Made in America’? – Great! You should absolutely advertise that. What about products you sell that are made conscientiously? – You probably have some in your inventory, too. This might seem like a minor thing among the greater scope of marketing activities, but consumers are fond of certain social causes, and if you’re already doing good, why not also do well by promoting your products in these less-than-obvious ways. You might not care, but your customers do, and very often, they are more likely to purchase a product that aligns with their values than the product of a less savory competitor. Shoppers prefer to support small businesses, locally made products, ethically managed manufacturing processes, and various other social causes, so it makes sense to lean into what they value. This type of marketing builds trust, loyalty, and advocacy, promoting long-term success.

Whichever niche your eCommerce website belongs to, summer is a great time to elevate your success and improve your marketing flows. More people during this time explore new products, take on new hobbies, and are looking for easy solutions. Catering to these shopping interests will help you improve your sales, customer retention, and ultimately, customer loyalty.


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Customer conversion optimization: Where you should start and what you should do when you already have an established website

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At one point in your digital marketing journey – as you move past social media, SEO, content management, and all other affiliate activities – you will undoubtedly encounter something known as Conversion Rate Optimization (“CRO”). Among the digital marketing portfolio, CRO is arguably one of the more critical tasks, especially to those looking to streamline their activities and maximize their results. While traditional digital marketing focuses on raising brand awareness (and thereby driving website traffic), it provides little-to-no positive results without proper CRO management. After all, just because someone knows where to find your website doesn’t mean they will engage with it or even make that purchase (or do that one thing you want them to do). This is where conversion rate optimization is useful, which, when done right, raises the frequency at which your website visitors do those online things you want them to do – make purchases, sign up for newsletters, email you, and whatever else you deem essential.

“So, when should I start doing Conversion Rate Optimization?” 

Conversion Rate Optimization can be divided into two strategies. The first strategy deals with tactics for businesses who are just starting their online journey. These businesses are either in the process of still developing their website or are at the start of growing their website traffic. Planning and executing CRO at this point of the journey should be integrated with the general web development and digital marketing activities, which you can learn more about here. In this article, however, we focus on the second strategy: for businesses that have been operating online for at least one year. And what do you know, January is the perfect time to start!

With the new year come new perspectives, resolutions, goal setting, and doubly so for businesses. Consider that you now have a full year of analytics that can help pivot you and position you to grow and improve your success rate. To do so, you need to look at your current conversion narrative analytics and start improving your weakest performers first.

“So, how do I identify which analytics matter most?”

There are a lot of data points available to you, but for this process to work well, you will need to focus on the “big picture” first. Think of how your customer journey works.

  • First, a person finds you and visits your website – this is the part where you work to win the person’s attention and direct them to your digital real estate where the magic can happen.
  • Then the person converts into a “lead” – they are now open to more marketing and so this is where you start engaging with them and building trust that will lead to a sale.
  • Finally, the lead converts into a “sale” – and now your focus turns on making them a repeat customer and possibly a brand advocate, leading to move visitors and leads. 

What these three journey pitstops translate into are the three overarching metrics that you will want to work on improving: (1) website traffic; (2) lead generation; and (3) creating customers.

I. Improving Website Traffic

Website traffic is an integral part of any CRO journey. There are no customers to optimize for if there are no website visitors, so if you are struggling with getting visitors, start here. Online traffic is generated by one of three methods, including organic means (search engines and yellow pages), paid traffic (online advertisements), and social traffic (also called advocacy traffic). Take a look at which activities you are already engaging in (if any) and consider how much time, effort, and money you are already investing into these practices – are they getting any results whatsoever? If you’re already doing these things and the results are stagnant, then re-evaluate your approach, do some experimentation and amend your practices in the direction which generates better outcomes. For example, try different Calls to Action, work on your copywriting, apply different targeting, use other hashtags, and so on. If you are not already doing any of these activities, now is the time to start. Of course, there are tradeoffs to each approach. There are practical differences in how much time and money you can potentially spend. If your business is still in its revenue building stage, consider using social media and improving your SEO – both can be done practically free but will require more intensive time investments. However, if you are comfortable spending money, using online advertising can generate results faster, but you need to be prepared to spend money, and it is not cheap. Whichever way you go about improving your traffic flow is solely dependent on your preferences, but you must take an active lead in this part of your CRO strategy.


II. Increasing Leads

Another problem that often bogs down your conversion rate is lead generation. You may have ample website traffic, but little of that traffic stays on your page or does anything. It’s almost as if visitors are passing through, which is a problem you do not want to have. Of course, there still may be some website visitors that funnel through into the final sales activity. Nevertheless, you want to consider lead generation as an essential step, which creates long-term quality clients rather than one-time customers. A website visitor becoming a lead means they are open to more marketing but are still on the fence about doing that sales activity you want them to do. Unlike one-time customers, these leads are more likely to re-engage with you and continue to follow up when appropriately managed. Not putting effort into lead generating activities exposes you to problems further down the line and makes the conversion process less efficient, more expensive, and less fruitful. Without lead generation, you likely will not have repeat visitors – after all, why would a person revisit your page if they were not interested in engaging with it in the first place. This also means that it will be harder for you to pry your customers back, away from better-performing competitors, especially if they already felt you were not a fit. 

There are a couple of reasons why this may be happening, but they all lean into how you tap into your visitor’s emotions. For example, visitors are more likely to trust a website that has a sleek and appealing design, that is intuitive and looks like it’s constantly being updated. Good design communicates to your visitors that you care and are attentive. Take a close look at your page and ask your social network to give feedback – you’ll be surprised what you can uncover. And don’t be defensive; take criticism as an opportunity where you can improve! Another emotionally driven conversion variable is how quickly your visitors can find the information that caters to their specific needs. If a customer clicks an ad for a particular product but is then taken to the general homepage, they will be put off from searching the entire website and will leave. It may be easy for you to find everything on your website, but you also have bias and experience given that you developed it. Visitors are less patient, so make it easy for them and be transparent. Giving your website visitors transparent visual, informative, and navigational cues sells them on the idea of continuing to engage with your site, provide personal information and receive more digital marketing materials from you. Tap into this trust and use it to your advantage!


