conversion-rate-optimization-essentials

How to Optimize a Website the Right Way

By David Hoos
5 minute read | Last Updated: September 25, 2017

No other ecommerce website needs exactly what your site needs. You have to look at your own data to make the most effective changes.

Does this sound like you?

You know you need to optimize your site, and you know optimization isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it exercise.

You’re not in business to stagnate. You want more customers, more sales, and greater ROI.

That means your marketing strategy acknowledges the need for and provides the means for ongoing website optimization efforts.

Not every digital marketer is that advanced.

Much of the time, those who come to The Good for help are having a tough time with optimization. The ecommerce manager is well aware of the need for a rock-solid optimization strategy but hasn’t been able to put one in place. Often, that’s due more to a lack of support from the rest of the management team than from lack of ability.

Here are some of the things they’ve tried:

  • They’ve gathered and tried every website optimization tip they can find, but nothing seems to be working as promised
  • They’ve run random A/B tests, but those efforts aren’t making much difference
  • They bought website optimization tools, but interpretation of results is complicated, and the entire process seems questionable

It’s tough to see companies try and fail, try and fail, try and fail… but we have a solution.

Let’s look at the ONE thing every ecommerce manager needs to remember about CRO. Once that point is understood, optimizing your website will become easier and make a whole lot more sense.

Keep reading.

to optimize

The split-testing concept is simple, but the practice can get quite involved (see the graphic above).

Why you need to optimize with your own data

A high-converting website is a site that’s personalized to the needs of its particular audience. We’ve said it 1,000 times if we’ve said it once: “A site designed for everyone is a site that attracts no one.”

That’s because the best consumer insights must come from your target audience. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to ecommerce. You can get in the ballpark with generic strategies, but if you want to hit grand slams, you have to optimize your site.

The true best practice is to understand that there are no universal best practices. Best practices are for beginners. They’re a teaching mechanism. You can’t grow conversions without acquiring data specific to your own situation.

Best practices can show you how to find insights in your data, but they can’t tell you specific changes to make on your site.

They can share simpler trends across all sites, but those improvements will never be as effective as learning and making changes based on your own data.

Please don’t misunderstand what we’re saying here. We’re not knocking the fundamentals. All great work is founded on the basics. The point is that true optimization requires a deeper analysis than the fundamentals offer.

A website designed for everyone is a website that attracts no one. Click To Tweet

Best practices can alert you to a situation – let’s say you follow the tips and discover the click-through-rate (CTR) from your latest email campaign came in significantly under the average for your type of business.

That’s valuable information, but you can’t do anything with it. You need to dig deeper. You need to know why the CTR is low. And that will typically require skills way beyond Ecommerce Website Optimization 101.

You may need to implement a number of other tactics:

  • Getting to the bottom of the problem may require a deep dive exploration of your analytics data, and that can take significant knowledge of the analytics system
  • Figuring out what’s really going on may require qualitative data from heat maps or user interviews
  • Developing a clear picture of the situation may mean you need to draw additional data from a conversion optimization evaluation tool (securing a Stuck Score™, for instance)

If your automobile is malfunctioning, it could be something simple. You could lift the hood, take a look, and fix it yourself.

On the other hand, the problem may be more than you can handle without accessing the knowledge and specialized tools your mechanic offers.

It’s exactly like that when you need to optimize your site. Some of the tasks can be accomplished with simple tools and methods. Others will require getting out the big guns.

Both are necessary, but you can’t hunt bear with a BB gun.

to optimize

Bell Helmets realized a 143% revenue increase from their optimization efforts, but we need to take them well beyond the basics to achieve that number.

 

Get results: Optimize your site the right way

Working with your own consumer data is the path to higher-level ecommerce website optimization. Aiming to beat industry averages isn’t enough. You need to beat yourself, and you need to do that consistently.

That is real optimization.

Here are a few of the signs you can expect to see:

  • The changes you make won’t be based on generic tips, but real feedback from your users
  • Your A/B tests become far more focused to the specific problem areas your consumers are facing
  • You get more value from your testing tools, because you’re testing changes in areas your specific audience actually cares about

When you want to brush your hair, you look in a mirror. You don’t read about hair brushing, and you don’t ask your neighbor about hair brushing. You look at the reflection you see and do what needs to be done.

It’s the same when you want to optimize your site. No other ecommerce website needs exactly what your site needs. You have to look at your own data, understand what’s producing that data, and make the necessary adjustments.

Do that, and you won’t have any trouble convincing the boss that conversion rate optimization is worth a significant investment of time and money.

Nothing pays off like CRO done right.

The proof is in the pudding.

Resources:

About the author: David Hoos is Content Marketing Strategist at The Good, conversion rate experts who deliver more revenues, customers, and leads. David and the team at The Good have made a practice of advising brands on how to see online revenue double through their conversion rate optimization services.

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