Headlines, Images Aren’t First In Line for Site Testing
Common wisdom holds that marketers should split-test headlines and images first for conversion rate optimization. Peep Laja, who runs conversion optimization agency Markitekt, says that's a load of [not-suitable-for-work noun].
Marketers need to test their sites "where it hurts the most" first, says Laja in a Conversion Optimization Blog post. In the post, he refers back to a blog he runs, the "world's most popular CRO blog, ConversionXL."
Before deciding they need to test the home page first, Laja suggests that may not actually be the problem—even if there's a huge bounce rate. He refers readers to his July 2014 ConversionXL post, "10 Google Analytics Reports That Tell You Where Your Site is Leaking Money."
"It's also possible that the home page works great—makes a specific offer and lists the price," he writes on ConversionXL, "but 97 percent of the traffic is irrelevant/not interested/too poor etc."
So what should marketers test, according to Laja?
1. What Hurts the Most: What is the biggest leak? Is that the costliest leak? This is where he mentions the home page vs. checkout. "If only 20 percent of the people that make it to the very last step of the checkout funnel end up buying, that's where you're bleeding cash the most," he says. Optimize and test there. On e-commerce sites, he says, take a look at the product and category pages. If they have the same amount of pageviews, the category pages need improvement.
2. What to Test: Start with low-hanging fruit, Laja says. Have a team of two to four staffers look the pages in question over for clarity, motivation and value for visitors, simplicity and security, and distractions. Perform user testing, either in-person (watching the users) or online, and ask the users to: complete a specific task, such as finding dark jeans in Size 34 for less than $50; perform a broad task, such as finding clothing they like; and to take a trip to the end of the sales funnel, buying the jeans. It should then be obvious where they struggle with the site. When site visitors haven't yet taken the desired actions, marketers can also quiz their users in that moment with quick surveys, such as "Is there anything preventing you from signing up at this point?" Sample answers are: "I'd still like to learn more about the product," "I'm still unclear on the pricing," "other" and "no."