If your conversion rate is looking miserable, you’re not alone.

A lot of online businesses are in the same situation. They spend their marketing budgets on getting traffic, with the hopes that more of these visitors will become customers.

The bad news is, when you keep sending traffic to un-optimized pages, you’ll soon become trapped in the cycle where you’re spending more on traffic generation but with very little results in leads and sales.

If this sounds familiar and you’re having trouble figuring out the reason for your dismal online performance, then what you need is more likely some professional help in website conversion rate optimization or CRO.

How to know if you need professional CRO help

1. Is your conversion rate way below the industry average?

It’s difficult to know what is a good conversion rate for your site unless you have a point of comparison. If you’re not sure whether your conversion rate is good enough, it might be a good idea to check the average in your industry.

Average Ecommerce Conversion Rate by Industry (Source: ShippyPro)

Of course, you should always take industry averages with a grain of salt.

Conversion rates are highly contextual. Your conversion rates are shaped by different factors, such as the product types and cost, where your traffic is coming from, the technology influence, and others.

You can’t expect your relatively unknown online store to fare as well as the brand giants. But that’s not saying that you can’t learn something from their figures, as well. For instance, you can use the average conversion rates in your industry for benchmarking your own performance. If your website is converting way, way below the average, then it’s a good idea to do some digging. [Shameless plug: If you need help uncovering the reasons for your website’s underperformance, you might want to check out SiteTuners’ 90-minute Full Website Review, which analyzes your web pages from a conversion and usability perspective.]

2. Do people arrive and then almost immediately leave your website?

Abnormally high bounce rates on your key pages are another tell-tale sign that you might need some optimization help.

A high bounce rate occurs when your visitors land on a web page and end up doing nothing else before hitting either the back or close button on their browsers. This could be a symptom of the following problems:

1) Your site is attracting unqualified traffic
2) Your site fails to mirror visitor intent or has serious usability or user experience issues
3) Both

Online visitors come to your site with their own set of needs and expectations. When your site attracts a disproportionate amount of unqualified traffic, you can expect that these visitors will immediately leave when they see that your site is totally unrelated to their search. This usually happens when you have poor upstream messaging or when you don’t take enough care to make sure your ads, links and other messages are actually relevant and targeted to your intended audience.

Now, when your audience is fairly targeted (ie. you’re getting traffic with the right intent) but your website bounce rate continues to be very high, then the problem is likely with the quality of your web pages. You should check if your pages are suffering from irrelevant or low-quality content, lack of trust, usability issues, or bad user experience.

3. Is your content, site structure, and user experience outdated?

Often, all it takes to know if your website has become dated is by comparing it with other sites in your industry.

Unless you’re trying to pull off a retro look, there really is no excuse for making your online visitors feel like they’ve time-warped to the early 2000s (or even 2010s) when they land on your site.

Example of a Website with Outdated Design

Is Your Website A Throwback to the Early Days of the Interwebs?

Yes, there are businesses like Ling’s Cars that have made the web circa 2000-ish their signature. But not all brands can get away with the dated website look. For one, outdated sites are notorious for design bloopers that include garish colors and poor use of images. Most of them also have readability issues from the use of dark backgrounds, low contrast, and heavy chunks of text. Lastly, these sites often have confusing navigation that can literally cause headaches for online visitors.

If this sounds like your website, then you know it should have been updated eons ago. It’s also a sign that you need to seek the help of a conversion rate optimization professional if you want to redesign your website not just for aesthetic purposes but for improved conversions.

4. Do you want more leads and sales to increase profits?

There are the times when your site seems to be doing fine.

Your website looks clean and professional. Your bounce rate is fairly normal. You have a decent enough conversion rate.

And yet you know that you also know that your site can do better, especially when sales are stagnating. At the same time, you worry about doing anything drastic; you don’t want to unnecessarily break something that appears to be working fine.

It is this fear that’s keeping a lot of ecommerce business owners and decision-makers from implementing major design changes that could potentially bring a much-needed boost to conversions and sales. It’s important that you realize that this fear is also one of the biggest hurdles to the growth and success of your online business.

If you want more leads and profits, you need to be able to embrace the risks that come with change – the kind of change brought by optimization efforts, that is.

What to do if you need CRO services

At this point you probably already know if you need conversion rate optimization services.

More importantly, you’re wondering what the next steps should be. Below we outline the most common paths taken by companies like you when it comes to engaging in CRO:

Option A: Hire a CRO team

If you currently don’t have the in-house skill to implement your conversion rate optimization strategy, your best option is to hire a team of CRO professionals.

Fortunately, the rapid growth of the digital marketing industry has been accompanied by the rise of optimization professionals and companies offering conversion rate optimization services. So it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find the expertise that you need. For instance, you could assemble a team from individual consultants to fit your specific skill set requirements. Or you could just hire the services of a specialized conversion optimization firm to save up on time and resources that would otherwise be spent looking for individual members of your CRO team.

Option B: Build a team

If you have the resources, building a team devoted to online optimization can be a good investment for your company.

Having an in-house team devoted to conversion rate optimization projects allows you to have better control, increased accountability, and better productivity. Since your in-house team works only for you, then you’re sure that your CRO projects get as much focus as needed and are ranked high in the priority list. You also have direct knowledge of how much and where exactly your marketing dollars are being spent by the team.

If you go this route, be ready to invest in conversion rate optimization training for your entire team. In the beginning, this could mean having to hire an agency that can take care of your pressing conversion optimization needs but who also have the capacity for knowledge transfer. Later on you’d need to consider continuous learning for your in-house team to make sure their skills and knowledge are always up to date.

Whatever you decide, it’s important to ensure that you hire the right people or the right agency for your conversion rate optimization program. With the right team or firm, you’re sure that you aren’t wasting both time and money on hollow tests and worthless projects.

Get Conversion Rate Optimization Help Today

Knowing when to seek professional help for your conversion rate optimization needs is the first step to solving conversion-related problems in your online touchpoints. By learning the reason for your website and online business’ lackluster performance, you can decide on the best course of action that fits your needs and budget.