Wingify Conversion Optimization Blog
Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Guides, Hacks and Secrets
on Website Conversion Rate Optimization

What web analytics should actually be

For any business, two pieces of information are most important to its survival. One, in order to make decisions, a business needs to know the ground reality of where it stands in the market now. Second, in order to plan forward and determine progress, it needs to know where it stood in the market in the past. These two sources of information individually don’t convey much information. But combined together, they provide actionable insights. Where am I now and where was I is what you need to know if you need to plan for where I want to go.

Making parallels to web analytics, current set of tools (unfortunately) only provide information on what is happening now. Your favorite tool will churn out data on number of visitors, page views, countries, referrers and what not. This exactly tells you how your website is doing today. However, this completely misses out macro trends. Sure, you can see a historical graph of number of visitors and all sorts of other metrics but that is only the first step towards knowing what has changed.

Ideally a web analytics tool should go deep on the segment level and mine signals in the (historical) data and correlate different metrics automatically for you. Here are some of the examples that I expect an analytics tool to mine automatically for me:

  • Accounting for other variables, correlation between Twitter activity and number of organic searches. (Which isn’t obvious but could indicate that I’m doing a great job on Twitter building my site’s brand)
  • Show meta-trends in the drift of the type of traffic I’m getting, countries visitors are coming from or the time spent on page. Am I slowly getting more traffic from niche blogs as compared to Google? That tells me what I am doing is working with niche blogs and should probably do more of that stuff.
  • Automatically deduce what content or website sections see atypical visitor behavior so that I can act fix it (if it leaks) or use it for further gains (if it works).
  • Tell me top 5 common paths my visitors take on the website and if there has been a significant shift over time.
  • Source data from all different inputs: social monitoring tools, newsletter tool, etc and automatically correlate my activities outside the website with what is happening on the website.

Most of what I have written above isn’t super hard. Some of it can be done by having simple heuristics built into the tool. Moreover, data mining and machine learning has progressed a lot and I am surprised web analytics industry has been so slow at adopting the methodologies. Though Google is taking the right steps with their intelligence feature but it still it leaves a lot to be desired: where are correlations, recommendations, trend mining and other interesting stuff? Nuconomy was doing the right stuff but they took far too long, didn’t innovate a lot and end up getting bought by a company for in house analytics.

Web analytics shouldn’t be simply a data collection and reporting tool. It should actually be collection, reporting and mining tool. My tool gives me 100s of metrics to look at which I can’t keep looking at day after day (unless it is my full time job). Instead it should mine all 100s of reports for me, and show me interesting nuggets on what has changed (and possibly what could change). So I ask: where is the innovation in web analytics? All I see around is dumb reports ready to get mind by a human.

What is your perspective on this? Do you think web analytics is ripe for a major change?

15+ Free A/B Split Testing Resources

There are NOT a lot of free resources available on the Internet for A/B Testing. This post tries to lists the best tools, guides and resources for A/B Testing. As it will be an ever growing list, feel free to make suggestions for additions into the list.

Tools

Guides

Show case of existing A/B Tests

If you have any other suggestions for additions in the list, I will be happy to add them. Just leave a comment.

Seven actionable ideas to optimize e-Commerce website conversions for the holiday season

Holidays are near. I hear you say: yay! Holidays have always been a very happy period for marketers, businesses and customers alike. Businesses want to cheerfully sell stuff and customers want to gladly buy stuff. What a perfect setting!

Even though eCommerce sales and conversions generally increase in this season, they can be optimized even more. If you are looking for ideas to increase conversion rate specifically for holiday season, the following list will serve exact that purpose. How to optimize ecommerce conversions for holidays? Here’s how:

  1. Split test a holiday themed website – too afraid to overhaul the website for holidays? Split test by including a fraction of visitors and see if it increases conversions. As our past experience says, it should.
  2. Target visitors from other countries with the non-holiday themed website - even if you theme your website, don’t loose visitors from countries other than where holiday season is on. Visitors come to your website from all parts of the world; some of them will be from regions/countries where they don’t have this holiday season. Don’t confuse them, just serve them with a different website template.
  3. Segment the visitors on week of the day and time of the day – during holidays, clear patterns in different types of visitors emerge because their is frantic online shopping. See how buying behavior changes with the time or day; leverage that information to better target your offers and achieve even more conversions
  4. Split test gifts v/s direct purchases – in holiday season, having calls to action which let visitors gift items instead of purchasing may indeed increase total revenues
  5. Send targeted holiday offers through email based on visitor profile – segment your previous customers on city, country, past purchases, kids and other parameters and send targeted offers to them
  6. Leverage holiday sentiment effectively – for example, a perfect ad copy that plays on holiday sentiments: What are you gifting your child this Christmas? In last two hours, 52 moms already gifted this super-fast toy-car for their kids this holiday season.
  7. Create a sense of hurry – have offers like ‘Flat 25% discount only till Christmas. Buy Now!‘, or ‘Buy at old price. Prices increasing 30% in the New Year

Use all of the above ideas for increase sales for your business but keep a general tip in mind: run lots of split tests to test different ideas but at a time include only 10-15% of all website visitors because you wouldn’t want too many lost sales opportunities if different versions/ideas perform poorly. But, of course, this depends on the total traffic. If you are a small e-Commerce store, you may not have luxury to get test results with just 10-15% of visitors.

