In a recent article we looked at some of the best ways to boost conversions on your website, but once you’ve implemented these recommendations on your website, what is the next step?
Simple answer: conversion rate optimization.
The process of conversion rate optimization (CRO) looks at how users navigate through your website and what actions they take. On the basis of this information, an online marketer is then able to make evidence-based changes to improve the conversion rate of each page.
Conversion rate optimization is often overlooked, a recent survey found that only 52% of businesses that use landing pages were doing any kind of data-verified optimization. But the fact remains that they’re a reliable, often cheaper, way to generate more profit from your website. Turnover and profit can quickly be increased by improving a site’s conversion rate, compared to the effort and cost of increasing the volume of traffic to a website.
The three important tools that CRO specialists use to analyse and improve website pages in order to boost conversion rates are A/B testing, heat maps and scroll maps. When so many website design choices are based on guesswork, these three statistically-backed methods show whether changes that you’ve made to your website are working or not as well as highlighting areas that need improvement.
Split testing, or A/B testing, is the comparison of two versions of the same page (such as a landing page) to see which performs better when traffic is sent to them.
How does split testing work?
In the test, both pages are generally the same or very similar, with only a small variation such as a different image or call to action. Half the traffic is sent to the first variation, and half to the second, and whichever converts at a higher rate is the version that will be chosen.
Why is it important?
Split testing is a powerful tool as it allows a website owner to make evidence-based decisions based on actual data, rather than assuming that they know which version will perform best. Every element on a page can be split-tested including all content elements, trust signals, calls to action and images.
How do you implement split testing?
There are a couple of steps to running a successful split test. To start, decide which pages, and what elements on the page to split test. Then set up and run the test using one of the below tools and determine the winner based on whichever page has the highest conversion rate. Lastly, define the next test which could be testing another element on the page, or starting a new test on a different web page.
Software that makes the process of running split tests easy to implement and monitor includes Optimizely, VWO, Google Content Experiments, and Unbounce.
Rather choose a couple of pages with small variations than trying to set up A/B tests for every page on your website. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of the tests that you’ve run, are currently running, and tests that you would still like to do.
A heat map is a visualisation tool for data analysis. It uses colour to show where on a web page visitors are spending time and where they’re clicking.
How does it work?
Heat maps are a visual representation of how a website visitor navigates a page and gives some insight into how the user is thinking. The ‘heat’ refers to the amount of attention that an area on a page receives. It is represented using colours; red, orange, yellow and white where there is more action, and darker colours for areas receiving less attention.
Why is heat mapping important?
Heat maps offer hard data, rather than assumptions or theories, of how visitors are using your site that can be used for conversion optimisation. This is because a heat map measures data from real users which means changes can be made to better meet the needs (and improve conversions) of potential customers.
How do you set up heat maps?
Heat mapping software is intuitive and easy to use. Using software such as Crazy Egg or Hot Jar, a user inserts the tracking code on the relevant pages of their website, then takes a snapshot of the page within the software and sets a report to run.
Once the report has run (this depends on the length of time/number of visitors that you specify), a user can view the report and see how website visitors are navigating on a specific page.
Scroll maps are closely related to heat maps and are used in conversion optimization to visually analyse how visitors navigate (or scroll) through the pages on a website.
What are scroll maps?
Scroll maps allow an online marketer to see where website visitors are spending their time on a page. It gives the marketer important data on each website page including the average viewing time and the number of views for different areas of the page.
Why is it important?
Scroll maps are an important tool for conversion optimization as they help a marketer improve the performance of a website. Based on data, a marketer is able to make decisions such as the length of a web page and where to place information on the page so that it is most likely to be read (or watched if it is video content), as well as where to place a call to action for optimal conversion.
How do you set up scroll maps?
Similar to setting up heat maps, using software such as Crazy Egg, Hotjar or Omniconvert it’s easy to set up scroll maps and only takes a couple of minutes. A user simply installs the software’s tracking code on their website, takes a snapshot of the page that they want to optimize within the software and then sets up and runs the report that they want.
The three tools of A/B testing, heat maps, and scroll maps work together to help take a website’s conversion rate to the next level. They give hard data that can be analysed to make changes based on how users are interacting with each page on a website.