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SES 2007 – Landing Page Testing & Tuning

  • By calcoastwebdesign
  • 1 Tags
  • 22 Aug 2007

Day 2
4:45 – 6pm
Landing Page Testing & Tuning – was a great class about ways to get a better return on your website, and how to better tune your conversions through testing.

4 Speakers:

Tim Ash, Site Tuners
Tom Leung, Google
Scott Miller, Vertster
Jamie Roche, Offermatica

So……Why should people care about tuning your conversions? Because neglecting your landing pages can be very costly. The formula for CPA = CPC/CR. I hate formulas and its the end of the day so I’m not defining it further. Really, it comes down to the question “Who should design your website?” Your Ad Agency? Your boss? Your webmaster? The answer is actually none of the above…it should be your CLIENTS. I’m liking this so far, because I always try to put myself in the client’s shoes and advise accordingly. Not my clients, their clients. 🙂

What should you tune on your website?
– landing pages leading to trackable actions
– price of your product or service
– headlines, page layout, buttons, graphics, CTA (you know that means calls to action by now, right?), colors, nav, and copy. Phew. Anything else guys? The part that sucks about testing… is I’ll do all the above and throw out 3 of 4 samples I worked hard on. But as a webmaster, I have to put on my big girl panties and deal with it, because it drives conversion.

Of course there’s more. Now you’ve decided what to tune, its time to decide which method you prefer to tune with. There are 3 main methods of testing:

1. A-B split testing, which is where you test one variable at a time. This is usually done using anywhere from 1-10 new pages or “recipies” for pages
2. Multivariable testing, which is where you have multiple changed variables and you have designed various “experiment” pages.
3. Proprietary testing, which is personalizing pages toward certain targets

When you test, you must FIRST establish a baseline. If you don’t do this, all your data will be skewed, and you’ll get thrown off by spikes and trends. You need to measure everything relative to your baseline, and devote bandwidth to the current version of your site for your already converting users.

Its also important to collect enough data, but not too much. There’s so many numbers to consider, its best to have someone who knows what they are doing collect stats and report back. Don’t get caught without enough data. Another “don’t” is ignoring your variable interactions.

The next speaker was Tom from Google, he reminded the PPC people in the room that they pay for all of their visitors, but over half immediately leave 🙂 How can you stop people from abandoning you??? He mentioned there are a few good tips and tricks at

Tom encouraged a few thoughts to consider before running your test: decide what pages, how long, and what to test next (aka have a strategy not a slew of numbers flying at you).

He mentioned 4 javascripts to include in your code while testing:

1. Control script
2. Section script
3. Tracking script
4. Conversion script

How to test them? Pick a page, tag it, type in content, and launch variations for testing. If you don’t add variations you won’t know which sections have the most influence. Tom also mentioned tried-and-true tests you can trust:

  • Multivariate
  • A/B
  • Split Path
  • Multi-page multivariate
  • Time based

Try to really optimize the experience, not just the page 🙂

Next up Scott Miller gave us a roadmap to success. He suggested:

Test your offer. This means the value prop, headlines, supporting copy, scarcity generation, price, promos, risk reversal, live chat, sitepal, and anything you can think of after that.

Test takeaways. Read a sales book if you don’t get that, I liked The Sales Bible.

Test getting the user’s attention. Aka logos, headlines, taglines, imaging, audio/video…images are usually the most important. Focus above the fold, on eyetracking studies, and “blink of an eye” mentality. Have you got their attention?

It wasn’t my personal favorite, but the answer was D. It just goes to show, that’s why you test.

Last up for the day (phew my head is spinning can we go to Google dance yet?) is Jamie Roche to talk a bit about personalization of testing. He has found that it works, and that Amazon is a great example with their “if you bought ____”, “you may also want _____”, feature. It also works to pull the keyword friends come through with and put it on the landing page strategically.

Jamie suggested we group our audience in buckets. BIG buckets, not little micromanaged buckets. Why does everyone at SES talk about buckets??? I am going to call them duckets cuz its like dollars and buckets 🙂 So your duckets should be: Behavior, Time-based, Source, Environment, Registered customer, Time of day, Geographic region. There’s lots of duckets to be made!

Make sure to pick a thoughtful starting point, like your committed visitors. Begin with something obvious and work from there. Then choose your approach – revolutionary VS evolutionary. Sometimes you have to have a revolution and do really big things. Don’t be scared, be educated and be bold 🙂

Now that you know all kinds of tests and testing strategies, are you ready to run them on your website? bleah, not me. The truth hurts, and testing is not something I enjoy. Conversions are good though, so a-testing we will go…

Yes! Most web designers or would be designers are too technical or lack the knowledge to properly set something up online. Web designers now need to look at data from their clients that reflect what their target audience will want to see or what they will be searching for. Most designers can give you a very technically sound and functional site but those same designers will often tell you what’s best for your target audience. Bad move….take your time and research!

Making the prices of your products and services accessible on any landing page is a great idea, one that I don’t see put into practice enough. You’ve talked a lot about keeping people on a website…well here’s a good place to start! Useful information on your landing pages…..seems basic but it’s excellent advice. Testing too is so important and I too have worked hard on a site only to end up throwing it out and starting again.

The three tips on testing are very helpful too. I like the A-B split testing and found that to be most helpful. Yep, and testing without a baseline is foolish, though I can see many people doing it.

Pay per click people lose half of their visitors right off the bat? I’ve heard that before some time ago and it kind of makes me laugh. I know PPC has it’s purpose but those sites don’t seem to perform as well as those sites that have received TLC from their owners and designers. PPC is the quick and easy path…patience is key with websites.

“Try to really optimize the experience, not just the page”. Again we go back to content and how attractive a website is. Another going point to drill into everyone’s head!

I wouldn’t have picked picture D either as the most attractive or alluring but you’re right that’s why testing is so important. Really though any of the pictures there works for me and they all caught my eye.

I agree with you too. I’ve built and run several sites over the past 10 years and I despise testing as much as you do. It’s just tedious but it’s so important it’s got to be done.