Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Design? - How much does it REALLY matter? - MEMBERSHIP SITE - WEB DESIGN (originally posted april 10 2009)

I must admit, this is one key dilemma and I need and answer on that one!

At this stage, I have been keeping pages to the minimum in terms of design.

For many reasons... I won't get into it.

Now, the question is

"Does better design increase or descrease sales?"

"Does it even matter?"

May REALLY high traffic websites are very minimalistic in design from drudge report ot craigslist + many more, they would score a lousy 20% in the scale of design.

This does not seem to hurt them a bit.

On the other hand, you can have incredibly well designed websites which have absolutely no success online.

Of course, the key is content, but the question is:

How much design is needed?

Is it even necessary to do something about it?

Well, here is an attempt to answer that question:

I saw myself being turned off by certain sites vbecause theyw ere REALLY ugly!

I saw myself leaving sites as well because the disgn was clean but VERY boring.

I saw myself as well attracted to certain sites because the design was VERY pleasant. I saw myself coming back because not only the content was high quality, the way it was presented was extremely refreshing.

So, the design can positively or negatively influence my experience on a site.

Now, back to vitalcoaching.com

here is the thing:

I know that right now, the site performs ok.

And... I have at this stage, no idea what to do next:

  • Leave the design exactly the way it is?
  • Work on it a bit... Just a couple of adjustements here and there?
  • Hire a designer to pimp it up?
  • Put lots of energy in it because now that I have solid content, design is THE limiting factor?

One more confession.

When I check the stats, 85% of visitors leave the site within a few seconds.

This has always been like that.

It could be

  • Error in the way stats are recorded - yes! It's possible
  • They notice that it's not a super high traffic website and leave
  • Lack of social web 2.0 features
  • Poor design
  • This 85% is good! It is what happens to any site (except the big super high traffic portals)

At this stage, I don't know the answer to that question.

So, let's check that:

I identified a few nicely designed sites

----------------------

  • Site 1: cool design 80% - social bookmarking - I arrive on the page... - Do I stay? No - why? Because there is nothing there that I need - The offer and the demand don't meet

----------------------------

  • Site 2: No idea what the site is about... I think it is design actually and technology - internet - Design quality 95% - Really nice appealing - I start surfing triggered by the design only - Another plus - The site has a few nice attractive social features that makes it appear connected! - It is obvious with the number of readers or twitter followers that the site does attract at leats some good attention

Now, here is what happens after a few minutes on the site... I actually start getting tired or bored by the design already!

That's strange! I have been on the site only a few minutes and the design itself feel almost like it's draining my attention.

It hooked me for a few minutes because I am interested in analysing the design ideas but I quickly look for solid content.

After a few minutes on it... i still did not identify a compelling reason to sign up! Shocking!

--------1st ESSENTIAL CONCLUSION----------

Yes, I realize that often a very attractive design actually distractes me from the content. In a way, the design that attracts me the most is like white canvas that supports the content.

I don't want to be distracted. I want to be able to focus on the content

---------------------------------------------------

--------2nd ESSENTIAL CONCLUSION----------

once the design is clean, usability of the site matters most. In fact, usability comes before design. Yes! Much before. A site which is difficult to navaigate and where key info is impossibel to find is SUPER ANNOYING! - It's a traffic killer I am sure... As first time visitors resits coming back in the future

---------------------------------------------------

--------3rd ESSENTIAL CONCLUSION----------

The site is like the canvas that supports the content. Take an art gallery. If is packed with objects and decoration, it actually distracts from the artwork, right?

Art galleries walls are always white because white is neutral - anything you put on it comes out!

---------------------------------------------------

--------4rth ESSENTIAL CONCLUSION----------

More than design, SOCIAL FEATURES! Life!

This is as well something that in my eyes, outperforms design in terms of impact. Take a site like Youtube. It's not the design that gets people comong back, it is the content, social features, usability, etc.

---------------------------------------------------

Here it is as a conclusion:

  • Keep the design super clean - NO DISTRACTIONS!
  • Usablity!
  • SOCIAL FEATURES

Here you have it!

Now, some websites are so ugly that it does actually turn me off.

These sites make the mistake of trying to focus on the design but make a real poor job at it!

Really poor!

