One of the best presentations I went to at the Conversion Conference was presented by Steve Krug, author of Don’t make me Think! His presentation was enlightening and also maddening. Once your eyes are open to all the ways that usability affects productivity both online and offline, you’ll never look at the world the same way again. This post is a valuable contribution of knowledge from Steve Krug’s presentation and Joshua Porter’s presentation from SxSW 2010.
Regardless of how pretty a website is, the fact is that a lot of websites are just not designed very well. Frequently, users can get lost on a page, stopped by errors on a form, and now mobile users are adding in a whole other layer of complexity to how well websites work. All this poor design creates an unfortunate labyrinth from the entry point of a website to the final goal. This means your website will never really be able to reach a higher level of producing leads or sales (as illustrated below). In other words, your website design, content and functionality can only take you so far.
Enter Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is often seen as a panacea for a website that isn’t producing enough leads or sales. Often, a little traffic boost from Search Engine Optimization or Pay Per Click gives enough lift to weak conversions that glaring problems with the website are overlooked. But, driving traffic to a website doesn’t make the website better. Just think how many more people would get through to your goal page if your website design was more effective and error free. Most businesses stop at traffic driving efforts (see illustration) and that means they’re leaving a ton more money on the table — notice that next peak in the distance? That’s the peak where traffic and conversions are working in tandem to produce more leads and sales from your site than you thought possible.
The Key to Unlocking More from Your Website
According to Joshua Porter, there is a spectrum of designers, on one end you have the intuition-driven designers and on the other side, the data-driven designers. For anyone who has been to my classes we know the intuition-driven designers as HiPPOs. Intuition-driven designers are just making some guesses based on factors like what the competition is doing, their preferences, and past experiences. On the other hand data-driven designers know to take other people’s experiences with a grain of salt, never trust their gut, and test every design choice.
Wait, test every design choice?
“Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case.” Doug Bowman
That’s a lot of testing, and nearly impossible to do if you don’t have a budget like Google. The good news is that you don’t have to test every single design element to start getting seeing some return on your efforts.
How You Can Start Making More Money with Your Website
1. Know What Conversion Optimization is
Lucky for you, you’re reading this post. Just knowing that there are such things are testing for conversions is a huge stride forward. While your competitors keep throwing more money at PPC and banner ads you’ll be making more money with the same amount of traffic.
2. Fix Your Website
Usability testing is the first step to improving your site. Feedbackarmy.com is just one crowd-sourcing usability testing service you can use. It’s inexpensive and allows you to quickly get feedback from real users of your website. Through these kind of testing services you’ll be able to identify places where the site confuses visitors and may cause real customers to leave your site. You’ll also find out if it’s throwing errors you didn’t know about that are preventing your real visitors from completing a purchase, or filling out a form.
3. Optimize Your Design
Once your website is working as it should be, you can start to play with the design elements. Google Webmaster Tools has free software that let you test two different web page designs (A/B Testing) so you can see how different design elements are helping or hindering your conversions.
Let Us Help
If you’re like many of our clients, you have enough on your plate without having to understand everything about data-driven web design. Let us help you take a shortcut to getting more leads and sales from your website. Contact us today to find out how we can help.