Testing Your Website for Conversion Optimization

In my last post, I taught the various elements of website and landing page design. The next important thing to do is testing your website for conversion optimization. This is a process of determining how, and in what order, your web design elements should be presented. The different presentations and design philosophies you employ will have an effect on your conversion rates.

As such, we’re going to discuss two ways of testing your designs to find the one that converts best. These two methods can be applied to the two types of pages you have:

  1. For your website pages, you can use Heuristic Testing
  2. And for your landing pages, you can use A/B Testing

Testing Your Website with Heuristics

Heuristic testing is a general test of your website as a whole. While it does not give you the same concrete metrics as A/B testing, it can be done quicker. It also provides insight into visitor behavior, and can root out any problems that you may not have known of otherwise.

Observational Test

One type of heuristic test you can do is an Observational Test.  In this test, you have a 3rd-party individual go through your website – from your home page all the way through. 

During this process you should watch, but not interfere. Watch and take note of where they get hung up, any issues they run into, or any distractions they have. In short, you’re looking for points of friction.

Once you have this information, you can make changes to your site to streamline the user experience by removing the points of friction that you discover.

Persona Evaluation

Another type of Heuristic Test is the Persona Evaluation. In this test you create a fictitious person that represents your ideal client. This persona should have a detailed background, specific needs related to your product, and unique goals. 

You then assume that persona and go through your website. As you explore the different design elements, and read through your copy evaluate a few different considerations: 

  • Relevance – is this information relevant to the persona?
  • Questions – what questions might the persona have that we’re not addressing?
  • Objections – what objections does the persona have, and are we overcoming them?
  • Direction – is there a clear direction of where the persona should go next?

These considerations can help you evaluate your website in ways that you may not think to otherwise. All in all, heuristic tests are a great way to tease out issues that are not obvious.

A/B Testing

A/B Testing is a methodology wherein you use two different landing pages with only one single element different between the two – for example the headline. Then you see which performs better. If there’s a large margin, then you know that one version is much more effective than the other. 

You use A/B testing to methodically improve your landing pages one element at a time, with full confidence that the changes you make will have a positive affect on your conversion rate. 

For this reason, I recommend doing A/B testing constantly. You should always have at least two landing page versions active at any given time. Constant testing means constant improvement. 

Multivariate Testing

Similar to A/B Testing is multivariate testing. With multivariate testing you gain speed, but you lose accuracy. Multivariate testing involves changing several things between the two landing page versions – or using two completely different landing pages.

Whereas A/B testing is a good way to test between landing page elements, Multivariate testing is a good way to test landing page concepts – such as branding, messaging, etc.   

Evaluating Conversion Rates

Understanding the Conversion Rate

The primary metric used to track conversions on your landing pages is the conversion rate. The conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of visitors who convert into customers by the total number of visitors to your landing page. 

So if you have 500 visitors and 23 of them convert, then your conversion rate is 23/500 = 4.6%. 

Using the Conversion Rate to Improve Your Landing Pages

To utilize your conversion rate and leverage that insight into improving your landing pages (and therefore increase your conversion rate), you can do the following:

  1. Track your conversion rate as you run your A/B and Multivariate tests.
  2. Compare the conversion rates between the two landing page versions, and mark any significant variations.
    1. If there are no significant variations in the conversion rates, then make a more drastic change to one of your landing pages, and start the test over.
    2. As one version of the landing page is converting at a higher rate than the other, then you have an idea of which design elements or concepts your visitors are best responding to
  3. Keep the winning landing page live, and create a new landing page to compete with it based on your new insights
  4. Repeat steps 1-4 with the new landing page combination

In Conclusion

Building a wonderful website and landing page is a great accomplishment. However, in order to truly ensure that you’re utilizing them to their fullest potential, you must be testing and revising them constantly.

By consistently testing and revising your landing pages, you can increase your conversion rate and gain valuable insights into the preferences and behaviors of your target customers.

You can watch this presentation on YouTube: https://youtu.be/eS9sAlUxSgQ

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