Paul Rouke
Founder & Director of Optimisation
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  • News & Events

5th Jun 2009

4 min

When we improve online performance, the specific areas of our business we most expect to improve are

 

  • Online Sales
  • Online Enquiries
  • Return-On-Investment
  • Marketing Spend Conversion
  • Revenue-per-Employee

 

Here are the 3 key areas that businesses should be focusing on if they want to make serious improvements to their online performance, especially when working with a smaller budget.

 

Understand your visitors

 

Committing to guerilla user testing will help you understand the customer journey on your site; what they want to achieve and why they aren’t completing these objectives.

What is guerilla user testing?

A method of using a small group of people for user testing that is

  • Cheap
  • Enlightening
  • Held in a more natural environment (e.g. a cafe)

 

How to do guerilla user testing

  1. Specify key objectives (with a story)
  2. Choose at least 5 people to take part
  3. Tell them a story
  4. Watch, listen and make notes
  5. Collate, prioritise and plan changes

 

Use basic user testing methods like this one to better understand how visitors use your website.

User testing provides a wealth of useful information about your site’s usability and customer behaviour; a very good insight into the areas of the site that need improving to drive those conversions.

 

Measuring performance

Use analytics and segment your traffic to identify where key potential customers struggle to complete their objectives.

 

A 6 step guide to measuring performance

 

  1. Analytics – set up analytical software such as Google Analytics and Coremetrics
  2. Plan Resources – use the software to start pulling out the key performance indicators you want to measure
  3. Determine your key goals in analytics – think online enquiries, document downloads, applications, subscriptions and purchases
  4. Segment your traffic – create customised segments to measure performance to gain valuable insights
  5. Specify key journeys – looking at the journey users on your site undertake between arriving and completing a goal
  6. Invest time and resources – now you’re set up, make sure you continue to pursue these powerful insights and use the data to make informed decisions

 

Having analytics installed on your site is simply not enough for you to be effectively tracking its performance. You should be thinking about your key performance indicators (KPI’s) on your site so that you can define and track goals, create funnels and develop advanced segments to truly begin understanding visitor behaviour.

 

Testing and improving

This is essential to adapting your site to suit your visitor’s needs. We would recommend using split testing to make continual, incremental improvements to conversion rates, click-throughs from key pages and overall website performance

 

What are we testing?

 

Page Components

  • Page layout
  • Placement of specific items
  • Call to action – graphics or messages
  • Links – design, colour, size
  • Copy text
  • Headings/subheadings
  • Buttons – design, colour, size

 

Forms

  • Field layout on forms
  • Number of items on a form
  • Number of steps within a multi-step process

 

Retailers

  • Product page layout
  • Cross-sell or up-sell modules
  • Photo quality
  • Use of reviews
  • Use of videos
  • Product pricing
  • Special offers or promotions

 

Testing these factors will help you to make more informed decisions and improve your online performance.

 

There are a number of software and vendors available to help you achieve this, varying in price from free (google optimise) to enterprise (UserZoom), listed in the presentation at the bottom of the page.

 

Our 5 Step guide to testing

  1. Decide what to test
  2. Run the test
  3. Examine the results
  4. Implement changes
  5. Go back to stage 1 – why?

 

Testing isn’t just a one-off activity that will transform your website performance – it needs to be carried out continuously.

 

Use split testing to make highly informed, continual improvements to your online platforms.

 

3 Steps To Improving Your Online Performance

View more usability presentations from Paul Rouke.

 

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