Conversion Optimization // March 25, 2014Website Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices
Posted by Fuze
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) should be high on the priority list for any business that relies on its website to drive leads or revenue. Driving traffic to a website that doesn’t convert is a sure way to kill ROI. For those serious about maximizing the impact of their marketing budget, it’s time to start testing.
Conversion optimization is the art and science of split testing key performance indicators (KPIs) on a website to find out which variations perform the best. The most common form of CRO is A-B testing, which requires showing two different versions of a page to two different user groups
For example, would ‘Request a Quote’ convert better for your business than ‘Request a Consultation’? Do red call-to-action buttons convert better than blue ones? An A-B test would show version A to 50% of visitors and version B to the other 50% to see which results in a higher click through rate and/or conversion rate.
Even the most highly trained designers, user experience gurus and marketing experts can’t guess what will speak to your customers. Only measured testing with supporting analytics data can determine what is best for your business.
Making changes to your website can be rather scary, especially if you’re new to the idea of conversion rate optimization. However, tools like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer allow marketers to make on-the-fly changes to text, colors, images and layout, without compromising the integrity of your code. Tests can be set up quickly and monitored through built-in analytics reporting platforms.
With tools like this at your disposal, there’s little reason to not be running constant experiments to improve your website’s conversion rate.
In order to perform an A-B test, you must have a plan in mind and there must be a KPI that you want to test. The most obvious KPI to test would be sales, but each website is different and the goals of individual pages within a site can vary greatly. Conversion rates can be measured in many ways (e.g. digital downloads, ecommerce purchases, form completions, etc.), so the first step is to define what qualifies as a “conversion” on your site.
Some important performance indicators to consider are:
Once you’ve decided what you’re testing, whether it’s the number of sales or the number of phone calls, you can prepare for A-B testing of various elements within the page. The key to this will be to keep track of the elements that you change so that you can later determine what changes are effective and which ones should be avoided.
Here are some suggested elements to test:
A-B Testing Tips
According to Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, there are some key elements you should be aware of before you start A-B testing your conversion rates. First, remember to base your testing on real data rather than testing everything that comes to mind.
Also, more is better than less, so be sure to spend some time gathering as much data as you can about your website, conversions and what motivates your customers to take action.
A-B testing can deliver extremely valuable information but only if you allow tests to run long enough to collect accurate results. According to a recent post on MOZ, it’s important that you don’t end an A-B test too early in the game—unless of course the test is causing a significant loss in revenue.
A-B tests should run for long enough to generate 100 conversions. This will provide a large enough sample pool to facilitate a cut and dry decision as to which test won.
Conversely, if you run the test for too long, it could cause a negative impact in your SEO efforts so it’s important to end A-B testing once you reach a statistical significance. According to Google, “if (you are) running an experiment for an unnecessarily long time, we may interpret this as an attempt to deceive search engines and take action accordingly. This is especially true if you’re serving one content variant to a large percentage of your users.”
In designing an A-B test model, consider the following points:
Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process, not a means to an end. Customer needs are ever changing and what works today, may not work tomorrow or the next day.
Think of conversion rate optimization as a job that’s never really considered “DONE.”
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