WhichTestWon publisher Anne Holland’s quiz-show-style presentation at February’s Newport Interactive Marketers focused on how to use simple tests to improve website sales, signups, and conversion rates.
Holland provided copious examples of how small – often nontechnical – tweaks can result in huge improvements. Here are the highlights of the presentation.
Why Synchronous Testing?
- Create two versions simultaneously
- Traffic engine splits it into two different versions to see which does better
- Super cheap and easy to do
- You can go to Google Experimental Engine or Visual Website Optimizer
- Great for an agency: You’ll impress your clients
Why You Shouldn’t Go With Your Gut
WhichTestWon’s founder Anne Holland says: If you’re just using your gut you are probably wrong. “I’m still surprised by the results,” she said. “I follow my gut, knowing what I know, and it’s the opposite. If my gut is wrong, yours can be wrong.”
Knowing the product or the client too well can actually be a drawback. You’re not the visitors, so you don’t look at the product the way they do. For this reason, you’ve got to test. Amazon tests, LinkedIn test, Dell tests, and you should, too!
Where to Start Testing
Do not start testing on pages with high abandon or bounce rate because you won’t see a much change.
Pages to Test & Track
- Thank you & receipt pages
- Follow up
- Digital Marketing Campaigns
- Landing Pages
- Search Results
- Category Pages
- Product offer description pages
How to Decide What to Test
- Use the same size screen that your traffic will be viewing: a 15” monitor, 1-24x 786 resolution (Hint: 980 pixels across, 520 down)
- Quickly glance at page to see what you notice that needs to be changed
- Remove clutter
- Vary headlines
- Big images, change images
- Buttons: sizes, colors, wording
Make One Change at a Time
- If you test two changes on the same page, your results won’t be useful
- Don’t change the headline and the image because you won’t know which worked better
- Example: If you change the size of the button, don’t change the wording on the button
Or Test a Radical Redesign
- Radical redesign means you make the dramatic changes.
- Then you compare your old page to the redesigned pages and see which does better
- Then tweak the winning page to see which elements made the difference
What You Want to Achieve by Testing
You don’t want just more clicks. If extra clicks don’t increase sales, no one cares.
Instead of simply more clicks you want
- More sales
- More qualified leads
- Lower cost per lead
- Higher revenues per cart
How Long Should You Test?
Typically you should run a test for 21 days
1) Dell Mega Image Test
- Mega Image Won (Mega Image is an image that fills the majority of the homepage screen)
- Increased leads generated by 36%
- Lowered the page bounce rate by 27%
2) Dell Search Box Test
- Test between a button that says search or a magnifying-glass icon
- Search button won
- Resulted in a 6.3% Lift in RPV (revenue) avg.
- A winning test is usually results in a 3% lift
3) Local or Toll Free Number Test
- Toll free number or local phone number
- Which would generate more sales?
- The local number increased sales (checkout page visits) by 18.3%
4) Email Test
- Should it say: “Click here for more info” or “Find out more”?
- “Click here” won
- 97% lift in unique clicks
- 16% increase in page views
5) Overlay Test
- Overlays are like pop-ups on your website
- They are much more responsive than saying: Please join our email list
- Often come free with email service provider or free WordPress plugin
- Test was how wide should the overlay be
- Smaller overlay won
- Results 8.8% More Opt-Ins
On Tuesday, August 13th, WordPress expert Matt Medeiros highlighted “Must-Have WordPress Plugins” to the Newport Interactive Marketers audience at the International Yacht Restoration School.
To better understand the difference, Matt explained the relationship between a website, WordPress, and plugins in this analogy:
Website : iPhone
WordPress : iOs software
Plugins : Apps
Before installing, make sure that your web host can support a lot of bandwidth in the long run. Once your web host is set up, do thorough research on any plugins you are considering for your site: read reviews, check the number of installations and the dates of the most recent updates. Staying up to date for safety’s sake avoids malware, site lag, and loss of data.
Free and Premium versions are available. Although free ones are great because they’re “accessible, fast and free,” Matt pointed out that there is a difference between Free and Premium—Premium is better.
Premium plugins have more features, better quality, great support, longer product cycle and higher compatibility. If you get what you pay for, it’s worth paying for premium plugins for contact forms and e-commerce.
In addition to explaining the basics, Matt also shared his favorite WordPress plugins:
- Ultimate Coming Soon Page
- Redirection– great for transitioning domain change to WordPress
- Yoast– WordPress SEO and Video SEO
- BackWPup-Wordpress backup plugin
- BackUp Buddy– premium version of BackWPup
- Gravity Forms– premium, very powerful; creates contact forms and can create users
- W3 Total Cache-“cache-ing” helps server, which ultimately helps drive the bottom line for business
- Paid Membership Pro– available in free version and premium version
- Responsive WordPress Slider by Soliloquy
- WooCommerce– E-commerce plugin, also provides extensions for shipping
- bbPress– “be all, end all” discussion platform for WordPress
- JetPack-“a single plugin that does a thousand things”; it has its own analytics and has the capability to cache images and speed up load time
- WPtouch– premium mobile version of WordPress site
- Powerpress– the only one for podcasts
**Can’t find a plugin you want? Matt advises to have a developer create it
On Tuesday, July 24th, #NIMRI hosted its annual networking event on the rooftop of Hotel Viking. Professionals from Rhode Island & across New England enjoyed a summer evening in Newport & connected with new faces.
