You are not your customers – never assume you know what they want or how they wish to browse your website. You may be more technically inclined or understand the market better than your customers. However, they’re the ones making an order. You need to run regular tests and analyse data to learn and improve your website to better suit them.
Just because a certain layout or feature works on one website doesn’t mean it will always increase conversions on another. You need to test every new feature or design change to see if it is beneficial. Copying your competition maybe a good place to start but doesn’t mean it will always work for you.
This has been proven in hundreds of studies across the web. If the content is not important enough to appear on initial load it is probably not worth being there. Of the 1% of users who click featured banners, 89% of those clicks are on the first slide. They’re difficult to use on touch devices which are now being used more than mouse controlled devices on many websites. That being said, in some cases it may be justified to use a fading banner of images which portrays a brand or emotion. For example, some shots of a hotel or beach resort. Use sliders with care and as previously mentioned, test!
Not all A/B testing will be successful. Prepare yourself for negative results; analyse and learn from them. A test that doesn’t improve something isn’t necessarily an unsuccessful test. It provides you with more information and data for future tests.
The theme for the entire conference was to continue testing your website. There will always be room for improvement. Even if the results are not positive, use the data to create a new hypothesis for another test.
Remember to validate all of your tests. One method to validate your tests is by running an A/A test where you compare the same designs against each other. If the results returned are the same you have a valid test, if not it means either your test is broken or the amount of traffic or length of time wasn’t enough.
This is a bonus one but very relevant when testing. Focus your energy on testing high traffic areas of your website and not areas you feel could be improved. Focusing on high traffic pages won’t increase conversions more than any other pages, but those percentage changes are worth a lot more on higher traffic pages. For example 2% of 1000 conversions is a lot less than 2% of 10,000 conversions.