"What should we test?"
It's the million dollar questions, folks.
The website has launched, the keywords are in the place, and the first content pieces have been written. So, naturally, everyone wants to know what's next.
Your biggest marketing piece is in you users' hands for the first time – or maybe it's been there for a while, and you want to make some improvements – and it's time to turn window shoppers into buyers. What you can test to increase your revenue?
The short answer? Everything. As often as possible.
Here are four things to get you started.
A headline is one of the most important things on your landing page. Plus, thanks to WYSIWYG editors, it's also the one of the easiest things to test.
Headlines are the first impression on a first date. Users decide if they're going to stay or leave your site in fractions of a second, and your headline is typically where their eyes land.
In a case study published on Visual Website Optimizer, LKR Social Media saw a 24 percent increase in newsletter subscribers by changing her headline to a testimonial quote.
What makes a good headline?
- Short, crisp and memorable; no more than 10 words
- Bold (factual) statements
- Odd numbers over even number for lists
- Conversational over marketing copy
2. Call to Action
Sometimes, you wouldn't even believe the little difference in your CTA that can cause drastic effects in your conversions. Things like:
- Request a quote vs Request pricing
- Create an account vs Register
- Download for free vs Free download
- Subscribe vs Sign up
- Lean more vs Read more
- Shopping cart vs Shopping basket
One side doesn't necessarily always work over the other; it all depends on your users.
More so than wording though is the color and placement of your CTA. Your eyes naturally gravitate to things that stick out on the page, so make your CTA a contrasting color with the rest of your background. Lighthouse International has a great reference for colors that contrast well.
3. Social Validation
Website users, myself included, can be shallow, shallow people. Everyone knows can't trust what you read on the Internet, so to help combat that, we look to anything or anyone to help us make our decisions a little bit easier.
Users crave social validation, and the best part is that it doesn't even have to be from their friends: People will listen to people they don't even know as long as it seems genuine.
Social validation can include things like:
- Facebook Likes from their friends
- User-generated reviews and photos
- Publications where the company has been mentioned
- Brands that have also worked with the company
Social validation establishes trust with your users. It puts you in a good neighborhood with other people they recognize and trust, meaning they trust you too.
4. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Website optimization isn't limited to just the pages on your domain. With the SERPs in total disarray, every click counts. Stop focusing on ranking and focus on having the most attractive listing, and there's a lot of testing you can do to make that happen.
For example: We wanted to see if adding an action word to a SERP listing would entice more users to click on a listing. We took five landing pages that had the same ranking with similar number of monthly entrances, left one for our control and tweaked the content of the other four.
"Apply Now" at the beginning of their title tag increased their entrances 151 percent without an increase in ranking. And it was a 15-minute change.
Website optimization can be complicated, but when you boil it down to it's basic purpose, it's quite simple: You're trying to provide the best experience possible for your users.
Because every $1 invested in UX yields a $100 return. And those are odds I like.
So, what'd I miss? What are other good things to test with website optimization?
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!