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7 website optimization tests to improve product performance

Are your users bouncing or failing to convert even though you've built an incredible website with unique features and content that responds to their needs? To ensure a great product experience, you need to perform website optimization tests to identify and resolve user pain points.

Last updated

13 May 2022

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6 min

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This article will show you how to use different website optimization tests to improve key elements of your website and create an amazing user experience (UX).

Use Hotjar to go deeper into website optimization testing

Learn how product experience insights tools can help you focus your website optimization efforts.

What is website optimization testing?

Website optimization tests are methods that help businesses identify what's going wrong as users navigate their site so they can come up with solutions to improve the product experience (PX).

Website optimization testing helps you understand which product changes you need to carry out to better the user experience and drive business growth.

The key is to adopt an approach that considers all the key stakeholders in relation to your website, from the users down to the search engines crawling your pages. You should aim to make the optimization process continuous, experimental, and impact-driven to ensure that you maximize the potential attached to your budget and resources.

Sean Potter
Content and SEO Strategist, Hotjar

7 website optimization tests for success 

Use these top seven website optimization tests to design a plan that will help you deliver a great user experience:

1. Speed optimization test

Page-loading speed is one of the biggest reasons users have a poor experience on your website, leading to a high bounce rate and a negative impression of your brand. Too many high-resolution images, excessive videos, maxed-out site cache, and unclean code could be some of the reasons why your website's speed is slow.

How to conduct speed optimization tests

Tools like GTMetrix are a great way to test your website's loading speed across different countries, browsers, and network connections. GTMetrix will provide you with the history of your site loading speed, videos and image reports of your website analysis, and possible errors that cause delays, plus suggested fixes.

Test your page-loading speed multiple times from different locations and various connectivity networks. Focus on the regions where you have the most traffic to identify and fix any backend problems for faster loading and performance. 

#GTMetrix helps you test your page loading speed, identify blockers, and enhance speed for better site performance and UX. Source: gtmetrix.com
GTMetrix helps you test your page loading speed, identify blockers, and enhance speed for better site performance and UX. Source: gtmetrix.com

2. Mobile responsiveness test

Imagine a user searching for a grammar tools website to help them edit emails and presentations on their phone. They find a website that offers everything they need—but the mobile experience is glitchy, and they find themselves zooming out all the time, without a full display of menu options. 

Users will bounce pretty quickly if you don't optimize your site for mobile. Rather than disappointing mobile users or relying only on a mobile app that requires installation, run tests to evaluate and improve your website's functionality across multiple devices.

How to conduct mobile responsiveness tests

Your website isn’t going to look the same on desktop and mobile, so plan for differences like reduced icon size, vertical menu options, media size changes, and resolution changes. Before conducting a mobile responsiveness test, identify which aspects of your website you can adapt to mobile screen requirements.

Enter your website URL on the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google to learn how your site looks on mobile, and identify any usability or responsiveness problems that may affect performance. 

#The Google Mobile Friendly test shows how responsive your website is on mobile devices. Source: google.com
The Google Mobile Friendly test shows how responsive your website is on mobile devices. Source: google.com

3. Broken links testing

Have you ever clicked on a button only to find a 404 error page? You're likely nodding yes.

Broken links do more than just harm your brand reputation. They spoil the user experience and affect your SEO score and conversions. The last thing you want is to invest time and resources in creating content and optimizing your website only to find that you've been directing traffic to 404 pages.

How to conduct broken link tests

Avoid linking key content to web pages you’ll remove or disable. For example, if you’re an ecommerce website and link your blogs to internal product pages that are likely to be removed when your inventory runs out, it’ll lead to a broken link. 

Schedule regular bi-weekly or monthly checkups to ensure you know which internal or external links are broken so you can fix them for a better user experience.

Screaming Frog helps you find internal and external broken links and synthesizes your testing results into a handy, time-saving spreadsheet for a clear overview of which links are broken and where you can find them.

