February 20, 2013 5:17 pm

Rebecca Murtagh

Is Your Brand Listening to Customers When Optimizing for Website Conversions?Is your brand listening to its customers?

A recent survey reported by WhatUsersDo has revealed what some may view as startling.

60% of brand owners rate their website as average or below average.

Despite the stated goal by 78% of those surveyed being “extremely” or “quite” committed to delivering a quality user experience to customers, an alarming percentage of brands admit knowing that their website will disappoint their customers.

Unfortunately, I do not find this surprising as most (not all) brands I have worked with are more interested in aesthetics than performance, and few care to refer to data when it comes to defining the user experience.

Optimization Improves Conversion

Anyone in the business of optimizing a website for search, clicks and conversion understands what a powerful difference the investment in a quality website can be. The data simply does not lie.

And, apparently brands understand this, and know what needs to be done. In fact, 93% of brand owners acknowledge that optimization will, indeed, improve conversion.

So why the admitted failure?

Why Websites Fail

Econsultancy Senior Research Analyst, Andrew Warren-Payne says it well; “…it appears that the approach taken to user experience is reactive and based on hunches, rather than a planned approach to testing that begins at the start and continues throughout any improvement project.”

This is a common pitfall among those that those tasked with creating or managing the website frequently encounter. Some will trust their instincts, some do not have the budget for user testing, and some simply do not care about how well the website serves the customer.

Data Makes All the Difference

As I always say, the bottom line is the bottom line. User testing, performance data, measurement against KPI’s and goals are vital when calculating the ROI and performance of a website. Websites don’t come cheap, so why are so many brands willing to leave so much of the planning, design and optimization to chance?

Data is invaluable in planning a website. Most organizations invest in the website to support financial goals. It is an indisputable fact that if the C-Suite, department or business owner expects the website to deliver bottom-line results, they must be prepared to invest the time and/or money required to create a website customers can use to support those goals.

Data doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many sources of data to enlighten the brand.  Third-party testing, customer surveys, website analytics, or a combination thereof can be extremely enlightening when planning or optimizing a website for usability and conversion.

5 Ways to Optimize the User Experience of a Website

  1. Invest in proper planning, execution and optimization of the website.
    (I cover this extensively in my book Million Dollar Websites – shameless plug, but it had to be said)
  2. Use data, not hunches, to plan and measure performance of the website.
  3. Perform user testing on an existing website before investing in a website redesign.
  4. Perform regular user testing on the website using KPI’s to measure ROI as well as usability.
  5. Use customer insights to optimize the user experience.
About the Author

Rebecca Murtagh: Human AI Evangelist, Futurist, Human AI Institute Founder, CROWD SUCCESS® and Genius Foundry.
Innovation coach, consultant and trainer.

Rebecca leverages decades of experience working with Fortune 500, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Mains Street, global brands and startup entrepreneurs to help executives, their teams, and entrepreneurs leverage their genius through Human AI to improve productivity, collaboration, creativity and job satisfaction for optimum performance and long-term success.

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