Unfortunately, website optimization doesn't happen overnight, but there are a number of affordable tools to help you along the way:
Phase 1: Identify where your our website needs improvement
- Google Analytics - A good web analytics tool like Google Analytics will help you identify the areas of your website that need the most work. Take a look at your most popular pages and sort by bounce or exit rate.
- Concept Feedback - Concept Feedback provides expert website evaluations from design, usability, and strategy professionals. Feedback is specific, actionable, and organized so you can quickly create tasks and priorities for your web design and development team.
- ClickTale - "Experience analytics" tools like ClickTale allow you to watch your visitors interacting with your site. Try to identify why users are leaving.
- UserTesting.com - Remote usability testing services like UserTesting.com put your site in front of a group of remote users who try to perform various tasks on your website. You can watch the video (and unlike ClickTale, listen to audio) to discover problematic areas on your site.
Phase 2: Test!
Once you've identified and implemented the improvements on your website, it's time to start testing. Testing gives you reassurance that those changes you just made are actually improving website performance.
- Google Website Optimizer - GWA is a free website optimization and testing tool from Google. You can do split testing (compares the performance of entirely different versions of a page) or multivariate testing (compares the performance of content variations in multiple locations on a page).
- Optimizely - Optimizely is a relatively new website testing service, that supposedly simplifies the testing process. However, in this case, simplicity comes with a price.
- Performable - These guys do more than A/B testing now, but it's another service worth taking a look at.
Phase 3: Repeat!
Website optimization is a never-ending process. However, once you have proof (check web analytics) that you're optimization efforts are paying off, it's time to start ramping up the marketing spend and reaping the rewards.
If you have a favorite testing method or tool, please let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!