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3 Steps To Improve Online Conversion Rates

 Johann van Tonder, COO of AWA Digital and co-author of new book  E-Commerce Website Optimization, outlines 3 simple steps to improving your online conversion rates.

People are visiting your website, but lots of them are not buying. You’ve tried new designs, pushed different offers and tweaked the navigation, yet conversion rates remain depressed. Unfortunately, that’s an all too familiar story.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a system of increasing online revenue, without increasing the budget you spend on getting traffic to your site. You use data to ascertain where and how to tune your site in a way that makes your accountant happy. Here are 3 easy ways to gather that data.

  • Busy manager’s guide to analytics

Website monitoring services like Google Analytics (GA) cost nothing and give you heaps of data about your visitors and how they journey through your site. Buried in various tables and graphs are insights that can potentially transform your business. Problem is, there is so much data that it is often hard to make sense of it all. Here’s how to do it:

  • Identify the biggest opportunities

Where is the best place to start?  Many people assume the homepage, as it’s the window into the site. Others say the checkout, because those visitors must be warm. But both are just hunches. To get a proper steer, look at the pages and types of pages your visitors go to the most. Pay special attention to those with high bounce- and exit rates. This is where potential customers are dropping off. Ask your developers to configure e-commerce tracking in order to identify which areas of your site have the lowest conversion rates.

  • Segment data

GA aggregates all data, so by default, the topline data reflect the behaviour of the entire audience. However, real nuggets are hidden in segments, or subsets of that audience. For example, comparing converters to non-converters may expose insightful differences that would be missed by looking at the aggregate. How do mobile visitors behave differently, and what can you read into that? Social traffic versus organic search traffic? Think about the segments that matter in your business, and apply them to your GA reporting.

  • Make a dashboard

A few minutes each day are all you need to keep tabs on your online health. GA dashboards put the most important reports in one place so you can see at a glance how the site is performing. Click on ‘Dashboards’ > ‘New dashboard’ in the side menu to get started. You can have different dashboards, for example one for e-commerce and another for social media. To get started, pick one or two from the range of pre-set dashboards.

  • Usability testing

While analytics tell you what is happening, it won’t tell you why. That you can find out by observing users interacting with your site. Known as usability testing, it’s one of the best ways to identify opportunities to improve revenue.

Simply give someone a task to perform on your web- or mobile site (such as buy a product) and then watch them go through the process. Ask them to verbalise their thoughts. Resist temptations to guide them if they get stuck. Instead, regard their difficulties as spun gold – a conversion blocker to remove! You’re testing the site, not the user. Keep quiet, observe and take notes.

As few as five people are enough for usability testing, although even one is better than nothing. Choose people representative of your audience, rather than family or co-workers. Our preference is to recruit visitors live from your site, but a few online service providers facilitate easy panel-based usability testing at affordable rates. Try or

  • Email surveys

It’s easy to be so focused on sales that you forget what is actually behind it: real people who buy from your site (or not). Every change you make on the site is aimed at influencing their behaviour. Therefore, it all starts with knowing them. Get under the skin of those people who make your conversion rate move up or down.

Email surveys are a great route in. The secret is to ask a few open-ended questions and allow for open text responses. Probe their buying decision. What made them buy? Which competitors did they consider? Why did they choose / not choose your business? What almost got in the way? What would have made them buy more often? How would they describe your product or brand?

Popular survey tools include Google Forms (a free service) and Surveymonkey. Consider offering respondents an incentive, like a gift voucher to encourage them to fill in the survey. Their answers will give you a wealth of information.

Using these three simple, low-cost methods you’ll now be fully aware of WHERE your site is leaking customers, WHY it’s leaking in those places, and WHAT you can do to fix it. Follow that through with changes to the site that address the fundamental problems you’ve uncovered, and you’ll see your online revenue respond in a way that makes the accountants happy. 

E-commerce Website Optimization, ISBN: 9780749475383, Price: £19.99, is available to purchase now. Save 20% with discount code BMKEWO20.