How to Increase Conversions on any Website in 45 Minutes

Mar 9 2010 by Andrew Follett | 40 Comments

If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to "finish and forget" when it comes to web development. Once a website is live and the boss or client is happy, we close the project, kick off our shoes and crack a beer.

Part of the problem with this approach is the ever changing landscape online. Something that converts visitors today, might not be working two months from now (in some cases, it may not be working in the first place, but no one took the time to test it).

How to Increase Conversions on any Website in 45 Minutes

Redesigning a website, or even a single page, can be a tedious and time-consuming process. Re-opening a project that you so happily completed can take major mental willpower. However, improving a website doesn’t need to take weeks, or even days. I’m a believer in baby steps: making incremental progress, small victories, minor adjustments with big results.

That’s where my 45-minute plan comes into play. In less time than you spend watching The Bachelor each week, you can have a dramatic (and measurable) effect on your website.

Keep in mind, all times are approximate (and people work at different paces).

0 to 5 Minutes

Select a page where you can have the greatest impact

Surprisingly, this may not always be your homepage. Instead of trusting your gut, a little digging in Google Analytics (or your favorite analytics tool) can show you exactly where to start.

Select a page where you can have the greatest impact

Here are some ideas on finding pages that you can work on:

Navigate to your "top landing pages" or "top entrance pages" report (in Google Analytics, this is found under "Content" on the left sidebar).

Use a filter to remove pages with minimal traffic (see the "Advanced Filter" link at the bottom of the table).

Sort your pages by bounce rate.

Select the biggest loser: the page with the most potential for improvement (a combination of high visits and bounce rate).

5 to 15 Minutes

Use free (or cheap) tools to determine which areas on the page need the most attention

If you really want to stick to 45 minutes, you won’t have time to use a lot of tools, but even using one will give you the insight you need to make an improvement.

Use free (or cheap) tools to determine which areas on the page need the most attention

Here are some tips and tools that you can help up your conversion rates:

Get free advice from the design and development professionals on Concept Feedback. You can find more tools like Concept Feedback in my previous post "10 Excellent Feedback Tools for Web Designers".

See how people interact with your site using Userfly or ClickTale (extra credit: set up an informal user test with your neighbor, or use a remote testing service like UserTesting or Feedback Army).

Use heat maps to quickly see what’s popular and what’s overlooked. CrazyEgg and clickdensity both provide heat map tools.

Setup a quick survey with Survey Monkey, or a poll with PollDaddy to see what your users want.

Still need help? Here is a quick list of high impact items you could be testing:

  • Headline copy
  • Buttons (size, color and location)
  • Calls to action
  • Whitespace
  • Advertisement density
  • Value proposition
  • Text size
  • Images
  • Color scheme (There are many tools for picking colors)

Find more tools that you can use through these articles:

15 to 40 Minutes

Define the top 3 items from your research and implement the changes

Chances are that you’ll discover a hundred different things you could change, but remember, the key is incremental improvement and not a complete overhaul. So choose the items that you believe will have the most impact, and start there.

Keep in mind that the changes you make don’t need to be perfect—this is going to be a work in progress.

As soon as you’ve narrowed down your list to three, develop the content and code a test page right away. Limiting your list to three items keeps the project manageable. Don’t try to overdo it: you’ll be surprised how much impact just three seemingly minor adjustments can make.

If you get done with three and still want to try new changes—great!—this needs to be an ongoing process. However, don’t let an overwhelming list of ideas prevent you from action.

40 to 45 Minutes

Split test your new page, rinse and repeat

Split test your new page, rinse and repeat

Once your new page is ready, set up an A/B split test in Google Website Optimizer to track the results. Make sure to select a conversion page that accurately reflects your primary goal for that page.

Depending on the amount of traffic your page receives, you should be able to determine relatively quickly (anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks) what effect your changes made. If you’ve done your due diligence, you’ll most likely be rewarded for your effort with an increase in conversion rates, and sometimes your tweaks can result in substantial improvements.

However, you may find that your new page performs about the same, or in some cases, worse. But that’s the beauty of testing! Every test, whether successful or not, provides you with new knowledge about your site: what works and what doesn’t.

So—now that you’ve spent 10 minutes reading this—take the next 45 to improve your website. And please, come back here and let me know how it goes!

