4 Free Tools To Increase Your Website Conversions
Small business owners work hard these days to drive traffic to their websites. Whether via search engine optimization, traditional offline advertising methods or buying pay per click advertising on networks like Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter, the traffic you're getting to your website is costing you time and effort. But are you converting as many visitors into buyers or leads as you could be?
Increasing your website conversions may seem like a daunting task, but there are many tools available to help you do just that. Today I'd like to introduce you to four of them that you can use for free to help you increase sales and leads from the traffic you already have coming into your website.
No matter how big or small your website is, analytics will give you intel you can't do without when looking to improve your conversions. It used to be that detailed analytics were expensive and out of reach for many small business owners. But Google Analytics changed that years ago when they released their analytics tracking for a price any small business owner could afford—free.
Utilizing their "goals" and "funnels" features will give you an in-depth look at which pages of your website are creating conversions and drawing visitors further into the site—and which pages aren't. You can even create goals for specific links within a page to see which calls to action are converting and which need improvement.
Google even offers tons of free training videos to help you use their service. If you're completely new to using Google Analytics, start with the "Beginning Analytics: Interpreting and Acting on Your Data" video.
Clickdensity helps you track how site visitors are interacting with your website. Which links on your site are getting clicked the most? Which links are being ignored? Are your users clicking on items that they expect to be linked but aren't? Through the use of Heat Maps, Click Maps and Hover Stats, Clickdensity can help give you insight into all of the above and more.
For example, let's say you're featuring two products on your homepage. Through the use of the click tracking, you might identify that the second item is being clicked on more, even though it is below the first item and not as visible. Moving that more popular item above the less popular item could result in more clicks for that item—and more sales. Replacing the less popular item with another item entirely might also give your conversions a boost.
The service requires you to add a few lines of code to whatever page on your website you wish to track and then shows you the results via an online dashboard. It has several paid pricing plans but does allow you to test one page on your site, up to 5,000 clicks, for free, under their trial plan.
Google Website Optimizer
Now that you have an idea of which pages are converting and which links people are clicking, it's time to start testing changes in hopes of getting better results. But how do you know for sure which changes have a positive effect and which produce a negative result? That's where A/B testing comes in. A/B testing allows you to serve up different versions of your page to your inbound visitors to see which one converts the best. For example, you may create two different versions of a page, each with one difference. One utilizes a red "Request More Information" button, while the other utilizes an orange one.
By A/B testing (also called split testing) the page, you can make an educated decision on which color causes more requests with "all other things being equal" in regards to time of day, day of the week, etc. Google Website Optimizer allows you to do detailed A/B testing on your site for free.
As with the Google Analytics tool, Google Website Optimizer offers video tutorials to help you get the most out of their split testing tool, including entire seminars—for free—such as "What Should I Test" to give you tons of ideas about things you can split test on your own website.
There is perhaps no better way to test what is working on your website and what isn't than by watching people as they actually use it. Watching the movements of real users can give you insight that more "mechanical" tools may not. Do many users take a long time to fill out a specific section of your form? Maybe the verbiage is confusing them. Is there a specific point in your shopping cart where people are abandoning? User testing can let you pinpoint the exact point where visitors bail and help you identify what needs to be changed to fix the problem.
Userfly allows you to be a virtual "fly on the wall" as real visitors you don't know use your website. The service performs a screen-cast of what your users are doing while they're on the page—tracking where they move their mouse, where they click, what they type (except for passwords), and more. Their free plan allows you to record up to ten user sessions per month and stores the results of those sessions for 30 days. You can try out their free demo here.
Taking it one step further
In addition to utilizing the free tools above, I'd recommend that anyone interested in increasing their website conversions read what many consider to be "the" book on website usability—Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug. It's simple and common sense approach can help you avoid big mistakes and home in on how to make simple improvements that can lead to big increases in conversions.