Before starting to optimize a website you need to define why you need to analyze it and what goals you want to achieve. Data gathered should allow you to answer the following question:
What can I do differently based on this data?
The most commonly used strategies to analyze the performance of a website are:
→ Heuristic analysis to assess user experience
→ Digital analysis to identify problem areas
→ Technical analysis to identify functional problems
→ Qualitative research to draw insights
Step 1 Heuristic analysis
This step is about understanding the user’s experience on your website. There are 4 features to analyze when you audit a website to improve its performance:
- Clarity. Is everything clear on the website?
- Friction. What is putting visitors off?
- Anxiety. Is sensitive data is asked too soon?
- Distraction. Are there pages that have multiple goals and do not provide clarity for the users?
Step 2: Technical Analysis
In this step, you want to identify bugs such as page speed, broken pages and more that are causing problems to your website and decreasing income coming from certain browsers.
- Cross-browser data
- Cross-device data
- Site speed
Step 3: Digital Analytics
Use digital analytics tools (such as google analytics) to identify where the money is leaking from the website. First, there is needed data to understand what areas of the website need immediate attention to be modified. For that reason is important to identify:
- Drop-off points
- Correlate behaviours with outcomes
- Fix measurements and verify that data is legit
Step 4: Qualitative research
Focusing on analyzing what the users are doing on the website but there are other ways you can improve your website for higher conversion. This is talking to customers and detect problems in their overall user experience. Effective ways to figure out more information are through surveys. There are 2 types of surveys you can develop:
- On-site polls on key pages of the website. Understand specific pains and struggles.
- Follow up surveys to understand the overall shopping experience of the users.
Step 5: User testing
Give certain tasks to people. Define from specific to broad questions to see what they do and time how long takes to complete a task.
Step 6: Mouse Tracking Analysis
Mouse tracking can provide insights into analyzing processing patterns on the website. Heatmaps can show you what happens on the website. When users leave and if they click on the pages, buttons or elements you expect them to act on.
What to do after research
After the research is important to understand how to organize and structure the data to obtain better results.
According to the method used by Research CXL, you must classify the issues in 5 buckets being 5 sever issues causing great loss of money and 1 minor issue that still need attention. You can categorize each one of your website problems on a scale from 1 to 5 and prioritize those actions that have a greater impact on your business revenue.
Measure the effectiveness of a testing program
After you have implemented programs to improve your websites experience you want to test if the assumptions and test implemented were correct and had the impact expected. There are 3 metrics you can test to see how your test performed:
- Testing velocity: how many tests are done a month/year. Should they be done more or less often?
- Which percentage of tests performed provided a win.
- Was the impact of the experiments successful. When implementing a new test you can see between -15% to 15% increase or decrease in traffic, revenue or goals you had defined.
Allowing yourself to test the performance of your experiments you can furthermore successful experiments and test to improve your overall business.
Funnels and goal flows
Funnels are an important way to measure drop-offs in each step of your customer experience. This is one of the most effective ways to test where your website is leaking money.
Goals instead have some important differences in terms of data reporting but there are some key insights you can get from them:
- You can see the actual user flow toward specific goals
- You can segment the flow by traffic by sources, landing pages, events, technical data like browser and so on.
Another technique to detect major leaks on your website is the ring model.
The Ring Model is a quick and effective way to identify where your biggest drop-offs happen and where your business is losing money. Developed by Craig Sullivan, this model is a way to look at the ‘layers’ or ‘levels’ reached. This works for many (but not all) websites. It focuses on the depth of engagement, not pages viewed.
It’s similar to a funnel as it helps you see the key loss steps. The main point is to help you see the big picture involved.
Lastly, you want to be able to produce reports to analyze and obtain insights about what has worked or not for the strategies that you applied.
Some standard reports you can use are:
- Conversion rate per time of day
- Conversion rate per day of the week
- Conversion rate per day of the week
- Conversions of the week
- Conversions per traffic source
- Conversions per keyword
- Top-performing landing pages
- Social Media Performance
- PPC analysis
- Conversions per location
- New vs returning users
- 404 pages
Other frameworks to test and optimize a website are:
Besides the conversion models developed by CXL, there are other frameworks you can use or take inspiration from. These include the following:
- Invesp conversion framework
- Methodology heuristic approach by Marketing Experiments
- LIFT framework developed by Wider Funnel
We cannot apply the same test to all businesses. For that reason, we must take into consideration other frameworks and models to combine with the existing tests performed. Each website is different but they have all in common the starting point to optimization. No matter what industry your business is in, optimizing your online presence is imperative to continue growing and innovating.