Let’s say you’ve set up your website, listed all your products and set up analytics. Now you want to take a look at the efficiency of your online business. Or perhaps you’ve had the online shop for quite some time and you wish to investigate why your products don’t drive website conversions.
While there is a vast multitude of ways to analyze your online shop, the process of setting up a successful website is quite straightforward.
First, your website must go through a technical analysis. This basically means checking that it is displayed correctly on as many browsers and devices as possible. Websites that have an unprofessional, faulty look are frequently abandoned by visitors. By comparing the conversion rates of different browsers, devices and operating systems you can identify certain problems.
Another important aspect to take into consideration is the loading speed. To test this you can use the PageSpeed Insights tool from Google to discern whether visitors have to wait for too long to see the content of your website. This might be a reason behind a high bounce rate and thus an obstacle to increasing website conversions.
Probably the best way to test your website is to put yourself in the shoes of users. Navigate each page to identify any obstacles that may hinder potential customers. This first-hand experience will help you classify areas of interest, relevancy, motivation and any issues that might lead to people leaving the website.
Make sure to pay attention to meet user expectations accordingly to the place that sent them to your online shop. This can be a social media ad, a newsletter or other marketing campaigns. Find the best way to make the landing page as clear and simple as possible, while still communicating value.
Ask yourself if there are any aspects that can cause doubts, hesitations and uncertainties and find ways to increase the feeling of trust and security. Lastly, don’t forget to search for any elements that might cause distractions because these lead users to abandon carts.
Web Analytics Analysis
Next, you have to gather data from your website. This is best done through Google Analytics, but there are also other tools that will do the trick. You must set up goals by identifying all possible desired actions a user can take on the website. Website conversions can refer to buying products, subscribing to newsletters, downloading files such as courses or case studies. There are also smaller steps that are crucial to monitor.
You should always pay attention to micro actions like clicking on “add to cart”, changing the sort order for products, interacting with widgets, narrowing down product selection with price filters, using the site search feature, using a comparison tool or interacting with the live chat plugin. All of these are part of the conversion funnel. By analyzing each step you can identify the exact spot where users get stuck.
You shouldn’t neglect negative actions either, since they can confer valuable insights: removing a product from the cart, arriving on the “Error 404 – Page not found” page and so on. All these are certainly hindering potential customers in the buying process.
The best way to track such actions on your website is to set certain events as goals: viewed product, added product, started order, completed order and so on. Google Analytics is the perfect tool for setting up goals and monitoring them. Thanks to the data it collects, you can check where you lose customers in the conversion process.
Maps and testing
Another way of collecting data is through maps: heat maps, click maps, attention maps and scroll maps, but also user session video replays. All of these give you the information of where users click mostly, how much they scroll and they basically show you dead and attractive areas on the website, so you can optimize accordingly.
You can also interact directly with users through customer surveys, live chat, interviews and web traffic surveys. For instance, you can ask visitors to fill out a survey when they are viewing certain pages. Or you can implement a pop-up to appear when they are about to leave the website (when the mouse glides towards closing the website).
If you want to take the research even further, you can always hire user testers. Give them certain goals and actions to complete and see what issues they bring to your attention.
Data must be turned into insights that highlight the issues with your website. In turn, insights must be transformed into prioritized hypotheses which must be tested by order of their importance or urgency.
A hypothesis is a statement made on the basis of the limited evidence collected when gathering data. It can be proved or not and stands for the starting point when investigating issues.
Each hypothesis needs to go through A/B testing in order to determine whether it is correct or not. All tests need to have a large enough sample and to run for at least two business cycles.
After the tests have run their course, you must gather the data from the results. Next, determine whether these new changes should be permanent or if you have to find new solutions to the problems.
The whole process can be repeated indefinitely until you solve the issues of your website conversions. It should also be performed regularly afterwards to make sure everything is in place.