There isn’t anything overtly ‘simple’ about increasing conversion rates, so let’s forget about that right off of the bat. Most sites we visit have a list of 3-7 ‘simple’ ways to increase your conversion rates ‘overnight.’ If you’re looking for a list like that, this isn’t the place to be.

That said, if you’re looking for a quality long term solution and for ways to learn more about your customers in order to serve them better, then read on.

1. Data Driven Development

Using intuition and gut instinct is great, I encourage it. It’s what moves us along and sometimes brings in fresh new ideas. If all we do is based on our intuition, however, something is wrong.

Ideas need to be tested. Say that we’re consulting on a site’s conversion rate, and in the process it’s suggested that we introduce more icons into the navigation. This could be a great idea for one site, but a poor idea for another. It depends largely on our audience and their demographic.

Some ideas and design patterns for websites do translate (relatively) well across most websites. These concepts tend to be more usability driven, however, and have been tested for years across thousands of websites.

2. Data Driven Development

Are we using Google Analytics or another interaction tracking metric? If not, we need to be. Without some sort of way to track how users interact with our site then we will forever be guessing at what to do.

Where are customers dropping off of our site? Are they more likely to move through a certain funnel than another? This is where A/B testing becomes necessary. Sure, it might be easy to just implement the site changes that we want and then leave it, but that isn’t realistic for a lot of companies. Design and usability changes can easily make or break a site and it’s in our best interest to know what helps and what doesn’t.

If we’re A/B testing our site, then we have conclusive proof that one design style works better than the other and we are able to confidently go about making similar changes.

3. Data Driven Development

Who are we designing our site for? The search engines? If so, we’re doing it wrong. Search Engines don’t have opinions like humans. We might be able to A/B test that one change increases our overall traffic more than another and that’s great. Keep that. But even more important than increasing our traffic is making our current traffic count for even more.

If we design our sites for our users, not robots, conversion rates will rise.

No one knows our customers better than we do, so we need to do everything we can to make our customers feel comfortable, safe and engaged. If we can do that, we’re doing something right.