I don’t care whether you use Google Website Optimizer or Omniture. The principles below are universal and it doesn’t matter what software you use for testing. Only 2 conditions need to be met in order for this article to be relevant to you:
- You need to be willing to test different variations of your original landing page
- You need to be somewhat familiar with this whole concept of conversion rate optimization, know how to set up a basic test, how to make sure your results are valid (if you’re using Google Website Optimizer they do this for you)
If you regularly read Web Traffic ROI, then I’m sure you already know these 2 things. I’m also pretty sure you’ve read some of the author’s great free eBook (you can do it by entering your email on the right side of this screen). Anyway, let’s get started:
Start With Making Major Changes to Your Landing Page
Get started by testing DRASTICALLY different versions of your landing page. By drastically different I don’t mean changing the color of the ‘buy now’ button! Or changing the buy now button itself.
Start by changing the whole layout and the whole structure of the page. Want an example?
(by the way, these examples are from WhichTestWon, a nice website I found while doing a research for this article)
Can you guess which page produced more conversions? It was the first variation, resulting in 60% better conversion rate although the visitors had to make an extra click. Our intuitions are not perfect in this area and that’s why we need to test and test often.
Do you think those guys would get a same conversion rate increase if they just changed the sign up button? Or maybe the headline text? I doubt so. What they did instead is re-organizing the whole page and making some drastic changes.
When you start with doing split tests, don’t preoccupy yourself with doing small changes that will probably produce small results. Instead, do some bigger changes. Use your imagination. Change the title, image, call to action and the credibility indicators in the same time (change their appearance and their location on the screen). See what happens. With big changes you either get big losses or big wins. We sure hope for the second option here.
After You Found a Winning Landing Page, Test Small Changes
Finally found the perfect landing page that converts 1034350% better than the original? 🙂 Now it’s time to do some smaller tests. Try changing the headline only or maybe the ‘buy’ now button.
Wait, why should we do small changes now? Why not continue with major changes only until we get a MAJOR win?
Because it’s not all about what converts but also WHY it converts. With small changes you can find what exactly is the factor that drives a significant conversion rate increase. Maybe it was that your visitors were anxious to purchase and needed some credibility signs like ‘verified by _____’ and so on.
Now, imagine for a moment this is true. You can now use this knowledge and add credibility signs to ALL of your pages (the shopping cart, the ‘product description’ pages) and have a big probability to see an increase in conversions on all of those pages! That’s the power of understanding why something happens, because you can then take that thing and apply it to other areas as well.
Do These Principles Apply Only for Landing Page Optimization?
No! These principles are useful for all types of optimization. Let me give you an example.
This article on people search for free is currently the most popular article on my site, FinderMind.com. As you can see, I use AdSense to monetize the page. Several weeks ago I tried to do various tests to see what produced the biggest CTR. I’ve tried putting ads below the post, on the left sidebar and so on. You noticed something? I tried to make a major change with first changing the POSITION of the ad. I didn’t first try to stick to a particular position and change only the color.
Back to the test. I found that putting ads below the post title has a way bigger CTR than the rest of the positions. Now I went and did some small tests. I tested different sizes and colors till I got to where I am now.
These principles don’t just apply to landing page optimization but to ANY type of online optimization.