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on Conversion Rate Optimization

Your swiss-army knife for increasing website sales and conversions

All right, let’s admit it: increasing conversion rate on a website is still a voodoo science for many. With new technologies and terminology being thrown around (on Twitter, blogs, etc.) every other day, it doesn’t get any easier for people just starting to understand conversion optimization. In this post, I will try to briefly talk about all technologies and methodologies being used today for extracting more juice out of existing traffic:

  • Web Analytics – the first step is to actually measure conversion rate of your website. Tools like Google Analytics,  Clicky and Woopra make is quite simple to define your website goals and then measure the goal completion rate. Different tools may have different terminology but essentially every web analytics tool worth its salt with have ability to track conversions, knowledge of which is an absolute must. Think of it in this way: how can you optimize a metric if you don’t know what the metric’s value is. So if you are not measuring your conversion rate, you should forget about improving it.
  • A/B Split Testing – these tools allow you to make different versions of your website in order to test which of it leads to maximum downloads, sales, signups or conversions. Main idea is to keep testing your ideas of what works and what doesn’t, instead of relying on intuition.  With introduction of easy to use tools such as (our very own) Visual Website Optimizer, split testing has become a very simple, yet extremely effective methodology. Nothing beats increasing conversions than testing your ideas against hard, cold facts of your visitor clicks. Google Website Optimizer is another tool for split testing which is available free of cost, though it does require technical understanding of HTML, page tagging, etc.
  • Behavioral Targeting – this methodology requires extensive planning and segmenting of visitors into different groups to show customized offers/pricing/promotions. Ultimate idea of BT is that you  tailor  your website according to behavior of the visitor (e.g. number of pageviews, entry page, etc.). BTBuckets and our labs tools are the ones which let you try and use behavioral targeting for conversion optimization.
  • Clickmaps and heatmaps – these tools let you visualize which parts of your website get most clicks and which parts don’t get even a single click. Such tools come handy when you have doubt that perhaps your call-to-action is not very visible on the page. What these tools will tell you that while your button isn’t getting any click, people are clicking onto your bullet points (which are not hyperlinked) in search of more information. So perhaps it is a good idea to hyperlink those bullet points. Crazyegg and Clickdensity are some of the most affordable tools  that let you generate a clickmap of your website.
  • Visitor movies – tools such as Clicktale and Userfly give you a magical power of peering over your visitor’s shoulder to see what exactly they are doing on your site. What these tools enable you to do is to see each and every action by your website visitors. The tools will literally replay all mouse moves, clicks, keypresses that a visitor does.  Though it ultimately becomes cumbersome and tiring to watch 100s of visitor movies, this method is still a fantastic way to gain qualitative insights.
  • Voice of customer – when every other method fails, you should resort to surveying your visitors:  why exactly they didn’t make the purchase, was your pitch clear, did they understand what you are offering. All other tools tell you what is happening on your website, customer feedback tools such as Kampyle or GetSatisfation tell you why it is happening.
  • Live Chat – taking surveying users idea to next level, live chat tools (Olark and  numerous other tools) actually let you chat with your live website visitors. They can ask you questions or you can initiate the conversation. Having a live chat feature on your landing page and sales page can help boost conversions because visitors may have N number of doubts which your page may not be clearing; chatting with you can answer most of their concerns.

Apart from these categories, numerous other tools in search analytics, PPC analytics, affiliate management, etc. are available but the  above ones are the most useful ones. Even amongst the above, I will argue web analytics and split testing tools should be an absolute must for anybody serious about improving his/her website conversions.

Leave a comment here if you think you have additional toolssuggestions for conversion rate optimization which I missed here.

Founder and CEO of Wingify.

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