Optimise a Low-Traffic Website

Neil McKay
  • Low-traffic and low-transactional websites can be optimised without testing
  • Track and measure everything that is happening on your website
  • Fix things that need to be fixed and put things (call to actions, links, etc.) where they should be
  • Do qualitative and quantitative research
  • Implement the things your research reveals that need addressing and look for a 20% uplift
  • When you reach 500 transactions a month then start testing

You can’t A/B test a low-traffic/low transactional site because your sample size will be too small. But you still can optimise it.

Conversion optimisation is not just about testing; it is a part of it. This means you can optimise a low-traffic website and even low-transactional websites. In fact, there is a lot that you can do to improve your conversion performance.

7 easy steps to optimise a low-traffic website

Here is a seven-step checklist that will help you to optimise a low-traffic website or low-transactional website.

1. Measure everything that you can measure

  • Make sure Google Analytics is working correctly.
  • Conduct an experienced-based assessment of your site, comprising:
  • Heuristic analysis
  • Reviewing cross-browser and cross-device compatibility (making sure your site functions as intended and is accessible), and
  • Usability analysis.

2. Fix the things that are broken

  • Find and fix all the bugs on your website.
  • Focus on the functional and accessible issues within the Hierarchy of Conversions pyramid.
  • Fixing bugs will automatically plug conversion leaks enabling your transactions and conversions to grow.

3. Put things where people expect to find them

  • For example, if your target audience expects to find your search bar in the top right-hand corner of your website (because that’s where other websites in your sector position it), then put it there.
  • Follow Jakob’s law of web-user experience: “users spend most of their time on other websites”. Your visitors form their expectations for your site based on what’s common to others. If you deviate from the norm, your site will be harder to use and they may leave.

4. Do qualitative research

  • Do as much qualitative research as you can (within your commercial and time constraints).
  • Conduct online surveys with recent customers.
  • Ask visitors questions while they are on your site (traffic surveys).
  • Do phone interviews with your customers.
  • Analyse your live chat transcripts to see what problems your visitors are having and on which pages the problems arise.
  • Speak to your customer support team and ask them which are the most common questions that customers ask them.
  • Do user testing, either within a lab (like ours) or use a remote user testing service such as usertesting.com.

5. Do quantitative research

  • Once you are sure that your analytics package has been set up correctly to track everything on your website, is working properly, and providing trustworthy data, you must analyse what it’s telling you.
  • Carry out research using Google Analytics (or whichever analytics package you use).
  • Implement mouse tracking analysis on your site so that you can capture click and heat map data together with session recordings that capture what your visitors are doing when they are on your site.

6. Make the CRO changes live on your website and look for a 20% uplift

Once everything is being tracked with your analytics, the functional and accessible issues have been fixed, you’ve placed things where people expect to find them, and you’ve done both quantitative and qualitative research, you will have identified numerous optimisation opportunities.

At this point, you should group and prioritise your opportunities before creating hypotheses for those opportunities you would wish to test (if you had the traffic and conversions to do so).

For example, if you see a lot of opportunities on the category page, create the new page based upon your research data and make it live, replacing the existing category page.

Then, look for an uplift of 20% or more.

If the uplift remains stable for around two months, then you have a strong argument that the uplift came as a direct result of your activity.

Adopt this rule until you reach 500 conversions a month.

7. A/B test when you reach 500 conversions a month

Yes, when you achieve 500 conversions a month you can begin A/B testing. You’ll need to prioritise your hypotheses and focus on tests that will have a big impact on your business.

If reaching your macro goals (for example, more transactions) takes longer than expected, then focus on micro-goals (for example, add to cart) because increasing your micro goal achievements will also help you achieve your macro goals.

To conclude, conversion optimisation is available to all websites, regardless of traffic and the number of transactions.

There really is no excuse for not trying to increase your website’s performance and if you follow the seven steps described above you’ll find it relatively easy to achieve some major gains. There is so much you can do and so much you can benefit from, especially from what you can learn and the uplift in revenue.