Conversion Guru - Online Secrets to Success

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Building the Foundation
Initial testing ideas when starting split testing or if you are developing a new site.

Split Testing is valuable because it allows you to continually test new things so you can determine what improvements you can make on your site to help increase your conversions. Once you find something that works better than what you were previously using, you can implement that change permanently and receive the benefits from that change as long as you leave it on the page (or find something that works even better). However, there are some things that are not easy to change. For example, your company name and logo are things that may not be easily changed once they are established. It is also much more difficult to change your entire page layout.

Developing a new design and implementing it on the site takes time and changing it once you have already generated a large number of customers may not be an ideal situation because of a couple of reasons. First, returning visitors may not recognize your site and you risk losing some of the “brand” appeal that you may have built. Second, if you have been doing testing and see what works well on a specific template, the factor may not transfer directly to a new template. For example, you may have found that a certain color of links works the best on your site. However, if you change the background colors (or any other colors on the layout), the same colors may not be as beneficial on the new layout.

So if you are starting a new website (or are redesigning your existing one) make sure you test out these “Foundation” elements first. Test your color, layout (# of columns, navigation, etc), logo, and anything that may affect your branding. You don’t have to test minor things right away - like font size/type, link colors, buttons, etc. These are elements that can be tested at some point in the future. The Foundation elements are not necessarily the aspects of your page that will have the greatest impact on your conversion rates. In fact, it is likely they will not have the greatest impact on your conversions (things such as your header will likely have a greater impact on your conversions). However, it is extremely easy to test out different headers or wording. That can be done once you have established the most effective Foundation elements.

Whenever possible, you should also consider testing things such as product names and even your company/domain name. Testing Product, Company or Domain names can be done directly on the site or even on Adwords. Testing different names and looking at the Click-Thru rates should give you a good idea of what works the best. Keep in mind that higher Click-Thru rates do not necessarily correlate to higher conversion rates, but it can at least give you a general idea of what may work better.

So if you are new to Split testing, be sure to test these Foundation elements first. Once they are established, work your way to other important factors such as headers, location and presentation of action links, buttons, and whatever else that you can try that may have a possible impact on whether or not your visitor will take the desired action.

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