The case to constantly improve your website

Set it and forget it” might work for an infomercial rotisserie cooker, but is a good way to lose your shirt in the wide world of websites. A best practice only if you want your business to hurt and your brand to suffer. All the best websites and technology companies in the world have realized the need to constantly improve. They know the trick to big gains is gradual work.

UX optimization is the process of deliberately improving the user experience of a website over time to improve business outcomes. (Not sure what UX is? Check out my 2-minute explainer on Medium)

Why is this the best approach? Data. It provides feedback to validate or invalidate assumptions about how the “users” actually use the site. Not just how we hope they will.

It is foolhardy to think every assumption (even if made by UX experts) during an initial design and build will stand on its own two feet once out in the wild. One insight usually leads to another, perpetuating the cycle. In startup valley, they refer to this process as “Build, Measure, Learn.” I call it Build, Measure, Improve.

“To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often” — Winston Churchill

You might say, “I am not a top technology company, and my company is not located anywhere near Silicon Valley — why is this important for my website?” Good question. It comes down to simple math. Here is the basic formula:

 

Goal of website Achievement Rate

x Number of visitors

x Value of Goal

= Website value

 

For an e-commerce site that looks like this:

3% conversion rate

(x) 10,000 Monthly visitors

(x) avg cart of $50

= $15,000 monthly value or $180,000 yearly value

 

Now if we can raise that conversion rate just 1% to 4% that is a big impact to the business

4% conversion rate

(x) 10,000 Monthly visitors

(x) avg cart of $50

=$20,000 monthly value or $240,000 yearly value

 

That is a $60k yearly difference for a relatively small amount of traffic and small average cart size. And we have not even done anything to increase cart value yet!

“A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon it begins to add up to real money” — Everett Dirksen, US senator

This same math applies for SAAS companies looking for leads, companies looking for positive brand impressions, and bloggers looking for an audience. Just replace the relevant parts of the equation and we can optimize for that.

“It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.” — Jeff Eisenberg, Buyer Legends

This, however, does not even take into account the most basic reason for improved User Experience design. The most basic reason is this: If a user likes something, they are more likely to come back. In other words, a better UX translates to a better lifetime customer value.

“Great,” you say, “You have me convinced UX improvement is important. Now, what?”

 

Sign Up For Your First UX Audit

Or Keep Reading…

 

 Analytics Analysis 

What is it?

This is where we pop the hood to see how your website is performing against your objectives and find issues or opportunities.

How Does it work?

We place snippets of javascript (code) onto the pages of your website then look at usage through a tracking dashboard. The good news is that most websites are already doing this through Google Analytics and just need our expert interpretation. We look at metrics like page views, conversions, entrances, bounce rates, and search query frequency can help identify problems.

A layer deeper, we look at demographics and what times people are using the site to see if there are any hints as to the users’ state of mind (Ex: usage of a travel planning website skyrocketed on Monday’s and dropped drastically on weekends.This led us to believe that users were likely coming to the site to help them “escape” from their daily grind and using language that would affirm this desire would be beneficial for conversion.)

Ideas to Get Started

  • Basic: Google Analytics UX audit to uncover opportunities for improvement
  • Advanced: Implement click tracking and heat maps to see how users are really using the site

“Anything that is measured and watched Improves” — Bob Parsens, Founder, GoDaddy

 

 AB Testing 

What is it?

A/B testing is a way to compare two versions of a digital experience to see which performs better.

How Does it work?

Users are shown two or more versions of a page at random, and analytics are used to determine which variation performs better for the targeted conversion goal.

Ideas to Get Started

Blogs

Increase email subscriptions, time on site, and increase social sharing with

  • Email sign-up Popups
  • Cross promoting content
  • Social sharing buttons

E-commerce

Increase conversions or the average order value with

  • Homepage components
  • Navigation elements
  • Ease of adding to shopping cart
  • Checkout funnel components
  • Elements of Scarcity and Social Proof

(Want more ideas on improving your E-Commerce site? This deep dive will give you 6 optimization ideas.)

B2B

Increase high-quality leads for their sales team, increase the number of free trial users or attract a specific type of buyer

  • Lead form components
  • Messaging and Calls to Action
  • Campaign Landing pages

“Conversion optimization uses the scientific method to turn visitors into customers. Which means conversion optimization is all about making money, not just changes” — Ted Novak, Founder, Clique Studios

 

 Usability Study 

What is it?

We ask participants to try to complete important tasks on the website while we observe watch, listen and takes notes to uncover items that need fixing.

How does it work?

The most effective way to understand what works and what does not on a website is to watch people use it.

Ideas to get started

  • Basic: Create a list of high priority actions on your website and bring in customers and watch people try to do them
  • Advanced: Have us set up a formal usability study

“If I would have asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” Henry Ford

 

 Navigation Optimization 

What is it?

Navigation all too often mirrors the hierarchy of an organization rather than what a user would find intuitive. Navigation optimization aims to fix this

Ideas to Get Started

  • Basic: Analytics Analysis (See above)
  • Advanced: Do a Closed Card Sort to see if your hierarchy matches what most people find intuitive
  • Advanced: Conduct a Usability Study to see if users can find high priority items

 

 Conclusion: 

Launch, leave, and re-design in 4 years is costing you heaps of money. Leave that behind, and instead, launch, improve and make more money month after month.

“Numerous industry studies have stated that every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 dollars in return.” fastcodesign.com

 

Contact us to get started with a UX Audit to start improving your site and making more money.  

Sign Up for Your First UX Audit