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Landing Page Testing Overview - Chicago SES Highlights

Posted on 12.05.2007
During the Landing Page Testing seminar the question of "Who should design a site?" was raised by Tim Ash, President of Site Tuners. Should a Web designer build the site? How about a programmer or maybe the company CEO? Nope - Your visitor should design your site. This can be achieved using multivariate testing to continually improve both user experience and website conversions. In other words, fancy trial and error testing to see what works.

Another point brought up was to break down your web site visitors into roles and tasks. This is a thought that would be later echoed during the Analytics seminar. By segmenting your visitors in to roles/tasks such as new visitors and the actions new visitors take verses returning visitors and the actions returning visitors take you can get a better understanding - tell a better story - of visitor’s actions. Understanding how these different types of visitors use your website can help to develop more functional experiences for those visitors.

The classic sales acronym AIDA was also mentioned. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action - the essential sequence of responses needed to generate a sale - should be factored into development.

Some simple keys to follow regarding "attention" and landing pages;

1. Stop screaming at visitors! (not everything is equally important)
2. Eliminate Choices (the fewer the better)
3. Unclutter what remains

Regarding "Interest" it is key to understand who the user is and what the user is trying to do. During the "Desire" stage people want to know if you have what they want. Giving them the tools to research, compare, get details, and customize is key.

During the "Action" stage it is important to make the visitor feel "appreciated, safe, and in control". This can be done with Brand strength, guarantees, safety/trust seals, and being upfront about additional costs. Other rules for the "Action" stage include the following;

1. Get out of the customers way (remove interstitial popups when people are trying to pay)
2. Make it easy to pay (don't require overly elaborate sign up forms)
3. Don't surprise people (hidden costs, extra forms to fill out, etc)

The closing of the session discussed common pitfalls. For example, when running tests to determine what works and what doesn't work on your website don't fall for luck. For example, if there was a small spike in traffic after you made a change then keep testing to make sure it's sustainable and not just a fluke.

Overall, it was a very informative session that gave some good suggestions on how to improve landing page conversions. Sitetuners.com are Google authorized "Website Optimizer" consultants and I'm sure if anyone has any in-depth questions they'd love to hear from you.

John Fitzsimmons is a Search Marketing Manager with Spiderbait.com. He also consults on web development projects and social media.
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