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January 18, 2012

How to increase conversion rates in Drupal

Thought by FFW,

When it comes to Drupal web design, we find ourselves asking the same question time and time again: How can we help our customers increase sales? Form submissions? Subscription sign-ups? Whatever your business, you know you’ve got to get that ROI up and start converting visitors into customers, fast. Lucky for you, you’re already on the right track -- You’re using Drupal, and you’ve got a robust set of tools at your finger tips to help increase your conversion rate.

Drupal modules that make tracking and testing easy

A wise man once said: Always Be Collecting Data. And when it comes to monitoring your conversions, there are three great modules we always fall back on: Webform, Google Analytics, and Google Website Optimizer.

Webform

Webform is a great little module for building customized contact forms, surveys or contests for lead generation sites. With Webform, the administrator is sent a notification of the completed form, which can then be exported into Excel for statistical review or tracking. Contact forms or surveys created with the Webform module are easily customizable for the end user, offering the administrator extensive control over the final product.

When it comes to forms, keep it simple. Gather the information you need, but don’t over do it. While data mining can seem ideal to a company who’d like more information about their customers, the more you ask, the less likely you are to receive.

Google Analytics

You’ve probably already got Google Analytics installed on your site and you’re tracking traffic and goal completions. But Drupal offers a handful of other modules that integrate with the Google Analytics module and Webform to provide a pretty powerful system to track Webform submissions. Using the following in conjunction with the Google Analytics module instantly appends Analytics information to the bottom of the Webform email the administrator receives when a form has been submitted:

Google Website Optimizer

Conversion testing dials you in to your potential customers, finding out what works and what doesn’t, and over time helps you increase your conversion rate. A/B and multivariate testing, two types of conversion testing, allow you to change different elements of content on a page, send the original and the new version to site visitors, and test which version converts the best. Google Website Optimizer is a free site testing service that allows you to run A/B and multivariate tests on your site. The Drupal module provides an easy way to insert the Javascript code from the Google service directly onto your testing and conversion pages. When running tests on your site, consider changing up the following:

  • Primary images
  • Calls to action
  • Headlines
  • Buttons
  • Forms

Seamless E-commerce Integration

Studies show that over 50% of shopping carts are abandoned before the sale. Ubercart, an open source e-commerce suite developed specifically for Drupal, keeps the end user in mind. With extensive functionality, Ubercart provides configurable product catalogs, a flexible product creation system, single page checkout and simple order processing, and integrated e-commerce tracking and reporting.

When we were building a website for children’s book publishing company Bethlehem Books, we were presented with an interesting challenge: creating a e-commerce site with a look and feel that reflects the fantastical books sold by the company. Using Ubercart, we were able to provide a full feature shopping experience, complete with powerful product filtering system, PDF catalog generation, and intuitive product purchasing for the end user.

Theming With Conversions in Mind

Will this site sell my email address to a third party? If I give it my credit card, will it steal my money? When designing a business site from the ground up, Drupal or otherwise, you must establish credibility and create trust. Consistency is key: Make sure you’re applying the site’s theme to every page -- including (and especially) the checkout page or the contact form. Include company phone numbers, testimonials, and credibility images (BBB or other reputable organization affiliations) to the important pages on your site. And whether you’re selling goods or promoting a service, limit data gathering. A well built site should be able to visibly display your company’s credibility straight from the get-go.

Using Drupal to help increase conversions may not be “easy as pie” but it’s pretty darn close. On top of all the tools we’ve shared above, there’s a great community out there to answer your question or concerns or help you out with a great idea. And if you’re looking to learn more about Drupal 7 or want to build a Drupal site on your own, check out some of the Drupal training sessions we’ve got scheduled for the upcoming months.