How to Identify Landing Page Problems, Part 2
When it comes to landing page optimization and testing where do you begin? How do you uncover potential problems with your current pages?
In Part 2 of this two-part series, we explain how to uncover potential problems with your current landing pages with usability reviews, focus groups, eye-tracking studies, customer service reps, surveys, forums and blogs.
(To view Part 1, in which Ash discusses how Web analytics, onsite search and usability testing can uncover landing page problems, click here.)
You do not always have to conduct full-scale usability testing. Hiring usability experts for a high-level review of your landing pages often is a terrific investment. Usability experts have seen dozens or even hundreds of poor designs, and have learned to extract subtle commonalities. They quickly can focus on potential problems without even conducting a landing page test.
Via a moderated group discussion from your target audience, insights can be gleaned about user needs, expectations and attitudes. These findings can be compared to the proposed solution to determine if key elements are missing or are incorrect.
Eye-tracking is particularly useful in detecting problems in the earlier stages of visitors' decision processes, awareness and interest levels. If most test subjects do not look at the desired part of the page, they are not even aware that the conversion action is possible.
In effect, for these visitors, the conversion action does not exist. Eye-tracking studies are an excellent way of detecting problems regarding page layout, visual presentation of information and images, and emphasis.
Customer service reps
Customer service reps deal with your site visitors' problems all day long. Feedback can be collected in three ways: direct interviews or surveys of your reps, or a review of actual visitor interactions. Chat and phone call logs can be used to classify problems into categories.
A number of easy, Web-based or telephone surveying methods are available. Surveys among your target population can be a useful source for discovering additional problems with your site. Generally speaking, avoid surveys and interviews of existing users. They already are biased because they already have made the decision to act on your offer. It is better to sample randomly among a pool of people from your intended target audience.
Forums and blogs
Many industries have specific communities of interest and popular discussion forums. Such venues allow you to gauge the loyalty or frustration level of people, their immediate needs, and attitudes toward your industry, company or product.
If you apply even a couple of these problem-finding ideas, you should be able to quickly identify many potential conversion issues with your site. You then can brainstorm improved alternatives for each of the problem areas and use these as the basis for your landing page test. Focus on the negative and you are well on your way to higher profits.
Tim Ash is president of San Diego, Calif.-based SiteTuners.com, a performance-based landing page optimization and testing company. He is the author of "Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions". You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.