Now, let's put these ideas to the test and check some more sites:

-------------------------------

  • Site 10 (skipped a few where I had nothing special to say except that the design was not a good reason enough to keep me there)

Now, the next site I visit is a fitness and weightloss site with a known weightloss expert.

Nothing speactacular on the site.

Except that it's not overwehlming! It's clear + images

Only a small fraction of the navigation is visible and hidden beyond the bootom of the screen, so you have to scroll down to see it.

What catches my attention straight away is the you tube vid that takes about 30% of the space.

I instantly start watching and I am hooked - I want to see more and know what this is about.

So, far, from all the sites I visited, this is the one I want to engage a connection with.

I am about to download the free e-book which grabs 30% of the space.

Well, this is it!

  • An appealing free download
  • A well poitioned video in the middle of the page
  • A picture
  • A clean logo
  • A catchy headline
  • Some bright an refreshing colors
  • Lots of space
  • Very simple design - Clean and refreshing but nothing fancy

That's a good recipe

------SIDE NOTE-------------

PDF's!!!

After all this positive experience, I am directed to this PDF report - Now things change! The positive intercative and refreshing surfing experience is interupted and I enter into a very different rhythm.

This e-book contains some links but I don't click on them because I don't want to waste time opening a new window.

Reading the ebook requires me to shift + I can't bookmark parts of the e-book. It's much more difficult to use.

I'll check that further another time.

-----------------------

  • Site 11

Same story - lots of appealing and entertaining videos - like it - I am hooked and just for entertainment would stay on the site

Design is clean and powerful

Again, it works

Same idea as the previous site

Both contain littel text + videos + appealing content + images + supportive design that is powerful + super simple navigation

This second one has social features (comments, ratings, etc) - the first one didn't.

In a way, no social features does not hurt but you have picture of other people, stories, etc.

So, the networking or connected element is there.

------------

  • Site 12

POP UP jums right up at me!

Don't ask me to sign up for something when i don't even know who you are!

Is the content that boring that you need to distract me from what you created yourself? Why?

I already took the time to visit your site and now you want to distract me from it? Why?

Now, that I closed the pop up, this site is very good for its clarity!

Again, obvious video content, clear design, super simple navigation - etc.

Again, a good recipe for the success... That's a place I want to come back to and check. It works for me AGAIN!!!!

------------

  • site 13

Obvious call for subscribing! 3 forms on the page ask me to subscribe to news. It works! I did!

Simple navigation

Clear design

Again, the design is clean but almost overdone.

The content suffers.

I need something more raw, more direct, that really connects with me.

I miss the vids.

When reading through the pages, the communication style is not direct enough.

I need more raw! More direct! Really!

Scores lower than the previous 3 sites.

This one enters into the category of attractive but not enough life + the design also saturates quickly after a few minutes on the site.

I need your content to be king, not your image!

Right now, your content is ensalved to your design!

That's the impression I get!

You hide what you have to say behind a veil.

You don't give me the real thing, you hide it from me.

-----------------------------

Next site...

What comes to mind?

A bit messy - headlines are too long - you lose me - If you want to catch my eye, give me something simpler I can catch, not a doze ideas, just one!

There is something messy and difficult to grasp about that one.

I can relate to it because I tend towards that type of design...

The problem?

  • The visual zones are not well defined
  • The headlines are too long
  • The blog side bar is a mess - there is too much - nothing stands out

I know the guy already, so I might stick around and I know that the content is engaging and has a high connecting edge.

He connects, yes!

But after quickly scrolling the page, I still don't really know what this is a bout or how he can help me.

I don't know what kind of audience he catters to + I don't know what product he offers.

It's not clear.

There is abunch of icons at the bottom which ad chaos...

So, here is what is missing:

  • Well define visual zones
  • Clearer and more direct headlines

--------------------------------------------------

Now, back to my site...

Here we go...

Every page can be optimized but let's start by the home page:

  • The side bar with the membership comes under the fold - you need to croll down to access the content - price - features - login are hidden
  • I need a vid on the home page

Good ideas

  • The headlines links on the navigation - good idea - That's the simple headlines I am attracted to instantly
  • The design is refreshing but there is A LOT!
  • The colours in the coaching and membership navigation links need to be cleared and restored to white.
  • Icons with pictures! Good! Keep it that way!

The home page only gets a tiny fraction of the visits!

95% of visitors access the site through a backdoor! - so all pages needs to be optimized with the best possible page structure.

