As much as we would like it to be the case, website design is not a one-off venture. If you want your website to perform as well as possible, you need to test, tweak and optimise it constantly. Conversion optimisation is an iterative process and while each change may offer only small returns, in the long term you can save a lot of money by tweaking your landing pages, rewriting your sales copy and trying new ads. Let's take a look at some interesting examples of how conversion rate optimisation can improve your site's performance and make your advertising budget go further too.
One of the first places to start when optimising your website is your sales copy. Is your copy simply a list of features and benefits? If so, there's a good chance that this is the reason your page is underperforming. Making your copy more action-oriented can, sometimes literally, double your click-through rate (CTR).
The Human Element
People respond better to ads that they can identify with. When 37Signals wanted to redesign their Highrise sales page, they decided to move away from their text-heavy original design and try one that had a large picture of a customer and then a smaller inset for the product itself. They saw a 102% increase in sign-ups simply by adding a friendly face to their designs.
Put the Value Proposition First
Another step that greatly improves conversions is to give people a compelling reason to sign up. You probably think you've already done that, but where is that value proposition displayed? If it's below the fold, or behind a link, there's a good chance that the user will never see it. Put it at the top of the page, with a strong call to action right next to it and watch your conversions increase dramatically. Don't make people scroll to find the sign-up link. When 37Signals tried that on their Highrise page, their sign-ups fell by more than 20%.
Tracking Your Site's Performance
So, how can you tell whether your optimisation is working? You can track your conversion rate using Google Analytics. Configure goals for things that you want users to do, such as join your mailing list, or add a product to the shopping cart and then complete the checkout process. If you find that users are starting those goals, but then failing to complete them, you can use that information to find out what's going wrong along the way.
When you're working on conversion optimisation, don't make sweeping changes. Modify one thing at a time, test that change and then start on the next change once you've determined whether your first idea worked. If you change too many things at once, you will never know which change it was that had the biggest impact.
Treat conversion optimisation like a scientific experiment. You track your site's performance, hypothesise that a change will improve your conversion rate, make the change and monitor your site's performance again to see if it worked. You should continue testing and tweaking your site over its lifetime to ensure that you get the best results.