StoreStrength

What are the big pieces of conversion rate optimization work?

Before I take on anything, I like to try and get a mental outline of it in my head. I need to be able to see at least a few of the parts I have to work with and where my first few steps will take me.

Optimizing is a process where you find your strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what you can to improve on both. This will let you maximize your revenue.

That process will vary depending on how much traffic you get, what tools you have available to you, and how much time and effort you are willing to put in, but this basic outline should give you an idea of what optimizing will look like for your store

Best practices

You'll notice that these aren't focused on having buttons that are big or brightly colored.

The focus of your initial optimization, best-practicey work is on having a website that functions well and is focused on driving conversions. A lot of stores never make it that far.

This is mostly about getting to baseline by picking the low-hanging fruit:

  • Mobile friendly site
  • Calls to action that make sense
  • Relevant copy on the page
  • Relevant, high-quality images
  • Fast load times
  • Eliminating broken links, typos, missing images, etc.

Research

Knowing your customer's motivations and buying triggers helps you market to them more effectively. Knowing how they come to your site, move through its pages, and where and when they leave can drive your site improvement efforts.

This is where you find out what parts of your site are helping you to convert, and which aren't doing so well:

  • Find poor-performing pages
  • Make sure your site is performing well across all browsers and devices
  • See what demographics make up your most profitable customer segments
  • Use heat, click, and scroll maps to see what parts of underperforming pages cause trouble
  • Have real people use your site. Note any friction points they have that might keep someone from buying, and record their thoughts on the process of using your site
  • Run surveys and buyer research to make sure that the people you are marketing to are actually the ones buying

Synthesize

This one is a bit harder to make a list for, because it's very much based on your individual problems. Because l like you, dear reader, I'll muddle through.

This is where you come up with possible solutions to the problems you identified during research, which are hurting your conversions.

  • People drop out of our checkout form when we ask for their phone number.
    • We should either stop asking for it or tell them why we need it and promise to keep it safe.
  • People seem to have trouble finding what they need in our navigation.
    • We should look into ways to redesign its layout to be easier to use.
  • Nobody scrolls down to the bottom of the page.
    • That means they don't see the call-to-action that you placed near the bottom. We should either remove it or try to give visitors an incentive to scroll down.
  • The mobile menu doesn't display correctly on iPhones.
    • That is hurting conversion for one of our biggest demographics. We need to get our developer on that.

Measure

Measuring is key. If you make changes, you need to know whether or not they work. How you go about doing that is depends heavily on what kind of changes you are making and how much traffic is running through your site.

This is where you see what differences your changes make:

If you fixed obvious problems, such as a mobile device not working:

  • Watch conversions for that particular traffic segment rise
  • Pat yourself on the back
  • Have a drink

Or

If you are A/B testing to see the difference caused by a specific change to a marketing or design element:

  • Measure the difference and implement the clear winner, if you have one
  • Initiate another test
  • Pat yourself on the back
  • Have a drink

A/B testing is more effective for sites that have decently high levels of traffic. That doesn't mean smaller sites can't measure the results of your optimization efforts.

The focus should be on results

This whole process is a way to continually make iterative improvements to your website. You are trying to make the site easier for the people coming in to use, and make the site better at selling to those people.

Our goal here is not to make the site better looking or to keep people on it longer, although both of those may happen. The real goal is to increase revenue in a way that is sustainable and doesn't bite us in the ass by alienating our buyers.

Go forth and optimize

Every day that you aren't applying this basic process to your site is a day that your business is missing out on increased revenue.

You sell awesome stuff, so I want you to go out there and make more money for all the hard work you do. Stop missing out and start optimizing today.

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Ben Froedge Wrote This

I'm Ben, and for the last 3 years, I've helped people build strong, sustainably profitable online stores that thrive and grow. I want to see the people who create awesome products get paid more, so they can keep on making the world a better place.

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