Related Content

About the Author

Andrew Follett is the founder and CEO of Concept Feedback, a free web design review community for designers, developers and marketers. Follow Andrew and Concept Feedback on Twitter.

40 Comments

Shannon

March 9th, 2010

Great article! Lots of ideas that are easy to do, but you’re right, we are usually too lazy to implement :) These are also good ideas to use with your clients, another way to keep them as monthly clients and not lose them once the site is complete.

Jen

March 9th, 2010

Interesting. However I don’t know that anyone could expect tremendous amounts of change or even results within such a short amount of time. Usability, accessiblity and conversions are something that takes time, research and testing to really nail. However I like your approach – even small starts and small changes can really affect a website’s conversion rate. Good stuff.

Matthew Heidenreich

March 9th, 2010

wow, great article. Definitively going to look into this deeper

Tiago

March 9th, 2010

I will try those tips for sure, thank you.

Andrew

March 9th, 2010

Great how-to and very cool site conceptfeedback.com

Lucas

March 9th, 2010

Brilliant. Thanks for the article. Great stuff.

7D

March 9th, 2010

Good info. Basically, to boil it all down – rework your highest bounce pages so visitors stay longer. Make functional changes, not confusing ones.

Gonzo the Great

March 9th, 2010

Good in-depth article on what to look for (and where) and what to change on your site to convert more visitors.

Thanks for sharing, Cheers & Ciao …

Sandra

March 10th, 2010

Nice, if for no other reason that it gives me some guidelines on how long other people take to do things!. Some of our clients pay for x amount of hours optimisation work per month. I’m thinking I need to get to a point where I have a box of tricks and how long each one takes so I can divide the time in a more systematic way. Thanks!

Jimmy Liew

March 10th, 2010

It’s Nice! Bravo. The 45 minutes ideas is so creative and it actually break the whole complex tasks into so simple way. Thanks.

paul

March 10th, 2010

I’d like to see more articles like this one, about website management.
You mention Concept Feedback, but doesn’t it require you to first give 5 critiques on other sites to be entitled to reviews on your sites?

Tim

March 10th, 2010

I would have used concept Feedback if the author would have made clear it’s his product. transpareny, man. good anyway!

Noel Wiggins

March 10th, 2010

Great tips and I love the other resources you have linked up the web stats stuff is so very awesome! Especially snoop from Reinvigorate.

DesignerWall

March 10th, 2010

Great Post. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one that tends to forget about a site once its done haha. Thanks Andrew

Jacob Gube

March 10th, 2010

@Tim: Andrew did mention that in his biography.

deakaz

March 10th, 2010

Great tips and ideas.

It’s great to look at analytics data to see how people are entering your site, and then to be able to edit or create content to maximize the keywords used.

teasastips

March 10th, 2010

Wow, just 45minutes hub? I’m going to try it and let you know how it turns out.

Debi Teter

March 11th, 2010

Great article. Time management with a small business is so critical that giving tips for 45 minutes of work helps take the fear out of addressing the testing issues.

Derek Pennycuff

March 11th, 2010

I almost didn’t bother reading this due to a headline I assumed was hyperbolic link-fodder. I’m still not convinced a proper solution can be found and implemented in 45 minutes on ANY website but you’ve sold me on the ability to at least uncover issues quickly. :)

Marc

March 11th, 2010

I would suggest give Clicktale a try. I’ve been using it for 2 months and it is neat to watch what your users do, I learned a lot.

WallMountedHDD

March 11th, 2010

Small changes and content revision on a non-changing design should be done as often as needed. But if you use diagnostics and find out that a site needs to be “converted” every time you check, as in UX redesign (I freaking hate the term “UX”), you’re going to be rearranging the furniture every time you turn around. I don’t know too many clients who are going to want to pay for that. And if user/surfer behavior and likes/dislikes change that often…wtf? A good website with a good interface should work for a while and be usable for quite a long time.

Andy

March 11th, 2010

In addition to the above, The key to increase conversions is to establish trust and confidence among website visitors. The primary tool to achieve that would be to focus on User Experience Design. Once you have a clean design, which is PROFESSIONAL looking, you can add a third party business or security verification to your site, such as Merchant Safe (http://www.merchant-safe.com), which improves conversion rate by 15% or so. There are other trust seals as well, but I think Merchant Safe is one that is reputable yet affordable. For privacy seals, the best one is Truste.