------------------

The essential questions to answer are:

Why do 85% of visitors leave within seconds?

What can I do about it?

------------------

These are the questions I need real answers for!

By the way, I think these scores are ok - I still get lots of traffic, returning visitors + activity on the site... But if there is something that hurts the site, I need to find out EXACTLY what it is and if possible, do something about it!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Update! - BLOGGING SEO

a couple of issues came up - I won't go into deatails but strategy need to bre perfected a bit.

One question which is very clear is that actually 70% of the traffic generated to the breakup blogs comes from the main blog.

The increase of traffic to the main breakup page is not that significant.

This page gets now literally thousands of new links pointing to it but the impact is not too strong. Yes, it is visible but after close to a month of effort and focus traffic to the main page has increased by 20-50%.

This is good of course but the question is: Is it worth all the effort - For now, yes! It is because there are some long term traffic impact that could take place as well

with the 30+ blogs present online that promote the breakup material, again 50-80% of the targeted traffic is seen on the main breakup blog.

The other two 2 breakup blogs hosted on the site + the main vital news blog has been betting some traffic but this traffic is not too significant either.

Again, the main source remains the main breakup blog.

I need now to step back a little and strategize my next steps

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adding new labels or tags to blog posts - BLOGGING SEO

This is a side strategy and the challenge with it is that it is one step at a time.

I already tried to ad tags when posting series of posts to all blogs but somehow it creates an error and does not post to blogger.

So, I abandoned that strategy for now.

It could still be pursued and it does have potential but at this stage, there is no clear systematic way in place to do that.

An idea would be to ad the keyphrase within the label or tag for the post.

I just double tested and yes... an error is returned when trying to post a message with a tag on a blogger blog.

ok... It's clearer now - the error is returned only for the blogs which are hosted on my own domain names - posting with tags works fine when poting to a blog hosted on blogger

This would mean one extra optimized step

I could still explore that direction though...

To be followed...

Monday, June 8, 2009

2nd stage post optimization tests - BLOGGING SEO

Some days ago, I teste a new strategy.

It consists in taking the pages that score high and optimize them even further with the goal of getting them to rank even higher.

The steps i took which consist in adding sets of related targeted keywords + posting targeted links to that post again take some time to apply.

This second stage optimization process takes aroun 30 min for 4 posts!

That's time consuming, right?

The thing is that only 4 posts in 30 min is not much.

The question is: Is it worth it?

Or is there another more direct step that can be taken and will multiply results much faster?

The other alternative is to post links somewhere else.

Remember that with the first strategy, around 250 links get posted in 3 min.

That's fast and it is the reason why this type of optimization works.

I need the same type of effectiveness when engaging in a new strategy.

So, new places to post links to these specific posts is the type of strategy that could complement the ones existing.

I need something simple that can be implemented easily as an extra systematic step

Average time on page on main breakup blog - BLOGGING SEO

On the main breakup blog, average time on page is now in the 2-3 min range which is great news.

This means that the page design with top video + no distraction works great!

It means that visitors are actually watching this video.

At this stage, I have no idea what the click through rate on the "Yes! I am ready" call for action.

That's the next element to check or find out more about.

For now, this call for action seems to be at least a much better option than the "test drive" one

Do more of the same? + Find new upgrade tactics - BLOGGING SEO

That's a key question!

Right now, I function with one laptop and 25 blogs.

Of course, the strategy could be to do more of the same:
  • Post 100 posts instead of 20/day
  • Have 250 blogs instead of 25
  • Have 2 computers processing the postings
  • Optimize the blog posts with more of the same (more alt tags - more keywords in text and Hx tags)

This process of doing more of the same could lead to better results or not.

My guess is that another type of strategy could have a higher impact as well.

Both upgrade strategies have potential and it is not sure which one will lead to an extra 10x traffic boost.

To be followed...

There is obviously more! - BLOGGING SEO

I mean, at this stage, as I said in an earlier post, I applied 4 key posting strategies.

These are the ones I came up with so far but I am convinced that behind the scenes, there are many more systematic techniques that can be used to boost search engine ranking.

OBVIOUSLY!

This is by far not the end of this exploration.

In the same way as a cross linking strategy multiplies the results by 10, there is probably still another strategy which has the potential to boost that specific result 10 folds!

REALLY!

