Conversion Rate Optimisation, a largely overlooked digital marketing discipline, is very much open to interpretation and as a result there are a number of common misconceptions concerning the process. Here I take a look at some of the biggest myths out there and explain why they don’t quite ring true!
Myth 1 – Users don’t look below the fold
Numerous sites insist on squeezing all of their content and images above the homepage fold based on the misconception that users won’t know how- or are too lazy - to scroll down the page further. However, a number of studies in this area have demonstrated that, since the majority of us are pretty familiar with using the web by now, it is actually extremely natural for us to automatically reach for the scroll bar and to briefly consider the entire page before deciding where to go next. In fact, an analysis of nearly 100,000 pageviews by ClickTale found that 76% of users made use of the scroll bar with almost a third of these scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the page. Moreover, it was also discovered that those who scrolled right to the bottom were not influenced by the length of the page, suggesting people are not put off by the length of the page if the information /design presented is compelling enough. Thus, whilst it is important to include key messages on your homepage in a prominent, eye catching location and it is critical to consider the layout of your homepage carefully, it is simply unnecessary to restrict yourself to the space above the fold only. Prioritise your messages and aim for a clean, digestible format rather than trying to include everything at once.
Myth 2 – Your audience use your website in the same way you do
CRO 101: Don’t base your design on the assumption that users will use your website like you! Why.. ? Because they won’t! Keep in mind that you are extremely familiar with your products and services and will reveal bias when using your site (whether you intend to or not!) Visitors will often have very different goals when using your site and it can be challenging to accommodate all of them, however, try to gain as many objective, honest opinions as possible on a regular basis and address common concerns where possible. In this sense you should treat your website in the same way as you treat your products – if the opportunity arises to innovate and grow in-line with audience needs and trends, take it and test it!
Myth 3 – There are universal UX rules that apply to every website
Whilst user behaviour can be predicted to some degree, and there are a number of fundamental website functions that perform a core role in user experience, unfortunately the perception that there are a set of foolproof, blanket CRO/UX rules that apply to any website is simply inaccurate.
Each website serves its own purpose, targets its own particular audience and has its own clear objectives – or at least it should do. Therefore, it is important to recognise that what works for one website will not necessarily work for another and the only way to truly discover what will boost conversions in the long run is to test your site.
Myth 4 – You have to make a choice between usability and aesthetics
Sites designed from a UX perspective are ugly, right? Wrong! The most successful websites research exactly what their target audience want, incorporate these elements into their design and continue to test different sections of the site regularly to ensure that they are always on top of user trends.
Think subtle and unique CRO design elements that complement the existing site rather than bold, out-of-place statements:
Myth 5 – Conversion Optimisation is a one-off project
Conversion optimisation is too often thought of as a singular project – one which can be checked off the digital list and forgotten about as soon as a winning test variation has been achieved. However, for maximum, enduring results user testing should be integrated into a wider digital strategy and the consumer insights learnt from the tests should be thought of as a means to drive important business decisions. For example, testing may enable you to define your actual online audience as opposed to your specific target audience, and allow you to adjust your marketing approach and business strategy accordingly.