In a recent teleconference, I was asked several questions about specific problems people were having converting clicks to customers. The first article in this three-part series answered specific queries about how to improve Web site conversion rates.

In part two of this series, we'll be looking at measurement software tools, the pros and cons of logs versus ASP vendors, average conversion rates and why it helps to track visitor activity using available software. We'll also talk about what you should test and tweak to improve conversion rates.

Does it help to track Web site visitor behavior with software?

"Yes" is the simple answer. Here's why: if you don't measure, how can you know what to improve? With effective tracking software, you have facts in front of you.

Effective measurement, though, is more than simply having good software; it's analyzing why things happen. One thing that we measure is bounce—the number of people who arrive at a specific page and then leave without doing anything. The lower the bounce rate, the better (obviously). A low bounce rate means that people are using the site effectively.

A recent client is a perfect example. She had two pages with different articles on her site, with exactly the same navigation left and center. Most articles had a bounce rate of about 53%. But one had a better bounce of about 50%, and another had a much worse bounce of around 90%.

We analyzed both and found that the one with the 50% bounce was much more relevant to the reader arriving at the page. Specifically, it had better and more relevant links at the bottom of the article. We concluded that by being relevant on the poorly performing page in the same way, the bounce rate would be reduced.

We would simply not have known that this was occurring at all without tracking software.

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