It is just a matter of finding what these upgrade strategies are.

Time to start searching for the next step!

cross linking strategies - Positive trend confirmation - BLOGGING SEO

I tested now this for 2 days on 3 extra blogs - blog 3, blog 3 and main vital news blog.

When posting links in 25 other blogs to 100+ posts in these 3 blogs

Here are the results:

  • The traffic boost is there in all 3
  • After the first day boost traffic goes back down VERY fast
  • The fact that the blog is young does not influence the boost trend.

Here are some conclusions:

My guess is that the boost is not as high if links are posted within a couple of hours or if these links are posted over a longer period of time.

For instance in the case of the mian breakup blog, posting + cross linking has been consistent over 3 weeks of activity and traffic has been building up progressively.

In the first stages, there are up and downs traffic picks.

My guess is that search engines are triggered, give boost, take away, give the boost back...

In other terms, there is some yoyo effect going on.

The thing which is clear though is that having a post within the cross linking strategy makes the post miss on 90% of the potential traffic.

So, to summarize, I have now at least 5 key strategies that need to be applied together for this blogging SEO strategies to work:

  • cross linking strategy
  • post optimization
  • targeted keyphrase
  • multiple blog posting
  • consistent posting

Here are examples of side steps that were taken that probably don't get the same results but which might still have an impact... Not sure:

  • One at a time link posting to social bookmarking sites
  • Testimonials, articles and other content in the blogs
  • Etc.

This is a big key step!

To be followed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Real content or ads? - BLOGGING SEO

In the past I did frequently create content and simply hoep that traffic to that content would build up.

In reality, this is rare.

All these "passive" traffic building ideas like:
  • hoping for referrals
  • hoping to score high in search engines without optimisation
  • hoping for returning visitors.

All these are simply wishful thinking!

Rellying on these does produce some very limited results but usually not enough.

It is forgeting that the net is a highly competitive environment.

Now, with this strategy and the SEO pages I worked on before, it is clear that SEO strategies do work and what I do actually create are targeted ads which are delivered to the audience who needs my products.

REAL CONTENT and ADS are two very different types of content.

Now, it is clear that there is a strong distinction between those two and if it is traffic you want to build it is optimized ad pages/posts you needs to create.

------------------------

By the way, the ads I am talking about are more than just a link with a call for action

They often contain video, with solid real high energy content.

So, the ad is already a high quality tool to deliver a small part of the conent.

The intention though is still to:

  • score high inserach engines + build traffic
  • Promote a product

Cross linking staregy - Positive trend CONFIRMED! - BLOGGING SEO

Yes! It works!

The blog 3 and main vitalnews blog on which I tested this strategy both show a massive traffic increase,

Form virtually no traffic to a massive increase. So - This strategy is now confirmed.

questions still open are the same as before

  • Will it work on a new blog?
  • Will it work on another domain name - satellite sites?
  • Will it work when hosted on blogger or wordpress?

---------------------

What about SEO pages?

Well, I tested this strategy trying to cross link to SEO pages but the trend is not clearly confirmed.

I did post a few series of links to extra4 and x7 series but so far there is no clear trend.

Could it be that this cross linking strategy works better for fresh blogs posts than older SEO pages?

That's a possibility and seems to be the trend but this fact would need to be confirmed to be 100% sure about that.

On top of that what is the exact factor, making these SEO pages not respond to this cross linking strategy?

  • Is it because they are older? and have been indexed already for a long time?
  • Is it because search engines do not recognize them as blog posts and give them less interest?

What is it?

Test?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

1 hour/day - SMART Promotion - BLOGGING SEO

I want to say this again in case it is not clear!

1 hour/day average - This is what it took me to implement these techniques so far.

Of course, I have been brainstorming, testing, checking stats because I am researching the topic - So practically, I have been spending a bit more than 1 hour/day.

But the actual promotional/posting work + creating the blogs + updating designs comes effectively to 1 hour/day.

Now, what would be the impact if instead of 1 hour/day, I would spend 5 hours/day.

First, is it possible?

If I focus on it, abolsutely.

It is a bit repetitive but it can be done.

Diversify topics - create new blogs series - etc.

There is room to do much more and yes!

I believe that results would multiply as well.

Not sure if I would hit a plateau at a given moment but till now it did not happen...

