Notes from Australia

Whatever I’m doing, I’m not doing it right

One of the best things about Practical eCommerce is that you can learn from the wonderful articles and from the advice that online retailers give.

However, sometimes a little knowledge is worse than none at all. I’m doing something, but whatever it is isn’t right…

More unique visitors

In the first 16 days of August, I increased my unique visitors by 75% over what they were for the first 16 days of July, and I’m already at 90% of all unique visitors for July.

More total visits

In the same period to date in August, I increased my total visits by 84% over 1-16 July, and I’m at 89% already of July’s total visits.

Copy changes

I followed suggestions I’ve read in the past about breaking up copy with subheadings so people can skim-read the copy quickly. I’ve also made use of bulleted copy so again, people can read it better.

Form simplification

We simplified the layout and design of the form fields which require the birth dates, times and locations to be confirmed to produce the reports.

Drop-down city, state and country menus

In response to one too many customers making spelling errors which meant the atlas could not locate their place of birth, we created drop-down menus.

New photography

I had new photography done with attractive, real-life couple models and their daughter to make the products look more appealing and to show them being used/held.

Bigger array of hero banners

I had my designer create an expanded range of hero banners to showcase the different gift occasions as well as reflect the updated photography.

New products added

A new range of DIY Kits was created to allow customers to create their own astrology reports (or to give them as gifts) at a lower price point, plus the number of gift baskets featured was tripled. New e-gift certificates will be rolled out within the next week.

Checkout simplification

We simplified checkout as much as possible, making it much easier for customers to progress easily through to Paypal to make payment.

Geolocation pop-ups

We created pop-ups to tell visitors in particular geographical areas of the delivery options available to them.

Multiple products

Incredibly, until this year, customers were unable to buy more than one product in a shopping session and had to return to the home page to start the process again to buy a second product. They can now shop to their heart’s content.

Duplicate products

We created the ability for people to order copies of the same report to be sent to relatives in Australia or overseas for a small additional fee.

Blog improvements

After pulling my daily gift news blog across from a separate website last year, we had failed to reinstate the RSS feed so people could sign up to receive daily or weekly updates.

We also reinstated the monthly Archives list, the tag cloud, the social media links and the original comments. We also added links for visitors to read their monthly horoscope forecast at the bottom of each blog to increase stickiness.

Email marketing

I segmented my database by purchase type, frequency and location and have written many email promotions attempting to target them better.

Newsletter sign-up

We had a mild uptick in subscribers when we placed the monthly newsletter sign-up box at the top of the home page. This week, we have also placed the box also adjacent to the highly trafficked Horoscopes page so I am waiting to see if this makes much difference.

Page simplification

For our most recent change, when visitors click from the home page through to any of the categories, products or information pages, we have eliminated distracting elements above the main navigation bar, and the vertical menu which lets them see far more of the page above its original scroll line than before.

Google Adwords

I have been spending a modest daily sum on Google Adwords over the last month but am not doing this well, either, with hundreds of impressions, minimal clicks, and no sales.

Poor conversions

Despite all this, and more visitors each month (50% more in 1-16 August 2012 than all of January 2012), my conversion rates are sinking.

And I don’t know what to do to fix it.

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