It isn’t affordable for everyone to hire a Conversion Rate Optimizer or hire an agency to do it for them. Especially when it is your startup and no one on your team has the necessary experience. Often times, your small businesses website was created by you, or at least you hired someone as a freelancer to build you a WordPress or Shopify site. You’ve made some initial headway and cranked out what you’re good at, but your website traffic isn’t converting how you’d like. Spending the money to hire someone is expensive, but the web is overwhelmed with UI/UX and CRO best-practices.
We often turn clients away early on in their businesses’ life-cycle because their budget is often better spent elsewhere at that stage. We often direct them to a string of resources available on usability and conversion rate optimization. I decided to compile a series of tools and suggestions to help optimize your website yourself, or at least point you in the right direction.
- List your goals and analyze them – Every website has a series of goals and KPI’s (key performance indicators) in mind, that serves as their purpose for having a website. Whether it’s sales for an ecommerce site (duh), newsletter signups, social shares, or phone call inquiries, every page has a mission. Before looking at your website, write down the goal completions your ideal customer accomplishes in a single visit of your page. Now check out every major page of your site. Are these goals clear to the consumer? Can they be accomplished in one or two clicks? Is the copy guiding them to appropriate calls-to-action (signup buttons, add to cart, etc.). Once you have a roadmap for your website, each goal should be clearly outlined on the page. There may be a laundry list of tools out there, but writing down the base goal of each page will really help you pinpoint what is working (and what’s not).
- Google Analytics – For most clients, this will be the source of most website decisions from here on out. This powerful tool tracks user data across your entire site and can tell you which functions are working great, and where users are getting lost. Creating accurate goal funnels will see which steps lose the most customers and guide you to pages that need the most help.
- Google’s Page-Speed Insights – When it comes to usability, it’s easy to upset a user before they even get to your site with slow load times. It is pretty much the reason I’ve stopped clicking any links from BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, or Business Insider. The amount of ads, size of your images, and consolidation of your code all affect the time it takes your page to load. It all adds up really quickly and tears apart your user experience. Google has a handy tool to tell you exactly what is bogging down your page. Simply type in the URL and they’ll analyze the desktop and mobile versions of your pages resulting in a final score for each. Each analysis has a breakdown of important issues triaged to help you choose what to fix first.
- Website Grader by Hubspot – This is a pretty handy tool to get a rough overview of things you should keep an eye on throughout your site. Though the results are mostly suggestions of what Hubspot employees believe to be the best practices, they often point out features that are commonly overlooked. They breakdown your site into Blogging, Social Media, SEO, Lead Gen, and Mobile. Each of these end up with separate breakdown and checklist of your performance in the category. Like I said, a great tool to point out things you might miss, but take it’s suggestions with a grain of salt.
- UserTesting.com – A unique tool that allows you to post tasks about your site as live-users share their experience with you. As great as pre-built scanners are for assessing the code of you website and image sizes, nothing truly beats a real person’s experience on your pages. You’ll get feedback from a wide variety of demographics on how easily they accomplished your tasks. Though the service isn’t free, you’re able to cram a lot of value into each test.
Usability shouldn’t be overwhelming, and though there are a lot of factors that go into ensuring your site is easily navigable and geared for conversions, it shouldn’t take away from growing the heart of your business. With a little time (and a few lines of code), you’ll have access to powerful information about how users perform actions and move about your site.