Making improvements to the website has to be done through a careful and strategic process. This involves using tools to determine which pages to focus on that can provide sufficient impact not only on our revenue but with visitor satisfaction. Instead of big changes, we focus on small iterations that are run through tests before releasing them to the public.
Increasing the pages per session
One of our team’s main goals is to increase the pages per session to get more views on our banner ads since these ads account for 85% of the company’s revenue. My role is to balance our company’s goals while keeping our visitors happy.
Here are a few examples of small iterations I’ve worked on that led to some success.
Multi-page vs single page layout
The Tarot Card Meaning pages educate our users on what each tarot card means. Each card consists of multiple sections: the card overview, history, and how the card is used in a reading. Initially, all sections were rendered on one long page. Though we were getting a decent amount of page views in these pages, I wanted to see how else I could improve the layout to increase the pages per session thus helping our company earn more revenue.
Since we already use shorter content in other content hubs like horoscopes and games, I wanted to test how it would perform on this page.
The hypothesis: By breaking one long page into multiple pages with shorter content, we increase our page views per session. However, with this approach, I needed to make sure that our users are able to tolerate the experience.
So I work with our engineers to determine what can we do to make the multi-page experience as seamless as possible. One solution was to make sure the content loads fast and that we make the next button easily accessible.
After running an A/B test, the multi-page layout received over a 65% increase in page views per session compared to the original single-page layout.
Fixing a non-functioning module
Tarot is one of the most popular content hubs on our website. Improving the tarot pages means their success impacts our revenue greatly.
After going through the data, I found that on certain pages, we see lower pages per session and high bounce rates. To understand more of what wasn’t working, I ran heatmaps on the tarot pages and found that the More Tarot Readings section was ignored by the majority of visitors. This led me to ask, “Why isn’t it working? And how can we improve it to encourage visits?”
Exploring a different way to promote other content
We were given a tight deadline to solve this problem so I came up with a plan to test two possible solutions. After discussing the problem with our engineers, I discovered that we showed randomized tarot readings in the suggested section. I went through analytics to determine the most popular tarot readings and proposed that we use them instead of the randomized results.
Then for the first version, I updated the images to make them more appealing.
For the second version, I experimented with a button layout which we use on our horoscope templates. These buttons have proven to increase pages per session in the past, so I wanted to see if it would work on our tarot pages.
Here are the two versions that we A/B tested to improve the engagement of the More Tarot Readings section.
The result of this experiment
With the button layout, pages per session had a 20% average increase. More people were engaging with the buttons than with the card layout.
I learned that sometimes, design patterns that work on other websites don’t necessarily work for us.
Fixing dead-end modules
I found the opposite problem while expanding our heat maps. I see that visitors are tapping on these modules that lead to nowhere. Somehow, despite doing a usability test, we overlooked these modules and ended up with visual charts that didn’t provide further information to our users. This was a problem that presented itself with an opportunity.
So I teamed up with our content editors and developers to brainstorm ways we can capture the taps and turn them into page views.
Our solution was to create exciting new pages that provide our users with further information about their charts. Expanding these modules into new pages generated new page views and revenue. For instance, the Star Ratings page generated an average of 23k additional views per day immediately after its launch. It also raised our pages per session for the horoscope pages by roughly 12%.
The lesson here is to never lead users to dead-ends and that sometimes, you can’t find all the use cases during a usability test.