If I was puting 10 times this energy creating new content right now, the traffic building + impact on the site would be good but traffic would not follow the same as when I focus PURELY on traffic building methods.

Strategies to create content are quite different than strategies to create traffic.

You can have very little content and a huge amount of traffic if you use these methods or have huge content and little traffic if you don't use traffic building methods.

Right now, the site could literally take 10 times the traffic it receives at this stage.

There is really no limit and yes, the quality of the material, videos and content can receive much more atention than what it gets right now...

So, on traffic building strategies, there has been little attention given to that over the last couple years - It's a good thing to promote the site and get more attention to this high quality content.

I'll say it again:

1hour/day in super effective traffic building strategies is ABSOLUTELY affordable

That's one set of powerful successful steps you can take

Cross linking - What blogs score high? - BLOGGING SEO

I tested the theory I talked about earlier and rather thanb posting links in all blogs to the main blog, I posted links to the two other blogs hosted on vitalcoaching.

Instnat results at least on one of the the blogs.

Traffic multiplied instantly!

So, the conclusion is that this is the MAJOR traffic building strategy that brings back traffic to the main blog.

When applied to these other blogs, results appear fast.

Now the second blog on which this works has been active for about a year.

Three questions:
  • Would this cross linking to posts still work if the blog was brain new?
  • What if it is hosted on another domain name?
  • What if it's not my own domain but hosted on wordpress or blogger?

These are more questions I need to test in the next few days so that I can optimize these strategies...

I will as well see what happens if I intensify this cross linking strategy on those new blogs that saw their traffic boosted - what would happen then?

By the way traffic to main blog is still up

+

Traffic on main sales page is steady

Overall traffic especially on blogs is up and represents over the last day 25% of the site's traffic.

This is a huge traffic boost as the blogs were in the area of 10% of site's traffic before.

So, let's test these therories further.

By the way, I cross linked to SEO pages exactly the way I did with blog poast and so far on extra4 pages there is little change.

On x7 pages, with the same strategy, traffic went up though

It's either search engines like more blog content or they recognize that page is older or they treat whatever page in the exact same way as long as it has these referall links pointing to it.

I will test this further and identify if normal web pages can get this traffic boost in the same way as blog posts did...

Ok! That's it for now - back to testing this further...

----------------

UPDATE

another question rises!

does it matter how many links or referral cross linking links are directed to just one blog in a short period of time?

For instance with the main blog, I had links posted to all blogs every day I have been active for the last 3 weeks.

This is what did build the traffic to what it is now.

Now, with this blog 3 strategies, I will see what happens if I do exactly the same process with this blog bu instead of spreading these cross links over 3 weeks, I do that in a short perdiod of time... What would happen then? Does it matter? What is the impact on the traffic to that blog???

Let's see....

----------------
UPDATE 2

I want to say again how essential this crosslinking strategy is!!!

without it there would only be a very slight increase in traffic

The blogs that don't get this cross linking boost don't score too high - they get some traffic but it is very limited!

It is in the range of what SEO pages + satellite sites have been getting which in the range of 20-200 visitors/month.

That's not much does hardly justify the efforts.

With these new cross linking strategies, we rise to a totally different dimension.

We are talking about 3000 visitors/month as a potential which is 10x more in results and the promotional work to reach that is almost the same in both cases.

Optimized pages - posted - this is it.

with cross linking, I ad just one little final step which sends a clear message out and EVERYTHING changes.

It is like broadcasting and announcing a new page to an audience which is suddenly 20x the size.

Yes! It is THAT powerful.

let's see if this strategy can be confirmed over the next few days - If it is, this could be a massive essential step

Friday, June 5, 2009

RAW or EDITED videos - VIDEOS

Some time ago, I sent a quetion to those who bought the break up for men system.

I sent 2 vids.

The first one was raw exactly as recorded - no music - no editing

The second was edited with music and transitions.

I loved the second and was really proud of the editing work I did on it.

My question was simple:

which vid do you prefer.

the answer was pret clear:

60% prefered the raw version

40% prefered the edited version

I was really surprised but in a way, of course, it makes.

Here are the reasons that were invoked for prefering the raw version:
  • It is more real! More personal!
  • When I am hurting in a break up, not sure I want to hear some high energy techno music blasting through my ears.

In other terms, the raw version was connecting slightly better + was matching an energy level.

