One thing that almost everyone can do to increase their Affiliate and eCommerce website conversions is to properly analyze their own website data using common sense instead of tools. Many people assume that their top products based on total volume sold are their most in demand and highest converting. The problem is that this usually isn’t true. I’ll explain in more detail below. At the same time, they’ll spend a ton of money on tools and not even properly use them. Other common errors are when people find a design that should work in theory and place it on their site without testing, especially on their homepage. Not only can this hurt SEO when you make a ton of homepage changes, but it is based on thoughts and things that may not be effective like focus groups, “Gurus”, books you’ve read, etc… Here are a few ways that you can help to increase your conversions without having to spend a ton of money (most of them are free) and also work on increasing your sales.
Use PPC for the design and protect your SEO from a million edits.
One thing I love to do with a new homepage or site design is run generic trademark bids and split the designs on orphaned pages. Instead of constantly messing up your homepage, how it is indexed, where the copy is, etc… you can now figure out what is the best design for driving sales and what doesn’t work by using generic ppc terms you were sending to your home page. The other nice thing is that if you are doing this for product pages, you can test the product pages and by trying two or three ads. You can also use PPC to test title tags and descriptions to see what can cause extra clicks and conversions from SEO. To split your pages you can try a few things.
- Have your tech team build something to show each design equally and at random.
- Use Google’s tool (I’m not sure if it works on PPC but I think it does when we used it last time).
- Use the same ads that perform well in Google with different landing pages and set your PPC campaigns to run each add evenly instead of based on conversions.
3 things to do on your homepage and category pages to increase conversion rates.
Do not feature your best sellers based on volume and keyword traffic – follow generic terms instead to find out what your real best sellers from your homepage and categories are.
This seems odd but if you use basic logic, just because you sell a ton of a specific product doesn’t mean it is your best converting product, most in demand or actual best seller. Usually when you have a product that outperforms everything in the volume of sales, you probably rank for the term or product in the search engines, are driving PPC to it, Comparison Engines, Affiliates can be pushing it, etc… What you need to look at are your generic terms like housewares if that is all you sell and more importantly your trademarks.
Take these products and find out what people buy most when they aren’t looking for a specific product when they come to your site from product pages, terms and queries. If you replace the products that you sell the most with the products people who hit your homepage off of generic and trademark terms buy the most (which usually are not the best sellers unless you already have them there) you can sometimes get a nice boost in conversions for your site. At the same time you need to look at two more things, your Average Order Value (AOV) and how many sales of that product actually came from the homepage vs. your ads, SEO, etc…
If the new products have a lower AOV than the best selling product based on volume that you had on the homepage, you may hurt total revenue (if your margins are lower as well). One thing you need to remember is to separate the sales of the best selling product from the product page and only use the ones from the homepage and category pages where you replaced them. Those are the only sales you need to worry about. Check the AOV, Margin and total sales and by using your most in demand products (not best selling products) and you can help to get an increase in conversions on your website. (If you’re confused I can try explaining again, just leave a comment and I’ll give another example using actual products).
Now feature product specific terms that drive traffic and your best sellers from that category.
The next thing to do after you have the best sellers in the prime spots is to bring in the products that these categories and that your homepage ranks for. By adding these products into your mix, or category images to the product pages, you will not only help the people who come to these pages find the products they are looking for, but also help to make sure that people who have been to your store before can find the same product if it is one they buy over and over or find newer versions if they want to upgrade. You should double check the best places for each product or category by using a heat mapping tool and traffic tagging tool. There are a ton of options out there that are free and also ones you can pay and subscribe too.
Remove products and add your best categories above your product matrix.
One thing I have been trying and that seems to be working is to remove a product mix from the first thing above the fold and use categories with descriptive images and single word or short labels. After you show your most popular categories, then start showing your product mix below them. With one client we are testing a best selling product and deal of the day next to the categories, but there isn’t enough data yet to see if that is effective or will help or hurt conversions. By showing your top categories above the products with a descriptive image and single word or short phrase label, you help your visitors navigate your site and you’re also helping strengthen your internal linking structure with the direct links in, as long as you don’t have a million inbound links from your homepage. Having the products below can also help you to show your best sellers and start shopping quicker for people that came for specific products from your store.
Increasing the conversion rates on both ecommerce and Affiliate sites can be easy. You just need to use common sense and ask yourself how do you help people find what they are looking for quickly and easily. By taking out things like product specific traffic or category specific traffic and focusing on what general visitors are looking for, you can help to provide a better user experience and also help to increase the amount of visitors that find what they want and click on your Affiliate links or are able to get to your checkout quicker. This can help to increase your conversion rate and create a better user experience so people may want to come back and shop from you again.