Understand how your users interact with your website.
Estimate how long split tests will take based on your current site traffic, using a tool like VWO’s A/B Split & Multivariate Test Duration Calculator.
For example, if the calculator says 6-12 months, use other techniques to optimize your site, because time is money.
Perform a heuristic analysis of your website by gathering your entire team and looking at clarity, friction, distraction, urgency, traffic sources and scent, and buying phases, on each page.
If you are new to this technique, there are heuristic analysis frameworks available to help you structure and focus the process. Also invite some customers and experts to the analysis, if you can.
- Clarity: Look at clarity and ease of understanding for your value proposition, offers, next steps to follow, primary calls to action, and location of information above the fold.
- Friction: Look at how long your forms are, the simplicity of all processes, security and privacy concerns, and availability of information, to assuage buying doubts.
- Distraction: Work to remove all automatic blinking or moving animations, and any elements that do not directly contribute to the user’s desired action.
- Urgency: Ask yourself how compelling it is for people to take action right away, or proceed to the next action?
- Traffic sources and scent: Ensure the page content matches what your audience seeks.
- Buying phases: Ask, Are my users researching or ready to buy? and Am I asking for too much too soon?
Use sites like Usertesting.com, YourEye, or TryMyUI, to find 5-10 people for user testing who represent your target audience but are not familiar with the site.
If, for instance, your audience is niche, find relevant forums via Google, and post ads to exchange 20 minutes of site testing for a $25 Amazon gift card.
Conduct user tests by having participants complete specific tasks, such as checking out, while analyzing 3 critical areas.
You can look at:
- How they understand your site and what it’s about.
- If they experience confusion or difficulty when completing business-critical tasks.
- Ask how they would like to buy and what matters most to them.
Use algorithmic tools like Feng-GUI, EyeQuant, and LookTracker to upload a screenshot of your website and get UI feedback for your design team.
This provides an alternative to mouse tracking data, which needs a statistically valid sample size to draw conclusions.
Watch how your visitors interact with your site by using tools such as Inspectlet, SessionCam, or Clicktale to record user sessions.
Focus on observing how people fill out forms on your site, for example, watch for areas where users drop off.
Talk directly to your customers or prospects, and ask questions that provide insight into their shopping process, their life, and how your product fits into their life.
For example, avoid asking questions like, How satisfied were you on a scale from 1 to 10.
Find and fix technical and user experience issues by doing a full site walkthrough on as many browsers, versions, and devices as you have available.
Go through the whole shopping process, and keep your eyes open for bugs and user experience issues. Make sure you fill out all the forms, click all the buttons and so on. Finding and fixing technical issues is a low hanging fruit that can bring forth considerable improvements in conversions.
Aim for noticeable numbers like 30%, 50%, or 150% lift, if you don’t have enough traffic to test each hypothesis individually.