how to test conversions on low traffic websites featured image by Toma Kanyte

7 Conversion Testing Techniques for Low Traffic Websites

Conversion testing is one of the most important optimization tactics for any business with an online presence. This is because it allows the business to incrementally change and optimize elements on their website that can lead to higher conversions, or simply put, a higher percentage of customers buying their products or services.

But – and for many new or small businesses, this is big: conversion testing requires that you have enough website visitors for the results to be significant. For example, if your website gets 300,000 visitors per month, you can practically see how changing things like the button size, position, or color can impact conversions. 

Some experts claim that you’d need roughly 2,000-3,000 pageviews to test conversions on that particular page effectively. That means that if you have only 1,000 page views per month in total, or 100 page views per day, your traffic is simply too small to make any significant conclusions in any reasonable amount of time.

Peep Laja, CEO of CXL, agrees:

"When your tests don't get enough sample size, you won't get to conclusions, you never validate anything. Worse - you may end up declaring a "winning" variation as the winner, and run enthusiastically in the wrong direction.”

Laja emphasizes that there is no such thing as “almost significant” when it comes to conversion testing:

“If you don't have enough conversion volume to run valid AB tests, don't run them at all."

So, does that mean that having a low traffic website means that you should just forget conversion testing? Or that if you have not launched your website yet, there’s no conversion testing you can do?

Not really. There are many more ways to test your website’s impact on users – even with little or no traffic.

Today we’ll look at some of the techniques you can use for conversion testing, but let’s cover our bases first.

What is CRO?

To look at conversion testing for low traffic websites, we need to get a good grip on what CRO actually is.

In simple terms, CRO stands for ‘conversion rate optimization.’ In a more complex and realistic sense, CRO means optimizing any parts of a website that could lead to a visitor moving further down your funnel to make a transaction. 

Your conversion rate then is a percentage representing all the people who made the transaction compared to all the people that came to your site.

Optimize meaning

But let’s take it even further. What do we mean by ‘optimize’ or ‘optimization?’ In simple terms, ‘optimize’ means to make whatever you have or whatever you do as perfect as possible on a rolling basis.

For low website traffic, this implies two things: 

  1. You don’t need to add more traffic. Instead, you need to get as many current visitors to convert (buy something);
  2. You need to do it consistently. You can’t just optimize now and never look at it again. There’s always something to optimize because visitors, customers, technology, and your competitors are always changing.

In general, you should be looking to optimize the big and small things on a regular basis to increase the percentage of your website visitors who will buy your products or services.

Technique #1: AI-powered heatmaps

Heatmaps like Hotjar can show you how real visitors are interacting with your page – what they look at most, what they’re interested in, what they click, and so on. The focus of their activities are shown as red (hot), and the least interaction is empty or blue (cold). 

However, if you have a low traffic website, or especially if you have only a website designed but not launched, you won’t be able to use these kinds of tools for conversion testing. 

Even worse, setting up your own eye-tracking studies is impractical for most businesses. 

Kamilė Jokubaitė, CEO and founder of Attention Insight says: 

“For accurate findings you’d need to have eye-tracking software and devices, and you’d have to recruit at least 39 users to generate heatmaps and record their behavior.”

And that’s where AI-powered heatmaps like Attention Insight come into play. The power of using AI for heatmaps is that the AI has been trained on previously recorded data from real eye-tracking studies. 

It’s also very fast: in seconds, you can get a 90-94% accuracy compared to regular eye-tracking studies that can take days or even weeks.

Attention Insight can do this with either a live website (A) or by uploading a design file of the unlaunched website (B):

attention insight platform for conversion testing on low traffic websites

In the below image, you’ll see how Attention Insight’s AI-powered heatmap analyzed the popular e-commerce website Skullcandy:

Skullcandy Landing
testing conversion on Skullcandy Landing

Attention Insight’s trial is completely free to use up to 5 analyses a month.

Technique #2: Landing page analyzers

OK, so let’s imagine that you are not ready to test or optimize your entire website but just want to analyze how well a specific landing page will perform. This can be done with landing page analyzers like this one from Unbounce.

For landing page analyzers, unfortunately, you’ll need a live, published landing page since it works only with a URL. After that, the analyzer will check your landing page based on the current conversion rate, the keywords you’re going for, the industry, the copy (text) it contains, and the page speed. 

It does this with a combination of machine learning, Google’s SEO best practices recommendations, and Unbounce’s own proprietary research.

testing conversions on low traffic websites with Unbounce landing page analyzer
Analysis report overview from Unbounce Landing Page Analyzer

It’s also completely free to use (including the analysis report).

Technique #3: Panel-based copy testing

One of the most important parts of your conversion testing will be to see how effective your copy or message really is.

Does the audience understand what problem you’re solving? Is your product or service offering clearly communicated?

Good copy can lead to great conversion rates, and it’s crucial for you to prioritize the optimization of your copy.

Luckily, if you have low or no traffic, you don’t have to ask your colleagues or friends for their opinions. Instead, you can get a panel-based copy testing service like Wynter.

With this type of conversion testing, you can understand how the copy on a specific page, or a specific part of a page, resonates with your intended audience.

You choose the URL of the page (or take a screenshot if it’s unlaunched). Then you get to choose the audience, whether B2B or consumer, the country, age, and gender. Your selected “panel” will then review your copy and give you insights into how well it’s working.

