In a recent teleconference, I was asked several questions about specific problems people were having converting clicks to customers. This is the first article in a three-part series and will answer specific queries about how to improve Web site conversion rates.

What do you mean by conversion? Do you mean getting someone to answer the simplest call to action such as “read more here,” or actually selling a product or service?

What you're talking about here are two different ways to measure your Web site. “Read more here” is what I would call a variable affecting your conversion rate. I call these kinds of variables “micro conversions” because they are all small (microscopic, even) steps toward full conversion. A micro conversion is something that you should test and measure.

“Read more here” might not get as high a click-through rate as “Click here to find out how to win a month's supply of vintage wine.” So by improving this click-through, you get the person browsing to take another small step toward your final Web site goal. By doing this, you improve your overall conversion rate, which in this case is to get someone to register or subscribe to win a month's supply of vintage wine.

Micro conversions can be tracked by measuring the click-through of links, or the read time for content, or the bounce rate for headlines and copy.

Full conversion means persuading your visitors to do what you want them to do. In my example, it would be registering to win wine. But it could be subscribing to a newsletter, downloading an audio file, buying a product, selling a service, or whatever. It should reflect your Web site's business objective.

What strategies would you suggest when there is no "online" conversion possible? I need them to call me for more info, to learn more and to eventually give them a proposal.

There is no such thing as “no online conversion.” You're looking for leads who will eventually phone you, but the visitor is the one with the power. If you don't give your visitors a reason to let you continue to have a dialog with them, then they won't.

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Steve Jackson ( is editor of the Conversion Chronicles and CEO of Aboavista, a Finnish company that improves Web conversion rates.