I encourage you to:
1) Approach web optimization by the numbers
2) Start where you’ll have the MOST impact
Approach Web Optimization by the Numbers
We just put an offer on a house. House hunting and buying can be a very emotional process. Have you ever said, “We just have to have this house. I know it is way out of our budget, but we just have to have it!”
Well people do website optimization projects like that all the time as well. They move ahead without a respect for the numbers.
Know Your Numbers
So following the house buying analogy, you hopefully wouldn’t put an offer in on a house if you didn’t:
A) Know what they were selling the house for or
B) Didn’t know if you could afford it.
A couple weeks ago, I spent several hours with Omniture’s SiteCatalyst digging into all the different site metrics that we needed to understand. Even free tools like Google Analytics can give you great data on your website.
Here are some numbers you’ll need to know:
- Bounce rate of your home page
- Bounce rate of your landing pages
- How many people continue through each step in your checkout process
- Your website overall conversion rate
- Cost/conversion for campaign traffic
- Organic and paid search traffic volume
Bounce rate = % of people that come to an entry page and exit it with no other action.
Commit to Making Decision with Data
Even when companies know their numbers, sometimes they still fall into making emotional decisions. Commit to testing every site design change you make and if it creates a higher bounce rate or a worse overall conversion rate, be prepared to go back!
Start Where You’ll Have The MOST Impact
Should you take on a homepage redesign?
Maybe focus on the landing pages where you send your search engine traffic?
Perhaps your shopping cart path?
Many companies will take a top down approach. They design and redesign and redesign their homepage. They never look beyond that. I would encourage you to look at how many of your visitors come to your homepage versus your landing pages. If you’ve got more traffic coming to specific landing pages, then you should start there. I’m a big believer in optimizing your shopping cart before going through 3 different redesigns on your homepage because that’s where all the people intent on ordering your products are dropping off!
So there you have it. When starting a web optimization effort, I encourage you to go by the numbers and start where you’ll have the most impact. Good luck!
Photo credit: justinsomnia, lrargerich, steveFE