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6 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Tips For Low Traffic Websites

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6 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Tips For Low Traffic Websites


Website traffic is an essential resource for every online business. Yes, for the obvious reasons – because more traffic can convert to more customers and therefore more money in the till.

But traffic is also essential for data-driven optimization practices like conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Common CRO testing procedures rely heavily on website traffic for data to run conclusive tests.

Deriving insightful data from web traffic is no big deal for established enterprises like Amazon and Microsoft, which get millions of users every day.

But conversion optimization is more challenging for low-traffic websites.

That doesn’t mean these small businesses should give up on conversion optimization and resort to implementing random hypotheses.

The CRO tips and techniques below are proven to work for low-traffic websites.

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The Difficulty In Optimizing Low-traffic Websites

We know how critical testing is to ensure that a website runs optimally and generates revenue.

Tests rely on data and to get a significant result, we need lots of data.

Improving a website’s rank to get more traffic can help in data acquisition.

But going this route can be quite expensive and time-consuming for new and small businesses.

You cannot wait for your website to rank organically and then implement CRO best practices.

However, performing CRO when your website barely gets any traffic is also challenging.

Such websites have smaller sample sizes, and it takes an inappropriately long amount of time to reach statistical significance when running tests with small samples.

Additionally, calling a test before it reaches statistical significance runs the risk of implementing a false positive and shooting yourself in the foot, potentially ruining any progress you may have made over time.

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This is why A/B testing and optimization for low-traffic websites is challenging for most marketers.

CRO Tips For Low Traffic Websites

If you Google [Proven CRO Tips], you will come across plenty of generic CRO best practices that work well on high-traffic websites.

But what if you’re just getting started with a new website or struggling to build your audience for other reasons?

1. Run Tests With Low Confidence Level

The confidence level is a critical part of statistics that indicates how true your test results are for the entire population.

In simple terms, it tells you how reliable the test findings are and how safe you are from implementing false results.

The higher the confidence level, the higher the likelihood that a test result is true.

For example:

  • A test between the samples A and B runs at 95% confidence.
  • This tells us that sample A is better than B.
  • That means we have a 95% chance of this result being accurate and sample A actually being better than B.
  • And we have only a 5% chance of this result being false, where sample B being better than A.

When running tests on different samples, you are required to choose a confidence level that ultimately decides the sample size.

A 95% confidence level is the industry standard when performing CRO tests. This leaves only a meager 5% or one in 20 chance of the CRO tests results being false.

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This is a risk everyone is happy to take.

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However, being 95% confident in the accuracy of your test results requires a large sample size and when running tests on low-traffic websites, sample size is a scarce resource.

In this case, it almost makes sense to lower your confidence level to reduce the sample size needed to reach statistical significance.

Reducing confidence level also speeds up your test and helps you achieve results in a smaller time frame than running tests with the industry-standard confidence level.

Be aware though that when you lower your confidence level, you may compromise the accuracy of your test results.

It is up to you to decide whether you are willing to trade the accuracy of your tests with time.

In my opinion, you should not be afraid to test at 85% or even 80% confidence level.

It is better to test different variations in a shorter time frame rather than waiting for a large sample size to run a test with 90% or 95% confidence.

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2. Track Micro-conversions

Conversion is a spectrum with lots of micro-conversions leading up to one macro conversion – the ultimate goal of your website.

Micro-conversions are incremental steps that represent a user’s interest in your brand.

Tracking micro-conversions could be a good idea when optimizing low-traffic websites because smaller conversions occur more frequently and hence are larger in number than the one macro conversion.

For example, an ecommerce website may have a higher add-to-cart rate than completed orders.

Or, a SaaS product may have higher free-trial signups than premium signups.

Tracking these smaller conversions will give you a higher baseline conversion to build your test around.

It is common knowledge that increasing baseline conversion decreases the sample size needed to reach statistical significance and run a successful test.

However, tracking micro-conversions, once again, trades accuracy for the possibility of conducting a successful test.

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A micro-conversion may not necessarily contribute to your bottom line, and optimizing your website for these variables may generate misleading results.

