How to improve your website

A new guide gives practical advice for entrepreneurs on how to improve their business. In this article Conversion Rate Optimisation, crucial to increasing web stats, is explained.

Conversion Rate Optimisation is a relatively new phenomenon that has grown in popularity in the last few years. It focuses on designing, analysing and subsequently making changes to a website with the goal of increasing its conversion rate. Improving the performance of a website should lead to more profit and can sometimes be the difference between an advertising campaign being successful or not. 

Conversion rate optimisation is not something that is done once and then left. It is a continuous process of testing a website and then making changes in the hope of improving how it performs. Practically any change can be tested on a website and sometimes just a tiny change can make a huge difference. For example, the British online retailer ASOS saw an increase in their conversion rate of 3% by just changing one of the buttons on their site from ‘Proceed to checkout’ to ‘Pay securely now’. There is a lot of Conversion Rate Optimisation software that a company may consider using. These include; Crazy Egg, Optimizely and ClickTale. Companies that want to test their website without spending on software can conduct A/B tests through Google Analytics for free. 

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Conversion Rate Experts

1. When exactly should a company look at conversion rate optimisation? Is it before launch, a month after launch or once the website is established?

Let’s take a step back, and define conversion. A conversion occurs whenever a visitor carries out the action that you want them to take. 

So if you’re an online store that sells phones, then a conversion would occur each time a visitor buys a phone. Conversion rate, by definition, is a measure that your site is serving its purpose.

So when should you start thinking about conversion? As soon as you start designing your site. We can’t imagine what people work on before they start working on conversion.

2. What are the benefits of conversion rate optimisation?

Sales increase. Customers get happier. (Think of your own purchases. You like the sites you use more than the ones you don’t.) Customers spread the word. (You’re much more likely to recommend sites you use than ones you don’t.) Profits increase disproportionately to sales (because when your sales grow, many of your costs- like ad costs – stay constant). And, importantly, your profit-per-visitor increases. This means you can afford to outbid your competitors for traffic. Which means you  can buy the lion’s share of the traffic. Which means you grow, getting economies of scale on your side.

If you study the web’s most successful companies, like Amazon, Google, eBay and Facebook, and look for commonalities, you’ll notice that they spend more time improving their site – and their core value proposition – and less time obsessing over traffic strategies.

3. What software should entrepreneurs be using for conversion rate optimisation?

For split-testing, there are many good vendors on the market these days. Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely are safe bets for smaller businesses, whereas Adobe and SiteSpect are popular with larger businesses. We have compared the main split-testing software providers on the following page: www.WhichMVT.com.

For gathering visitor intelligence, we’d recommend Qualaroo, Kampyle, Clicktale, UserTesting.com, Crazy Egg, and many others. In this article, we explain what they do and how to use them.

4. What is the biggest mistake that companies usually make when undertaking conversion rate optimisation?

If a car mechanic were to start replacing parts of your car without first asking you what’s wrong, you’d think he was an idiot. But that's how most web design happens. Companies apply remedies without first diagnosing what’s wrong with their sites.

You need to gain a deep understanding of your visitors and what they want, so you can create an M&M trail (like the one in the movie E.T.) that attracts them at every step of the way. You also need to find your site’s “blocked arteries” (the objectionable content on the most-visited pages) and unblock them.

5. What is your best CRO secret / tip?

Find out why your visitors aren’t converting, then fix the problem. And if you don’t know, don’t wing it. Find out.Then split-test your new version of the page against the old one to confirm that you’ve grown the business.

*This is an excerpt from The Crowdsourced Guide to Business, collated by entrepreneur Daniel Hall. It gathers advice and tips from ‘real’ entrepreneurs and experts at the frontline of their respective fields. ‘The Crowdsourced Guide to Business’ (£12.22) is available in paperback or Kindle from Amazon.





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