Category Archives: Website Abandonment

How to improve site load speed to increase conversions

Does site speed matter?

A slow loading webpage creates a poor user experience, but does it really make a significant difference if you have an awesome proposition, product or website? Well, Google discovered that page speed does matter big time and it shelved a potential improvement to its search engine results page as a direct result.

After listening to customers in research express a clear preference for 30 rather 10 results on Google search, Marissa Mayer, Director of Search Products and User Experience, decided to A/B test displaying these two options. The experiment showed that displaying the extra 20 search results increased the time for the page to load by 0.5 seconds. Shockingly this led to a 20% fall in full page renders when 30 results were displayed.  In other words one in five users searching on Google were not willing to wait an extra 0.5 seconds for a page to load.

Research by Google indicates that mobile users are even more sensitive to page loading speed. A page load time of between 1 to 5 seconds means the probability of a bounce increases by 90%

Image of impact of page load speed on bounce rate for mobile devices
Image Source:

 

So how quickly should a webpage load? Research for Akamai and Gomez.com found that almost a half of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less and that many will leave a site if it hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds. This demonstrates that users have relatively high expectations and could help explain the impact on conversion of slow loading websites.

As a rule of thumb if your site loads within 3 seconds that is pretty good performance. More normal is between 4 to 7 seconds, but don’t be satisfied with that, look to reduce it. Anything more than 7 seconds and you definitely should be looking to take action to reduce the time your visitors have to wait to interact with your website. You should seek to reduce load speed provided the ROI makes sense. This can be assisted by A/B testing identical pages that have different load speeds. Provided you see an uplift that outweighs the cost of improving the load speed then it is worth continuing the process.

How to measure load speed?

Image of tape measure
Source: Freeimages.com

All web analytics tools should allow you to see your individual page load speeds. If you are using Google Analytics go to “Behaviour” and select “Site Speed” and “Page timings”. In the drop down menu select “Average Document Interactive Time” as this is a measure of how long before a user can begin to interact with the page. This is a more meaningful indicator of load speed as many sites have content loading in the background well after the page appears to have loaded to a visitor.

 

Google Analytics site speed overview
Google Analytics – Site speed overview

 

Other tools to measure load speed:

  1. Google Developers: Free resource that rates your page speed for desktop and mobile devices. Generally your site should get a score of over 80 to be performing well, but see how you compare to your major competitors to benchmark your site speed.  It also provides recommendations for the main areas to investigate to improve your load speed.

Google Developers Page Speed Tools

  1. WebPagetest: Free tool for the more technically minded user that allows you to define the geographical location and to test different in different browsers. This gives you a detailed breakdown of the load speed of individual elements on the page.

 

  1. OctaGate Site Timer: Provides a Free evaluation of the impact on load speed of images, frames, iframes, script files and it also follows redirects. It also helps you identify the key offenders for you to optimise.

 

  1. YSlow: This gives you a Free analysis of load speed and indicates why page speed is slow based upon Yahoo!’s rules. It also enables you to select the browser you wish to test the page in.

 

How to speed up your site:

1. Minimise page size:

image of 2 weights
Source: FreeImages.com

1.1 Use GZIP compression – Check if your web host is using GZIP compression and deflation as this can reduce file size by up to 70% without adversely affecting the quality of images of videos.  Enter your site URL into the GZIP test tool to find out if your site is already GZIPPED.

 

1.2 Use JPEG rather than PNG images – PNG images don’t compress photographs anywhere near as much as JPEG files can and so make sure you use JPEG’s when you can. Smaller file sizes can help improve load speed markedly.

 

1.3 Adjust JPEG image quality – By setting the image quality of JPEG’s to 50-75% you can often significantly decrease the size of your images without any obvious reduction in image sharpness.

 

 

1.4 Avoid single page websites – Trying to get all your content on a single page is problematic at the best of times, but it also tends to result in very slow loading times because the page is often long and there are no other page to move content to.

Image of popcorngarage.com

1.5 Remove extraneous metadata from image files – Designers often leave a lot of metadata in image files, including comments, thumbnails and other information that they may find useful, but just adds to the file size. Get your designer to create a backup a copy for themselves and then put the website image version through image optimization software to minimise the file size and remove ancillary chunks.

 

2. Reduce the number of browser requests:

 

2.1 Enable browser caching – Provided your page dependencies don’t change too often you should look to enable browser caching so that the browser doesn’t have to dynamically generate the page every single time it loads. Contact your server admin or if you use WordPress you can use plugins like WP Super Cache to significantly improve page load times.

