The aim of any website is to inform the users about the brand and encourage them to take a certain action: email signup, purchase or simply hitting a CTA button. These actions are basically the website conversions, which, in turn, are used to measure the conversion rate.
Conversion rate serves as a reliable indicator of the site’s performance and user engagement. One of the biggest factors that impact the conversion rate is UX or user experience. It can be optimized in order to increase the number of conversions and improve the performance of your store. But before getting down to optimization, it’s important to know what metrics to look at when analyzing how your website performs.
UX: a measurable experience
As the International Organization for Standardization puts it, the user experience is a “person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use and or anticipated use of a product, system or service.”
To put it simpler, UX is how the user feels while interacting with your website. It comprises many aspects: ease of navigation, design attractiveness, encouraging CTA buttons, and much more.
There are two categories of metrics that can help marketers evaluate how well the site is doing and what areas need improvement.
This framework by Google is aimed at measuring the user experience by such metrics as:
- Task Success
Different businesses will use different indicators to measure these metrics. For example, to measure happiness, one can use in-site reviews or surveys, and for engagement, it could be a number of email sign-ups.
HEART framework is easy to use and understand but for better results, it should be combined with findings from Google Analytics metrics.
Page views are a number of pages that users viewed in total. If a person goes to your site and visits the home page and about us page, that would be 2 page views by 1 user.
The more page views you have, the better. It’s actually fair: if people explore your site that means you are doing something right.
On the other hand, high page views rate and low conversion rate may result from confusing navigation. The user simply does not know where to go and thus visits a few pages before landing to the one he needs. So when looking at page views, always double-check that its rate is somewhat on the same level as the conversion rate.
Time on page
This metric indicates the amount of time a user spends on a single page. Do not confuse time on page with a session duration – a session duration is a total amount of time spent on the website (i.e. on all the visited pages).
Again, if the time on page is high, that means that the user is interested in its content, so this metric is also a reliable indicator of a good UX.
Bounce rate shows how many users leave your website after 1-15 seconds of being on one page. The rate is calculated by dividing single-page sessions by a total number of sessions.
While bounce rate is not an ultimate and definite metric when it comes to measuring the user experience, high bounce rate may mean that the page is not appealing enough for the users.
Conversion rate: behind the curtains
A conversion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of conversions by the total number of visitors. Say, if you have 200 visitors and 20 conversions, your conversion rate would be 10%.
The conversion rate is one of the most vital metrics to measure the website performance and how well you manage to achieve the set goals. If you aim to boost your sales and introduce a new marketing campaign, conversions rate will help you see whether the campaign is working.
You can set the following measurable for tracking the conversion rate:
Abandoned cart rate
In 2917, the abandoned cart rate for e-commerce stores was 78.65%, meaning 3 out of 4 shoppers leave before completing the purchase. One of the most common reasons for users abandoning their carts are:
- Complex checkout process
- Non-transparent processes
- Required registration
As you see, all of them are part of the user experience – and all of them need optimization if you want to sell more.
UX optimization strategies for better conversion rates
There are several UX aspects to pay attention to when planning your optimization strategy.
The appearance of your website impacts the user behavior more than you think. From colors and fonts to use of videos and GIFs, all that forms the user’s impression about your site.
Psychology of color
A color scheme is one of the basics for successful website creation. Numerous studies prove that people’s perception of your brand depends on the colors that you choose and each color evokes certain emotions.
When choosing a color scheme, consider the following:
- Target audience: different age groups and different genders have certain color preferences.
- Brand’s message: how would you describe your brand? Is it friendly, high-tech, fun or bold?
One of the simplest examples would be the color of a CTA button. If presented with grey and red button, which one would get more hits? The answer is obvious. Red instantly grabs the attention while grey is mostly used as a background. And such minor detail as a button color directly affects whether a conversion would happen.
Use of videos
You can increase your conversion rates up to 80% if you include a video on your homepage – how cool does it sound?
The inclusion of GIFs and videos in your website has been a big trend for the last couple of years and it keeps growing steadily. Customers react to videos positively but it’s important that your video (and any other website content) is high-quality.