#Screaming Frog's broken links test tells you which links on your website are broken and how you can fix them. Source: screamingfrog.co.uk
Screaming Frog's broken links test tells you which links on your website are broken and how you can fix them. Source: screamingfrog.co.uk

4. Usability testing 

Usability testing helps you test the functions of your website by observing your users to understand why they're behaving a certain way on your product page.

Voice-of-the-customer (VoC) insights will help you make site-related decisions based on user needs and validate your web optimization efforts.

How to conduct usability tests

Begin by understanding which problems your customers are constantly complaining about through support tickets, surveys, and feedback tools.

Use Hotjar Surveys to ask questions about your website, validate changes or updates, and understand why users are dropping off or not clicking on a certain page. You can deploy surveys to act as non-intrusive pop-ups on pages or site elements you’re concerned about to collect valuable feedback without disrupting your users' browsing experience.

#Hotjar Survey placed on website to gather user feedback in real-time
Hotjar Survey placed on website to gather user feedback in real-time

5. A/B testing

Improving your website performance isn't a linear process. You'll often end up with multiple ideas and different hypotheses for the best way to optimize your site. 

The solution? A/B testing or split testing. A/B tests let you try out two different versions of the same page to identify which performs best for your users. It’s a great place to test UI design changes like different banners, copy options, or CTA placement or color.

A/B testing also saves you time and resources before you launch full-scale modifications by first telling you if your efforts will be worth it to improve the customer experience.

How to conduct A/B tests

With A/B tests, you only test one variable at a time. That means the first step is deciding which variable to test, making sure you choose something that’s tied to your user needs and business' KPIs.

Use Optimizely to run website tests for free and get insights on which version of your website your users prefer through its direct integration with Google Analytics. You can also integrate Hotjar with Optimizely to go deeper into the A/B testing data and get rich user insights. 

#Optimizely helps enterprise-level businesses perform and scale their website experimentation programs. Source: optimizely.com
Optimizely helps enterprise-level businesses perform and scale their website experimentation programs. Source: optimizely.com

6. Multivariate testing

Unlike A/B tests, where you can only make one change in two different tests, multivariate testing lets you alter multiple variables to help you understand which combinations will get you the best results.

How to conduct multivariate tests

You can only perform multivariate testing after reaching a certain traffic volume because you need considerable traffic to test each variable and get meaningful insights. Since more than two variables will be tested, the traffic is split by the number of variables tested, and less traffic is allocated to each variable. 

Make sure you’re clear on the variables you want to test and the insights you want to gain

Use VWO, an experimentation tool that lets you conduct multivariate tests using a simple visual editor, with room to add conversion goals, estimate test duration and implement the tests hassle-free. 

#Multivariate testing lets users test different combinations of variables to find the winning set and improve site performance. Source: vwo.com
Multivariate testing lets users test different combinations of variables to find the winning set and improve site performance. Source: vwo.com

7. SEO testing

Search engine optimization is a crucial aspect of improving your website performance. After all, if you don't rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs), how will potential customers find you?

SEO testing lets you check which keywords, titles, meta descriptions, or links will help you achieve your goals and improve overall site performance.

How to conduct SEO tests

First, focus on creating well-optimized content, building backlinks, and applying SEO best practices to drive more traffic to your site.

Then, use tools like Google Optimize for in-depth SEO testing. You can create different versions of your webpage to compare title tags, header tags, linking, layouts, copy length, images, and CTAs.

For example, if you want to improve the click-through rate (CTR) on one of your product pages, you can test the effect of a change in the title tag on the number of clicks you get.

#Google Optimize helps companies perform A/B testing to optimize their site for the search engine. Source: rice-page.com
Google Optimize helps companies perform A/B testing to optimize their site for the search engine. Source: rice-page.com

Leverage website optimization tests to improve performance

There are many ways you can optimize your website, but your users' needs should be the foundation of all your optimization efforts. 

Testing your website's optimization practices helps you identify blockers, drop-off points, and functionality issues that keep users from accomplishing their goals on your product page.

Use Hotjar to go deeper into website optimization testing

Learn how product experience insights tools can help you focus your website optimization efforts.

Frequently asked questions about website optimization tests