Much has been written about Evolutionary Site Redesign (ESR). A nice term that basically translate to: “a successful site requires optimization work throughout its lifetime”.
The time that a website only had the function of an online brochure is far behind us. Your site should be fully connected with your entire proposition, it must trigger interaction and should constantly meet the changing expectations of your visitors.
But who decides what the expectations of my site visitors are? Guess what, that is being determined before you, and in particular by the big leading players on the market. They generate the most visitors and they set the standards in terms of customer experience, so also for your visitors. Jacob Nielsen explains it here nicely.
Of course there are other “evolutionary” factors that ensure that websites have to be updated to new standards. For example Google with their “Mobile First indexing“, so don’t you dare to keep a website alive that is not responsive. Or the introduction of GDPR which also has an influence on the customer experience, as the website should be updated to make it legally compliant.
Checking the client experience on the websites of your competitors is a good reference point, but it should not simply be copied as such. Your product or service probably does differ from your major competitor and it makes sense to detect frictions to further optimize your conversion. You can therefore start with heat map analysis and user recordings to observe your visitors end-to-end in their behavior on your website: From the landing page to the checkout and payments process. After all: “The proof is in the pudding”.
Don’t forget your checkout and payments process
“Once my visitors are on my site and find what they want, they should be fine and become a client right?”
Well, you should bear in mind that the visitors who have reached your checkout are the closest to your money. So to benefit financially from ESR, that’s exactly where optimizations have big impact. Use your heatmap analysis and see what actually happens. Online client behaviour in your checkout could be totally different than what you may expect. Why? You can read about the rational behind it here: https://ecomstream.nl/checkout-funnel-optimization/
How to make it work
You get the tests implemented, analyze the results and then quickly implement the winners on your site. Then you monitor performance. Also, don’t forget to continue to pay close attention to the customer experience in the checkout of the market leaders, adapt, and test again. With ESR you continue to prove that the customer experience remains optimal for your visitors, with optimal conversion as a result.