Drop in traffic conversion

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Case Study in Usability: What to do when website traffic conversion drops.

This article presents a case study in website usability. The goal of the article is to develop strategy for responding to a (sudden) drop in website conversion activity. A conversion is defined as a visitor to your website converting into a lead, client, or subscriber. In this case a conversion is when a person signs up for a free trial account.

In the example presented here a website was rebuilt, updated, and placed online. The result in terms of conversion was a decrease. From between 20-30 conversions per day, the number fell to less than 10.

Please click here to read our article Website traffic conversion and measuring ROI

Traffic did not change but visitor behavior changed

We responded by looking at the traffic itself. The number of visitors had not changed, and the number of first-time visitors had increased.
The number of single event visits, or bounces, had increased.

Two variables to study if you see a drop in traffic conversion:
1. Number of pageviews per visitor
2. Clickstreams leading to conversion activity

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Number of pageviews per visitor and single-click events

A decrease in the average number of pageviews per visitor was observed. An increase in the number of single event visits was also observed. All of our traffic referrers were sending us the same amount of traffic. The drop in conversion had to do with our site redesign.

Clickstream activity most likely to create conversion

Important question: what are the most typical paths taken to conversion. What are the pages on our website through which visitors had been most likely to convert in the past.
We focused our energy on the top 5 pages where people had converted in the past 6 months.

The problem was defined in two parts: a) people making it to the site and clicking away after a few seconds and b) fewer people were making it to the trial signup page.

Please click here to visit our blog dedicated to creating website traffic conversion

Our conclusion was that our new site design was not optimized for navigation. We needed to improve our internal navigation with banners and links to better display the options.
Specifically we wanted to improve clicks and navigation between:

1. articles on our site
2. signing up for a trial
3. looking at the demo

We started by “advertising” on our own site in a PPC style. We placed small text ads on the site to let our visitors know that we offer tracking and event analytics as well as publishing white papers & articles.
We are monitoring the internal links for performance and will select for the best-performing text.

What to do when conversion drops

1. Start with your top 5 incoming landing pages and search terms. What are your top performers? Is anything different about those pages.
2. Check for single-click events. Are visitors clicking away after one pageview?
3. Double-check the technical steps of the conversion process. Check all browsers. We found that some people were unable to signup because of browser issues.

Creating conversion through clickstream analysis

1. Study clickstreams of visitors who have converted in the past
2. Locate current visitors coming from same source / into the same landing page(s)
3. Identify the difference in behavior

In this case the difference was explained by a change in site navigation. We addressed the navigation issues, created more internal links, and saw an increase in conversions as a result.

Please click here for a guide to technical definitions and discussion of clickpath analysis.


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