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4 ways web testing can improve your conversion rate

Posted by Dan Berry on Monday 19 June 2017

If it’s doing its job right, your website serves a myriad of purposes. These include telling your brand story, educating potential customers about your products and services, generating new user or sign-ups, functioning as an online store, and more. However, the overarching goal of any good website is to attract, engage, and convert customers. The best websites, therefore, are conversion-driven revenue generating machines. This means that everything, from the web copy, to the design, to the navigation structure, is geared towards converting web traffic into engagement and engagement into customers.

Unfortunately, modern consumers are easily annoyed, especially when it comes to website performance issues. Have you ever used an online shopping app only to have it crash half-way through the checkout process? Or tried to navigate an awkward, unresponsive website on a small smartphone screen? The chances of you – or any other would-be customer – returning to the same website after a frustrating experience are slim. To be blunt, the offending brand can kiss your business goodbye. Even seemingly small errors, like links that take you to the incorrect landing page, are enough to send users to your competitor’s website.

The bottom line is that an error-riddled website or app can seriously damage your conversion rate and obliterate your sales numbers. Thankfully, you don’t have to risk going live with an imperfect website or mobile app. Carrying out a comprehensive web testing strategy ensures that you find and fix issues before your customers do.

Here are four common conversion-killing website issues that web testing can fix:

1) The payment function is broken

The most important part of an ecommerce website is the checkout and payment function. If your website fails your customers here, all of the effort it took to get them to the point of purchase is wasted. Online shoppers have particularly high expectations when it comes to your payment function, and understandably so. If you’re going to ask someone to hand over their credit card details, you had better reassure them that their data is going to be 100% safe. If a payment process appears glitchy or untrustworthy, shoppers are likely to lose faith in your security settings and bail out at the last minute. If your checkout process is too cumbersome, or if it tends to crash or time-out mid-way, users are unlikely to attempt payment a second time.

Conducting thorough web testing is a great way to ensure that your checkout and payment functions perform perfectly on any device, operating system, or browser. ‘In the wild’ web testing in particular tests for functionality and usability issues in ‘real world’ conditions. Web testers ‘in the wild’ behave as actual customers might, for example, attempting to add an extra item to the basket mid-way through the payment process or incorrectly entering credit card details. This kind of web testing ensures that your digital properties perform just as well in the real world as they do in a web testing lab.

2) Your navigation structure is overly complex

Your website needs to be intuitive. If it’s too confusing or difficult to navigate, visitors aren’t going to bother hanging around long enough to work out how to buy something. Sophisticated web testing methods seek to ensure that the pathways a user is likely to follow as they browse your site are easy to execute and optimised for conversion. Website navigation should be intuitive and simple. Acting as the customer would do with usability web testing can often be a good way to expose areas where your website or app is failing to convert visitors. Read about how Great Eastern Energy improved their conversion rate by 15% on their website with web testing here.

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3) You fail to meet mobile expectations

Look up at the people surrounding you on the train, at the airport, on the street, or at the office, and the majority of eyes are likely to be glued to a smartphone screen, especially as there are now over 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide.  We use our mobile devices to access apps, browse websites, research purchase decisions and do our shopping practically around the clock. In fact, mobile is forecast to impact 80% of every purchase made by 2020 so if your website or digital property fails to meet mobile expectations, you’re going to forfeit an enormous amount of traffic, and as a result, sales.

Regular and continuous web testing ensures that your website displays perfectly and functions smoothly across all devices, browsers and operating systems to give customers a seamless user experience across all platforms. Although, this sounds ideal, an internal testing team may not have the scope necessary to test all devices and browsers due to the fact the marketplace is just too vast (there are 24,000 different browser combinations alone!). To broaden your testing capability, you’ll need to consider external on-demand testing companies who have access to thousands of testers and devices to boost your resources.

4) Your website contains broken links

Broken links are one of the easiest errors to find through web testing, and if left unaddressed they can wreak havoc on your website’s ability to convert visitors into customers, not to mention the SEO damage. Google really dislikes broken links as they disrupt the user’s journey, this dislike can be reflected within your website page rankings, therefore, affecting your website’s positioning and how many people find your site via the search engines and your overall SEO. Just one broken link is enough to derail a customer’s path to purchase. If a product link is broken, a shopper isn’t likely to have the patience to start scouring your website or online store for the product. Instead, they’re likely to lose interest in the product completely or decide to shop elsewhere. This is just the experience of one shopper on a small scale. What happens when the situation is multiplied on a bigger scale? An example of this is links breaking regularly for huge ecommerce websites, how do testing teams keep up with these types of errors occurring so frequently? Often smaller scale in-house testing teams don’t have the manpower to accommodate the scale of testing that is required to keep up with these website errors. Not only that, but they also can’t keep up with the speed of which these errors are occurring (sometimes errors can occur hourly). Digital platforms such as a website and app will need to be tested across a multitude of different browsers and devices too.

The most innovative and cutting-edge brands are revolutionising their web testing by implementing new testing solutions across their digital programmes. By doing this, they are getting miles ahead of their competitors as they are creating better user experiences for their customers, resulting in accelerated conversion rates.

Learn more about how leading brands are improving their web testing and conversion rates here.

Or, if you’re interested in improving your conversion efforts further, download our guide to improving your conversion rate...

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