60/40 is not a big difference, I agree + It is still possible the the edited version attracts more sales when used in a commercial way.

Interesting!

To keep in mind for future vids

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Blogging SEO options - What's the best way to go? - BLOGGING SEO

There are really many places where I can put my energy!

Here are some possible options:

  • Create new posts
  • Promote the posts which are already scoring ok
  • Modify or ad something to existing pages which are doing ok?
  • Repost what has already been posted?
  • Cross linking between posts
  • Promoting SEO pages
  • Creating new blogs
  • Diversifying the topics
  • Focus on social bookmarking
  • Etc

Now, that I tooke the first steps, what's the best way to go?

Keep on creating new posts exactly the way I did till now?

or

Promote the existing pages or modify them so that they score higher?

--------------------------------

What do I know?

I know that

  • the links to SEO pages at the bottom of the breakup blog might contribute to 5-10 visits/day - That's not the type of results we are looking for
  • I know that 2 weeks of posting links to the main sales page generate now around 10-20 clicks per day extra - This is the equivalent of having a stronger adwords campaign
  • I know that the new SEO blog posts are generating suddenly 30-100 visits/day that were not there before.

So, this last strategy in terms of visits is the one that seems the most effective so far.

My bookmarking SEO attempts were not too effective simply because I miss an effective tools able to do that automatically. The tool I tried simply did not deliver what it promised.

So, blog posts work!

So far this strategy is one of the most powerful traffic building tools I ever had.

Yes! I can keep on doing what I did till now or try to perfect this strategy in one way or another...

By the way, what generates the results on the blog is the numer of posts.

250 posts generated traffic!

So, traffic is not just concentrated on a few targeted keywords.

It is really the overall number of posts that does the trick!

Really!

Most of the posts that generate traffic are posts which are targeted and optimized.

Simply writing an article or a success story and hope that it will generate traffic is a waste of time if what you want is traffic.

-----------------------

One essential point is that the mian breakup blog does get much more traffic than any other blog.

There are two differences between the main blog and the other ones:

  • It was there first much before these other blogs were created
  • I post links back to the blog posts systematically after ten posts.

This means that 25 other blogs have literally hundreds of links posting to this blog.

I don't know which of these two creates the greates impact but it must be one of those 2 as there are other blogs hosted on vitalcoaching.com with the same blog posts that don't get that type of traffic.

yes! That's another important element:

  • the blog is hosted on vitalcoaching which gives it attention and more credibility than those posted on a non personal domain name.

So, there are two new strategies I will try to implement now:

  • Post links to other blogs hosted on vitalcoaching
  • Repost the links with posts that I already created before

I'll get a feeling in the next few days if this is having any impact...

------------------

By the way, I will quickly check traffic again to the other breakup blogs hosted on the site to see if this trend IS real

I checked and yes! It is confirmed.

The other two breaks up blogs hosted on the site get VERY little traffic to their pages

only 1-3% of the traffic of the main blog.

So, today, I just tested a new strategy.

I started posted the links to not only the main blog but the two other blogs as well

+

I reposted 6 series of links to all blogs ----> 6 series x 10 links x 25 blogs ==== 1500 links back to main blog.

I'll check if these two new strategies seem to pay off over the next couple days.

one question that already arises... Is it better to focus on doing that for just one blog or diversify and use the same strategy on the two other blogs hosted on vitalcoaching?

I'll check that in the coming couple of days

Blog top design and conversion - BLOGGING SEO

As I said earlier, in the last few days, I have been testing this new design page to see how it can convert.

It is simple, one healine, one vid, one call for action.

So far, the time on the page seems to be longer which would be a good sign.

Here is the call for action I tested so far:

-------------------

-------------------
This link directs to a test drive page where visitors enter name and email to access their test drive.
As I said, The conversion is VERY poor on that one.
The conversion could be poor because visitors don't click on the link or visitors do click on the link but stop at the following page
On the following page which is the signup page they have to give name and email before accessing the test drive.
I checked to see how many visitors acces that signup page and numbers are still insignificant!
For a free link, the conversion rate is less than 1-2% which is stunning!
So, the answer is clear anyway - that call for action is NOT a success.
If I compare this results with another similar call for test drive action on the sales page, results are VERY different.
Even though this sales page test drive is not as prominent as the one on the blog, the sales page one converst at close to 10%.
Now, remember that probably 2/3 of visitors leave the page almost instantly when they see it's a product for sale.
So, considering that, the results are quite ok.
It tells as well that the results on the blog page are super low and that the "Instant test drive" call for action is obviosuly not a good one!
I still see with that example around 2% of visitors might be accsing the page and then abandon the step at the next page once email and name are required.
I decided to test now another call for action because the results were so low anyway...
-------------------------
Today, I decided to launch a new test.
This time I will post a link that says:
this link directs to a sign up page with short description of the product + price + email box + name box
On "continue" the visitor is directed to the paypal payment page automatically
This is it!
I will test and track results over the next couple days
Her we go...