A big thanks to the staff at Hotel Viking for making the event possible!
In February, website developer Francisco Samuel explained to NIM what we’re doing right, wrong, and what we could be doing better. We learned how to avoid being overcharged on development, domains, and hosting. We also found out the secrets to search engine optimization with quick tips on how to enhance your website without getting cheated out of your money.
#NIMRI attendees learned all about:
- Internet Consultants Who are good? What is a good price?
- Mobile sites My website on the iPhone, iPad, & other mobile devices
- SEO Search engine optimization tactics and strategy
- Domains & Hosting Must I pay?
- Analytics How to track your traffic
- Launch, Maintain, Blog, & Repeat Ways to keep the flow of your site
- Content is one of the keys to website success, both for search engines and for humans
- Blogging helps keep search engines coming back & boosts the likelihood that your site will come up when someone searches
- Be wary of proprietary work – something a developer created and others don’t use
- Work with someone who works with common coding programs and CMS systems like WordPress or Drupal
- Make sure your content is specific and describes what you do
- If there’s something you are not familiar with, check Google trends to see how common it is
Fantastic clip from Matt Cutts to demonstrate there are still people being “snookered” by SEOs – well-done @FranciscoSamuel #NIMRI
Buyer beware: if it’s too good to be true whether the stock market or #SEO says @FranciscoSamuel citing @mattcutts #NIMRI
Blogging helps keep search engines coming back & boosts likelihood that your site will come up when someone searches @FranciscoSamuel #NIMRI
Wordclouds can be helpful to ensure you are using the words folks looking for you would be using #keywords #NIMRI
Be sure you own your own domain and that you can log in to the account @franciscosamuel #NIMRI
SEO guru Eric Enge broke SEO and Social Media down into plain English at NIM’s Aug. 23 event. Stressing an integrative approach using SEO and Social, Enge said the best way to compete in SEO keywords is to be user-centric.
If anyone knows how to boil down complex ideas for an audience, it’s Enge, who is CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, a 25+ person SEO firm with offices in Massachusetts and California. Enge is also a frequent speaker at marketing conferences like SES, PubCon, and SMX.
According to Enge, the job of any website is to be first in that search. So his PowerPoint presentation boiled down complex SEO and Social Media topics so that attendees of all social media aptitudes could learn just how.
Integrating Search and Social Media highlights
- Spun or garbage content or cheap tricks to build brand and rank is not the best way to go
- Devote the right amount of space to anchor text, key phrases, brand names, and domains
- Avoid bad link-building and backlinking practices, e.g. low-cost or paid-for tactics
- Emphasize users in your web content, because they are central to the Google algorithm
- Make sure your brand lends itself to your audience (and if it doesn’t, ask yourself what it will take to get there)
- Provide diverse, quality content
- Title tags play a big role
- Meta description influences click-through rate
Learning Google’s Algorithm
Quoting Google Search Quality Group expert Matt Cutts throughout the talk, Enge explained that Google algorithm finds quality, diverse results help solve problems for users.
Enge discussed the impact of Google’s Panda algorithm update, ushered in on Feb. 23, 2011, and the impact of Penguin, which came to the fore April 24, 2012. He discussed the viability of SEO, Social, PR and Real Content integrated together for a masterful integrative marketing plan.
You can build a huge audience even if you’re a small brand, according to Enge, who said 48.8% of the population uses Google+ (that’s 150 million US users) and Google+ creates community circles. But he warned against trying to get too much out of driving FB “likes” and Google+ “+1’s” since these don’t specifically address which part of your content is working. Likes, +1’s and shares aren’t visible to Google. Tweeted links, for example, can help Google discover content faster than Facebook and Google+.
Title Tage, Meta Description & CTR
NIM attendees learned how large a role Title Tags play, how Meta Description can influence click-through rate (CTR), and more specifically, how Bing uses CTR.
“Saying SEO is dead is like saying you 85-year-old grandmother can configure your web server,” Enge explained.
In addition to good content that is user-focused, Enge provided an example of how one guest posting propelled one site from 0 to 100,000 customers using an integrated approach.
In the hierarchy of social media effort, the 1-on-1 meeting is at the top (takes the most effort), then the meeting, then meetups, then blogging, then LinkedIn, Twitter, then Facebook. The bottom line? Make the effort to meet with actual people to build real communities, and that will fuel social media activity that builds your reputation, since that’s what people (users) value most.
Thanks to Eric Enge for speaking in Newport; you can visit his website at www.stonetemple.com, follow him on Twitter @stonetemple, or add him to your Google+: +Eric Enge.