What are your favorite strategies for holiday-specific conversion optimization? Tried any of the strategies described here? Would love to hear your experiences and viewpoints.

Three effective tips to get started with conversion rate optimization

To get started with conversion rate optimization, first let us agree to what conversion rate really is. Simply put, the conversion rate of a website is the percentage of visitors or visits that result in completion of a conversion event. Conversion event is a very broad term and it totally depends on the (business) goals of a website; it may be user registration, purchase, whitepaper download or free trial, etc. Obviously, a business desires that more number of visitors (ideally all) complete the conversion process.

Conversion rate optimization is a huge discipline in itself as there are numerous methods for increasing the conversion rate of a website. However, if you are just getting started to get serious about squeezing the maximum out of your traffic, following are three basic yet super-effective tips:

1) Test your “Call to Action”:

Your “Call to Action” is the main button or link that persuades the visitor to start the conversion process. Call to action can be your registration or checkout button. Needless to say it is the most important part of the conversion process. Your call to action should be the most prominent part on the page and should excite the visitor to start the conversion process. Different elements should be tested in order to see what works best. Try varying message, size, font and colour of the button or link. A quick tip: it is always best to avoid using texts that are vague and don’t convey any meaning. For example, commonly used examples of less effective call to action are “click here”, “submit”, “read more,” etc. Are you using such buttons or links on your website? Change them immediately. Instead, you should use more descriptive and persuasive text that tells your visitors where they are going and why they should go there. This will then drive your visitors to take the desired actions. Placements of the call to action is also important and it is recommended that this be above the fold and be near points of attention.

To repeat: “Click Here” is bad; while “Free, no obligations Download” is good.

Ideally, you should setup a split test for testing different variations of your button or link. However, to begin with you can tweak your call to action so as to make it most prominent element on the page. A person standing 15 feet away from the screen should be able to recognize your call to action.

2) Simplify your conversion funnel:

The conversion funnel is a set of pages (like the checkout process or registration form) that leads to your conversion goal (like a product purchase or subscription). Most web analytics tools (including some free ones) can be configured to allow you to visualize where your visitors are leaking from your conversion funnel. You may be surprised to know that most visitors abandon step 2 of your conversion funnel because you are asking for their personal details when they are not motivated enough by step 1 to warrant that. A complicated conversion funnel needs to be simplified in order to push the traffic through to the final conversion page. A few tweaks to simplify your funnel thereby increase your conversion rate:

  • Remove all extraneous links from pages within the conversion funnel
  • Remove all unnecessary steps from the conversion funnel
  • Don’t put too much focus on up-selling other offers
  • Only ask for information that is completely necessary in completing the conversion process. Visitors are hesitant to reveal their information if it unjustified
  • In the case of shopping carts, clearly let the visitor know about postage and packaging costs, taxes and your returns policy as early in the process as possible
  • And make sure that you remind your visitor what they’ve added to their cart by placing a link back to the product

3) Don’t let your visitors doubt your business trustworthiness

No matter how persuasive your call to action is or how simple your website is, if you do not give the impression of trustworthiness to your visitors or give them confidence in your website, you are not very likely to improve your website’s conversion rate. Your visitors need to know that you are not fly-by-night operation and you are here to remain. There are different methods which you can apply on the website pages to increase visitors’ confidence in your website and products. These include:

  • Assuring your visitors that you value their privacy and that you have a secured site. This can go a long way to instil confidence in any interactions that visitors have with your website. This can be done by adding HackerSafe (or similar) badges that show that you take the issue of website security seriously
  • Having a professional looking and uniform layout throughout your website will give the impression that your website is well designed and professionally maintained. This would include having consistent placements of navigation buttons and branding throughout the website
  • Displaying your privacy policy wherever you ask personal information from the visitor

Those were simple yet extremely effective tips which many businesses fail to consider. Many a times, the conversion rate is sub-optimal and business owners aren’t even aware of that. They are too happy with their single percentage point conversion rates. But now that you know there are tons of tweaks that you can do which will directly impact your website sales and revenues, you should better get started now!

How is your experience with these tips? Tried them on your website? Do share with us your story.