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Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

Making More Money is Easier if You Keep It Simple Stupid :)

By Melissa Burdon
March 22nd, 2011

We’ve mentioned the K.I.S.S. approach to conversion rate optimization before.  But isn’t this the underlying message we should be reminding ourselves of with each and every step we take in developing our online presence and our plan to continuously make our websites and marketing better?

Plan for success in advance

If you’re in the midst of a redesign or are starting a new website/experience, plan your sales process to match the way your customers want to buy.  Your customers want to find the answers to their questions quickly and easily.

Here are a couple key things to remember when doing this:

1-    Your internal jargon is not the language the customer will use to describe what they are looking for. Learn how your customer describes what she is looking for and the language she uses to ask her questions. This is the language you should be using throughout your web experience.

2-    Get to know your four personas. Each persona has a particular set of key information they are looking for, and a preference toward a particular format for receiving that information… and yes, it’s possible to speak to all of your personas on one website. For example, bullet points and quick steps the visitor can take to move forward in their buying process are critical to feature above the fold on your web pages if you want to get the message across to your two fast paced personas. If you don’t have personas yet, download our getting started with personas guide.

Test and improve what already is

If you’re testing and implementing changes on your site in a bid for continuous improvement of the customer experience you deliver, you want to create a high impact testing plan that is easy to follow and generates strong results right away. Although our analysis is fairly complex and digs deep into your analytics in order to find the gold mines, the overall process and approach we use with our clients is fairly simple.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind so your testing plan stays simple:

1-    Don’t make too many changes in a single test. A true A/B test reflects a single change on a page. In some cases, it makes sense to make a couple of changes at once on a single page, but always remember that if you run a test with multiple changes, some of the changes could be producing positive results, while others may have a negative impact and pull down your average increase. If you keep a single test to a minimal number of changes, then you will have fewer variables in your test wins or losses. It’s always easier and more conclusive to test step by step than to go live with a big hairy test and have to come back, revisit the test and break it down into it’s individual parts and gain any insight about the value of each change.

2-    Don’t run too many overlapping tests at a single point in time because they could affect one another. If you want to test a few things at the same time, select items that are unlikely to affect one another’s performance.

Believe me, we know it’s not always as easy as it sounds; making the effort and taking the time to remind yourself of these basic tenets of testing on a regular basis can help.  And if you still find yourself overwhelmed, you know where to find us.  You can always start a conversation with us about how we can help you get back on track.

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Comments (28)

  1. This article is SO true. I hate using sites that seem like they’ve had steriod injections! So many sites use so much frivilous information. I’m obviously a fast-paced persona. I like to get in, get my info, and get out. And too many changes at once to a site I’m used to will make me go elsewhere. I want ease of use, no matter what. Thanks!

  2. Testing and improving what you already have is a good idea, I think a no-brainer. Once you have things in good order then look and spreading out from there. There are so many little things that can be improved over time.

    I go slow, make small improvements along the way, hopefully it makes a nice overall improvement over time.

  3. Yes, this is what online marketing is about: incremental, methodical changes to your online business presence that can then be measured and analyzed for positive (or negative) marketing impact.

    As a small business owner, I sometimes find it’s difficult to do this quickly. Then again, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

  4. As a webmaster I think its important to give your visitors what they want rather than what the search engines want exclusively.The more your focus becomes on giving people as much easy to access and a viewer friendly website then your halfway their to success. Sometimes less is more as long as it is what your your target audience is looking for.

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more in regard to the K.I.S.S. concept;whereas, I want to quickly find what I’m looking for on a website. There’s nothing worse for me, than to be bogged down with time consuming dull reading in order to pick out the data from a web page that I’m searching for.

    Great post!

  6. This article holds truth for every type of business. Unfortunately, most people gave up before they even know what’s work for them.

  7. I know in my industry, KISS is key. These days, large hedge funds blow up due to making their trading systems too complicated. When something goes wrong, it takes too long to figure out what went wrong.

    Testing, testing and more testing make a huge difference – in more places than just websites!

  8. Buyer persona’s are very important. There’s a saying that goes something like “if you wanna sell what John Brown Buys, you’ve gotta see things through John Brown’s eyes”. Thanks for the useful tip.

  9. Hi,

    Not sure if this is outside of the scope of your article but as I run a small business (dog walking), there are not many conversion goals on my site, besides getting a new client. This would probably mean in Google analytics setting a goal for someone filling out the contact form. would tracking the pages that lead up to that help me improve my site?

  10. Nice article very true, business owners also need alot of patience, its the key to being succesful like Frank says people give up to early, should keep trying till you get where you want to go.

  11. Actually it is exactly the same as in software development process. When you have a bug and when trying to fix it you change too many code sections, you actually can’t tell which change did fix the bug. Take small steps, like little baby and you will find your path to success.

  12. I’d like to add my own keep it simple stupid tip.

    Stop over analyzing everything. You must know what your goals are and what you need to do to reach them. The only way to succeed is to work hard. There is no magic pill to swallow to become rich. It’s just plain hard work and most people aren’t cut out to be successful. Fact is, if it is annoying to do and you don’t want to do it, then most likely this is what you need to do to succeed.

  13. Great article Melissa. The point about not testing too many elements at once is particularly important.

    I’ve read case studies in the past where conversion rates have gone sky-high after just changing one word in a headline.

  14. knowing what your clients want and what your readers like is the best way to know what you should but in your blog or website. Making everything easier and faster makes everything better. IN my case, I use unlimited banner impressions and click for a flat monthly fee.

  15. I couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying. Websites need to provide their content either on the first page, or atleast make it very easily accessible. I myself tend to jump in and scout for interesting headlines in nothing more than 5 seconds, and if I am not drawn to something I quickly go out again..

  16. Hi…nice article and true..I have seen simple websites earning more than complex one…and that is why facebook is a hit

  17. Melissa, you are right. Test Test Test and finally improve it which suits to your visitors needs. I always test before going massive.

  18. Melissa, I agree with you! As Leonardo Da Vinci said… “semplicity is the ultimate sophistication” :-)

  19. It really isn’t simple to K.I.S.S. specially in website optimization. One needs to have a well-defined goal and resist the temptation of using short-cuts.

  20. Being in this situation now with a new website; it is so tempting to keep changing things however I have to hold myself back and give time for the previous changes to be seen.

  21. @Bruce The Dog Walker – yes! check out this post about setting up conversion funnels to get started.

  22. Being in this situation now with a new website; it is so tempting to keep changing things however I have to hold myself back and give time for the previous changes to be seen.

  23. I suppose the need to improve things “right now” conflicts with proper testing…I myself am guilty of this with new sites.

    The thing with new sites is; without sufficient data, it’s hard to determine if any changes are effective or not…

  24. Ya. I’ve found its best to try and do one thing really well rather than spreading yourself thin with a million different projects/ideas.

  25. I can’t agree with this article more. I have a friend that has many years editing video for the ad industry and knows all the bells and whistles about web design and graphics. His problem is the sites he build are too busy. No conversions. Customers get confused. That’s why I prefer snorkeling over scuba diving. K.I.S.S has been my moto for many years

  26. It is so important to strike a good balance between what you write for the people and for the search engines. You are very correct on the test you should made on your websites.

  27. Focusing on one thing until you get it right I think is a good key before moving onto the next. This way everything gets done to a high standard and the best results!

  28. First of all, I must thank you for the nice article, I have the same experience. very simple and easy website which i’ve seen earns much more money than some difficult one.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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