 

2.2 Use CSS sprites to combine small images into one file. Most websites have lots of small images (e.g. logos, icons, buttons etc.) which normally have to be fetched individually from the server. CSS sprites significantly improve performance by combining all the small images on a page into a single file called a “sprite”. This reduces the overhead of having to fetch multiple image files.

 

2.3 Merge related CSS and JavaScript files – Combining individual CSS and JavaScript files can reduce the number of files and thus help your browser load much faster.

2.4 Minimise the number of redirects – Multiple 301 redirects can confuse your browser and slow page load dramatically. Be careful not to create too many redirects as this can kill load speed.

3. Minimise the distance to your site:

3.1 Reduce the distance to your site – If you have users spread out around the globe consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to allow access to a server near the geographical location of your visitors. CDN providers such as Amazon Cloudfront and Softlayer provide competitive CDN services that can significantly improve site load speed.

Conclusion:

The evidence is clear – load speed is an important driver of bounce rates and conversion. Don’t let a slow site speed harm your conversion rate as there are plenty of ways to improve load speeds. Make sure you regularly check our site speed and use the above strategies to improve your site’s performance. It could make a large difference to your conversion rate.

Here is a great infographic from Skilled.co on how load speed affects your website.

Thank you for reading my post and if you found it useful please share using the social media icons on the page.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

8 Solutions To Prevent Website Abandonment.

The Site Abandonment Problem!

Updated: 7th May 2017

On average, around 96% of people who visit a website will leave without generating a lead or converting. Many have no intention or desire to convert. They are probably not be in the market for what you sell or offer. Some will have arrived on your site by mistake or are simply doing research.

However, there will be an unknown proportion of visitors who are currently in the market for your product or service. These visitors could potentially be persuaded to buy if they are engaged in the right way and your value proposition is sufficiently compelling. This is where your conversion activity needs to be targeted – site abandonment may be costing you dearly.

A systematic approach to website optimisation will allow you to identify areas for improvement. Beyond this there are two tools that can help improve conversion for those visitors that abandon your site.

Cart Abandonment:

Shopping cart abandonment is a massive problem for online retailers. Taking statistics from 29 different studies, the Baymard Institute in the UK, have estimated that around 68% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Just reducing this rate by 1% could increase revenues by millions of pounds a year for major retailers.

Help is at hand though with Shopping cart abandonment tools. Using a single line of JavaScript the software enables automated emails  to be sent to visitors who leave your website without buying items in their basket.

 

Site Re-Marketing:

For those visitors who you don’t have contact details for or abandon your site before they login, there is onsite re-marketing. This uses real-time personalised onsite messaging to target form abandonment and other revenue-reducing behavioural issues (e.g. when visitors move to exit your site or become inactive). Onsite re-marketing help to increase visitor engagement levels and should improve your conversion rate.

Why don’t sites use these solutions?

Many sites use in-house solutions, such as email marketing cycles for newly registered customers, to try to engage non-converting prospects. However, relatively few companies have the resource or expertise to develop fully-integrated solutions which can email prospects in real-time or conduct onsite re-marketing.

Further, many sites have not fully integrated the necessary analytics onto their web platforms to enable visitors to be tracked at the level required for these solutions. However, sites which invest in the necessary technology are likely to benefit financially as they will be able to deliver a much more personalised user experience than those who don’t.

Site Abandonment Solutions:

I’ve summarised below eight leading providers of shopping cart abandonment and onsite re-marketing tools to allow you to minimise the impact of site abandonment.

1. Communicator: Provides automatic email campaigns for shopping cart abandonment. Recommends that emails are sent within 20 minutes of abandonment. On average it achieves a conversion rate of 5.2% using highly relevant and personalised communications.

Image of Communicator/corp.com homepage

2. NUDGR from Formisimo: This is a new solution to respond to abandonment of forms and checkouts. It is a machine learning based tool which uses algorithms to precisely identify patterns of behaviour that result in customers abandoning your site. This allows the tool to accurately predict customer intent and offer timely interventions to reduce site abandonment. The solution allows you to tailor offers according to your customers and campaigns.

Image of NUDGR.io homepage

 

3. Rejoiner: Offers automated email campaigns for shopping cart abandonment, and personalised behavioural email campaigns (e.g. for partial web form submission) to re-target users who exit your site. Optimizes campaigns through personalisation, segmentation and A/B testing email campaigns.