As well, adding a video to your homepage can improve your SEO, help people recognize your brand, and encourage them to share the video in their news feed. Video content is predicted to become a driving force behind the marketing efforts of the companies worldwide so consider including it in your strategy.
Call-to-action buttons are the ones that encourage users to perform an action (conversion). All of us have come across and interacted with “Learn more” or “Sign up now” buttons so there is no need to introduce them. The question is: how to make them better?
We’ve already mentioned the importance of the visual appearance of such buttons. However, make sure they correspond to the overall website layout. Make them prominent enough to be noticed but don’t overdo it.
Another point is the CTA placement. First, place it where the user will see it, following the natural user path. Secondly, opt for higher placement if you have to choose between the top (middle) and bottom of the page.
It’s important to incorporate a strong message in your CTA button. Use sense of urgency, encourage for action, and, once again, double-check that your content corresponds to the overall brand’s voice.
Interaction with the page
User experience is composed of both visual perception and actual use of the page. Your site may be brilliant in design but confusing navigation will ruin it in no time.
Intuitive navigation will perform the most important task: it will eventually (and seamlessly) lead the user to the desired point.
You can optimize your navigation by rearranging product catalogs, minimizing the number of steps the user has to take to reach a certain point, incorporating “search” bar, and placing the elements where the user will expect them to be. In e-commerce, the cart and the user’s profile are normally placed in the upper right corner so your users will intuitively head for the upper right corner if they wish to visit their cart. Keep this rule in mind when optimizing your online store and you’ll see the changes in users’ behavior relatively quickly.
To decrease the abandoned cart rate, you need to optimize the checkout process. There are some common mistakes that many e-commerce stores make when it comes to the checkout. Here is what you can do about it:
- Incorporate “progress” bar: it encourages users to monitor their progress and complete the purchase;
- Minimize the number of steps: the checkout has to be done as fast as possible;
- Allow guest checkout: the need for registration often discourages from buying;
- Display all information about the purchase from the first step: make sure the taxes, shipping fees, and total cost are visible and clear;
The easier your checkout process is, the higher the chances are the user will complete the purchase.
Website performance speed
The average amount of time for the website to load is 3 seconds or less – otherwise, users will leave. Moreover, a delay in 1 second results in a 7% drop in conversions and dissatisfied users are less likely to buy.
Website optimization is a complex process that involves minor and major tasks. The following things can slow down your store significantly:
- Heavy images (use extensions to optimize images);
- Lack of updates;
- Unnecessary extensions and plugins;
- Unused scripts;
- Lack of flat categories.
If your store is on Magento, check out a speed optimization guide and implement basic recommendations to speed up your store. But overall, if you suspect that your store can perform better, hire certified Magento developers to conduct analysis and see what exactly demands improvement.
Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool that will help you analyze the performance of your store and will rank it on a scale from 0 to 100 (with 90 – 100 being the most preferable ranking). As well, the tool provides suggestions on what can be improved and highlights problematic areas.
This year, the number of mobile phone users was estimated to be 4.57 billion and will reach approximately 4.78 in 2020. People are now used to do almost everything with their mobile devices and online commerce has become an integral part of their online behavior.
To expand the audience and satisfy the demands of the users, e-commerce retailers have to optimize their stores for the mobile (and probably, get their own mobile app as well). Mobile optimization is not something “nice to have” – it became a must.
This point can be supported by the fact that Google introduced mobile-first indexing, meaning, crawlers will check the mobile store first. The performance of your mobile store will affect your ranking heavily so pay equal attention to its optimization as you do for the desktop version.
In this article, we’ve touched the tip of an iceberg but the total amount of work is much bigger. To successfully optimize your UX and see the rise in conversions, you need to have an excellent understanding of your analytics and perform numerous tests to see which UX areas call for improvement the most.
What’s important to remember is that there is no ultimate guideline for the high-performing website since each brand is unique. However, the strategies described above should serve as a solid base for building a high-quality UX that, in turn, would lead to more conversions and happy clients.