Conversion Rate Optimisation Step 1: Does your website work?
In the next few weeks, we’ll talk about the structure and process of conversion optimisation, giving you practical ways of optimising your online channels.
Hierarchy of optimisation
The process we use is adapted from well-respected conversion practitioner, Bryan Eisenberg, who has used this process for many years to help businesses grow. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the top levels of the pyramid can only be reached once the lower levels have been fulfilled.
This series will discuss each step in more detail, we’ll provide tips, advice and insights to help you improve your online marketing performance.
Step 1 – Functional: Does your website work?
Before we get to start A/B split testing and producing fresh designs from our findings, we have some groundwork work to do to ensure your website is fully functional.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are there any bugs in your site?
- Are there any broken links?
- Is your site loading fast enough?
This may seem obvious but it’s the step we see people miss, time and time again.
Why these questions are important
There are a number of reasons why you will benefit from fixing bugs and optimising your site speed.
- Improved SERP rankings – Buggy sites and broken links cause frustration amongst users causing them to leave a site. UX metrics such as bounce rate influence search rankings. It is highly likely visitors bouncing off a website will decrease rankings and, therefore, visibility to potential customers.
- Page load time affects conversions – Data has shown people decide whether or not to convert within two seconds of landing on a site, anything longer decreases the chance of that visitor converting, if your site doesn’t load quickly it immediately puts you at a disadvantage.
Graph courtesy of SmartInsights
Practical ways to improve conversions
Unless you have a fast, reliable website you will lose visitors. All the hard work, and budget, you put into your paid and organic search campaigns will go to waste. You can learn more about the relationship between SEO, PPC and CRO here.
Read on to find out how we perform our initial health check on a website.
1. Optimise for speed
- Enable server gzip compression, this allows the server to serve compressed files.
- Enable long caching headers for certain file types, this lets the user’s browser hold onto resources for longer so they don’t have to frequently re-download.
Results of a speed optimisation campaign we ran for a client in early 2016.
2. Cross-browser testing
Web pages are rendered differently by different browsers. This affects how they look and function, for instance, a user on Chrome may see a grid of images appear in a completely different way to a user in Firefox. That’s why it is important to cross browser test and amend any rendering discrepancies before they cause any major issues.
We recently conducted a cross-browser test for a client who approached us with conversion issues. We found that conversions from users browsing on Internet Explorer (IE) were far lower than those we saw from users browsing on Chrome. Upon investigation, we found a link was being rendered incorrectly in a key area of the IE customer journey. Once this was fixed conversions across both browsers levelled out and revenue increased.
3. Cross-device testing
What works on a desktop will not necessarily work on mobile or tablet. Devices, like browsers, render content differently. It’s essential that users experience of your brand is equal across all devices. We say ‘equal’ because it shouldn’t be identical, content needs to be optimised for each device, as a user interacts differently with a desktop than they do a mobile or tablet.
Optimising a site to work seamlessly across all devices can have a massive impact on conversions. Two months ago, after performing a Google Analytics audit for one of our clients, we highlighted the need for them to improve their mobile website. After redesigning their mobile experience and implementing the changes, we’ve seen increased traffic of 62.14% YoY on mobile devices and an increase of 108% in conversions.
Fixing bugs takes time but the benefits are huge and, in doing so, conversions will increase.
Get to grips with your analytics tool, see if you can spot the rogue metric that doesn’t quite follow trend across most browsers and/or devices. This should identify some ‘areas of interest’ for you to concentrate on.
In our next Conversion Optimisation blog we’ll talk you through step two, accessibility.