The ultimate goal for any websites is to convert. An entire book can be written to cover how to increase conversions on your website, but I would like to start off by reviewing where to start and take the first step.
1) Define what is the conversion
This is very important since every site is unique. Some sites are blogs and it may not generate money. However, conversion for such non-transactional site could be to have visitors to leave a comment, read as many contents, etc. Whatever your site is, make sure to define the goals and understand what the conversion is.
2) The path to conversion
I was about to say the point of traffic drop off, but you just have to step back and realize that every action of conversion needs to start somewhere. The path for a conversion could be a check out process for transactional sites. However, keep in mind the options that your site visitors have to convert. Rather it is a necessary path they need to take from page to page, or navigate within a single page, understand the experience of the visitors that they will take to convert.
3) Retention / Drop off / Bounce
Obviously, diving into these metrics and associating it to the path, you’ll come to realize the point of opportunity for an enhancement to increase conversions. It is important to understand your analytics tools and leverage the feature to find the improvement points. Typical metrics and analysis methods are conversion funnel analysis, bounce rate, single access page, path analysis, etc.
Once you have the metrics and path or points to associate it, it is time to take an action to optimize. Like I’ve said earlier, every site is unique so there is no one solution to optimization. However, the typical method to test out which optimization worked is to use A/B test. i.e. Google has a solution called “Google Website Optimizer”. Do whatever it takes for better conversion process; modify the page, test different form entry process, colors, navigation, make a call to action bigger, etc. A lot of it would probably based on user experience. Make sure to test the results.