How to Optimize Your Website for Conversions
Usability Testing

Published on November 24, 2020

How to Optimize Your Website for Conversions

In this article, we will be explaining how Conversion Rate Optimization works, and answer questions such as: What is CRO, if and why should you use it, what are some of the tools to improve CRO and give you some advice and starting points.

Many websites may have huge traffic, let’s say 20 thousand visitors a month, and if you’re not familiar with the conversion rate optimization, you might think to yourself:

That’s enough visitors a month to have a successful business!

But that is the misconception. The number of visitors is just an illusion of success. Visitors do not equal customers. Your website might be frequently visited, but are those visitors doing what your business’ idea of success is? That is what you should be aiming for. 

Imagine someone visiting a bank’s website and creating an account. Poof! They’re no longer visitors. Once they successfully opened an account they became customers. That can be one of the definitions of conversion: visitors that convert into customers.

Of course, the definition of conversions can be different and depends on your business objectives. Conversion is successful when the visitor takes the desired action. 

What is CRO?

Well, you probably came here to learn what this conversion is and how to optimize it. For starters, CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimization. CRO is the process aiming to increase the percentage of users who take the desired action…

Is CRO right for my business?

Yes – it is! You should always aim for attracting website visitors, and trying to make them take the desired action? No matter how large and known your company is, you always want to convert your visitors into customers, and you want to do it in an efficient, impactful, and sustainable manner.

What optimizing your conversion rate means

So here you are, already familiarized with the concept of conversion. But you’re still wondering how the real-world implementation of optimizing your conversion rate works. 

Don’t worry, I got you. 

Let’s go through an example to see the importance of conversion rate optimization:

Imagine Jake, the owner of an e-shop, goes through analytics to see the traffic of their website, and he notices that 20 % of the traffic came from mobile devices. Unfortunately, his e-shop is not optimized for mobile devices, resulting in the horribly looking and unusable design that takes a long time to load. The conversion rate for mobile users is understandably non-existent. The webpage has to be fast, useful, and look good.

Now imagine the website gets 1 million hits per month, and only 10 % of visitors convert, which is 100 thousand buyers. But Jake wants to increase the revenue by 25 %. What options does he have? 

He could use all kinds of classic marketing techniques that would cost a lot of money and time while leaving the results unpredictable.

Instead, Jake could use the magic of conversion rate: Optimize what’s already there.

Finally, Jake decided to use CRO techniques and improved the website’s usability on mobile devices, which led to increasing the revenue from mobile devices by 25 %, thus successfully optimizing the conversion rate.

Jake focused on user experience first.

He focused on what was already there, improved it. Jake made the user experience for mobile users better, and thus he could see an improvement in the conversion rate. That is what Conversion Rate Optimization is all about: Improving or changing aspects that are already there. 

What techniques can I implement to improve my conversion rates?

Before explaining the tools I picked in details, let me explain why I chose them and why I put them in a specific order:

  1. Session Recording ➝ 2. Unmoderated Remote Testing ➝ 3. A/B Testing

Those are the three methods you can use to improve your CRO, and here is why:

Your website is having a low conversion rate even though you have many visitors daily, and you need to identify what are the problems that keep visitors from converting. These three tools are your best friends in this situation, especially when used in the given order.

Firstly, use Session Recording, which records the visitor’s lifecycle on your website, you can filter these sessions with filters (UXtweak Session Recording tool offers SmartSearch filters with auto-suggestions to save you time) to see only those that did not convert and thoroughly analyze them:

With Session recording Tool – You discover the problems

Secondly, you want to focus on this discovered problem through using Unmoderated Remote Testing, you motivate visitors of your website to take a “task”, through which you test if the visitor can complete the given task(s) and if so where and what is blocking him, and finally, you present him with a questionnaire or a vote poll asking for his more accurate feedback.

With Unmoderated usability testing – You understand the problem

Finally, you implement the solution using A/B Testing, you make 2+ different versions of your website, each version distinguished by some changes/variations, and you set it so that (if you made 2 versions) half of your visitors get directed to the first version, the other half to the other. In this second version, you change the problem that you identified with the solution you came up with. 

Finally, you check if the solution you came up with worked, meaning that the CRO increases on your second version of the website, if it worked you implement the second version as your main version of the website. You can read more about remote unmoderated testing here.

With A/B testing – You resolve the problem

Now let’s get a bit more specific about these tools:

Let’s take a look at Jake’s website again. Jake introduced a new item category called “Gadgets” where he wants to sell fun technology stuff. But, by looking through analytics, he sees that the activity and conversion rate on this page is very low, but Jake wants to increase the conversion rate. So he immediately jumps to conclusions:

  • Maybe the products aren’t interesting enough!
  • Maybe I should make another category!
  • Maybe people don’t like the prices!
  • Maybe I should change the price!

Jake immediately makes assumptions. 

Instead, what Jake should’ve done is use some tools and techniques to understand the reasons behind user behavior. 

Session Recording

Without detailed insights and proper analysis, we can’t know what the problem is. We can only make assumptions, which we shouldn’t. It will only affect our decisions. Such as Jake might delete a whole section, which could bring revenue because he thinks people don’t like it.

