Optimise Your Content for Better Conversions with Google Website Optimiser

Thursday, February 12, 2009 | 5:57 PM

Here are two landing page designs for your new e-commerce website.  Which of the above 2 designs appeals to the visitor?  How do you decide? Do you take a poll? Hold a usability focus group? Trust your designer's instinct? Yes, getting to the answer is difficult.  But not with Google Website Optimiser - a tool that helps you take the guesswork out of effective site design.

Times are tough.  You are putting in blood, sweat, and tears into driving qualified traffic to your website.  You are making sales and obtaining leads, but you want more.  What do you do?  You can use Google Website Optimiser to help increase conversions while you maintain your same level of effort and spend.

Google Website Optimiser is a free content-testing tool designed to increase your website's conversion rate.  By trying variations of text, images, and other website content, you can turn more visitors into customers.  

You can forget about needing to trust someone's gut-feel on what design and content will work.  Test out every idea you have: from the conventional to the non-conventional.  Then let your visitors decide which content works the best.  Website Optimiser provides you with objective and quantitative data to help you make the right decision on the effective mix of content for your landing pages.

Does it work?
Simple changes to your website can have huge impact on your site's conversion rates.  Find out how Website Optimiser has benefited real websites by watching these videos and reading these case studies.  

How do I get started?
Getting started is easy.  First, sign up for a Website Optimiser account.  If you are an AdWords user, you can access Website Optimiser through the Campaign Management tab.  

Next, check out the informative videos on the Google Website Optimiser Channel on YouTube.  Watch a series of informative getting-started webinars, and find out how Website Optimiser has benefited the winners of the recently-concluded Website Workout Contest.

Which pages should I be testing first?
Use your web analytics tools to determine which of your most popular landing pages have the highest bounce rates.  These are pages where you are losing out on converting valuable traffic, and thus where you have the most to gain with content testing.  

Next, look for pages with the highest exit rates in your conversion funnels (the path a user takes to finally land on the conversion page).  Identify what is discouraging your users from completing a transaction.  

What should I be testing?
There are no rules to testing.  Try anything and everything.  Here are some examples to consider:

  • Page Title. Experiment with short vs. long titles; pose a question vs. make a statement; formal vs. informal; emphasise different selling points.
  • Images. Try an image of a person using your product vs. the product on its own; a photograph vs. an illustration; large images vs. small images.
  • Layout. Try introducing more whitespace vs. compacting your content; single-column vs. multiple-column; menu on the left vs. menu on the right; horizontal menu vs. vertical menu.
  • Conversion Incentives.  Experiment with free shipping vs. money-back guarantee; listing key incentives vs. all incentives vs. no incentives; online order form vs. offline order options (eg phone orders or store walk-in).
  • Selling Proposition.  Vary the messaging: quality vs. convenience; features vs. service; save money with your product vs. make money with your product.

Where can I go for help?
There are a number of freely available and constantly updated help resources to assist you with implementing an effective testing strategy:

Now it's your turn to get out there and start optimising your website for better returns.  For an added advantage, make use of Google Analytics and Conversion Optimiser.  Are you already a Google Website Optimiser user?  Share your experiences and learnings with us in the comments below.