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25 questions to ask when optimizing your website

Is your team pouring time and money into website optimizations without seeing any tangible results? Are you making assumptions about what to optimize without digging deep to unearth valuable user insights? 

The best way to figure out which website elements to optimize and validate your ideas is by asking your business and your users quality questions.

Last updated

16 May 2022

Asking the right questions helps you move beyond your assumptions to ensure every optimization decision you make will really impact your users and organizational goals. 

This article shows you how to formulate effective questions—and gives you a handy list you can use—to ensure your optimization strategies are really meeting user needs.

Ask the right questions for effective website optimization

Use Hotjar’s Observe and Ask products to get actionable insights on what users experience on your site and what compels them to convert

11 questions to ask yourself when optimizing your website

To get the most out of your website optimization efforts, you’ll need to determine specific business goals, benchmarks, and KPIs. The best way to do that is by asking yourself and your team different types of questions across the optimization process.

Early on, reflect on broad focus areas like 'Which website optimization metrics should I track?' Later, use more targeted questions and hypotheses such as 'Will changing the positioning of my CTA get more users to convert?'

Make sure to ask a mix of big-picture and specific optimization questions, and formulate concrete hypotheses to help you understand, implement, and track changes. 

It’s important to ask questions throughout the website optimization process because that helps you fine-tune the site and avoid costly and timely mistakes along the way. If you’re constantly questioning and evaluating the work that’s being done, you can catch errors right away. It also helps you stay in a growth mindset, which can produce better results, and you will end up with a website that performs at its best.

Colin Toh

Big-picture questions 

Ask yourself broad, strategic questions to get clear on what the key aims of your website are. Strong big-picture questions to inform your website optimization include:

  • What user problems is your site designed to solve? 

  • What’s the overall goal of your site?

  • What’s your site’s unique selling point?

  • What resources can you dedicate to website optimization?

  • What sort of tools do you need to optimize your site? 

Specific optimization questions 

Asking specific optimization questions will help you prioritize brilliantly in your optimization efforts. Ask yourself specific optimization questions like: 

  • Is your page load speed affecting user retention?

  • Is your website easy to find and navigate? 

  • How targeted is your keyword research? 

  • Are you optimized for mobile? 

  • How much increase in conversion rates do you expect? 

  • Which website pages need to be optimized for maximum impact and conversion? 

Develop clear hypotheses on what needs to be optimized to meet user and organizational goals—and then ask more questions based on these hypotheses.  

Formulate a question like 'Will doing X help us achieve Y goal?' and then validate your hypothesis by testing it out with users.

For example, if you’re looking to increase your rating in the app store, you may hypothesize that optimizing your mobile website experience by improving speed and redesigning popups for mobile will generate a better UX and improve ratings.

Pro tip: use Hotjar’s Observe and Ask tools to see how users respond to website optimization updates and validate your hypotheses. Recordings and Heatmaps help you quickly spot patterns in user behavior, while Surveys and Feedback tools give you direct feedback on what users think and feel.

Hotjar’s feedback widget lets your customers share their opinions 

14 questions to ask users when optimizing your website

Ask users strategic questions throughout the entire process of optimizing your site to spot user issues, constantly meet customer needs, and discover further optimization opportunities

Ask your users a range of questions to get the most out of their feedback and better direct your optimization efforts. 

Key question types to ask your users include:

Open-ended questions to dig deeper into user needs

Open-ended questions give your users ample space and freedom to explain their likes and dislikes about your product page or website. 

Examples of open-ended questions you can ask are: 

  • What’s a feature you wish our website had? 

  • If you could change one thing about our website, what would it be? 

  • Are you having trouble finding anything? 

  • What are you hoping to accomplish on our site? 

  • Is there anything missing on this page?

  • How accurately does our content reflect your search query?  

  • How did you hear about/find our website? 

  • Are there features on our website that you don’t find helpful? 

Hotjar Surveys let you collect a steady stream of user suggestions and input—and Hotjar’s dashboard makes it easy to analyze survey data for user-driven decision-making.  

#Hotjar Surveys give you valuable user-backed insights to increasing customer satisfaction.

Source: Hotjar
Hotjar Surveys give you valuable user-backed insights to increasing customer satisfaction. Source: Hotjar

Closed-ended questions to drive user participation

Users answer closed-ended questions by selecting from a limited number of options—such as multiple-choice, yes or no, and ranking questions. 