Wynter copy testing panel to test low traffic websites
Sample analysis from Wynter

Technique #4: Real-time user testing interviews

Similar to the panel-based copy testing from above, you can also get real-time user testing with services like UserTesting.

This is similar in concept to Wynter.io, except that with UserTesting, you can get a panel to assess not just your copywriting but also your product or service, your design and UX, and all other parts of your marketing efforts.

Michael Mace, VP of Market Strategy at UserTesting says:

“The greatest benefits of user tests is that they let you get customer feedback in real time -- usually in just an hour or two. That lets you iterate very rapidly with high confidence that you’re making good decisions. It eliminates a lot of rework and anxiety, and increases the odds that your approach will resonate with customers on the first try.”

You can determine your intended audience by building your own panel based on specific criteria you decide. When it comes to CRO for your website, that means that you can finetune your pages for conversion by choosing which kind of customers you’d love to have buying from you and then tailoring your site based on their feedback.

Needless to say, you don’t need to have any traffic for real-time user testing to work for you.

Technique #5: Five-second testing

This particular conversion testing technique works by showing testers only 5 seconds of a particular website, as the name implies. It allows you to get an understanding of the fundamental aspects of a given webpage and not the fine-tuned details.

For example, you’d use five-second testing to figure out if users understand what your basic product or service is, if they can remember what the brand or company name is, and if they believe they can get any benefit from using your product or service.

Many studies show that users leave a website within 10 seconds, so five-second testing allows you to see if you’ve conveyed the basic message of your product or service in half that time. If your page hasn’t conveyed that message, it’s likely that your reader will leave the page quickly.

Five-second testing doesn’t require any significant traffic, or even any traffic, since it’s basically a page shown to a tester for 5 seconds, so a design or page mockup would also work.

However, it’s pretty hard to set it all up by yourself, so using a service like UsabilityHub that offers five-second testing would be worthwhile.

Technique #6: User feedback

User feedback is something that should be done, regardless of the size of your website traffic, on a consistent basis. User feedback gives you the opportunity to hear from your visitors and customers how you can improve your product and website experience.

There are quite a few ways you can do user feedback, and they reflect the point-of-feedback for a customer in their customer journey, or simply a website visitor.

The seven most common types of user feedback are:

  • General user feedback: A user can give feedback whenever they want, normally through an always-present widget or form on the website. This should be easy to use so that users can quickly leave feedback.
  • Point of conversion: As soon as a visitor buys something, you can ask users about their payment experience or why they decided to buy from you.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): A week or two after purchase, ask the user how easy it is to use your product. This works best for SaaS business models and goods involving continuous usage, like online courses.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): About a month after a customer has bought or tried your product or service, find out if they would actually recommend you and why (or why not).
  • Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT): If you have customer service in place, ask the user how their customer support experience has been.
  • Retention Surveys: If a customer downgrades or closes their account, find out why. This is best for online services like SaaS. 
  • 1-on-1 interviews: Get in touch with customers who have provided some feedback and talk to them in-depth about their use of your product. 

 

User feedback methods like CES and retention surveys fit bets with SaaS business models, and many of these will require you to have some infrastructure in place to capture the feedback at the right moment. 

For the most part, it would be easier to use a tool like Hotjar rather than to go at it yourself.

Technique #7: User session recordings (session replays)

Sometimes, you want to just stand behind a user and watch how they interact with your websitewhat elements they click on, what they avoid, what catches their interest or what doesn’t, what frustrates them, what causes them to leave or to buy, etc.

Practically, you can’t do so physically, but with user session replays, you get pretty much the same thing. Instead of peering over their shoulder, you get an actual screen recording of how a user interacts with your website.

User session recording done with Hotjar

The great thing is that you don’t need significant traffic for this to work, since you just want to get an understanding of how users behave on your site.

Yaron Morgenstern, CEO of Glassbox says:

“The challenge with conversions is that you often know whether your site/campaign is converting or not – but it’s challenging to understand why.”

Why are customers leaving their digital journey at a certain location?

Is this a technical issue (e.g., broken screen elements, long response time) or an experience issue (e.g., users couldn’t find what they were looking for, the content was not engaging enough, etc.)?

Morgenstern assures that session recordings can help website and product owners answer these “Why” questions:

“Session replay can instantly reproduce the journey as the customer experienced it and replay it, highlighting the areas of struggles and errors. So if an A/B test tells you which variant drives higher loyalty or conversion, sessions replay (and its related analysis) will tell you why.”

Because session recordings represent more qualitative data, you should combine these with quantitative data that you get from your Google Analytics, especially if you’ve properly set it up with event tracking.

You can use tools from SessionCam, a Glassbox company, FullStory or previously mentioned Hotjar to record user sessions.

Last points on testing low traffic websites

Some of these services are free to use, while others can go for a few hundred dollars for every assessment made. For that reason, if you are more budget-conscious, you should carefully approach these different conversion testing methods for low traffic websites, or those still in the design stage.

As Jokubaitė says:

“When someone tells you that conversion optimization is not possible for small businesses, you should know that that’s not true – there are many different techniques you can use to prove them wrong and get valuable insights from your visitors and customers.”

When you’re ready to try out these tools, make sure that you’ve done enough work; i.e., use these tools to test the “perfect” (in your opinion) version of the website or page, rather than just a “draft” version.

From there on, you should make iterative changes, both big and small, to get a result that you feel confident in.

Once you get to that point, launch the page to see how your real traffic interacts and see just how well your optimized page now converts.

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