Reductive Analytics and Testing

Let’s say you’ve got a website. Consumer e-commerce. You get lots of visitors and you have lots of pages. Most of your traffic is from search engines, and your keyword range is wide, with a natural head-tail power law curve to it. Some of these people buy things, most do not and like any other business owner, you want to figure out how to make more people buy stuff from you. Nothing on the site is broken, or screams for help, like broken search or poor navigation and the site does sell a few things, just not a lot.
For me, the key has been segmenting visitors into behavioral cross sections. Like I’ll first look at the keywords the visitors came from and see if there are any keyphrases or root-keyword groups with abnormally low time-on-site averages or conversion rate. If one or many do then I would stop paying per click on those words if I was and I would exclude them from further research. I do this to rule out keyword-intent as a possible source of low conversion rate.
Then I’ll look at entry pages the same way. If I find an under performing landing page, I’d also expect to see a high bounce rate. If I didn’t have any landing pages relevant to the traffic the bad one was receiving, it would be come a candidate for testing.
The same analysis would then be applied to key pages in the shopping and checkout experience and if I found any un-replaceable pages I’d move them to the testing phase.
The pages selected for testing would be broken down into component pieces and variants of each chunk would be run through tests. Each variation would have large differences and I’d only test 2 or 3 of each, perhaps even using a “bad” one. Testing a low number of variations will allow me to run the test quickly and look for which page sections produced the biggest range in performance among the variations. These are the important parts.
Then tap the skills of experts in design or communication for interative testing and fine-tuning of the important page elements. When your improvements plateau, return to an earlier step and repeat the process.

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