Consequently, you can end up doing more damage than good.

So, how can you track micro-conversions while ensuring your efforts will prove profitable in terms of website conversions?

Focus on micro-conversions as a part of the whole user journey and optimize these variables to uplift the entire user experience of your website.

3. Go For Major Changes

When attempting to test a low-traffic website, you don’t have the liberty of testing minute elements and gaining granular insights into your users’ preferences.

And honestly, at this point, you can survive just fine without it.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t A/B test at all.

Going for drastic changes in your variation can lead to an increased lift in your primary variable.

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In other words, if you implement a major change in your variation, you are more likely to see a more significant change in baseline conversion.

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Let me explain.

If you test minor changes between samples A and B of your website, the difference in conversion would be extremely small.

Sample A may have 5% conversion, while sample B may represent 5.5% conversion.

Image created by author, January 2022

With a lack of a large sample size, the 0.5% lift in conversion is not appreciable enough to conclude that sample B is better than sample A and implement it.

However, if you implement a massive change on your website, you may notice a bigger lift between control and variation.

Sample A (the control) may have the baseline conversion of 5%, while sample B with a considerable change may generate a 45% conversion.

This would show a 40% lift and indicate that sample B is better than A, and you can work your way up from there.

webpage version conversion rates comparisonImage created by author, January 2022

So, in short, if your test variation generates a higher lift in conversion, either positive or negative, it will be easier for you to declare a winner.

4. Use Personalization With Dynamic Data

Almost 66% of customers expect online engagement personalized according to their previous interactions and online behavior.

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Website personalization is a critical CRO strategy that can lead to increased conversions, regardless of how much traffic your website gets.

Website personalization entails serving dynamic content to web visitors, as this content is more relevant to their preferences and better resonates with them.

Serving dynamic content is also a data-driven approach that does not rely on web traffic.

It builds on data retrieved from various sources such as a user’s:

  • online behavior,
  • search history,
  • website interaction,
  • location,
  • demographic information,
  • social interactions,
  • CRM data,
  • and more.

Netflix is a prime example of a business serving dynamic content.

It sends push notifications and emails with personalized content recommendations and adjusts the content on the Netflix home page based on your watch history.

Of course, personalization also needs testing and optimization. But tests, in this case, are not as reliant on website traffic as they otherwise are.

Linio, an ecommerce marketplace we’ll use for example, had more than 4 million products. They wanted to optimize their customer journey and better guide the customers to the right items.

For that, Linio employed a personalization engine and created highly personalized experiences.

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Their website personalization efforts led to 30% increase in conversions and a 23% boost in revenue per user.

5. Deploy Usability Testing

User or usability testing involves testing a website to reveal its friction points and identify how well it serves its target audience.

It can help discover critical areas for improvements on your website, and enhance the overall user experience.

Usability testing is imperative for websites of all scales.

But it is particularly helpful for low-traffic websites as it only requires a handful of people to carry out tests and still yields meaningful results.

The sole purpose of enhancing UX is to increase conversions. Therefore, improving UX with usability testing should be a critical part of your CRO arsenal.

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You cannot (and should not!) rule out usability testing just because it’s a qualitative approach.

Additionally, qualitative data is largely underutilized, so usability testing for optimizing conversions can give you an edge over your competitors.

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You do have to be careful when choosing participants for your usability test.

It is ideal if your test participants align with your target buyer persona.

But if that’s not possible, it is important to ensure that these people know a bit about what you are doing to give context to your tests and contribute to meaningful results.

The Polish Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, to use an example from Torsten Tromm, was struggling to gain donations from their web visitors.

They wanted to figure out the reason why online visitors weren’t making any donations and for that, they deployed usability testing.

The tests they performed led them to the realization that people found their website confusing and difficult to navigate through.

The visitors wanted to donate but didn’t know how.

Therefore, they redesigned their website to shift the donation button higher on the side menu and replaced the donation button copy from “Support it” to “Pay Online” to eliminate any confusion.

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As a result of these adjustments, their donations increased by 420%.

