The success of a website is multi-faceted. On the lowest level, visitors who do not already know a site URL should still be able to get to the desired website through methodologies used to maximize site traffic, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Pay Per Click (PPC). But then, upon arrival, visitors should find a compelling and usable website, thus ensuring a successful visit experience. Hand in hand, these fundamentals are essential to achieving conversions.
The following chart represents dollars spent on online advertising in recent years, as well as future spending projections.
Obviously, companies will continue to spend dollars on Internet marketing and they will continue to use SEO or PPC to drive traffic to their website. But is it possible to reduce online advertising expenditures and still enjoy similar revenue?
Yes, and a key lies in how effectively the traffic is converted after arriving to your site. This is where usability analysis becomes vital.
When usability analysis steps in
An effective usability analysis can uncover the reasons visitors are leaving the site, why they are not purchasing and, in general, the problems they are encountering that keep them from converting. Every additional conversion increases revenue, thereby improving ad expenditure ROI.
In a recent online user experience study conducted for an e-commerce website, it was revealed that 33% of visitors arrived at the site via search engine organic results. This indicates a certain level of success with their Search Engine Optimization. However, of those arriving via a search engine, 41% claimed their site visit was unsuccessful because navigation was difficult and/or organization was unclear. In other words, they didn’t find the site all that usable.
So, although the site optimization effectively drove traffic to the site, the user experience fell short in converting visitors. For this particular client, visitors who failed with the intention of purchasing represented a significant revenue loss, approaching $150k per day.
Usability testing early in the website development cycle is most effective because it reduces development cost. You can improve the user experience before your site is launched and have the confidence that you have delivered a quality product. But even if conducted later in the cycle, usability issues can be addressed and corrected for subsequent releases.
It is no secret that the cost per click continues to increase over time and money spent on SEO or PPC must be on-going to continue driving traffic to the site. But, the effectiveness of recommendations made to improve the site based on the usability analysis is enjoyed year after year. Ongoing usability analysis will only continue to improve the conversion percentage resulting in added revenue.
The marriage of SEO/PPC and usability analysis is not only a winning combination but a required blend for success in the Internet marketing arena.