Many of us are aware of the benefits of testing – increased conversions, improved customer experience and increased search engine rankings – but often deciding what to test can be challenging. We’ve found that ecommerce companies with high converting websites are the ones who approach testing strategically; they choose to test areas on their websites that yield the biggest wins. I’ve put together a list of tips that will help you focus your testing on those areas where you can quickly see the most value.
Like many ecommerce marketers, you likely spend a significant amount of money driving traffic to certain pages on your site. Ideally, these should be the pages that are most likely to compel visitors to buy your products and services. Testing these pages first gives you the greatest return on your time investment because it can have an immediate impact on your traffic and sales.
When testing these pages, pay attention to the layout and flow of these pages as well as the content. Even if you have stellar sales content, your pages will not perform at optimal levels if the layout does not guide visitors through the process necessary to generate interest and create desire for your services and products. Improved layout makes it simple for visitors to learn about what you have to offer and to make the decision to buy from you.
Conventional Internet marketing wisdom dictates that you should focus on low-traffic pages; however, any increase in traffic and conversions you gain by optimizing these pages will have a minimal effect on your overall conversion rates. Instead, focus the majority of your energy on identifying pages that draw traffic and create conversions. Test and refine these pages to make them even more effective. The results can be immediate and dramatic.
Of course, testing poorly performing pages can also boost your overall profitability; however, you should only work on these pages after you have already optimized those pages that serve as the profit centers of your website.
Many website owners spend an enormous amount of time creating and refining their home pages because they believe these pages serve as valuable introductions. In most cases, though, relatively few search engine users will land on your home page. Instead, they will land on product or affiliate pages. Focus on optimizing elements of your site that have the potential to create conversions, such as your shopping cart, affiliate pages, and paid search pages.
A well-designed home page is nice for visitors who find out about your site from print ads and business cards; however, it will do little to compel your visitors to purchase your products and services.
When your visitors aren't sure how to find what they are looking for, they will commonly access these pages. Your search and category pages should make it easy for users to find product pages, information about your company, videos, and other content that can help them make purchasing decisions. Simplifying the search process also increases user confidence, which makes visitors more comfortable with buying from you.
Link testing is a critical part of optimizing category and search pages. As you build and refine your site, some of your internal links might become outdated. It’s important to catch broken links because it influences the customer experience and can have an effect on your website conversions.
There are many benefits to ecommerce testing, I’ve just outlined a few that are worth exploring. By focusing on these four key areas, you’ll start to see an increase in conversions and overall site performance.