4 Actionable Split Tests To Improve Your Conversions

by Ed Baxter October 29th, 2012 

Actionable Tips To Improve Conversion

Any designer can make a website however to create one that converts takes skill, patience and a deep understanding of what makes the web and your customers work. In this article I'll cover 4 things you can split test that help improve conversions and get more out of your site!

For those who have never heard of split testing I recommend you check out this article. The theory is simple though; present your visitors several different version of a page and see which performs the best. Once you know, implement the most successful change and repeat the process. This simple, yet effective process has allowed web giants such as Amazon to thrive into massive businesses. It has also helped others double their revenue with no more additional traffic.

Setting up your tests is easy however the mistake some make is not testing the right things; they'll either test tiny elements that have little impact or test everything at once and never learn what truly made a difference. So what should you test?

Test Your Checkout

The best place to start any split testing is the final steps of your checkout process. This is the point where people are most likely to hand over their money yet for one reason or another drop out in the closing stages. Using your Analytics data, you should be able to see which steps are causing the biggest drop outs.

Users Are Dropping Out At The Enter Payment Section

  • You could add additional security logos (such as Verisign) next to the credit card fields.
  • You could purchase an EV SSL certificate for added visibility.
  • You could make your phone number more prominent or offer a live support system.
  • You could add form prompts and validation to ensure they know how they should enter their information.
  • You could add form prompts and validation to show them how they should enter their information.

Users Aren't Entering Their Billing Address

  • You should reduce the number of fields to the bare minimum so less effort is required to check out.
  • You could pre-populate information if they are repeat customers or have a find address system to reduce the number of steps.
  • You could present your phone number more prominently to encourage offline conversions.
  • You could test increasing the font size – if your visitors cant easily read your forms then you're adding another barrier to them checking out!

Users Aren't Selecting A Shipping Method

  • You could offer free shipping
  • You could offer various shipping options such as next day.
  • You could remove this step all together and incorporate it into the order review page.

There are many more suggestions I could make for the checkout process and people have dedicated entire guides to the process. However by starting from the end of your checkout process and working back, you can see quick wins; its important to remember though that there are other factors at play that may be affecting your conversion rate.

Test Guest Check Outs

Many websites force users to sign up before they can checkout; typically this means less people will go through the process. This is usually because they don't trust your brand, don't want to have to remember another account, think they'll be spammed if they sign up for an account and so on.

I've seen an increase of 32% just by removing the account registration system from the checkout process – despite the fact the visitor is still entering almost all the same information.

On another website, when offering a choice, less than 20% of all customers opted to sign up for an account during the checkout process.

If you are keen to get a visitor to sign up then you could give them an option to enter a password for an account on the order completion page or allow them to auto generate one by clicking a link.

Test Real (Yes Real) Testimonials

Anyone can write fake testimonials for their website however visitors are becoming desensitized to these reviews. One area you can test is genuine reviews, written by the actual visitor – back these up with real pictures and if you can, video content (a quick video recorded on an iPhone is good enough for the web).

Test placing these testimonials on your product pages, your basket page, your landing pages and see what happens. The more testimonials you can get then the more trust you'll help to build with your customers. Using third party tools such as TrustPilot can also help to verify the credibility of the reviews.

An interesting point to consider is that even negative reviews can have a positive impact on conversions.

Test Pricing & Auto Up-Sells

If you have a new product or can't figure out why an existing product isn't selling then you could split test the prices. Perhaps you're underselling your product and people perceive it as cheap or insufficient. Perhaps your product is very expensive and your competition is undercutting you. Split testing offers a great way to do research into the right product pricing for your market.

On a similar vein, you can also test automatically up-selling add on products.  You may risk damaging the trust of your visitor if they feel they have been deceived but if done correctly, you can automatically increase the average order value with meaningful additions.

Rounding Up

Don't be afraid to test big – although changing the color of a button can have a positive effect its usually better to test bigger things which will have a noticeable impact on your conversions. Also, make sure that your data is correct, if your Analytics or tracking codes aren't set up properly then you'll get a hazed picture of what really is happening and won't be able to make informed decisions on what works.

There are many great split testing tools out there to get you started! Remember: plan, test, review and repeat!

If you have any tips or tricks that have helped you improve conversions then Id love to hear from you in the comments below.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Small Business Website Design: 7 Tips to Increase Lead Conversion

Ed Baxter

Ed Baxter is the SEO manager for Ignition Search – a PPC Management & Internet Marketing agency based in Sheffield. In his spare time he’s an avid mountain biker and loves all things to do with the web.

ignitionsearch.co.uk/blog

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2 Responses to “4 Actionable Split Tests To Improve Your Conversions”

  1. Bram says:

    Required checkout process in your webstore is for sure a real business killer. I used to have one on my casio store and the difference in results was huge when I removed it and started processing payments differently. I can attest to that from experience :)

  2. Aura says:

    Very good post, thank you!

    If I may, I would like to add a checkout test, for VAT paying countries. It's very important to explain to customers in this situation why they see different prices