DON’T MISS OUT

Get updates on new articles, webinars and other opportunities:

So You Want to Do a Conversion Audit? Here’s What You Need to Know

by Sherice Jacob

If you’ve launched your website and are steadily getting traffic, you may feel like the hardest part is over. The truth is, the real work has just begun.

Now your focus shifts from a design/development perspective to a relationship-building, client-centered one. You’re now an inspector, looking for all the little “leaks” in your website that are causing customers not to buy.

There are about as many reasons people don’t buy as there are stars in the sky, so rather than focusing on those, we’re going to look at how to remedy as many of them as possible through a series of steps—a task known as a conversion audit.

conversion auditSource: Placeit.net

What’s a Conversion Audit?

Also known as a website review, a conversion audit looks at your site from your customers’ shoes—pinpointing areas where improvements could be made that would strengthen your conversion rate. Typical areas of focus include design and layout, search engine optimization, social media optimization, checkout process, and content.

Remember that customers arrive at your website from various different points, and with a wide range of experiences. A conversion audit professional takes all of these routes into consideration when analyzing your site. With that in mind, here’s what we look for:

Design and Layout (Both Desktop and Responsive)

Even great looking websites’ conversion rates can flounder. What’s attractive on the surface may not be compelling enough to the end user. With that being said, conversion optimization professionals typically look at things that make it easier for the audience to visually scan the page, including:

Of course, it’s not enough to go on common conversion practices alone. We also look at how the site performs on mobile devices. Since mobile traffic currently accounts for over one third of all web traffic (and is inching closer to the 50% mark), not having a responsive, device-optimized design is just flushing potential revenue away.
responsive
With the advent of technologies like HTML5 and CSS3, there’s no longer any need to develop a separate mobile site. One site can conform to all resolutions and devices. Just go easy on the load time for smartphones!

Search and Social Optimization

You might not think search and social optimization would go together in the same sentence. They produce vastly different conversion results, it’s true. But since customers can enter your website from any number of channels, from an optimization perspective, we typically put these two together.

After all, there are dozens of factors that go into making your site perform well in search, why should those not bleed over into social?
optimized

Moz.com’s graphic on the elements of an optimized page. View full image here

Many people take great pains to optimize their search results, but social seems more like an afterthought, because the traffic is viewed as not as valuable. Let’s face it, how many times have you gone on Facebook to buy something? (Um, never!) But just because the intent isn’t there, doesn’t mean we should be dismissive of these visitors.

A good conversion optimization audit looks at how well your social efforts flow into each other and back to your original website. Because social results can also impact your search engine ranking, you want to have a fluid, seamless flow from each channel. That means doing things like:

  • Customizing your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages to incorporate the same style and tone used on your website.
  • Include branding and graphics from your website on your social properties
  • Promote the same friendly customer service and open discussion on your social channels as you do on your website
  • Give customers on social networks a more engaging reason to interact with you. Surveys, contests and quizzes are all great portals to encourage interaction.

Starbucks has done a phenomenal job of not only responding to customer issues, but also providing a consistent voice, tone and engagement level for all its fans.
starbucks fb pinterest
Notice how they invite users to participate by submitting their own photos, as well as voting on a contest for the best artistic cup design through Pinterest. It’s this kind of cross-channel communication that gets people to recommend, discuss and otherwise involve themselves in your offer.

E-Commerce Product Pages and Checkout Process

apple

Apple knows exactly how to design an engaging, beautiful and high performing product page. Click here to see more examples of best practices in e-commerce

A good conversion audit wouldn’t be complete without a closer look at the e-commerce process. This can sound overwhelming, but there are a few key points to consider when auditing your product pages and checkout, including:

  • Always-visible shopping cart, complete with an image of the item added, and the price (along with any discounts)
  • Customization or personalization options (if available)
  • Showing the number of steps to order completion
  • Incorporating free shipping (by far the biggest conversion-producer for e-commerce websites)
  • Use of security and trust seals where appropriate
  • Forms with easy-to-understand errors to let the customer know if they missed or forgot to enter something.

Of course, these are just a few of the many points to consider, but a good conversion audit will take them all into consideration and then make adjustments and test depending on one’s own audience and their expectations.

Content Writing

Browse the Web for any length of time, and you’ll see that for many sites, the content seems more like an afterthought than an integral part of the conversion strategy.

While the tone and voice of the content will differ depending on the audience and brand (you wouldn’t be conversational if you’re selling high-grade technical parts and components), but for most consumer-facing brands, an open dialogue can make a big difference.
chalkfly

ChalkFly, an office and school supply store, uses their content to reinforce that they’re a company you’ll love to do business with.

While every business is different, notable points include reinforcing free shipping, noting the return/exchange policy in plain English, demonstrating your differences in a way the customer can understand, and much more.

Good website content is an art as much as a science, and understanding what compels your users to action is all part of the visitor psychology process.

Wrapping Up Your Audit

It may look overwhelming at first, but a good conversion audit is both thorough and straightforward. By understanding your visitors’ needs and then structuring your site and all of its promotional outlets to meet and exceed those expectations, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition and truly have a site that converts to the best of its ability. Good luck!

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sherice Jacob.

6 Comments

DON’T MISS OUT

Get updates on new articles, webinars and other opportunities:

Sherice Jacob

Sherice Jacob helps website owners improve conversion rates with custom design, copywriting and website reviews.  Get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up by visiting iElectrify.com.

6 COMMENTS

Comment Policy

Please join the conversation! We like long and thoughtful communication.
Abrupt comments and gibberish will not be approved. Please, only use your real name, not your business name or keywords. We rarely allow links in your comment.
Finally, please use your favorite personal social media profile for the website field.

SPEAK YOUR MIND

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Anonymous says:
    November 23, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Some directories have default descriptions for particular categories. In order to gain online visibility it is recommended to use a good SEO services provider. An SEO will also provide ongoing monitoring, rank reports and up to date recommendations.

  2. Karan S. says:
    September 12, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Thanks for a great post Sherice.

    Lot of good points tackling the finer aspects and the more general ones.

    I would like to add, the use of ext intent popup and other CRO tools like HelloBar.

    We have recently started using HelloBar and have already seen improvements in our conversation rates. In a few weeks we will also implement optinmonster – looking forward to the improvements after that as well.

    • Sherice Jacob says:
      September 12, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Hi Karan, thanks for your feedback!

      I agree that the use of CRO tools can help improve your conversion rates — but as with everything you implement, always test to see what your results are — I’ve had clients have conversion rates DROP after using certain tools. It all depends on your audience, your goals and their expectations.

      • Karan S. says:
        September 12, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Very true, Sherice.

        Any good tips to keep in mind when assessing conversion success and testing what works and what doesnt?

        • Sherice Jacob says:
          September 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

          Hi Karan,
          If you click the bottom of my article, you’ll see more articles I’ve written which covers a lot about testing and measuring different aspects of conversion optimization. As far as assessing your success – I’d recommend split testing two variations (multivariate testing gets to be very complicated, especially if you haven’t done it before), and then waiting until they reach statistical significance to judge a “winner”.

          Here’s an article I wrote on how to do that on KISSmetrics.

          Let me know if this helps!
          Sherice

          • Karan S. says:
            September 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm

            Thanks for the reply.
            Did a quick screening of the four articles. They are now saved in my instapaper account 🙂 to be consumed at a later date.
            Keep up the good work.

Show Me My Heatmap

Ah, @CrazyEgg I really do love you! So useful evaluating how users are interacting with all aspects of our zanerobe.com redesign

Mike Halligan

@MrMikeHalligan