Manually clicking through different browsers as they run your development code, either locally or remotely, is a quick way to validate that code. It allows you to visually inspect that things are as you intended them to be from a layout and functionality point of view. However, it’s not a solution for testing the full breadth of your site’s code base on the assortment of browsers and device types available to your customers.
The problem with a traffic graph that’s going upward is that it’s not determinant of the number of customers. You can keep investing in traffic acquisition strategies until the cows come home, but that won’t yield any tangible results if you don’t optimize your website for conversions.
But how do you go about adopting conversion optimization and increasing conversion on your website?
A formalized conversion optimization program works like this:
Researching into the existing data and finding gaps in the conversion funnel
Planning and developing testable hypotheses
Creating test variations and executing those tests
Analyzing the tests and using the analysis in subsequent tests
In this post, we are going to run you through the ways to increase conversion rate through this scientific process:
Fold 1 – Digging Deep into Research
Research is needed to figure out your current situation and which among the existing processes need to be changed, or completely removed. Here are some steps that you can start with.
Finding the Current Conversion Funnel and Leaks
Performing Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis
Setting Goals that Prioritize ROI
Find the Current Conversion Funnel and Leaks
First and foremost, it is imperative to take stock of your current performance and workflows. You can apply an as-is analysis to gather insights on the current conversion rates, user’s journey, and the leaks in the conversion funnel.
Begin with the mapping of your company’s conversion funnel. You can visualize specific sequences in which users are becoming paying customers. This process will help you create a blueprint of how “strangers” can be turned into “promoters.”
Peep Laja, conversion optimization expert and founder at ConversionXL has put together a step-by-step guide to creating user flows that are truly consumer-oriented.
In addition to identifying user flows, it is also important to study whether these are working. Are you experiencing churn in an area where you don’t expect to see it? Are you noticing less churn than you originally expected? Is your conversion funnel measuring the full customer journey or is it potentially missing a step?
Funnels help you visualize the process by providing a step-by-step breakup of the conversion data and churn.
User flow analysis helps your company understand points of customer confusion, and refine web copy and product positioning that affect your customer behavior. This analysis also highlights any “bugs” in the sequence that you may not have previously caught.
Perform Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis
After finding the workflow and gaps, the next step is to dive deeper into their causes. You can do this by researching on the What, How, and Why or what is often called the Simon Sinek’s golden circle:
WHAT are users doing on your website This includes quantitative analysis of the amount of traffic landing, dropping off or converting from different pages of your website. You can use tools like Google Analytics (GA) for this purpose.
HOW are they behaving Now that you know a certain number of people are landing on your website, it’d next be useful to know what they are doing there. For instance, if they’re clicking a link or CTA, scrolling down, filling a form, or the like. Various visitor behavior analysis tools like heatmaps, visitor recordings, and form analysis can help achieve this.
WHY are they behaving that way You can also find out why your users are performing the way they are by qualitative on-page surveys and heuristic analysis.
Set Goals that Prioritize ROI
After peeking into the gaps with your conversion strategy, you should set clear goals for optimization.
It is important to arrive at a quantified expected conversion rate because that gives your testing efforts a direction. Otherwise, you might end up improving the conversion rate on a page by 1% and sit cozy without realizing its actual potential.
You should find the main goals of your business, based on the current strategy. What are you focused on now? Is it the total users acquired, is it the number of photos uploaded, or is it the revenue generated?
Whatever it is, you want to focus on something that’s neither too soft (“increase brand recognition”) nor too tactical (“increase page views per session”).
Fold 2 – Planning your A/B Tests
Based on this research, you should next plan your A/B tests to increase your conversion rate.
By now, you should have received enough insights to make an educated guess about what changes to your pages or funnel can bring about a desired change.
Construct a Strong Hypothesis
A structured hypothesis paves the direction for your optimization efforts. Even if the hypothesis fails, you can retrace your steps and correct it wherever it went wrong. Without this structured process, optimization efforts may go astray and lose their purpose.
At its core, a hypothesis is a statement that consists of three parts:
You believe that if we [make a change], we expect [a desirable result] because of [corresponding research].
Here’s an example of a good hypothesis.
I believe moving trust signals closer to the billing form will result in 5% more checkouts because the 56% bounce rate from that page could be due to lack of confidence.
Fold 3 – Executing A/B Tests to Increase Conversion Rate
After the planning, it’s time for application. The plan that you’ve charted to optimize your business process needs to be deployed.
Which Type of Test to Run
A/B, Split, and Multivariate are not different alternatives to do a task. These are methods to do different tasks, so choosing any of these should depend entirely on the task at hand.
Split testing (or split URL testing) is used when:
Design needs major changes to the original page such that creating a separate page (housed on a different URL) is easier.
Back-end changes are necessary.
Pages to be tested already exist on different URLs.
Multivariate testing is used when multiple changes are proposed for a single page and you want to test each combination of these changes.
You should opt for an A/B test when the variations are few and not distinct.
How Long Should You Run the Test
You also need to decide the test duration before you start running the test.
The test duration is dependent on the number of visitors your website receives and the expected conversion rate you are looking for. You can use this free test duration calculator to find the duration you should run your tests for.
After you’re clear on these, you can begin creating variations and start running your tests.
Fold 4 – Analyzing Test Results
To conclude, you should also be able to check and analyze test results. This will arm you with information that you can not only apply to the current pages but also use as future learning.
No matter what the result—positive, negative, or inconclusive—it is imperative to delve deeper and gather insights.
When you are analyzing A/B test results, check if you are looking for the correct metric. If multiple metrics (secondary metrics along with the primary) are involved, you need to analyze all of them individually.
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