5 Tips on How to Improve Your Website for Conversions

When it comes to your business website, your goal should go beyond just traffic – your goal should be to take your visitors and turn them into conversions. Once you have defined your conversion goals (which could include signing up for a mailing list, submitting a contact form, downloading a whitepaper, or purchasing a product), your next step is to make sure your website is designed to increase conversions. This allows you to gain the maximum ROI (return on investment) for all of your online marketing campaigns. The following are five tips on how to improve your website for conversions.

Photo Credit: Brian Massey on Flickr

1. Make sure that your conversion goal is prominently displayed throughout your website.

Remember that traffic doesn’t just enter your website through the homepage. If you want to ensure that your website is exposing visitors to your main conversion goals, be sure that those goals are prominently placed throughout your website. For example, if your main conversion goal is to get people to call your 1-800 number, then that number should be posted in your website’s header – not just on your contact page.

2. Create landing pages for specific conversion goals without a lot of other distractions.

This is especially important if you do any online advertising (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.). You don’t want to advertise your latest product and then have visitors click through to your homepage where they may or may not find the link to that product. Instead, you’ll want a landing page on your website devoted to the product you’re advertising. This way, you can convert more of your traffic from ads, social shares, or other links for that specific conversion goal.

3. Try out tools that help boost conversions.

There are lots of great tools out there that can help you boost conversions. One of the latest is Hellobar, a simple script you can install on your site that adds a red bar at the top of each page. This bar draws your visitors attention to anything you want with a simple sentence and button to click. Several top blogs on conversion are starting to use Hellobar to draw attention to their latest products, services, webinars, eBook downloads, or other pages. Try it on yours to see if you get more attention to some of your landing pages.

4. Don’t forget to optimize your blog for conversions.

When we talk about optimizing your website for conversions, this includes your blog as well. There are lots of great ways to add your conversion goals to your blog, from banners and opt-in forms in the sidebar to specific calls to action in the footer of your posts. The reason this is so important is because more people are likely to share your blog content than your sales pages. So instead of getting social traffic direct to your landing pages, you’ll be getting traffic to your blog content. Hence your blog content needs to be as optimized as possible for conversions to get the best results.

5. Test different options to see what works best for conversions.

When it comes to testing, you should expect to do both usability testing as well as split testing to see what conversion elements work the best for your website. Something as simple as changing the wording of your mailing list opt-in page or product sales page could make a huge difference when it comes to converting your visitors into mailing list subscribers or customers.

7 Tips for Mobile Website Usability

When it comes to mobile website usability, there are many more things to consider because of the inhibited screen size. The following are seven things you should think about during the design process and check for after your mobile website is complete to ensure that mobile users are getting the best experience.

1. Look for responsive template designs and test them before purchasing.

If you are in re-design mode for your website, be sure to be on the lookout for templates that have a responsive design or are designated as mobile-friendly. Then test the template you are considering on a mobile device before purchasing it. To do this, simply go to the demo site for the template on your mobile phone to see if the design works with your browser. If it doesn’t, see if the template designer offers mobile customization as well.

2. Download mobile compatibility packages for WordPress.

For those using WordPress as a CMS on their own domain (not WordPress.com), you can look into plugins like WPtouch or WordPress Mobile Pack. These plugins will detect whether a visitors is coming to your website from a mobile device and present them with a mobile-friendly design instead of your main one. Be sure to go through the options for these plugins carefully to make sure they are displaying the pages you want visible to mobile visitors and test your website on a mobile device to make sure everything is configured correctly.

3. Don’t use popups or floating elements on your mobile website.

Outside of running into a website that only uses Flash on an iPhone, the next most irritating thing on a mobile website is a popup or piece of floating content. The challenge with these elements is that they are hard to close because the X is generally somewhere outside of where you can zoom. That or there is no way to close it, and no matter where you scroll, the floating social share button, ad, etc. keeps covering the main content. Sure those are easy to manage on a desktop browser, but make sure they don’t appear on your mobile website.

4. Rethink paginated content.

A popular trend on blogs is to paginate posts, so instead of having 1,000+ words on one page, it will be spread across two or three pages. And while this sounds like a great idea for mobile as it would decrease the load time by having less to load on one page, here is the issue. Someone who is in an area with a choppy 3G signal is going be able to load page, but not the rest. Chances are, they will get so frustrated that they won’t try to get back to that content later either.

5. Offer the option to visit the full website.

Assuming that your main website is not all done with Flash, be sure to offer visitors the opportunity to use the full site instead of the mobile website. This way, if they are looking for something not available on your mobile website, they can still access it via their mobile device. Of course, if you do offer this option, make sure that your site isn’t set to automatically redirect every time someone lands on a page from a mobile device. Otherwise, they’ll almost get to where they want to go and then get shipped back to the mobile website again.

