Regardless of industry, your end goal is likely conversions. These are the most important actions visitors can take on your website. E-book downloads, product purchases, blog subscriptions, appointment confirmations, vCard downloads—you name it, the money's in the conversion.

Sometimes, however, you pour resources into your web pages with less-than-ideal results. Surface-level data like high page views and low bounce rates may seem promising, but visitors still aren't achieving what you had hoped. Have you considered the chain of events that leads visitors to—or deters them from—the end goal?

This is where conversion funnels come in. Funnels shed light on where people enter your website, how they navigate, and if they ultimately take the actions that turn them from strangers into qualified leads or immediate customers.

Without understanding the conversion funnel, you'll find it challenging to increase conversion rates, revenue, or retention. Here are three ways funnels can help you boost those conversions:

1. Identify Visitor Roadblocks

By mapping each step in the conversion process, you can determine which steps confuse or trouble visitors: Where do most visitors leave? Do they understand the flow of your website? Are there other influencing factors you haven’t addressed yet? (Think content and design.) Funnels help you identify these problem areas so you can dig deeper into why people aren't completing the path you planned for them.

2. Gain Deeper Understanding of Visitor Behavior

Using conversion funnels, you learn who your most valuable visitors are, where they come from, and how long it takes them to navigate your digital presence before converting. Some analytics tools allow you to apply custom segments to your visitor groups. This lets you analyze the key differences between visitor types, including how well they move through your conversion funnels, so you can tailor the respective steps based on what you find.

3. Take Action to Increase Conversion Rate

Equipped with better insights into your visitors' behavior, you can implement changes in content and layout to streamline conversions. Better yet, you can track improvements over time to continually optimize the process. A superior end-user experience results in better conversion rates, higher revenue, and increased customer retention.