Anyway, you can actually try out the calculator on Merchant Safe site, which is pretty cool. It shows how much more, you can make per year, if you improve your conversion, based on your average sale amount and the number of transactions, If you play around with the numbers, you can find some interesting things.

Google Analytics may not offer individual IP level tracking. You need to look at other tools, which can give you a better picture.

Mohamed Aslam Najeebdeen

March 12th, 2010

Great article! Thanks a lot!

Dennis Hollingworth

March 13th, 2010

Nice, clean, step-by-step advice, and easy to understand, low on jargon and acronymns etc.

Alice Dagley

March 16th, 2010

I liked the article and advice you give. However all those little steps to improvement are efficient and good for near-term outlook only, when you are saving money and efforts preparing your major changes. While you are making same changes to your site you should focus on global re-design on the nearest future. Small improvements will not raise your website high and convert it into beneficial web presents.

So the bottom line is – these are temporary measures.

Theo

March 17th, 2010

Real good article, i will have to focus on this.

Thanks a lot !

Isabelle

March 18th, 2010

Great article, I love the resources link up here specially the Google Website Optimizer, definitely will try this one out. This is a great website

Justin Freid

March 18th, 2010

Awesome post. Nice step by step directions that almost anyone could implement.

Erin Pheil

March 20th, 2010

I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with Alice Dagley (see above) on this one.

In sum: incremental changes do not need to be seen as temporary, and every time one wants to make an improvement on his/her site, a complete rework and redesign is *not* needed.

#1) You can have a fantastic website, but no website is 100% perfect. All websites can *always* be improved. Small changes to these great sites CAN make a world of difference. Why on earth would you invest in a a complete redesign if your website is already functioning well/making money/bringing results?

#2) I recommend educating yourself on Amazon.com’s continuing testing and tweaking process (see Bryan Eisenberg’s book “Always Be Testing”). Amazon’s site is amazingly effective yet they’re always, always making incremental, small changes — and then testing them. All. The. Time. They’re focused on improving their site, but would they need to consider “a global redesign in the nearest future”?

#3) Learn about actual results experienced by web companies who have made just the smallest changes and you’ll realize that massive reworks and changes aren’t necessary to see impressive results. I highly recommend Unbounce’s article entitled “The Biggest Little Change I Ever Made – A 160% Revenue Increase with 1 Word Change” which can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/y9bswfb.

In the end, I respectfully disagree Alice’s statement that incremental changes are “temporary measures.”

To the contrary, incremental changes can translate into meaningful differences and worthwhile results for those focused and devoted to improving their (or their clients’) websites.

Rick C

August 2nd, 2010

A great way to increase conversions in 45 mins is to provide a search that will help your audience find items on your site, and target your visitors using the search.

Craig

September 18th, 2010

I agree, its easy to think that the project is completed, in a way it has only just begun as all these tips on how to increase conversions in 45 minutes gets down to the real effectiveness of the design by analysis. Thanks!

Blinky Signs

September 27th, 2010

With me it will probably take longer than 45 minutes, but some good advice. Thanks

Daniel Elsasser

October 18th, 2010

Great article! We use feedback Army for all our websites and it gives us great statistical data on things needing improvement. Love your post here and am eager to explore the rest of your blog here! Thanks

Jonathan Goldford

December 12th, 2010

Thanks a lot for this article. I just signed up for an account on Userfly and I was blown away at what it can show. I am pretty excited to be able to show our team a screencast of how someone uses our website. Pretty awesome.

Oleh Mykhayloych

February 24th, 2011

Userfly really cool thing, however it would be great to have more to be done in free version. Not much data to get if it’s so good ;)

Eliathah Boda

March 22nd, 2011

helpful tips that are easy to apply. thanks for the article

John Easton

May 13th, 2011

These are very good ideas, and for 45 minutes I think you learn a lot about how you can fix your site in that amount of time. Good post, what are some other good ideas for those who have more then 45 minutes of time to fix their site?

rabbins

June 27th, 2011

hi
can you help me about conversion because i could not have great conversion

CoffeeGuy

July 15th, 2011

Even finding 45 minutes can be hard sometimes!

Jack Campbell

November 17th, 2011

I spend so much time getting distracted from one thing to the next. I never seem to get my goals accomplished. I think I will adopt your structured approach and limit the amount of time and be more goal oriented. Thanks

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