One of my absolute favorite speakers on the planet is Tim Ash from SiteTuners. I saw him speak the first time at Affiliate Convention back in 2010 and I think I’ve seen him four times since then. Every time I see Tim talk I get a few very good nuggets and since I know many of my readers are also interested in Landing Page Optimization I thought I would share some of these nuggets with you!
This time around Tim decided to dedicate the entire talk to analysis of other people’s sites. I think case studies are one of the best ways to learn and Tim isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, yes, that’s right, your baby is ugly.
The first site Tim analyzed is FreeReport.com:
Pictures of people are really high risk things. The picture on this site is not reenforcing the message and it distracts from the call-to-action button. You don’t need to put anything in place of this image, just get rid of it, and avoid at all costs a rotating banner, this will only distract the user more.
Next up FreeCoupons.com:
Tim’s first impression of this site was “It looks like your 15 year-old nephew who just took a course in web design built the site.” The fonts are tacky, wallpaper doesn’t fit in and since you have to immediately get the user to feel comfortable on your site, all of these things are working against you.
It is nice to have borders on the side but they shouldn’t have any design patters in it, once again, this distracts the user from the content.
Visual trust marks could really add to this site. Show logos of brands that people trust on the site and it adds a lot of credibility to your brand.
Next up FamousBirthdays.com:
Does anyone know what this site is about? It’s hard because the long banner ad is located in prime real estate which means it will most likely grab the users attention before anything else. Since the banner is animated it also continually moves the users attention back to the ad and away from the content.
Get rid of motion on your page, especially if it is going against your intended purpose.
The next site Tim looked at is one that many Domain Investors are very familiar with – DomainTools.com:
The top ad in the blue box “Apple owns Apple.com. What else?” is confusing to the user, it looks like an add and it doesn’t provide a good call-to-action.
The toolbox image on the right looks like tacky clip art which brings down the quality of the page and impacts the consistency of the site as a whole.
People don’t read on the web, if you want to increase your conversion rate, decrease the amount of text on your page. Clear headlines, clear font hierarchy is critical so users can easily find what they are looking for.
Don’t use reverse color fonts (i.e. lighter on darker) these are hard to see on a computer screen. Also stick to even width fonts like Helvetica and Arial and avoid using all capitals.
The video preview graphic (below New to DomainTools) is a great idea but rather than using a frame from the video, customize the graphic and really make it pop.
Next up ShopWiki.com:
Every page needs a clear page title. Tim’s big problem with this site is that the front page has tons and tons of content on it. There’s too many products to wade through. Maybe the best solution would be to have four clear categories on the front page of the site. Reduce it down to category-level images. An example of a site that does this well is B&H Photo.
Organize information, create hierarchies, make it clear for the user and your conversion rate will go up.
When creating Submit Buttons don’t just say “Submit” – tell the user what is going to happen once they click the button. Think of this as “What’s in it for me?” Rather than submit, something like “Get My Free Report” is much stronger.
The way you should think about buttons is they should complete your intent, I want to “x”.
Next up Hosting.co.uk:
First major problem here is the sliding banner, these go by too fast and sliding banners in general should be avoided, they do nothing to increase conversions. The timer at the top goes a bit too far going all the way to individual seconds.
Give the user 2-4 choices and then let them click and move onto the next page.
Next up YourGiftCard.ca:
The background on this site is too distracting and pulls the users attention away from the text and the action you want the visitor to perform.
Next up ShowMonkey.com:
Tim’s first comment was that the giant monkey head distracts from the text and the call-to-action button. If you want to keep the monkey head, put it just above the text and call to action but it’s not necessary.
It is also not immediately clear what the service does, critical to make this clear so the user immediately knows what the site offers.
As always, an amazing talk and a great way to start the last day of WEBfest. This will be the only talk I can make it to today as my meeting schedule is packed and somehow I still have my voice…for now.