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Sticking Points -- Virtual Duct Tape To Keep Visitors On Your Sales Path

Aug 18, 2007
If you've been keeping up on trends in internet marketing, you've probably heard of the benefits of website conversion testing. This method of website optimization is known by other names, such as landing page conversion testing, split testing, multivariate testing, Taguchi testing, and A/B testing.

The basic premise involves determining the best possible combination of site elements that will create the Velcro effect on your visitors. What headline grabs the most eyeballs? What layout keeps them reading for more? Does short copy move then along, or do they prefer to really sit back and read a long piece? Site conversion testing take web page optimization to the next level, to help you actually learn what words, phrases, images and other page elements turn visitors into paying customers.

There are some key factors that every business website owner can be testing, and with the technology available today, there is no reason not to. Do you have to be a computer geek to perform these tests? No. Do you need a degree in computer graphics, design or software engineering? Not at all. What you do need is a little patience, some creativity and a good testing service to work with you; with this in hand, you'll soon know when your site elements are working and when they aren't.

Testing Your Elements -- Where to Start
So where to start with testing? There are some pretty basic elements in an e-commerce site that can easily be tested. Making even slight changes to these elements can dramatically boost your conversions.

If this is your first foray into testing, you may want to start small -- test one or a couple of key elements. Even incremental improvements in conversion are welcome, so don't feel you have to arrive at the "perfect" solution right off the bat. This short list will give you an idea of where to start. You'll see how your visitors react to variations in these elements, and can then modify your site accordingly.

Feeling more confident? Try testing entirely different types of copy. Many website designers advise that short copy is better than long copy, because the attention span of internet readers is extremely limited. Web searchers are click-happy, and need to get through the information quickly. Other internet gurus swear by long blocks of copy that keep pulling the reader through. The point is, with A/B, Taguchi or multivariate testing, you won't have to guess!

Perhaps one of the most important factors for your online customers is how safe and secure they feel when they consider ordering from you. Test the elements in your site that speak to this: your privacy policy, security and encryption verification, even the look and feel of your shopping cart can help put customers at ease. For your site to be truly effective, run lots of tests on any landing pages that ask customers to enter any type of personal information.

Some Specific Elements to Test
It's not just about headlines and catchy graphics; conversion rates depend on every single variable on your site. Don't overlook these other elements when you set up your testing programs:
1. Banners -- use them, or skip them?
2. Submit and Order Buttons -- are they irresistible to customers?
3. Audio or no -- does it distract or attract?
4. Testimonials -- who do your buyers listen to?
5. Headlines - what grabs, what bores
6. Pricing -- too much? Too little? How to tell

Website testing is one way to get a huge edge over your competition. Whether you're a one-man show, or an online company with hundreds of employees, don't neglect this important aspect of website optimization.

The real beauty of testing your site is getting tangible, actionable results. Whether you use a simple split or A/B test, a multivariate testing program, or a powerful Taguchi testing solution, the benefits are real. You'll get scientific results, so you won't have to guess what will convert better.
About the Author
All the internet marketing gurus are talking about how important it is to test the elements of your site. Are you interested in trying out different versions of your site to see which your customers prefer? Weigh in with your opinion and join the Revolution in site conversion testing!
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