Image of rejoiner.com homepage

 

4. SaleCycle: Delivers both onsite re-marketing using targeted messages to 100% of visitors as they are about to leave your website and shopping cart or form abandonment email re-marketing.  Offers A/B testing of emails as standard and claim email re-marketing increases sales between 4.5% to 6%.

 

Image of salecycle.com

 

5. SAP Hybris: Conversion Manager triggers real-time onsite messaging, personalised emails and re-targeted advertisements for shopping cart and form abandonment. Offers A/B testing as standard. Browser Manager triggers 1 to 1 real-time campaigns based upon visitors browsing behaviour (e.g. visitor goes to exit site).

   Image of hybris.com homepage

 

6. ScreenPopper: Helps you convert more users through a pop-up appearing on top of a web page, with the goal of promoting a single call-to-action. The benefit is you get the visitors immediate attention, which can be used to for conversion purposes. If your goal is to get more newsletter sign ups, you can use the pop-up to offer an incentive in exchange for an email address. Free 14 day trial.

 Image of screenpopper.com homepage

7. Upsellit: Delivers a range of solutions for cart abandonment, including live chat, personalised automated email campaigns, real-time site abandonment detection and targeted onsite re-marketing offer campaigns.

Image of upsellit.com homepage

 

8. VeContact: Collects abandonment data to create real-time personalised  emails that seek to bring lost customers back to their pre-populated basket. Claims to achieve a conversion rate of up to 60% of abandoned visitors.

 

Image of veinteractive.com homepage

Conclusion:

Site abandonment costs e-commerce retailers millions of pounds a year is lost sales. Shopping cart abandonment and re-marketing tools can help minimise the financial impact of site abandonment.  As solutions increasingly employ artificial intelligence to determine the timing and nature of interventions we should expect these tools to become more effective in the fight against site abandonment.

Early adoption of AI site abandonment solutions is likely to become a major competitive advantage. AI has the potential to deliver a much more personalised and targeted approach to site abandonment. Companies that don’t use such technology may find their margins squeezed as they fail to maintain conversion rates.

Thank you for reading my post. If you found it useful please share it using the social media icons below.

 

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, check out the Conversion Uplift  Facebook page or connect on LinkedIn.

Free Digital Marketing Toolbox

Over 300 Marketing Solutions To Boost Conversion Rates.

Updated 29th April 2017

  • Original posts explaining how to improve the performance of your digital marketing activity.
  • Regularly updated and designed for the professional marketeer, usability expert, website designer, developer or conversion specialist.

Please bookmark this page to ensure you can find it when you next need it.

1. A/B testing tools:

View my post here on choosing an A/B and MVT testing tool, including user ratings and over 20 suppliers to select from. This now includes Artificial Intelligence (AI) testing and optimisation solutions.

In addition to help you decide what to test: How should you prioritise your A/B test ideas?

2. Abandonment recovery emails and onsite re-marketing:

 

image of laptop and shopping cart
Source: Freeimages.com

Read my post here on how to engage visitors who abandon your website and  details of 8 suppliers to consider.

 

3. Address verification and auto-complete tools:

 

Read my post: 10 Free & Paid For Address Lookup Solutions To Boost Conversions.

4. Books:

 

There are some great books to help you optimize your website. Here is my post on 12 Awesome Books To Help You Optimize Your Website.

You can also read a review of The Growth Strategy That’s Being Ignored from Paul Rouke at PRWD.

 

5. Browsers and resolutions:

Images of browser logos

View my post – 12 Cross-Browser Testing Tools To Improve Your User Experience And Conversion.

 

6. Card Sorting (Remote):

 

My post explains how to use online card sorting to improve your website navigation – 6 Online Usability Card Sorting Tools To Improve Website Navigation.

 

7. Competitor Analysis:

 Evaluate competitors’ sites that have more traffic or a higher proportion of returning  visitors than your website.

 

Read: 10 free and paid website audience comparison tools for competitor benchmarking.

 8. Cultural Dimensions By Country:

 

For a full summary of key cultural factors in website design see my post: What you need to know about cross-cultural website optimization. 

9. Design Feedback (Also see Usability Tools) :

 

Get expert of customer feedback on your designs – 9 tools for getting design feedback for websites and apps.

10. Email Marketing:

 Images of promotional emails

Read my posts: 13 email verification solutions to boost conversions and 4 strategies to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing.