Rhode Island-based Athletic Standard simplifies the college athlete recruiting process, resulting in a win-win for both student-athletes and the institutions where they will pursue higher education and athletics.
Through certified athleticism and athletic potential testing, Athletic Standard provides potential players a gateway to college coaches across the country. Testing is based on the EPIC Index, which was used by a major Division 1 university to win more than 25 national championships in 25 years.
Via social media, Athletic Standard registers prospective college athletes’ information and test results into a database that can be accessed by coaches across the nation. The coaches are able to view a complete athletic profile, which includes academic records, videos of students on the field or court, and more.
“Athletic Standard is revolutionizing the youth athletic market through this testing. If an athlete wants a recruiting edge then Athletic Standard is a must.” –Steve Gibbs, Hoop Mountain Basketball.
Hoop Mountain Basketball is one of Athletic Standard’s key players. With numerous locations throughout the country, facilitators of these programs assist scholastic basketball players in meeting their athletic and academic goals. The testing tool also provides student-athletes with maximum exposure to college and prep school scouts, which is a crucial connection for prospective players. Other key players include Noble and Greenough School and Elite 75, which is specific to New England.
Athletic Standard benefits Rhode Island by preventing nationwide coaches from overlooking the small state’s potential athletes. It gives coaches outside of our state the opportunity to observe the talents of students whom they might not have access to otherwise.
Who are Athletic Standard’s key players?
- Their key players are Mountain Hoop Basketball, Elite 75 New England and Noble and Greenough School.
What is the Process Athletic Standard uses?
- ATHLETIC STANDARD can help simplify the college recruiting process by testing and registering potential college athletes for free onto a secure database that can be seen by college coaches from all over the country. Coaches will have a certified athletic test score as well as a complete athletic profile including academic records, game video, and more. (athleticstandard.com)
How does Athletic Standard benefit Rhode Island student-athletes?
- Allows students to be matched with Rhode Island colleges.
- It helps high school and club coaches looking to provide opportunities for athletes.
- It helps college coaches who want to take advantage of the recruiting process a high school or club coach looking to provide o
Why do you personally find it interesting?
- I personally find it interesting because I have never heard of this type of organization. Rhode Island can benefit from this because it is the smallest state and high school athletes can be overlooked. I think the website is a great and safe way to help coaches and athletes in the right direction.
Alexa O’Rourke and Claudia Blanco
Newport Interactive Marketers members will join the University of Rhode Island’s student-led Public Relations Society for URI’s first Social Media Social on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. on the Kingston campus. For more information or to register, visit http://bit.ly/NIMatURI11.
The public is invited to gain insights from social media pros, students and to network with web and social media professionals, business owners, and members of Newport Interactive Marketers, the region’s premiere resource for social media and Web 2.0 networking and learning.
The Social Media Social will feature Newport Interactive Marketers:
Kevin Vine, Dunkin’ Brands Interactive Marketing Manager,
Shawn Simmons, Director Public Relations at StyleWeek Providence and
NIM Founder Suzanne McDonald, Chief Content and Social Strategist at Designated Editor.
- URI Communications Assistant Professor Adam Roth
- Nichole Wardle of Longwood Events
- Brian Hodge of GoProvidence.com, and
- Joannah Portman-Daly of the URI Writing Department.
As a Social Media Strategist and professor of Social Media Strategies at URI, Newport Interactive Marketers founder Suzanne McDonald will discuss how social media interns can benefit businesses and organizations as well as what interns should know to be prepared for the workplace.
McDonald will also discuss social media in the context of:
- What can an intern do?
- How is social media part of every career?
- How can social networking boost business?
Newport Interactive Marketers members attending:
Paula Keogh, Pixels & Pulp
Sherwoode Grosvenor Sherwoode Grosvenor Enterprises
Terry T. Grosvenor R&T Grosvenor Publishing
Rick Grosvenor, Prudential Prime Properties
Jennifer ONeil, Embrace Home Loans
John Mulroy, Energy Marketing Consulting Group
Bill Flanagan, Alteryx
Paula Sheldrick, Virtual DBS
Jon Guinn, NetNoticed
Austin White, Embrace Home Loans
Lynne Donahue, Seaside Consulting Inc
David Englund, Englund Studio / MobileVerb
Hal Landen Video University
Karlie Girouard, It’s Right:RI Matchmaker
Jon Cyr, Cloudy IT
Matt Medeiros, Slocum Studio
JoAnn Lefebvre, Shift 2 Inbound Marketinghttp://shift2inbound.com/
Racheal Renfree, The Inner Office, Inc
Mark Bush, Forty7Ronin
Julie Woodside, Designated Editor
Scott Indermaur, Indermaur Photography, Inc.
Dana Duellman, Indermaur Photography, Inc.
Captain Mike Brady, Employment Opportunity Expo
The “Social Media Social” will be held in the Memorial Union Ballroom, 50 Lower College Road, Kingston, R.I. 02881, and will offer free ice cream for all. Sponsored by the University of Rhode Island Harrington School of Communication and Media and the Communications Studies Department, this event is free and open to the public.