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Don’t Ask an Expert How to Improve Your Website’s Revenue

Theresa Baiocco  |  April 1, 2016

Theresa Baiocco  |  April 1, 2016

        

I went to a conference a few years ago where a highly respected SEO expert was doing a site review. I mean this guy is a legend. He’s one of a few people credited with coining the term “Search Engine Optimization”.

His advice?

Add an automatically rotating slider to the homepage in order to make the site more interesting and convey more information.

If you don’t know why this is such horrible advice, do a quick Google search on automatically rotating sliders and see how many results include the words “suck” or “kill conversions”.

Google_search.jpg

That guy was an expert in SEO, for Pete’s sake, not conversion rate optimization (CRO). And, despite what SEOs claim, the two fields are very different.

I’m not trying to discredit that particular expert, but rather the flawed logic in asking someone to look at a site and immediately determine how it could be more profitable.

This is one of the biggest mistakes marketers make. They want an easy answer, a quick fix. This is why site reviews are so popular at conferences. But they’re dangerous because there are no easy answers or quick fixes.

An expert – even a conversion expert – can only give you best practices. You don’t need to go to a conference for that; people have published all kinds of landing page checklists and best practices.

Best practices are only a starting point – or a hypothesis for an A/B test. Too many times, best practices fail. The truth is, increasing your site’s revenue takes work.

What’s succeeded on other sites is not guaranteed to work on yours. If it did, we’d all have the same layout and color scheme with Big Orange Buttons (BOB) on our sites.


You have to figure out what makes you different

Who’s your unique target market, and what problem are they trying to solve? What are their options for solving that problem? What makes your solution uniquely better? Does your website convey that in the first 5 seconds?

Then, find out which pages on your site confuse or frustrate people (note: you MUST configure goals and funnels in analytics to get meaningful data).

  • Where do users abandon the funnel?
  • What are the top landing pages with high bounce rates?

Next, figure out WHY those pages confuse or frustrate people:

Finally, combine the data you uncovered by answering the questions above with a conversion framework to form a meaningful hypothesis.

Run your test.

Analyze the results.

Repeat.


Sometimes you need a fresh perspective

I’m not advocating against conferences. They’re valuable for learning, expanding your network, and picking up swag – and site reviews are entertaining, especially when the experts really tear a site apart.

Just don’t take their advice as gospel. Take a note of it and incorporate it into your test hypotheses. But always remember: use data – not opinions – to increase conversions.

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Do you agree with Theresa that you shouldn't base website improvement on opinion - expert or otherwise? Let us know in the comments below – or join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #DecibelSoapbox.

Turn your website into a conversion machine

Theresa Baiocco

Written on April 1, 2016 by:

Theresa Baiocco

Co-founder of CRO agency Conversion Max

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