There are some in the conversion community who argue over the merits of various kinds of testing approaches and methodologies. While it’s true that there are pros and cons to each of the techniques, the argument over which approach is best may intimidate the typical online marketer or website owner into thinking that landing page optimization is either too complicated or too time consuming. In reality, conversion improvements can often be made by combining a bit of brilliance with some inexpensive tools. Once you have a taste of success, you can then begin applying some testing to really amp up your efforts.
Thinking vs. Testing
Let’s be clear about one thing up front: not everything should be tested. There likely are obvious things about your landing page that could immediately be changed without any testing at all and result in increased conversions. You can probably think of a few page elements right now that your gut is telling you to change, but you haven’t gotten around to it. Many of my company’s clients are in the same boat. They come to us knowing that they’ve been ignoring their landing pages for too long. One (or more) of these reasons may ring true for you:
- You’re too busy and the required changes involve some effort
- You created the landing page(s) in the first place and feel a bit embarrassed
- You are too familiar with the page and can no longer see it through your customers’ eyes
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and start improving your conversions? With no testing at all, here are several avenues you can pursue:
- Do a best practices review: Often using well-known best practices can quickly eliminate the most glaring problems. Not sure what those are? Read “How Your Graphic Designer Is Killing Your Conversion Rate” and “Usability Basics for Landing Page Optimization” for a quick primer.
- Use tools to find problems: Often you may not even be aware of the problems your page has. They come in many flavors including usability, copywriting and messaging, graphic design, value proposition, trust, and credibility. There is an explosion of new tools available to help diagnose problems. They include ClickTale.com, CrazyEgg.com, CrossBrowserTesting.com, and AttentionWizard.com, a visual attention prediction tool. Most of these tools are free or very inexpensive.
- Ask people who are unfamiliar with your site: Often the only reason you can’t find problems is that you are too close to them. You may have even had a hand in creating them. Because you are so familiar with your page, you can’t see it from the perspective of the naïve and uninterested casual visitor. Doing some informal user testing will give you a wealth of ideas about what is wrong. You just need to sit down three to five people in front of your page and ask them to speak out loud while trying to accomplish the task that you set for them. You can even work with a hand-drawn wireframe or post-it note prototype. Tools like Loop11.com will allow you to recruit online participants and design your own tests. UserTesting.com will quickly and very inexpensively recruit people for you and record their sessions for your review.