Instead, the Session Recording tool takes out the bias from website evaluation. Session recording allows you to know the exact behavior of the user. It shows you where the problem is. With session recording, you can directly face the problem of conversion rate and discover where the issue is.

In general, Session Recording tools are one of the best tools when you want to see how people navigate through your website and to collect the insight you need to fix the user experience and improve conversion rates.

It shows real actions taken by visitors as they browse a website. Recordings capture mouse movement, clicks, taps, and scrolling across multiple pages on desktop and mobile devices. They are used to gain a real understanding of how users interact with a website, which then helps fix issues, optimize UX, and ultimately improve conversion rate.

People are miserable at predicting their own behavior. It is best to observe them.

Unmoderated Remote Testing

Feedback from your web visitors is valuable, and one of the great ways to obtain is an unmoderated remote usability testing tool. 

We chose unmoderated and remote testing, meaning it does not require a researcher to attend each test session; instead, a software application provides instructions to visitors, records their actions, and may ask them predetermined follow-up questions.

These follow-up questions can take the form of questionnaires or vote polls, both of these can be presented to the visitor anytime during the testing process. It can be introduced at the start, during/between, or/and at the end of testing sessions/tasks. 

Perks depending on where you present these questionnaires:

The questionnaire at the start of the testing

Use: Collect information about the visitor, such as age, country of origin, etc…

Perks: Allows filtering the visitors depending on the target audience (real-life example regarding this down below)

Questionnaire between tasks

Use: Collect feedback from the visitor regarding the given task.

Perks: Allows you to know what the visitor thinks about the given task

The questionnaire at the end of testing

Use: Collect the overall feedback from the visitor

Perks: Allows you to know the overall experience of the visitor, what he liked, and what he did not, what would he change, what difficulties they had, and so on…

Now, let’s apply this knowledge to an example:

Imagine Jake is making a black Friday’s campaign, where all the items in the “Gadgets” section are on sale. He uses a black-themed design for his e-shop but finds out that the conversion rate is very low, so he decides to make use of the tool Unmoderated Remote Testing, which allows him to create a usability test – an environment where he guides users on his website to do some tasks, the user’s session is recorded the whole time, and you can even add questionnaires. 

So Jake attracts users to take this test by giving them a 15% discount bonus after completion. He collects 50 successful finished studies by users. 

Before the start of the tasks, the users were introduced with a questionnaire to choose between an age category (so he can identify different segments and how their behavior differs).

At the end of the study, he prepared an overall questionnaire in which one of the questions was “Did you notice that there’s a 50% discount for all “Gadgets” items?” many people answered “No”. He filtered the answers to these questions and noticed that only 10 % of users said yes. This told Jake that the discount is overlooked by users.

Jake then proceeded to make the special offer more visible, and after a few days, the conversion rate started growing.

So what did we learn?

  • Unmoderated Remote Testing is a perfect tool for categorized analysis when using the questionnaires sub-feature
  • You have to motivate the users to finish the study
  • We can use a questionnaire pre-during-post that categorizes the users and help us learn more details
  • Don not forget to implement a post questionnaire asking the visitor’s opinion on why he would buy (IF that is the goal for the conversion, can be other) or why would he NOT buy the given product. 
  • Other questions such as what appealed to the user, what didn’t etc.

“Usability testing, online, and easier than ever. In online task-driven studies, collect feedback, observe how your users interact with your web site or app (or web-based prototype), and discover usability issues.”

A/B Testing

A/B testing (also known as split testing) is a process of showing two or more versions of the same web page to different chunks of visitors at the same time and comparing which variant drives more conversions. 

You take your website, and you slightly change it:

  1. Keep the first version, as it is.
  2. For the second version, you highlight the category “Gadgets” with the red color and with futuristic-looking font so it’s more visible and attractive.

Then you implement it and set the first version to be seen by the first 50 % of visitors, the second version by the second 50 % of visitors.

And based on which version brings a higher clickthrough rate is the one that you are going to implement as your final website appearance.

Back to Jake – He realized that the version of the website which has the category’s “Gadgets” button highlighted with a red color, and has a futuristic font to make it more visible and attracts attention brings more conversions, so he implements it to his main version of the website.

Summary

We’re finally done! By now, you should be an expert on optimizing conversion rates.

Of course, we are joking… There’s a lot more to CROs, and this blog was supposed to familiarize you with the concept and give you some advice and starting points. Here are your first 6 steps to optimizing conversions: 

First 6 steps to optimize conversions

  1. Start by filtering and looking through your session recordings of your users to analyze and identify the problem.
  2. Create tasks and questionnaires for your respondents and take your time to evaluate the results and understand the problem.
  3. Think of a solution based on your understanding of the problem.
  4. Proceed to do A/B Testings to implement the solution to the problem to one of the versions.
  5. Monitor if the version where you implemented the solution brings more conversions.
  6. If it does, make that version the main version of your website.

Conclusion

Now you have familiarized yourself with CRO techniques and conversion rate itself and why it is so important. 

Implementing the conversion rate optimization helps to increase your revenue and grow your business by improving the resources that you already have without the need to create new ones.

Always keep an eye on the details and never forget that user experience comes first, and with that, conversion rate optimization helps you move on to the next step.

UXtweak Team
November 24, 2020
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