Examples of close-ended questions you can ask are: 

  • Are you happy with our website? 

  • How likely are you to recommend our website to a friend or colleague?

  • Rate your level of satisfaction on the following scale… 

  • Did you purchase anything from our website? 

  • Is it easy to use/navigate our website?

  • Can we help you complete your purchase?

Hotjar's Ask products—like Feedback widgets—let you ask open- and closed-ended questions about specific pages and elements, so you can get feedback from users as they browse your site.

#Close-up of Hotjar Feedback tools enabling open- and closed-ended questions on Hotjar
Close-up of Hotjar Feedback tools enabling open- and closed-ended questions on Hotjar

How successful businesses asked the right website optimization questions

Read these three examples to find out exactly how companies achieved success by asking the right optimization questions. First, they asked themselves questions based on specific problems they encountered, then they went deeper by asking their users questions to understand how they could solve the problem. 

HubSpot Academy 

HubSpot Academy wanted to understand why users weren’t signing up for their Inbound Marketing Certification course and abandoning their course registration page. 

They decided to focus their Hotjar Survey questions on exit intent, directly asking users why they wanted to leave the page. Seeing specific answers from the on-site survey—like users saying, “I don’t know how this will help my career”—showed HubSpot their pages weren’t optimized to make the value clear for users. This inspired them to add more benefit-driven copy to the page, and they increased conversion rates by 10%.

#HubSpot’s survey example using Hotjar Survey tools
HubSpot’s survey example using Hotjar Survey tools

Hussle 

Hussle wanted to understand why customers were churning and canceling their subscriptions. 

Hussle decided to ask users detailed questions about why they were canceling their subscriptions to understand if they could improve their features and product. They used churn-intent surveys to question over 1,000 churning users just as they were leaving the site.  

Hotjar Surveys helped them narrow down customer churn into three main categories: pricing, location, and switching to a specific gym. By asking questions, they were able to create a new product to better cater to users based on their pain points. 

#Hussle’s survey example using Hotjar Survey tools
Hussle’s survey example using Hotjar Survey tools

Turum-Burum 

Turum-Burum was hired to help Intertop understand why customers were abandoning their carts at checkout. 

Turum-Burum asked open-ended questions that let users express themselves in their own words to deeply understand their experience. They collected Intertop customer feedback with the help of Hotjar's exit Surveys, which asked users who were closing the tab of the browser, 'Why would you like to stop placing the order?'

They found that 48.6% of the respondents said that they were leaving the page as they were unable to place their order. Asking users open-ended questions helped identify errors on Intertop’s checkout page and informed changes that increased revenue by 11.46%.

#Turum-burum’s survey example using Hotjar Survey tools
Turum-burum’s survey example using Hotjar Survey tools

Tips for coming up with great optimization questions 

Formulating great questions to ask your business and users for website optimization can be a challenge. Use these tips to design user-centric questions:

Draw on user observations to frame your questions

Observing how users interact with your site boosts your understanding of the specific elements you need to optimize.

Use product experience insights tools like Hotjar's Heatmaps to dig deeper into user behavior and identify exactly which page elements they're engaging with and where they’re getting blocked. This helps you identify key areas for improvement, helping you formulate questions based on actions users are taking—like asking them why they’ve left your site or what made them stay.

#Hotjar Heatmaps show that the highest-visibility areas are at the top of the screen. Users are also frequently clicking on the images and menu bar tabs.
Hotjar Heatmaps show that the highest-visibility areas are at the top of the screen. Users are also frequently clicking on the images and menu bar tabs.

Collect user feedback to sharpen your intent 

Refine your future questions based on the user wants and needs you’ve already identified. Gather user feedback to help focus the intent behind your questions and hypotheses.

User interviews, surveys, and feedback tools can all help you test your existing assumptions about your website while giving you direct insight into what you need to prioritize. 

Turn questions into opportunities for optimization

Asking your business and users questions can direct your attention toward the most pressing user issues and validate your website optimization strategies, reducing ineffective decisions based on guesswork. 

Once you’ve implemented initial website optimization strategies, keep checking in with your users to guide further questioning and continually refine your optimization priorities and process. 

Ask the right questions for effective website optimization

Use Hotjar’s Observe and Ask products to get actionable insights on what users experience on your site and what compels them to convert

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