Originally posted 2012-05-16 20:11:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
This is part 7 of an 8 part series on how to improve the conversion rate of your website using a new testing approach to web design, rather than the old way of guesswork and assumptions.
All the testing, market research and analysis work you’ve done so far should have given you some ideas on what changes you can make to your website more trustworthy and effective at converting browsers into buyers.
The temptation might be to now plough ahead and to pull down your existing pages before replacing them with the shiny new benefit laden versions you have in mind. But now you’ve come so far, now is not the time to abandon the tested philosophy of website design we’ve followed thus far.
As with every step in this series, you need to test your thoughts and ideas on how your new website should be designed, rather than rely on intuition and guesswork.
Create wireframes of your new pages
Instead of getting bogged down in html, a quick way of creating web pages you can test is to use wireframe creation software. If you’ve got money to spend, Adobe Illustrator is the premier choice for creating test web pages.
Another option, that’s kinder to your wallet, is Balsamiq mockups. This is a rapid wireframing tool that enables you to create sketch like versions of the new web pages. A couple of mouse clicks later, and you’ve got a PDF or graphical version you can pass around to get people’s feedback.
Use Notable for decision making by committee (but in a good way)
Emailing off your wireframe and then trying to amalgamate everyone’s feedback is a headache just waiting to happen. Instead, you can use a collaborative feedback tool, like Notable.com, so everyone can contribute and share feedback in one place. Simply upload your wireframe and then invite team members to paste notes, vote on changes and suggest better ideas. This approach enables faster iterations and improvements to be made so you’re ready to move onto the next stage with the best version of your website yet.
Get feedback from actual visitors through usability testing
It’s easy to assume that you and your team know best when it comes to how your website should look, read and feel. But as I hope this entire series of posts has shown you, assumptions and guesswork aren’t the best way.
Instead, you need to get some third party feedback on what works, what doesn’t and what sends them clicking their way out the door. Two possible approaches are:
- Ask visitors to your website if they’d like to take part in usability testing. Using Ethnio you can add a call out box to your website that pops up and offers visitors an incentive for taking part in usability testing. You can then conduct the tests individually over Skype or you could hold a group testing exercise using conferencing software, like GoToMeeting.
- Sites like usertesting.com enable you to select testers matching the demographics of your target visitor. They’ll then record a video of them navigating through your website, performing tasks and hunting for usability bugs.
After all this, you’ll now have a new version of your website ready to be built and unleashed onto the world. But the testing isn’t over yet folks, because we still need to know whether the new version is more persuasive, engaging and higher converting than the one you have already.
In the final post I’ll give you an overview of how to use an amazing conversion rate optimization tool provided by Google that is probably worth $1000s but they generously give away for free.