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Improving Web Conversions In 3 Key Steps


I am a huge fan of the TechZing podcast, a show focused on bootstrapped web entrepreneur.
In the last couple months Jason Roberts and Justin Vincent
have had a series of interviews focused on improving usability, web analytics.
The latest show (#98) includes Lance Jones as a guest and focuses on Conversion Optimization.

After listening to the show while driving I decided to replay it once more and take notes as I think it brings a lot of value for any web entrepreneur!
And since I could not fit all the contents and links in the comments I decided to create this short post. Enjoy!

The 3-Step Process

Before starting any A/B test or optimization it is important to really think through the goals and key performance indicators you want to optimize for.
Otherwise you will waste a lot of time or may not get meaningful information and probably not achieve your target goals.
To optimize the conversion process you need to:

  1. Track and analyze conversions
  2. Analyze and understand user behavior
  3. Optimize the user experience, the copy (key content), and affect user behavior

It is critical to have enough traffic to get statistically meaningful data from the tests.
You need probably about 100 conversions per bucket or test option.
So assuming different conversion rates you need quite a lot of users entering the funnel:

  • a 2% conversion rate requires 5000 users
  • a 5% conversion rate requires 2000 users
  • etc.

Supporting Tools

Product Comments
Tools to tracking and analyze conversions
Google web site optimizer
Crazyegg Includes heatmap
Mixpanel Great for tracking business/user events
Performable Full customer experience and revenue tracking, reverse funnel analysis
Omniture The Cadillac option for large enterprises
Tools to survey and understand user behavior
iperceptions Define quick short surveys to understand user motivations and success
KissInsights Prompt users for one quick simple question
4Q Survey Prompts users for the 4 essential questions about their experience
ForeseeResults Focuses on complete web effectiveness
Opinionlab More sophisticated option with survey modules, reports,

Getting input from real testers
UserTesting Testers narrate their test using video
FeedbackArmy You submit 4-6 questions about your site and you receive 10 answers
5secondtest Testers have 5 seconds to get an impression of your landing page
Tools to optimize the site
Google web site optimizer
SumoOptimize Recent entrant
Optimizely Great wysiwyg editing of your own pages
Unbounce Great for testing different landing pages and starting A/B tests
Visual website optimizer Rich functionality with a great wysiwyg interface

Note: the list above and associated comments are just based on the show, not on an exhaustive analysis of all vendors and products.

So What?

So if you put all the concepts together you get the following approach synopsis:

Web conversion optimization is not “black magic”, try to follow the process highlighted above as well as the tools.

Providing you can generate enough traffic to your site to run multiple iterations, over time you will most likely see a positive change in your conversions.

References and Resources

A/B Testing

My Other Related Posts:
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January 9th, 2011 Posted by | A/B Testing, Conversion Optimization, SEO, Web Analytics | 3 comments