11. Fold height:

See Above the fold in my conversion glossary for details of how the fold influences visitor behaviour.

 

1. Google Chrome Screen Resolution Tester:  Resizes the browser window to view websites in different resolutions.

2. Scree Resolution Simulator: Test website usability with different screen resolutions.

3. Screenfly: Responsive screen testing on monitors, tablets, smart phones and more.  http://quirktools.com/screenfly/

 

12. Headings & imagery:

 

Ensure your landing page headings and imagery align with customer expectations by using word association to identify what people automatically think about when they explore your sector or product.

1. Human Brain Cloud: A simple multi-player word association game which will display results for words that you enter at the end of the URL (after #view/)

2. Word Associations Network: Project Word Associations Network allows you to lookup associations with a given word.

3. wordassociation.org:  Started off as a project and now claims to be the world’s largest database of word associations.

 

13. Image optimisation:

image of faces of two women from jpegmini.com

Reduce load speed and improve conversion by choosing from 14 image optimization tools.

 

14. Internal site search:

 

Evaluate your built-in search functionality by analysing key words  used by visitors or use a third-party search tool provider.

1. Google site search:  Uses the same technology that powers Google search to allow your visitors to find content on your website.

2. Freefind: Established in 1998, Freefind is a Free site search engine used by over 200,000 websites.

3. Fusion Bot: A site search engine which offers search, site map and reporting. Being fully hosted it does not require software to be installed. Also offers e-Commerce search engine with search and navigation of your site.

4. Adobe Target: Search driven merchandising includes options such as  auto-complete, a did you mean function, dynamic image options, multi-media use and decision-making refinements (filters).  Allows for automated merchandising rules and enables customised result display (e.g. sorting options).

 

15. Live chat:

 

Image of Carphonewarehouse.com live chat
Source: Carphonewarehouse.com

Improve engagement and reduce bounce rates by offering live interaction with customers whilst they are on your website.

Read my post – 6 top live chat solutions to increase sales.

16. Load speed for web pages:

 

 

Free resources are outlined in my post – How to improve site load speed to increase conversions.

17. Navigation Guidance &  App Tours:

 

Image of tool tips on Virginatlantic.com

Read my post: 9 Website onboarding solutions to improve conversions.

 

18. Personas:

Here is my post  7 free buyer persona online tools to build your personas.

To understand how to create buyer personas and benefit your bottom line please read my post: How to use personas to improve conversion. 

 

 

19: Product Ratings & reviews:

View my post about the value of product ratings and reviews, including the top suppliers here.

 

20. SEO Keywords:

Image of the letters SEO and a computer mouse
Source: Freeimages.com

 

Here is my post on How to do keyword research and 17 awesome tools to use.

You may also find this post useful; How to use Google’s Search Console to Boost Conversions.

21. SEO Link Building & Site Audit Tools:

 

View my post – 20 Powerful Link Building Tools To Drive Traffic To Your Website.

 

22. Social media tools:

 

View my post – Over 50 awesome tools to optimize your social media activity.

 

 

23. Stock Images (Free):

 

The use of stock images is often criticised by conversion experts because the same images are sometimes used by competing websites. They are also sometimes used inappropriately (e.g. to show a member of your customer services team when they are clearly a model).

However, when you have a limited budget, and provided you take care with selection, stock photos can be a great resource to convey relevant imagery on your website. Pictures are engaging and can instantly communicate emotions.

Here are 6 resources that provide free stock images and illustrations.

1. Flickr: The world’s largest online photo imaging and sharing application. A great website used by some of the world’s top photographers. Not all images can be used commercially so check first before you use a photo.

2. Morguefile: Contains freely contributed photographs for creative projects. Morguefile do ask you to reference the photographer where possible.

3. StocksPhotos.io: This is a community for high resolution images (over 27,000 to choose from).

4. rgbstock: Is a free resource of high quality photographs and  graphics for illustrations, wallpaper and backgrounds.

5. Openphoto: An extensive library of stock photos which was established in 1998 and now has a huge selection of free images to choose from. Categories organised in thumb nails and also has a keyword search facility.

6. Freeimages: Most of the 6,000 images on file were either taken exclusively for the site or were sourced from contributing photographers and illustrators.

 

24. Surveys and user polls:

Typeform.com mobile survey
Source: Typeform.com

Click here for How to use online Voice of Customer tools to boost conversions – and 22 tools to reviewed.