6. Add your phone number throughout your website in the text, not as an image.

Smartphones allow website browsers to click on a phone number anywhere on a website to call it directly, but only if the phone number is in the text of the website. A lot of businesses tend to put their phone number in an image just for design / formatting purposes, but this doesn’t help people contact you when needed. As a side benefit, having a local phone number in the text will also help you with local search rankings.

7. Test, test, and test again.

Web designers know to test their latest projects in a variety of browsers because not all browsers are created equal. The same goes for mobile devices. What works flawlessly on your iPhone may not work so well on an Android. Your best bet is to try your mobile website on a few different mobile platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows. The easiest way to do it if you don’t happen to own one or more of these devices is to slip into your local electronics or mobile sales store and run a few quick tests on the demo devices. Try to test key conversion areas such as submission forms or mobile shopping carts to ensure a good experience for your mobile users from start to finish.

What mobile website usability tips would you like to add to this list? Please do so in the comments!

Using Loop11 to Redevelop the Community Hub at SilverStripe.org

CLIENT: SilverStripe

INDUSTRY: Web Development

WEBSITE: www.silverstripe.org

SilverStripe is an open source Content Management System (CMS) and framework used by governments, businesses and non-profit organizations around the world. It is a platform for professional web development teams to create websites, intranets and web applications. The platform is open source, and the community needed to be easier to navigate for the community on SilverStripe.

THE PROBLEM

SilverStripe.org had grown, and information and code was scattered all over the place. New users had difficulty finding what they were looking for.

THE BRIEF

SilverStripe set up an online test with Loop11 to engage in remote user testing.

THE TEST

SilverStripe used Loop11 to produce hard data on usability to guide modifications to the website.

3 different tests were set up; one for each of their different target groups. The 3 user groups consisted of developers, front-end developer/designers and content editors/marketing people. The test was run for 2 weeks.

1,243 SilverStripers started the test and 23% completed the test.

KEY FINDINGS

Here are some of their observations:

The online content was hard to understand by some of the audience

There was too much information on the introduction and features pages; users thought it was too much information to read for a quick overview
There wasn’t a clear enough hierarchy between headings and body text on the features page
Unique user groups had different needs and understanding of information; labeling has different meanings for different demographics and can lead to unsatisfactory results
Users were sometimes unsure whether pages/content were applicable to them

The site’s navigation and labels were not very intuitive, confused users and did not accurately reflect content

The “Modules” section was confusing to navigate and did not promote better and more recent modules
Finding information about meeting others in the community was very difficult
Multiple sites in silverstripe.org confused users
Developers did not like the label “Help”; “Support” or “Documentation” were the expected labels

The visual design had not been updated for some time and was difficult to use

Some users mentioned it was time for a site redesign to better reflect the direction of the website
The layout and hierarchy of elements could be made easier through better font sizing and color

THE RESULTS

After the data was collected and multi-variant tests were conducted, overlaps and patterns were found and a new SilverStripe.org site structure was created to address the findings.

(You can find SilverStripe’s more detailed blog post here.)

WANT TO CONDUCT EASY, AFFORDABLE AND EFFECTIVE USABILITY TESTING LIKE SILVERSTRIPE DID?

SilverStripe.org is just one success story. Loop11 has plenty of other successful case studies here. Loop11 can help you test and improve your website’s usability without the expensive costs of doing lab-based testing.

Get started today – your first project is on us!

Our new integration with Cint means you can directly recruit participants for your usability study

Loop11 has just had a major roll out of a new feature that you’re not going to want to miss.  It’s a feature that you’ve been asking for for a long time – an easy integration with a panel company.

Loop11 now offers you a fast and easy integration with Cint – one of the world’s leading panel companies.

With this integration you’ll be able to recruit participants for your usability projects based on any of the following criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Country of origin
  • Age range
  • Education level
  • Occupation status
  • Marital status
  • Household size
  • Number of children
  • Age of children
  • Personal income
  • Household income
  • Company size
  • Field of experience
  • Professional position in company
  • Vehicle ownership
  • Smoking habits
  • Mobile phone use
  • …and more!

You can choose from 10 to 1,000 participants for your project, select the recruitment criteria you want, pay Cint quickly through our easy integration, and start getting responses within a few days.

Using the Cint Integration can get you easy and cost-effective access to over 10 million participants in over 40 countries. If you have a specific demographic that you’re looking for, and need to have a specific number of people take your user test, a panel can be helpful to streamline the process of getting participants.

One of the great benefits of using the Cint Integration within Loop11 is all of this is done through the Loop11 interface, and you no longer have to worry about setting up proper quotas and giving the correct link out to a panel company — we’ve taken care of all the hassle of using a panel company, for you.