What's the limiting factor now? - BLOGGING SEO

It is clear!

Traffic starts happening now + sales are steady.

So the strategies I applied so far do work.

With the new blog design, I will check results over the next few days.

So far, it looks like the average time on the page is now higher than before - This would mean that visitors stay longer because they do check the content.

Now, the present conversion system which is to lead visitors to a test drive is not effective.

It does not score!

So, the call for action could be different.

I am still looking for key idea on that one.

A direct and simple link to the sales page could be good enough but I somehow get the impression that there could be another type of call for action that could bring in much higher conversion rate.

Not sure... I need new ideas!

-----------------

UPDATE

I realize that the sales page and test drive are still ok!

Really!

They have been working fine and still do exactly the way they are so these elements are not limiting factors.

It is possible that in the future I redo that sales page with a new concept, vids, design, test drive, etc.

But for the time being this page converts!

It really does!

Is it sill imperfect?

Absolutely!

Can I do something about it?

Yes!

Is THIS the limiting factor?

No! It's not

Let's focus on the true limiting factor instead which is how the blog posts truly convert

It takes much more than a dozen of incoming links to build traffic or score high in serch engines! - BLOGGING SEO

Here are a few thoughts that come to mind:

Posting a few posts, creating blogs with little activity unless you are a recognized expert in some specific industry DOES NOT WORK with traffic building.

The type of strategies I used over the last couple of weeks generated more results that posting 50 trageted articles on a given topic and hoping that traffic will pick up.

In other terms, you can have amazing content and hope that public will find it, it usually won't work!

You need much more than that and when you focus on traffic building strategies, you need to think differently.

You need to CREATE SYSTEMS that generate that traffic!

This means that you might need automatization tools which are going to duplictae your efforts

+ Follow up on your strategies.

This is exactly the same whether you focus on BLOGGING SEO or BOOKMARKING SEO.

It takes much more than a dozen of incoming links to build traffic or score high in serch engines!

TECHNICALITIES! - STUFF THAT DOESN'T WORK - USABILITY - SELLING

Here is an essential one to remember.

Over the last couple of weeks, I came across three great products I was interested in.

In all three the features were exactly what I would expect.

The price (when for sale) was withing range.

The product looked exactly what I wanted to get.

Now here is what happened in all 3 examples:

When trying to use the product, it simply DID NOT WORK or when trying to buy it, the buying process had a couple of hurddles that I think turn off a good 30% of potential buyers.

USABILITY!

TECHNICALITIES!

The reason why I write this here is simply as a reminder of how important it is for thing to work.

Spending hours of development in a product and then scoring a lousy 20% on usability or technical performance is such a turn off!

So, the answer is:

People want fancy features as long as they work.

But what they want more, is the the product simply does what it is supposed to.

It doesn't need to be complex as long as it works and is easy to use.

So...

SIMPLIFY!

PERFECT!

TEST!

That's it for today!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

VIDEO + Test drive on new blog header - BLOGGING SEO

I launched a new design yesterday with basically just a title, headline, vid and instant test drive link on the side.

Here are some results:
  • from probably around 30 visits to the blog pages, test drives, NONE!
In the meantime, I had a few sales coming for the products.

Here is the thing with any call for action!

Trying to sell:
  • A free test drive
  • A free subscription
  • A $19 product
almost feel that they require the same time of energy and effort!

+ conversion rates for email subscriptions are very poor

People simply get LOTS of free bees online and very often, when there is a sales looking page, they assume that th free bee will be a sales e-book or page promoting a product.

Or they probably assume that because it's free it is poor quality.

I will keep testing this for a another day and check further results.

I like the clarity of the page + the fact that there are zero distractions on it!