 

25. Text Analysis – Word clouds:

 

A word cloud is an image composed of words used in a particular text or subject, in which the size of each word indicates its frequency or importance.

You can use word clouds as a way to visualise verbatim responses of users to surveys. complaints, problems or other feedback from visitors.

1. ABCya!: A word cloud for kids that may be relevant if your website is out interest to children. Type or paste text into the box below and press the arrow button to view the word cloud generated.

2. Jason Davies: A great tool if you want to generate a word cloud from a blog or website.

3. Tagcrowd: Allows you to set  specific criteria  for your cloud such as language, maximum number of words and minimum frequency.  Allows you to create a word cloud from a URL or upload text from a document.

4. Tagxedo: Create word clouds from a URL, Twitter ID, Del.icio.us ID, news, search,  RSS feed, uploading text or enter it yourself.

5. Tagul: A word cloud generator with advanced features including words inside words, rich font choices, roll-over effects, custom shapes, colours and fonts and export in vector formats.

6. WorditOut: Advanced filters allows you to filter the text to display or remove words and change their importance. Select your own layout by choosing your own colours, fonts, and sizes or let WorditOut find a random look for you.  http://worditout.com/

7. Wordle:  A simple word cloud generator which allows you to set the weights of words.

26. Tree Testing:

 

Tree testing or reverse card sorting is a usability technique used to evaluate how easy it is to find topics on  a website using the navigation structure. Checkout my post: How to improve website navigation using tree testing. 

27. Trust Assessment:

 

 

1. TrustRadius: Business software reviews from users, software comparisons and insights.

2. Web Of Trust:  The WOT user community has rated over 36,000,000 websites. Check out how they rate your website. I have seen mixed reviews about how accurate the ratings are on this site, so proceed with caution.

 

28. Usability:

 

Read my post – How to do usability testing to improve conversions – including 12 top solutions to use. 

 

29. Video – Explainer Videos:

Here is my post  –  How to create an awesome explainer video which includes a list of 111 studios and video production companies to choose from. 

 

30. Video – Explainer Videos (DIY):

 

1. GoAnimate: Software to produce professional animated videos. Free trial available.

2. PowToon: Free software version available to produce your own animated videos.

3. VideoScribe: Make your own whiteboard videos fast. 7 day Free trial available.

 

31.Video Players (Including Hosting):

 

 

1.SPROUTVIDEO: A video hosting that allows you customise, publish and track videos online. Includes security, marketing and analytical tools. Sprout allows you to monitor the number of plays and impressions, including geographic location and the domains they are played on.

2. Vimeo Pro: A fully customisable and embeddable HTML5
player with advanced statistics, private review pages and 20GB of HD storage
each week, with no additional bandwidth limitations.

3. Vzaar:  A customisable video players with multi-language sub-titles. Features include HTML5 support, JavaScript API, dual encoding, privacy and domain control, RTMPe and HTTPS embed code for a secure login portal. A 30 day Free trial is available.

4. Wistia: Offers a Free version with Wistia branding that allows you to produce up to 25 videos a month and basic analytics. The paid for versions include HTML5 support, real-time analytics, playlists, custom skins, email embeds, popovers, video SEO, and more. Wistia’s video heatmaps show when users stop, start, skip, and re-watch your video.

32. Video Spokesperson:

 

Read my post: How did Virgin Holidays achieve a 30% uplift in seat upgrades?

33. Visual analytics (heatmaps & session recordings):

Read my post: 15 Free & Paid For Visual Analytics Solutions to Boost Revenues.

 34. Visual  Eye Tracking  Heatmaps :

 

Eye tracking and facial coding solutions to optimise your digital content.

35. Web Analytics:

 

Google Analytics homepage
Source: Google Analytics

Read my post on the importance of the importance of web analytics and  a review of 18 top free and paid for solutions.

 

36. Other Conversion Toolboxes:

 

1. Conversion Ninja Toolbox: Tim Ash, Sitetuners, – author of Landing Page Optimization.

2. Conversion Optimization Toolbox: From Marketizator.

3. My Free Conversion Rate Optimization Toolbox: Rich Page – author of Website Optimization – An hour a day.

Wow, congratulations on getting to the end of this post. Please share using the social media icons below to prove you got this far.

Please contact me with any feedback or details of other tools that assist in improving conversion that you think should be included in the toolbox.

You can access all my posts on conversion, digital marketing and more here on my archive page.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.