And don’t forget that if accessibility is an important consideration for your website we recently integrated a separate panel into Loop11 that lets you recruit participants for online accessibility testing.

Happy testing!

Usability Case Study: National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

USING LOOP11 TO COMPARE THE USABILITY OF A LIVE WEBSITE VS. A WIREFRAME PROTOTYPE

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a membership-based organization representing 1,400 independent schools and associations across the United States.  Its website is a key means of communication and access for its members, so having a website that is easy to use is critical.

THE PROBLEM

NAIS members weren’t able to find what they needed on the site.  As a result, phone calls to customer support had increased.

THE BRIEF

NAIS engaged U.S.-based technology customer service company, TerpSys, to help resolve the issues with the website.

There was a perception that certain tasks were completely unworkable on the current NAIS site, but there were no statistics to support this.

TerpSys had already created wireframe prototypes based on a content re-structuring and Information Taxonomy project for NAIS to enable easy and accurate information access.  However, before moving into costly website design and implementation, it needed to evaluate whether the new framework would sufficiently meet NAIS’ member needs.

NAIS Cast Study Prototype

NAIS prototype wireframe set up as a Loop11 project to test its usability against the existing NAIS website.

THE SOLUTION

TerpSys used Loop11 to generate hard data on usability that would form the basis of its site recommendations for the NAIS.

Loop11 was used to systematically test usability performance and collect data comparing the existing website with the wireframe prototypes of the newly designed Information Architecture.  Loop11 enabled Terpsys to:

a)     Establish a usability baseline.

b)     Test a wireframe prototype of the new website.

c)      Test a redacted version of the current live site.

d)     Test both the wireframe prototype and the live site to compare “apples with apples”.

e)     Evaluate the data.

THE PARTICIPANTS

The NAIS membership department generated a list of existing members, spread across their identified audience categories, who were willing to participate.  Each participant was sent links to both projects.

90 NAIS members participated in the online testing, providing fast and instant statistics through Loop11’s ability to record if project tasks were completed successfully and the amount of time each task took.

THE TEST

1. Two separate projects were set up in Loop11 - one each for the prototype wireframes and the existing website.  Each project featured 33 identical tasks and questions.

2. Key participant questions relating to the customer support feedback were identified, including:

- How would find information about NAIS membership?

- How would you find a job at an independent school?

3. Additional questions were asked to gauge the usability and website effectiveness including:

- How often do you visit the NAIS.org website?

- (After each task) How easy or difficult was it to find this information?

Once the tests were launched, Loop11 enabled TerpSys to track the task completion rates and observe the navigation path of participants. TerpSys was also able to instantly access the feedback provided by participants.

EXAMPLE DATA COLLECTED

1. Participant Task:  “How would you find information about NAIS membership?”

Prototype wireframe: 85% task completion rate
Live website: 81% task completion rate

Analysis:  Loop11 recorded an almost identical completion rate between sites, providing evidence that the task is being completed satisfactorily.

2. Participant Task:  “Where can you find information on serving students with learning differences?”

Prototype wireframe: 65% task completion rate
Live website: 14% task completion rate

Analysis:  In this case, Loop11 recorded the wireframes had a substantially higher task completion rate than the live website. Analysis also revealed (in blue) that there were fairly high task abandon rates on both designs, suggesting that the task wasn’t straightforward to complete in either design.  As a result of this analysis, TerpSys was able to make recommendations for changes required.

THE RESULTS

Using the statistical data Loop11 generated based on the usability test, TerpSys was able to identify the direct leverage points on the website which would yield the most results.  They were able to make confident, data-based recommendations to NAIS on where to focus their website development efforts to yield the most usable website possible for its members.

LOOKING TO DO SOME EFFECTIVE, EASY, AND AFFORDABLE USABILITY TESTING ON YOUR SITE?

NAIS is one of many Loop11 success stories.  Loop11 can generate quantifiable results on your site without the cost and expense of lab-based testing sessions.  Get started now – your first project is free.

Loop11 – Now with Accessibility Testing

Disability symbols

Could your business be missing out on an estimated $1 trillion market?

$1 trillion – $200 billion alone in discretionary spending – that’s what Fortune Magazine estimates the community of disabled people represent, 55 million people in the U.S. and approximately 1 billion people worldwide.  It is the largest minority group.

Many of these people use the web differently from the average user.  Many use assistive technologies to navigate the web, and in order for a site to be accessible it must include the features these technologies rely on.

Could your website’s design be inadvertently excluding people with disabilities?

A quick test of your site’s level of accessibility
Here are three basic things to check in the next week to gauge how accessible your site is (and reminders to help you actually do it – just click the Remind Me button and sign in to set up an automatic reminder to get this done):

1. Make sure all images on your site have alt-text tags.

People using screen readers don’t see images, so make sure the the alt-text of each image is descriptive – particularly if the image itself contains text.