6. Use Integrated Feedback Forms

The purpose of CRO is to optimize your website for an enhanced user experience.

And understanding your audience is important for good UX and hence should be considered in conversion optimization.

Brands spend millions of dollars trying to understand their audience so they can optimize their customer touchpoints to be more relevant for the users.

Deploying on-site feedback forms help you understand users’ behavior and won’t cost you millions, either.

Using these forms, you can get insights into how your target audience feels about your website and about their needs.

With closer inspection, you may uncover user behavior trends that can then guide your optimization process.

However, you have to make sure that you ask the right questions to ensure that the feedback you collect propels your optimization campaign in the right direction.

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Additionally, you have to build and time your feedback forms appropriately so as not to frustrate the user.

Final Words

Conversion rate optimization is a data-driven process that, when done on websites, largely relies on data collected through website visitors.

But with low-traffic websites, this data is limited, which means you have a small sample size to work with, and quantitative tests may seem unreliable.

That’s no reason to give up on CRO entirely.

There are many quantitative and qualitative optimization tips and strategies you can implement to increase conversions, regardless of how much traffic your website gets.

These strategies include statistical approaches like lowering the confidence level or reducing variations.

Even if your traffic is too low for these tips, you can go for usability testing or feedback forms, which offer equally valuable insights.

More resources:

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Featured Image: Griboedov/Shutterstock





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How To Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

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How To Use Google's Structured Data Markup Helper

If you drill down to the very core, every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy has the same aim: convincing Google your webpage is the best answer to a user’s query.

There are a lot of tactics you can and should employ to achieve this, but that’s the goal.

And, as the Google brain has grown more complex, it’s able to display increasingly more detailed and helpful answers.

For example, if you’re looking to book a flight from Chicago O’Hare to LAX, Google can now show you options in rich snippets on search results pages.

Likewise, if you run a concert venue, you can add code known as structured data to your website that will encourage Google to display your events when they’re relevant to web searchers.

If you’re not familiar with the term “structured data,” don’t fret – there are a lot of SEO professionals and web marketers who aren’t.

In this article, we’ll set that right, plus give you tips on using the Structured Data Markup Helper to easily add it to your site.

What Is Structured Data?

As defined in this post, structured data is information (data) that is organized (structured). Organized information is basically what structured data is.

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For SEO purposes, structured data is a specific type of formatting that gives Google information about the meaning of a page.

Following a standardized vocabulary outlined by Schema.org, it is used across several search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.

Structured data can use syntax like JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata, among others.

Why Is Structured Data Important?

There are several reasons why webpages use structured data.

For one thing, it makes navigation easier for both search engine crawlers and human users.

This is because it provides the information that can then be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the form of rich snippets, video carousels, and other special search result features and enhancements.

This leads to faster indexing by search spiders and enhances your site’s search visibility. This can also help improve your click-through rate, increase conversions, and grab more voice search traffic.

In an article for Search Engine Journal, Winston Burton, Senior Vice President of SEO at global search and marketing agency Acronym, detailed the results of adding structured data to the client’s website.

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With no other optimization strategies employed, the client saw a 400% net growth in rich result organic traffic and a 140% growth in impressions for the company’s answer center.

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Even if this is a statistical outlier, it still highlights the massive potential of using structured data.

What Is Structured Data Used For?

Now that we’ve covered what structured data is and why it’s important, let’s look into some of the ways it can be used.

In an April 2022 Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, Google Search Advocate John Mueller dove into structured data and its uses.

If you have 30 minutes to spare, it’s well worth the watch. If you’re in a hurry, the part that’s relevant to the current topic begins at 27:19. Or better yet, read Roger Montti’s coverage of it here.

In this hangout, Mueller was asked a question about how to choose the best format for structured data.

His answer was that it’s not so much about what format a page uses, but rather what kind of rich result is available for the page.

Structured data is very versatile and provides a lot of opportunities for businesses to use it to drive clicks. Some of these you may wish to take advantage of include:

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Knowledge Panels

Used for things that are part of the Google Knowledge Graph, they provide a quick overview of information about a topic.

