Go through your top 25 most popular pages and identify what the purpose of the page is on your site.
The point of this is to identify which pages drive the most business for you. These are the pages that should get the majority of your attention for optimization since an improvement on these equals a good amount of return for your efforts.
Your top 25-50 pages probably include: your most popular landing pages, your homepage, a top-selling product pages, and (perhaps) your cart/checkout pages. Once you get an idea of the different types of pages, start to identify what it is you want visitors to do on these pages.
Some examples might be:
- Category pages: merchandise your products and help customers get to product pages
- Product pages: highlight important product information and get customers to add that to their cart
- Cart pages: review/finalize their order and then continue with checkout.
Load the page you want to optimize on your computer screen and step back 6 feet from your monitor.
Can you see (from 6 feet away) the parts of the page that fit the purpose you defined in Step 1? These important items that meet your defined purpose for these pages should be clear, easy to identify, and not have competition from other, less-important elements from 6 feet away.
For example: on a product page, you should be able to glance at the page from 6 feet away and clearly see the main product image, how much it is, where important product information is located (either in a description or bulleted list – you don’t need to be able to read it, just be able to see where that information is), and your Add to Cart button.
Once you’ve completed this exercise for your top, most-popular pages, you should have a list of pages that don’t clearly display the point of the page. It might be that you can see it, but that there are competing areas that draw your eye elsewhere. Take this list of pages that you will optimize to Step 3.
Make the elements that are the most important on your pages stand out clearly so they are
Some techniques to accomplish this are:
Reduce impact of competing elements:
Do you have a live chat image on the page that is taking a lot of focus? Does it have faces of customer service representatives? By removing large images that aren’t vital to the next step in their process, you allow the customer to focus on the product they are shopping for. Live chat is important, but not until they’ve decided whether or not to buy this product.
Don’t be afraid to remove items from the page. Removing distractions and clutter can give big returns.
I liken this to your friend that tells you all of the details in every story (everyone’s name, what they were wearing, what they do for a living, what kind of car they drive, what time it is, etc), when the story might be about how their car broke down on the way home. Too much information on a page starts to do the same thing to your visitors that your friend does when they tell a story: you (your visitors) lose the point of what it is they are supposed to be paying attention to. Simplifying your pages can help this issue.
- Change color of the element:
Is your Add to Cart button on product pages the same color as your site design? Is it the same color as your left navigation or background colors? Is it light grey? Sometimes simply choosing a color that doesn’t fit with your site design colors will help this element stand out and be noticed. On category pages, it could be that you have a dark background color that reduces the contrast of your product images.
- Change the size of the element:
Making the items you want customers to see bigger can help for some items that might be so small they are unnoticed. If you have vital information in your product description that they need to know (example: this product is custom made and will take 5-7 days to process before shipping), make sure the text is big enough to read easily. It’s amazing how many sites have 12pt (or smaller!) paragraphs of text.
That’s it. Once you’ve identified which elements are hard to see and which items need to be changed, you can mock these changes up and see if that helps make the page easier to read/use.