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What should I be testing to optimize conversions on my site?


Increasing conversions on a website should be a persistent effort for any web-savvy business. However, accomplishing that goal requires more than the implementation of intelligent tracking tools. It also requires understanding what types of data are worth measuring, versus which types of data are merely distracting pieces of noise.

Once a foundation of clean data and purpose has been laid, business owners can begin to ensure that every piece of content is strategic, optimized, and aligned with the goals of the business.

Let's start with the basics. Tools such as Google Analytics, which you're probably already using, can reveal substantial amounts about your consumer base, your best products, the sources of your traffic, and post-click engagement metrics. Although Analytics is capable of all of that and more, it has holes. Notably, Analytics is action-oriented and fails to reveal the eye movements and mouse movements of a user on any given page. This is why GRAYBOX recommends several free heat-mapping tools like Mouseflow and Hotjar that add additional layers of insight into how users are viewing, absorbing, and navigating through your pages. Using this data, you can eliminate images, buttons, and text that fail to engage your audience.

What should you be A/B testing on your website to help optimize conversions?

What's Your Unique Selling Point (USP)? You believe in your products and they all hold tremendous value to their given audiences. You should always convey this early on in your website for a lasting first impression. It needs to be unique to your product or service and yield actual conversions. Beyond just text, the USP can be conveyed through consistent style, color, and design. Depending on your audience there are USPs that work better than others. Although your primary focus should be testing the USP where your users first lay eyes (which can be determined using the heat mapping tools mentioned above), they should be tested throughout the site and through any ads you may be running that are driving people to your page.

Reconsider the primary action you want a user to take on a given page or your call-to-actions within your landing pages. The "action" to which you want to draw a users attention is specific not just to your business, but to each part of your website. This could be as simple as changing the button style, something as drastic as leading your audience to a specific page on your site as opposed to just the main page, or leading them nowhere at all so they aren't distracted from filling out any given forms.

More specifically, you should test the placement of your forms. It's common to have a call-to-action when immediately landing on the page, but that doesn't necessarily mean your form should be there as well. In fact, placing the form below the fold has increased conversions by over 300 percent for some, but this is why you must always A/B test on your site. There will always be practices that work better for some and not for you and vice versa. With the forms on your site, remember you can also test for whether or not the form text should be within the fields or right above it. There's plenty you can do to play around with your forms from color to size or the number of fields, just remember to make a few of your fields required so you can utilize them later as leads.

This goes the same for testing the colors on your site. The myth that you'll get more conversions by switching up form buttons from green to red applies to every other piece of advice you've heard or read on what colors convert better. Colors, for the most part, are all relative to your brand, your audience, and the consistent tone you set for your website. There will always be tones that work better than others, but to say that a specific color is the most effective is completely inaccurate. Similarly, we wouldn't recommend testing every color in the rainbow, but narrowing down some primary colors and colors that match your brand tone would be a great place to start.

Consider the ROI on your desktop site vs the mobile site.

Do you have a mobile site that does most of what your desktop site does? The inconvenience of a site that doesn't function well on mobile is enough to lose valuable users and Google took a step to voice this. In 2016, a Google search algorithm decreased rankings of sites that weren't easy to use on mobile as an incentive for sites to create mobile-friendly web pages. So if you don't have one even now, considering the penalties, developing a mobile friendly site should be top of your list. Most web hosting platforms provide the option of launching a mobile-friendly version and with nearly 80 percent of internet users owning a smartphone, not having a mobile version of your site isn't really an option.

Make a Smooth Landing

GRAYBOX has created landing pages that specifically address topics we know our customers want to learn about, where we have valuable information to provide. These landing pages are additionally crafted to coordinate effectively with the paid search campaigns we run as a part of our marketing efforts. The net effect is that a search for a topic that is important to us will have a higher likelihood of the user returning our site, because we've carefully crafted a landing page with content that directly correlates to paid ad copy in response to specific searches we know users are performing.

There are many aspects of your landing pages you can test to improve conversions after your landing pages have been designed at a general level to fit the mold of your brand and vision. You can reevaluate the page design completely or change subtle aspects of the design.

Try a landing page that features a different image. This could simply be a potential test on varying media on your landing page. Maybe you have a video featured above the fold and no image at all. Although landing pages are typically not very long, if you do have a video further down on your webpage you should test to see the placement. Of course, much of what you change on your landing pages can be determined by what the data shows to be least effective or least interactive portion of your site.

You should always test for eliminating any outgoing links. Say you have your brand logo, it's likely important to visually keep this, but may not necessarily be a good idea to link them to their designated web pages because they would distract your users from the landing page or call-to-action on the page. Similarly, disregard everything you've learned about internal linking on blog pages and other written articles when it comes to the content of your landing page. You should heavily also consider not having links to social icons (footer links, in general) or links from your logo back to your main web page. Having the icons of the social media accounts that your company is actively using is important for establishing credibility, but linking them anywhere away from your landing page will distract your audience from the primary purpose of attracting them there in the first place. However, take the time to test all of this, as your logo and social media may be important for the intent of your business. Your landing page is an opportunity to sell your brand clearly, don't distract your users by leading them elsewhere.

Testing Your Content

Whether it be landing page or your entire website, content is king when it comes to generating conversions and it should always be tested when significant changes are made. Content determines the effectiveness of your blogs, your social media, and your landing pages. The headlines you utilize are the few snippets of text that keep your user engaged in your content. An exceptional headline can be the difference between simple text and SEO conversion. Always test long-lasting headlines on your website or popular landing pages.

When it comes to content that has the potential to convert users, it has to be clear and have specific intent. Evergreen content will always have more conversion value than content that is timely and non recyclable. Content is considered 'evergreen' when it's written about a topic that has lasting value. This article-- providing best practice tips and tactics for optimizing websites for better conversion-- is a great example of evergreen content. The value it provides today will be just as relevant next year. An article recapping a conference, or talking about a specific change in a niche technology, however, generally starts to lose value as time goes by and we become further removed from when the content was written. Very seldom does anyone construct evergreen content without intent, focus, and an execution plan. When you create evergreen content for your site, you're likely to create engagement that lasts a lifetime. Of course, not all content is best suited as evergreen content and can still yield conversions.

Keep in mind, regardless of the type of content, most often larger blocks of text on either your landing page or website are tremendously easy for readers to ignore, unless it's content that provides your readers valuable knowledge. It's simpler for most people to leave an email and download something in the moment with the consideration of reading it later. Make your content relative and brief, unless it's a blog post, white paper, or case study.

How Much Should you Test?

The key to effective testing is by testing elements one at a time. Although it is possible to do multivariate testing, keep in mind the difficulty of such without enough traffic flowing through the site to support it. If you're second guessing elements of your page, start with A/B testing your isolated content as these aren't typically areas that you can assume effectiveness for. Once you figure out what works best there, move on to then testing multimedia and other elements that you've found effective on other pages of your site.

Testing anything on your site is most certainly unique to your brand, but if you've tried everything in the book and don't know what more you can do to optimize conversions, consider changing the design of your website entirely. When you're ready to generate the most you can with a strategically and beautifully designed website, reach out to your partners at GRAYBOX to make it happen.

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