If you operate an eCommerce store, then your website is the heart of your business. The more searchable and engaging it is, the more conversions you’ll achieve. This means that optimizing website performance is essential. But what does performance optimization mean? And how do you do it? In this article, we’ll explore strategies to make your website work harder – and smarter – than ever before. Before we dive in, it’s useful to start thinking about website performance in three categories: traffic, leads, and conversions.
Traffic on your site means new and recurring visitors. Good SEO practices and marketing efforts attract more traffic. Leads are inquiries into your products or services. Compelling content produces leads, and leads are easier to produce when there is more traffic on your site. Finally, conversions are the actions you want customers to take – usually buying a product or service. You need constant activity all three areas for success, and in the sections below, we’ll show you how to get there.
Use Data to Track and Improve Website Performance
Through software like Google Analytics, data is accessible and abundant. Understanding where visitors come from and how they behave is essential to lead generation. However, reading the data and putting it to use is one of the major obstacles that B2B and B2C online businesses struggle with. Your first task, then, is to make sure data is being collected for traffic, acquisitions, bounces, conversions, and activity. Google Analytics is mandatory in this case. A service like Crazy Egg, which shows convenient ‘heat maps’ of user behavior on your site, will help you make sense of the data you are collecting.
Heat maps from services like CrazyEgg can show you where the ‘hot spots’ are – the places people click most (and least) – on your website.
If this seems complicated at first, don’t worry. In the beginning, it’s easy to make updates that produce major results, before you get more specific. Take a ‘big picture’ look at the data to identify areas for immediate improvement. Look for pages that are doing well as well as those that are underperforming. Then, take a closeup look at behavior on those pages. Identify what’s working and apply it elsewhere or remove problem areas that cause users to leave. Don’t forget to compare the data from before and after you make the changes!
Try New Ideas and Content
Human beings love new things, which is good news for your website. If your current strategy produces average results, something new could change that. Consider this. Existing customers may discover a renewed interest in your brand when they encounter new content that engages their interest and delivers value. Likewise, new visitors may see your brand as ‘better’ or ‘different’ if you offer them content that your competitors are not. It’s a trial and error process, but it doesn’t have to be random. Try thinking like your ideal customer and providing content that they would want to interact with. This could be better product descriptions or video demonstrations to fresh homepage images or funny blog posts.
Amit Bhaiya, CEO of DotcomWeavers says, “New content is exciting, which means it will increase your audience’s chances of remembering it. Don’t rely on existing content to create positive change.”
Unsure where to start? Think back to section 1 about data. Look at areas of your site that are under-performing and make producing new content for them a priority. Of course, not everything you do will be a resounding success. The trick is to use data to see what works and what doesn’t by comparing website performance before and after your content changes.
Small, Consistent Improvements
By now, the importance of tracking performance, making changes, and comparing the results should be clear. We also want you to know that you don’t need to revolutionize your website all at once. The Japanese have a business term called Kaizen (Kai = Change, Zen = Good), which means small, continuous improvements over time. Not only are small updates, such as better product descriptions quick (and cheap) to implement, they are also easy to track. In fact, it’s probably not a good idea to make too many big changes close together. You want to ensure the data you are reading is clear, which means tracking one or two changes at a time. To get you started, here are 5 simple updates you can make – and track – to get the hang of the process.
- Change homepage images and copy so they are relevant to the season
- Add more product images that show real people using it
- Create a website popup that offers 10% off for subscribing to your newsletter
- Install and use an SEO tool like Yoast (for WordPress sites) to boost performance
- Schedule time each week to monitor website performance data for your changes
At DotcomWeavers, we are Internet performance and data experts. Whether you need a hand reading your data or a winning strategy to improve your website performance, we can help. For more information or to get started on an eCommerce project, please contact us today.