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For many online shoppers, a company’s website is the only contact they have with a company. This experience shapes the user’s perception of a business and its products. For eCommerce companies where profit margins are slim, and competition is rife, website design is a critical factor in whether your visitors convert and you earn a sale. So how do you know if your site is meeting the needs and wants of your customers so that they get what they’re looking for and you finalize a sale?

It Starts with Monitoring

To get a baseline for your site, you can use an analytics tool (such as Google Analytics) in conjunction with a monitoring suite like Rigor’s so that you have all of the data that tells you how your website’s design is performing right now, as well as what your customers might think of it. Here are some of the questions you might want to answer with this initial round of monitoring:

  • How fast is my page loading? How fast is my page loading compared to my competitors’ pages?
    Performance (page load speed in particular) is essential when it comes to retaining visitors. If your site is slow, nothing else you do matters (even if your web design is the best of the best).
  • Are there any key pages where I see a high bounce rate?
    If there are important pages where you see a high bounce rate, these might be good areas to start making changes. For example, if you see a high bounce rate on the first step of the checkout process, there might be something in the design of the page deterring shoppers from moving further.
  • Are there high traffic pages with call-to-action (CTA) indicators that show a low level of engagement?
    The goal of a call-to-action indicator is to encourage users to do something. If your website’s data show that that’s not happening, it’s crucial that you identify why this is the case.

These are just some questions to get your started. For further ideas on what you might want to measure or change, we encourage you to make this a cross-functional task and see what other departments within your organization might deem relevant.

Prioritizing Your Goals

Now that you have your data, what should you do next?

If there are fundamental issues with your site, such as laggy page load speeds, tools like Rigor’s Optimization suite can help you identify fixes to make your page performant. Once the fundamentals of your site are sound, you can turn to analyzing whether your site design is effective or not. For these cases, we recommend experimentation and thorough A/B testing to ensure that any changes you might implement to your site’s design do make a difference.

Experimentation

Once you’ve identified problematic areas of your page that you think could be improved using tweaks to your web design, the next step is to experiment to see if that’s really the case and if the a change you want to implement is appropriate (making multiple changes simultaneously muddies the water and limits your ability to draw firm conclusions).

One popular method of such experimentation involves A/B testing. Let’s say that you’re interested in A/B testing the landing page for your checkout process. For a given period, you would have your web server show two versions of this page: the original, which acts as the control, and the modified version, which you’ll use to collect new data on customer behavior. By comparing statistics gathered from both versions using your monitoring suite, you can see if the change you made is effective or not.

AB Testing

www.neilpatel.com

At this point, you have the data necessary to determine if what you’ve changed on your site works or not. If it does, then you can be confident in rolling out the change to your entire audience. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board to identify other possible changes to your design and to run the experiment again.

Best Areas for Experimentation

Notice how, with few exceptions, we haven’t mentioned specific areas of your site’s design (such as the header or search bar) that would be good candidates for your experiments. This is deliberate. Each site is unique and caters to a different clientele, so what is applicable to your use case might not be applicable to another company’s website. For the best possible results, we encourage a cross-functional approach to gain information and learn about your site. Such methods might include some or all of the following:

  • Customer Surveys: Obtain feedback from your users at different stages of the shopping cycle to get an idea of their perception of your site. In addition to the typical post-purchase survey, you might want to conduct exit surveys to see why users are bouncing.
  • Work with Real Users: There are many tools and software nowadays that can gain insight into what your users see on your page. For example, you can use eye trackers to determine the most prominent and frequently-seen areas of your page (and conversely, which parts of your page aren’t getting view time).

Heat map

Heat maps show where users direct most of their attention. www.irce.a2zinc.net

Remember, regardless of where the source of information originates, it’s important that you carefully collect data (such as performance and traffic-related data using Rigor’s monitoring tools) to facilitate effective collaboration between those in your organization.

Takeaways

There’s only one way to know if your website’s design is doing its job: by measuring its impact, making small changes, measuring the impact of those changes, and comparing the two sets of data, you can identify the aspects of your site that are winners (as well as the ones that aren’t). The key to this process is a monitoring system that can capture the site-related data you need to make informed decisions, such as Rigor. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your website analytics needs.

 

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