Testing Your Site Usability

Many times marketers invest considerable time and effort in SEO to increase their website traffic. Many of them are successful and have a lot of visitors to their websites. But many times that’s where it stops. Frustrated retailers are wondering what is the cause of this problem, where browsers are not turning into buyers. The solution to this low conversion rate may be as simple as site usability. Is your website user-friendly? Is your website a bit too cluttered with information making it difficult for the viewer to effectively navigate through it to find what they want and purchase it? It is important to check that your internal search feature is working properly. Many times frustrated people will leave a site prematurely due to glitches in the search feature.

In the online world of retailing it is very important to focus on getting objective feedback from other users on a site’s usability. No more is usability testing a costly endeavor that only the big companies can afford. There are many effective tools available that allow you to test out and make improvements to your site in an objective way without a major expense! I will attempt to explain a couple of these methods.

Five Second Test is a free service that helps you easily figure out what are the most attracting elements of your user interfaces. Five second test is used primarily to locate calls to action, optimize a landing page, and to split-test. It is based on the principle that most visitors to a site don’t have a long attention span and will usually spend only up to five seconds viewing a specific item/article before shifting their attention to other parts of the page. Basically you upload an image to be viewed by random web users who will view it for just five seconds. Then they will indicate the areas of the image that caught their eye by clicking on the screen. Additionally they describe via text field what they noticed on the places they clicked. Based on their opinions you will get a better picture on what is the most striking aspect of your offer.

For the imaginative brainstormer out there: If you are preparing to launch a new concept and would like some professional feedback before you send it out try using Concept Feedback. It allows you to receive quick responses from a group of professionals by simply uploading a concept, advertisement, website, or even a logo using Concept Feedback. And if you want to make sure that the reviewer rating your idea is really in the know, each reviewer has a reputation score to ensure that you choose the best feedback.

If you want to find out what people do on your website, CrazyEgg is probably your best bet. For just $19 a month you can track up to 25,000 visits monthly (and $99 for up to 250,000) and see what people are clicking on and what they just fail to notice on your website. Just enter the URL of the page of interest that you want to track, customize how long you want the test to run for and CrazyEgg will provide one line of JavaScript to be applied to your site. You will see all kinds of heap maps and overlays helping you discover what people like the most about your site. Another freebie: Google Website Optimizer allows you to test out different variations of promotions, headlines,and designs on real visitors and find out which version is the most successful. In addition it is fully integrated with Goggle Analytics.

If you’re looking for fast results UserTesting.com costs $29 and usually has results available in an hour. You receive a Flash video clip of a pre-screened visitor speaking his thoughts as he browses through your site. It also comes along with a written summary of what they enjoyed or disliked about your site and what would have caused them to leave altogether. 4Q by iPerception is a free survey that allows you to learn why someone is browsing your site and whether or not they are completing their tasks. It can also help you understand the reason for someone leaving without finishing up. It is compatible with any website and only requires a couple of lines of code. An additional advantage is that it allows you to create conversations and relationships with your visitors in a simple , clear way and can provide key information on the overall usability of your site.

Try them out and see which method works best for you. It is a sure-fire way to get to the root of the browser-not-turned-buyer problem.