How to test and measure Website Conversion

What makes a perfect website? Does such a website, with perfect layout, perfect copy and perfect visitors actually even exist? If it doesn’t then why is it that these big multi-national companies appear to have more success with their website conversion than you do as a small business owner?

You probably just though to yourself “because they have the money to throw at making it successful”, but you would be wrong. Actually, it is because they test and measure everything they do. Their web team doesn’t just say “Hey, lets lay-out the home page like this because it looks cool”. They say “OK, lets try changing this little chunk of website design here, then see what the result of that change is”. And guess what?… if the result is worse than before they started then it reverts back, but if its better they keep it.

This is essentially what we call testing and measuring a conversion. Of course, in order to be able to test and measure something we first also need to actually define what it is we are testing and measuring.

At both a global and page level improving the performance of your website requires three key steps:

  1. Define a conversion event.
  2. Collect data on said event.
  3. Make changes to improve the frequency of this event.

Defining a conversion event

Such an event will vary depending on each individual website, and for each website there could be a single conversion event or hundreds of them. A conversion could be as simple as clicking a link, or it could be having a visitor sign up to the free mailing list, or potentially it could be actually making a sale.

Ideally, prior to building your website you should have planned what conversions you wanted to take place and on which pages, thus creating a solid structure and framework to support those conversions. Doing so will allow you to use online resources such as Google Analytics to accurately measure these conversion events. If this is something that hasn’t been taken into account from the beginning then you should aim to develop your site to accommodate these events.

By using Google Analytics to track these events you can gather the relevant data required to accurately plan where and how you will make changes to your website to improve your conversion.

Testing said conversion events

The key benefit to the testing process is to give the site owner a clear indication of whether or not a specific action taken has improved or depressed your conversion rates.

Website testing is a huge topic all of its own, but the key message here is that it is a very important phase of the development process, and taking this into consideration from the outset is vital to your sites future success.

The things you are testing could be as simple as which colour buy now button encourages the most clicks, or it could be which chunk of text encourages the most newsletter sign-ups. Regardless of what you are testing your efforts will only be made possible if you know what visitor actions you are actually trying to encourage.

Take these simple questions. Can you confidently and accurately answer them?

  1. What’s the conversion event for each of your pages?
  2. How is the success of said page being measured?
  3. How might this pages performance be improved?

These three questions should be something you are asking yourself all the time. There is most definitely profitable insight to be had by answering these questions truthfully and acting upon them.

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