Way back in 2006 Google launched their “Website Optimizer” tool, which for the first time made A/B and Multivariate testing available to the masses.
Here we are in July 2013 and it already feels like a lot has changed. So, over the the next couple of months, I’m going to be putting together a series of posts that will clarify a few points and explain some of the things I think you need to focus on to ensure that your site converts at its optimal level.
This post will cover the first two points that I consider to be extremely important right now.
1) Embrace Multi-Screen.
If you’ve had a flick round this site you’ll have noticed that we mention multi-screen a lot.
But what is multi-screen and why is it important? A simplified explanation would be that a multi-screen website is one that has been designed to work properly on multiple device types (more detailed explanation here).
So, whether a visitor is using a mobile, tablet, desktop or laptop a multi-screen website will provide an enjoyable, intuitive experience to the visitor.
It sounds simple but in reality it’s far more complicated to do well, designers now have to consider not only how a design will look and function on a desktop but how elements will look and work on smaller, less powerful devices with typically slower connection speeds.
And if you’re thinking that this sounds like a lot of extra effort then I’d advise taking a look at some of the data being released by Google, the rate at which consumers are switching from traditional desktop devices to mobile devices is truly staggering.
Here’s a few examples:-
Between 2011 and 2013, mobile data usage increased by 400%.
Based on current growth levels, there will be 8 BILLION internet enabled mobile devices in use by 2016.
A recent Google study has shown that 60% of people start researching a product or service on a mobile device.
Tablets accounted for 47% of computing devices sold in March 2013, desktop PC’s only accounted for 5.5%.
The way we use computers to access information is changing at an extremely aggressive pace and making sure that your website works optimally across multiple devices can have a significant impact on your conversion rates.
Our design process is now “mobile first”, meaning we start our design process by considering how a website will work on mobiles devices first. Historically, desktops would take priority with mobile a secondary consideration.
2) Optimise Your Site For Speed.
This ones been high on Googles list for some time now. They want the internet to be a faster, more responsive place (..so you can click on more ads!) and we tend to agree. I know that I for one often hit the back button if a website’s slow to load, why would I hang around when there are are lots of other websites to choose from?
That’s the problem with having lots of choice, we don’t have to hang around and persevere with slow, clunky websites so we don’t.
Here’s some more frightening statistics:-
88% of consumers won’t return to a site if they found it too slow on their first visit.
40% of people abandon a page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Conversion rates peak when pages take less than 2 seconds to load but then drop 7% for each additional second.
Therefore, site speed clearly has a direct influence on conversion rates. I’d even go so far as to say that speeding up your site is one of the easiest ways you can improve your conversion rates.
It’s also logical to add that using really cheap “unlimited sites, unlimited bandwidth” hosting packages is likely to be costing you money, not saving it!
..but that doesn’t mean you need to be paying for very expensive high end hosting either, even a modest mid-range VPS can be made a lot quicker with the right tweaks and Googles Online Page Speed tool is a good place to start.