The most logical way to optimize web pages is to pick a page with the MOST opportunity. You might think it is your homepage, but it may not be. You want to find a page that will have the biggest impact for your particular goal. The page will have a high probability of increasing your conversion rate, no matter what conversion you are tracking.
Where Most People Like to Start Working to Optimize Web Pages (…and Why it May Not Be the Best Place to Start)
You may think this is the best as it is the beginning of the customer journey and where better to start than the beginning? Also, this is the page that generally gets the most traffic and is the most well-known internally. However, for a lot of those reasons that should disqualify running systematic tests on the homepage.
Each visitor has a unique reason to be on your site and their goals will differ (a lot of this will is dictated by source type and the level of affinity with your brand). People are coming to your site to do all sorts of different actions such as:
Visiting the blog
Viewing your products page
Consuming the content to learn about the company
So, despite there being a ton of traffic coming to your homepage, you can’t consolidate the conversion action. In fact, if you were going to break out segments you would cut your traffic significantly, which would make it harder to test and undermines the original reason to test here: traffic. Your homepage is likely the most internally politicized page on your site and due to the number of links, differences in visitor goals, and several degrees of separation from the bottom funnel converting actions, soit shouldn’t be your first page to optimize!
Your Shopping Cart
Starting here is all about deep funnel optimization. Start with the shopping cart page because what you do there will be directly connected to the bottom funnel converting action and this is your most qualified traffic.
To start at the shopping cart, there are three issues to consider:
You’ll need to rely on development. Optimizing your cart will require both a design period and a longer integration period than a standard landing page or homepage. More testing has to occur and your dev team will have to do more work.
These are some of the lowest traffic volume pages on your site. Your cart is a few clicks away from the visitor’s thank you page. For every click a visitor has to make, you’re going to see drop-off.
Unless you’re doing a massive redesign, you’ll want to test one change at a time.
When you’re making small changes you’ll eventually reach a local maxima, or your conversion ceiling. Unless you make more drastic changes, which will require more development tim.
So, where should I start? Find a page that is…closer to the converting action, has a decent amount of traffic, and has a unified conversion goal. Which is…
The Product Page!
If you haven’t taken a look at your page in a while, well, it’s time to take a look!
The product page meets all three of the main criteria listed above:
Closer to the Converting Action. The product page is a single click away from the final converting action. If you’re selling a single product then after they click “Add to Cart” they are in your cart and ready to check out. You shouldn’t consider the “add to cart” action as a sale, but that micro-conversion is darn close and can be an indicator of how your product page is performing. If you sell multiple products the consumer might decide to continue to shop, but as long as you have a persistent check out CTA then they are still a single click away from checkout!
Has a Decent Amount of Traffic. Your product pages won’t have as much traffic as your homepage or even some of your PPC landing pages. However, they will definitely have more than your cart.
When you opt to make changes on your product pages, measure both “add to cart” conversions and sales. Take a look at your numbers and see if there is any correlation between the two. This will make it easier to connect the success of your product page with your sales metrics (and works wonders if you have low traffic). So, if you’re struggling to find pages to optimize on your site, you should really start digging into your product pages. These pages meet traffic requirements, are focused, and are much easier to directly connect to the bottom funnel converting action.
How to Optimize Your Product Pages
You have your page but how the heck should you begin to optimize it?
If marketing is just the articulation of a Before and After state, then a good product page is one that clearly articulates the move from the Before and After state.
When you approach any page, you have to remember one VERY important axiom: YOU ARE NOT YOUR CUSTOMER.
The questions you want the page to answer are likely not the questions your customer needs answered. Here’s how you should approach your product or any other page:
Step 1: Identify the questions your customers need answered.
Step 2: Use the elements on the page, e.g., copy, images, icons, ratings, etc.., to articulate the answers to these questions.
Step 3: Pick a page layout that is familiar to your demographic and prioritizes the elements in such a way that their main questions are answered at the appropriate time.
6 Questions Your Product Page Must Answer
Other than the standard things like price and product name, there are six main questions your page MUST answer:
What does it look like?
How does it work?
How big or small is it?
Can it be delivered to me & for how much?
Am I able to return it if I don’t like it?
Can I trust this company?
All of your page elements have to answer these questions QUICKLY.
12 Page Elements Commonly Found on Product Pages
Now, when it comes to page design, all you’re doing is organizing the answers of your customer’s questions in a logical way.
Ratings & Reviews
In/Out Of Stock
If you have multiple SKUs you’re going to want to go with the standard e-commerce shop. You’ll see that they stick a TON of information above the fold. Though it looks cluttered, this is what the customer expects to see.
For 90% of the ecommerce sites out there, this will be about what your page looks like. What’s important is to make sure the elements you highlight are ones your actual users care about. You can figure this out using passive user testing tools like TruConversion or HotJar.
For organizations that have a little more persuading to do or have a single product/product line, you might use a totally different design. You’ll likely have to rely on a long form page. Using a ‘long form’ approach of visuals and leveraging your brand to tell a persuasive story and inform about the product generates action.
Your customers might be interested in how your other products compare to one another. If you have different types of products with different features and price points, then your product page might take the comparison route that may answer a very important question: “Which one should I get?”
The homepage may be the first you think about optimizing, but the likely main reason they visited your site is to read about your products or service, and that page will create the biggest optimization gain, and likely visits to your cart.
Optimizing your website pages is a methodical approach to continuous improvement. The small changes add up, like compound interest.
Contact us to learn how we can help you to be more successful.