III. Creating Customers

You may have your website traffic and lead generation down but still, struggle with “closing the sale.” This means there is a disconnect between what is appealing to your customer and what you are providing. Just like lead generation, there is a heavy emotional component that drives this conversion rate. You’ve got a person to visit your site, you’ve convinced them to listen to you and engage with your materials, but that person is (yet) not convinced you can give them what they think they need. You may feel that you know what they need, but that needs to align with what they think and feel they need.

Approaching this step from understanding your customers’ point of view is the next step in increasing your conversion optimization. To bridge this gap, consider how your customer makes a purchasing decision. Are they coming from a place of frustration that your product can alleviate? Are they making an impulse purchasing decision that aligns with the holiday season? Are they making a planned decision that took months of consideration and budget balancing? Whatever their purchasing drive is, make sure that your website is designed to acknowledge and tap into their motives. Website copy and layout make the final push in the sales process of converting leads into customers.


Going through these steps several times will allow you to continually improve and optimize your customer conversion, leading to more effective use of your business resources and thus higher ROI between your marketing and sales.


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Why improving your website’s cyber security is crucial for effective conversion rate optimization

For most online businesses, getting and growing website traffic is only the beginning of their customer acquisition journey. Many things need to be taken into consideration to optimize that process further – but following online cybersecurity best practices when building your website is one of the most important steps in customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization. Ignoring these practices can quickly ruin your efforts and send your clients running to your competitors, never to be seen again. 

Here are 3 ways your website’s cybersecurity protocols enhance your customer acquisition and optimize your conversion rates: 

I. Cybersecurity practices build customer confidence

Customers are now spending more time online than ever before. Unlike just a decade ago, they are more knowledgeable and have higher expectations of the websites they interact with today. They expect great design, a flawless user experience, easy navigation, transparency, and an assurance that their personal data (like credit card information, names, and addresses) will remain protected and secured. Through their shared online experiences, customers have learned to recognize the common signs that point to a website being secure, and when a website fails to deliver these signals, they bounce. Users who bounce from websites often describe a “feeling” that a website was a potential scam without knowing why. Additionally, testing shows that adding proper security has demonstrated a significant reduction in those bounces. By ensuring that your website is secure and is using the latest cybersecurity protocols, you meet your website visitor’s expectations of what a professional website should be like, and subtly build your customer’s trust and confidence. Building customer trust and confidence is a crucial element of customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization.

II. Cybersecurity practices improve your website’s performance …
and ranks you higher in search engines

Businesses also need to consider how much their cybersecurity protocols affect their website’s performance in search engines. Most search engines today pay close attention to a website’s security practices when ranking a page. When crawling your site – a technical term of what happens when search engines rank your website – they look for signs that a website is secure. If a website lacks at the very least, basic security practices, or worse, is hacked, a search engine will block visitors from opening the webpage and delist that page (and sometimes the whole website) from their search results. For example, Google lowers the ranking of sites that don’t have an SSL certificate installed for the entire website, and the lower in the ranking that your website is in, the harder it is for your potential customers to find you. This damage to your search engine results can be incredibly hard to reverse once it happens, so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure. It is no longer “good enough” to only secure your checkout pages and forms. That’s why diligent attention to your cybersecurity protocols throughout your entire website is paramount to customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization.

III. Cybersecurity practices prevent downtime

Unlike of brick-and-mortar businesses, website visitors expect websites to be accessible and operational at all times. This expectation is so prevalent that even a 15-minute downtime episode can lead to a long term loss of business. Customers experiencing downtime are more likely to lose trust and funnel to your competition. It is therefore important to secure your website against any potential hijackers, Distributed Denial of Service (“DDOS”) attacks, malware, and other malicious activities. Moreover, many popular search engines will block website visitors if they detect any nefarious code or cybersecurity compromises, further hurting your customer acquisition and conversation rate optimization.

Action Items

Making sure that your website follows the latest cybersecurity practices is an important start in your customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization journey. It doesn’t have to be daunting or a complicated process, but it is one that has to be managed. To help you along, at the end of every lesson, I like to send everyone away with at least a few action items to help you on your journey. Here are seven things you can do to make sure your website is secure and enhances your customer acquisition.
  • Make sure you have an SSL certificate. You can easily check if you have one by looking at your URL: does it start with “https” – yes? Good! You have one. If not, LetsEncrypt gives them out for free. Then make sure to add a security seal image somewhere on your site.

  • Force all website traffic to the secure version of your site – this may be a job for your developer or web host, but it should be a 2-minute task by adding this code to your .htaccess file:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301,NE]
  • Ask your host about their DDOS and uptime policy. If it’s not 99.9% uptime or better, it’s time to move hosting companies.
  • Talk to your host about what other sites are hosted on your server. Or even check yourself here
  • Back up your website every day. Most hosts allow you to automate this process. You should have at least: 14 daily backups, 1 month of weekly backups, and 3 months of monthly backups.
  • Keep your website’s features and widgets up to date. Updates are often security-related, so do them often. Every morning if you can, and since you are backing up every night, if anything goes wrong, you are covered.
  • Install malware scanning software on your website. If you are on WordPress or Joomla, I recommend Akeeba Admin Tools and I’m not sponsored by either, but since I’ve used them across hundreds of websites, I trust them.

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