I was at WordCamp Miami a week or so ago and someone asked me about how they should get started optimizing their store. First let me say, “Thank you!”. It's nice to talk to someone who is invested in their store, they want to understand what their visitors are doing, what they're relating to, and how to best transfer that message.
/rant. Now onto actual conversion optimization.
Work Outside In
My best piece of advice is to work outside in. There's a lot of areas you can improve your conversions. First you should make a list of all of the items you can optimize and then work through them. Start with items that get more traffic to your site and end with items at the end of your funnel.
The reason for all of this? Testing takes time and the more users you have going through your site the faster you can get accurate test results. If you can optimize your traffic first you may be able to do two tests in the checkout in the same time it would have taken you to do just one test.
Make a List
You should start with a list of items that you can optimize. And I'm talking about every aspect of the customer journey which includes branding, pricing, the information on product detail pages, and finally the checkout.
- When people first see an ad what percent click through?
- When people first see a blog post what is their next action?
- When people search are they finding what they're looking for?
- When people see a product what are they looking for on the product page? What are they finding on the product page? What makes them add the product to the cart? Can we make that more visible?
- Are people getting through the checkout process? When they don't get through – why?
This is a really short list that I wrote in less than 5 minutes. If you spend a good 30 minutes doing this I'm sure you can come up with a good 30 different items to optimize. Some will have a higher potential ROI and some will have a lower ROI and that's fine. For right now just list everything.
Once you have your list order it from highest priority to lowest priority. Then for all of the high priority items rank them from outside in. This way you're getting a big bang for your buck and you'll also make sure you're getting as much traffic as possible for tests down the funnel.
Don't be afraid to continually optimize one item. With something like ads it's easy to have dozens of ads running and simultaneously optimize your audience, your offer, the image in the ad, the copy, etc. Them you can run that super optimized ad which can perform many times higher than the original ad.
For WooThemes we've seen ads double in click through rates by changing a few words. If you can double your conversions with the copy, and then double that with the image, and then double that with the offer, and then double that with just the right audience you can now get 16X ROI and a whole lot more traffic for the rest of the site.