2. Make sure that each field on every forms on your site is properly labelled.

Without labels, forms will not be viewable on screen readers.

3. Make sure your site can be navigated using only a keyboard.

Not everyone uses a touchpad or mouse, so make sure there aren’t any features on your site which require them.

Accessibility testing with Loop11

The three checks above are a good place to start but really, there’s so much more to test to ensure your site is truly accessible.  Each type of disability has its own technology access needs, and each assistive technology has its own requirements and limitations.

Through our partnership with Knowbility – a non-profit organization focused on increasing technology accessibility to the disabled community – Loop11 now offers an easy and affordable way to do comprehensive accessibility testing.

AccessWorks, an extensive database of web-users with disabilities created and managed by Knowbility, reflects a spectrum of visual impairments, hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, and motor impairments. Loop11 customers can now tap into the AccessWorks database for all accessibility testing needs, saving time that would otherwise be spent on recruiting participants for face-to-face testing.

Testing for accessibility issues with Loop11 is simple. When a customer chooses to conduct accessibility testing, they will be prompted to select criteria from a custom panel. Knowbility then pulls participants from AccessWorks to form a group that fits these requirements. Through an email sent by Knowbility, these new participants will have instant access to a tailor-made web-based accessibility evaluation. Next, as participants begin test-taking, Loop11 customers can take advantage of quantitative feedback and real-time monitoring by checking out results instantly.

Case Study

For a recent project, Knowbility crafted an extensive accessibility test using Loop11 and recruiting from the AccessWorks database. The recruited participants reflected two forms of visual impairment (low vision and legal blindness), a cognitive disability (traumatic brain injury) and motor disability (amputee).

They explored a university’s website through 19 tasks. Some used assistive technologies like screen readers, screen magnifiers, and adaptive technology for motor impairments.

The test unearthed a few barriers for mobility-impaired and visually-impaired users.

Results showed that the site could benefit from various improvements – some small, some great. The three main accessibility problems were encountered with keyboard use and screen readers.

Firstly, dropdown menus were inaccessible via keyboard use, which many visually and motor impaired participants use to navigate. Next, a problem with keyboard focus was discovered. Some interactive elements correctly lit up; others did not.

Also a lack of headings made for tedious, time-consuming navigation for those with screen readers. Instead of being able to skip through various sections of content, participants had no choice but to listen to entire pages of content in order to find what they needed.

Web accessibility: Worth looking into

The number of people living with disabilities is only going to grow.  How accessible is your site to this market?  Test and find out.

For more info on web accessibility, watch our recent webinar on accessibility and usability testing with our CEO Toby Biddle and Knowbility Executive Director Sharron Rush:

Come say hi at the UX Australia conference next week

UX Australia

Hi folks!

Coming to UX Australia 2012, in Brisbane next week?  We’ll be there!

UX Australia is Australia’s premier user design conference, which we’re proud to co-sponsor.

It’s a 4-day user experience design conference, with inspiring and practical presentations, covering a range of topics about how to design great experiences for people.  (It’s not too late to sign-up.)

Do come by our exhibition booth to say hi… and while you’re there, enter our raffle to win an iPad!

Toby Biddle and the Loop11 team

LeanUX Denver + extra discount for Loop11 customers

LeanUx Denver, coming up Sept 19-21 in Colorado, is a 3-day event focusing on Lean UX Methodologies, Data-Driven UX, and the tools that can help you achieve a quantifiably better user experience.

We’re delighted that we can offer Loop11 customers a 20% discount on registrationon top of the special Early Bird registration price that runs out on July 31st.  (You’ll save over $100, not bad!).  To get the discount just use the code  “Loop11Discount” when booking your ticket.

There’s a fantastic line-up of speakers – leaders in the field of User Experience and Measurement, including those leading the Lean UX field such as:

  • Jeff Gothelf, one of the leading voices on the topic of Agile UX and Lean UX
  • Gerry McGovern, widely regarded as the worldwide authority on increasing web satisfaction by managing customer tasks
  • Hendrik Kleinsmiede, VP of Global Design at PayPal
  • Bill Albert, Director of the Design and Usability Center at Bentley University

There will also be workshops covering areas from the basics of LeanUx to Multivariate Testing.

You’ll get comprehensive insight on Lean UX, including how to implement a Lean UX program, which software to use, how to recruit users, what metrics to use and how to interpret the data.

It all takes place Sept 19-21, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center in Denver, Colorado.

This will be an action-packed, value-laden event.  Denver is beautiful.  Come join us.

Book your ticket using the discount code “Loop11Discount” and get your 20% off.  Register before July 31st and you’ll get both the special Early Bird price and the 20% discount for Loop11 customers.

 

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