Thanks for reading part 3 of our series: Optimization and Conversion. If you haven’t read parts 1 and 2, click here.
Our previous blog looked at user experience (UX) issues that should be accounted for in the design of every website because a smart website is the basis for good content marketing. Once UX has been analyzed, the website must still be repeatedly altered to ensure maximum user conversion, AKA, conversion optimization.
Research has discovered that the average company spends only $1 on conversion for every $92 spent to get new customers. Many firms simply do not understand the profit that results from stickiness or an efficient conversion funnel. In fact, a website is a bit like evolution – it needs constant change in order to thrive. To determine what changes are needed, optimization steps like the following should be executed:
1. Content Strategy
Website content takes two forms – page content and collateral.
Page content is the main focus of strategy because it affects the most common conversion objective, i.e. making a purchase. Developing the right content is similar to building a website – it must be designed to appeal to various stakeholders. A good website will use multiple content types such as text, pictures, video, and audio. However, a rational approach should be taken. For example, too much video makes for a slow website, which will kill your traffic.
Brainstorming is the starting point for developing page content, where you consider issues such as:
For collateral content, the goal is to create and/or collate content that will establish you as a source of information, leading to returning users, loyalty, and conversions. Creating interest in your content is vital, and can be achieved through good SEO, sharing with other websites, and gathering as much relevant content as possible.
2. Expanding Web Presence
Companies should maintain a presence in as many media as possible – social media, forums, industry directories, and in particular, mobile (US adults access the Internet more through mobile than through PCs). Expansion leads to more brand awareness, user data and feedback, and inbound traffic, while social media approvals (e.g. Facebook likes) can boost SEO rankings.
However, cost vs. benefit needs to be assessed for each channel, because each will require staff and content. In addition, optimizing for mobile is essential but requires a dedicated web optimization effort
3. A/B Testing
UX analysis gives you the big picture, while A/B testing shows what details need to change. With A/B testing, your web team should continuously hypothesize about each page and page element, and then come up with two choices for each. Both versions should be run, and changes in conversion rates will indicate which is best. Although A/B testing is a lengthy process, every test generates ideas about what to change, which results in a cumulative improvement.
If your optimization efforts have worked, you will see your conversion rates increase. Usually, that means that users are buying something, but it can also mean creating loyalty through useful content, product and promotional emails, app downloads, and so on.
The trick is to make optimization a regular activity. For example, in terms of content, you should frequently add to and change your web content according to what produces the most conversions. There are even technologies that automate this process and so reduce some of the guesswork and resource commitments that traditional content optimization requires.
Speaking of which, in our next post, we’re looking at Analytics and Insights, and discussing the tools that provide UX information and help in optimization decisions.