Screenshot from search, Google, June 2022

As a business, you can use knowledge panels to give users at-a-glance information about your brand name, logo, and phone number, among other things.

Rich Snippets

Sometimes referred to as rich results, this is the additional data Google shows users in addition to normal search results. This may include things like music, events, or recipes.

Rich Snippets ExampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

For commercial purposes, this is where reviews can be shown. It can also highlight things like products, addresses, and special offers.

Hosted Carousels

Common on mobile devices, this shows multiple “cards” from the same site.

Not to be confused with ordinary carousels, which can include images, video, and other data pulled from multiple sites, hosted carousels use content from only one “host” site.

Google currently supports the following types of hosted carousels:

  • Educational Course.
  • Movie.
  • Recipe.
  • Restaurant.
Carousel exampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

AdWords

If you’re using Google’s automated ads as part of your PPC strategy, you can use structured snippets to give more information to customers.

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For example, you could use them to provide information about a line of products, included features or services offered.

AdWords exampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

But, before you go inserting structured snippets into your webpages willy-nilly, you should know these are subject to standard Google Ads policies and must meet a number of requirements, a full list of which can be found here.

Getting Started With Structured Data

By now you should see the benefits structured data can offer, so let’s look at how to add it to your website.

The simplest way to add structured data to your webpage is by using Google’s Data Highlighter tool.

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To use this, simply open the tool and highlight data like name, date, location, etc. with your mouse.

Google will note this information the next time it crawls your site and present the data in rich snippets on search results pages.

You can also manually markup elements on HTML webpages. Sound intimidating? It’s not. You just have to have a small working knowledge of coding.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1.   Open Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
  2.   Click the “Website” tab.
  3.   Select the type of page you’re marking up (e.g., job postings, restaurants, Q&A page, local businesses, etc.)
  4.   Enter the URL of an existing page or raw page HTML.
  5.   Click “Start Tagging.”
  6.   Highlight the parts of the page you want to be included in rich snippets and identify them in the dropdown that appears.
  7.   Fill in the required information. For an event, this includes the event name, location, and date.
  8.   After you have finished tagging, click the “Create HTML” button and choose an output format. JSON-LD is Google’s preferred format, though you can also choose Microdata.
  9.   Copy the code or download it. If you are using JSON-LD, paste the generated code into the body of the existing page. If you choose Microdata, replace your page with the generated HTML.
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Some other things to note:

  • To test the generated code, copy and paste it into the Rich Result test, which will show you any missing fields you need to fill in.
  • You can have multiple items on one page, but Google recommends that they are all the same type, e.g., all movies or all job postings.
  • All pages you want to display rich snippets for should be available to the public and not hidden behind login screens.
  • It may take a few weeks for Google to crawl your new page, but once it does it can be shown in rich snippets.

Is Structured Data A Ranking Signal?

Now for the $10,000 question: Will structured data markup help your site appear higher in search rankings?

Unfortunately, no.

In a deep dive into the topic, Search Engine Journal found that while it offers many benefits, there is no direct evidence schema markup is used by Google to determine search ranking.

That said, because it helps search engines more easily understand the content of your website, it can help you show up in relevant queries you may have been excluded from in the past.

Key Takeaways

Traffic is always the name of the game in digital marketing. And leveraging structured data on your website is a great way to help attract visitors.

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Not only does it enhance the appearance of your content in search results, but it can help your site get indexed faster.

Rich results (particularly positive product reviews) can also significantly improve your click-through rate and average time on the page.

If your page is used in a featured snippet, it will show at the top of SERPs.

In addition to the increase in visibility that provides, featured snippets are used to answer voice search queries. That means you’ll be the only result for anyone who uses Siri or Alexa for a query.

The final reason you should use structured data on your website is that it gives you more control over your information.

You determine how Google understands your brand and allows you to control how your information is defined.

Structured data is a useful tool in your toolbox. It doesn’t work for every site and every type of content, but if you’re in a field where it is useful, it’s something you need to be using.


Featured Image: NicoElNino/Shutterstock

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