No logo - No links except the call for action

Just one video - a few targeted bullet point lines of very specific headlines.

This is it!

I like it!

So far, I did observe an increase in time on the page - I have to see if this trend is confirmed.

The click through rate for the instant test drive though is so far very low.

So, this call for action can be shifted to another target
  • Direct to the product
  • Sign up now
  • Etc
I'll check this in the coming few days...

social bookmarking - Updates - BOOKMARKING SEO

I tested a tool with a free trial for a week - Unfortunately - the tool worked a bit but not really - it made it very inconvenient to use because of the errors it returned so frequently + It was not free, based on a monthly subscription.

Not good!

Canceled it...

Will run some new tests with that...

New posts? or build traffic to existing posts? - BLOGGING SEO

Right now, there are 100+ posts on the main blog which have already been attracting traffic.

The next question is:

What is the best direction?

Build up more traffic to these exiting posts? or create new posts that will probably score the same?

This is REALLY a key question!

I will run some tests today...

Blogging SEO strategies - Updates - BLOGGING SEO

Over the last few days, I took a break from posting to see how traffic evolves - It has been stable and stay relatively high - Overall traffic to main sales page is up 10-20% - traffic to main blog is still boosted.

Basically traffic is still high even though I am not posting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

WHAT MUST BE SAID WHEN YOU CREATE A PROMO VIDEO - VIDEOS

I will summarize here again to get things 100% straight.

In a vid, you have the core features - What really matters:
  • Demonstrate your expertise instantly!
  • For who this material is
  • What it does
  • The results you can expect

A couple of things you need to mention as well:

  • How you get it
  • The format it is delivered in

About the video itself:

  • The setting mu be ok as well and uplifing, good light, gook enough quality of image
  • Perfect your appearance as well - Again, you don't need to go over the top
  • Quality needs to be ok but no need for it to be exceptional - If you turn this vid into a commercial, it depersonalizes the message and it could be a turn off (I am not 100% sure about that part - I rely on the feed back I received so far and this feed back contradicts itself frequently)
  • Music and editing - That goes in the same direction as what I said above

--------------------------

Key mistakes would be to focus too much on the features or the format rather than the benefits and the demonstration of expertise.

Another key mistake is to focus too much on high energy and not enough on the actual content. Positiveness is great but positiveness and energy alone don't sell as well as instant demonstration of expertise - IDE = Instant demonstration of expertise

--------------------------

There is still an open question:

How much editing or music background the vid REALLY need?

In fact, the answer might be none! Music can simply be a distraction... Not 100% sure yet!

I need a confirmation on that one!

DEMONSTRATE YOUR EXPERTISE - Video critics - breakup for men - VIDEOS

I want to take a minute to analyse how I feel when I see my vids online.

First, their quality is ok.

They are not perfect but do ge the message through.

I have 4 key vids on break up that I recorded especially for promotional purposes.

They are edited with transiftions, success stories, transitions, etc

Two of them have music.

All 4 vids are high energy and do work.

The key element that convinces me in these vids are not the testimonials or the music or the transition or the fancy editing...

The factor that matters the most is the fact that I reveal something that guys don't know about breakups.

In other terms, I demonstrate my top expertise in that field.

I have a 5 min video window to do that.

I write this as a reminder for future videos, remember that THE element that matters the most is the fact that you can demonstrate within 5 min that you have top expertise in that field and that you know something or have experience they don't.

That's what guys measure!

That's how they decide if they want to buy something from you or not.

Do you have somthing they need and can't get anywhere else.

That's how I actually looked at these vids to select the one that was the most appropriate to use more in the promotional blogs.

The answer was really clear:

Demonstrate you expertise!

That's what absolutely needs to be remembered when recording future videos.

Everything else in the vid is "supportive" to that goal: demonstrate my expertise.

It is by far what matters most.

What about high energy or energy content?

Well enthusiasm is good but enthusiams or energy by itself is not enough. It is not convincing enough.

This demonstration of my expertise is really what matters most!

I write this post to make a note of it for future vids

----------------
UPDATE

What about features and technicalitioes about the product?

Well, that like saying you need to buy a book because of the type of paper is printed on!

Nobody cares!

Ok, that's not 100% true.

Knowing that you can access ebook, videos, audios, etc is something to quickly mention but it is NOT the core of your message!

So, don't dwell on it!