Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: September 2014

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for six years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

From: 

Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: September 2014

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Designing Badges (And More) For A Conference

To badge or not to badge? That is the question. Because badges — and a lot of stuff designed for conferences — often look the same. But if you have a little, different conference, you need different kinds of things. Badges included.
It all started in 2013 with the first Kerning conference. I was asked to design the official notebook: we ended up with a really typographic design for the cover and a funny pattern on the back.

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Designing Badges (And More) For A Conference

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Conversion Optimization on a Shoestring Budget

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/crazyegg/~5/fiidYZ6eo7U/cep063_budget_tools.mp3

There’s no shortage of conversion optimization tools out there, some of which can vacuum out your wallet faster than you can say “split test.”

For small businesses, it can feel overwhelming to start split testing, analyzing results and developing landing pages on a tight budget.

Fortunately, there are a variety of free and low-cost tools available to help. They may lack some of the bells and whistles of their costlier counterparts, but at their core, they simplify and speed up the optimization process, so you can get back to creating enticing offers that sell.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the best:

Check Site Errors with SEO Site Checkup

checkup

Before you jump right into testing and measuring, it pays to double-check your site’s search engine optimization. SEO Site Checkup is a free service that runs your site through a variety of common optimization checks, ranging from meta tags to caching and content relative to other data on the page. Unlike most other tools, it also comes with handy explanations so you can understand exactly what GZIP compression is and how it affects your page.

Price: Free

Uncover the Customer’s Journey to Online Purchasing

journey

Google has a fantastic free infographic-style planner called The Customer Journey to Online Purchase. If you think a customer simply lands on your site and clicks the Add to Cart button, you’re in for a surprise. This diagram goes through all the channels and steps that a customer typically goes through—including Awareness, Consideration, Intent and Decision, as well as the many online paths that take them there—ranging from email to referrals.

What’s more, the chart breaks down AOV (Average Order Value) across specific timeframes for a wide range of industries, factoring in the role that each channel plays in leading up to the order. For example, customers coming through social channels typically require more awareness and assistance than those coming from organic search.

Price: Free

Build and Launch A/B Split Testing Landing Pages in Minutes

instapage

True to its name, Instapage is an online service that lets you create and launch landing pages without the need for any programming or design experience. It includes over 70 different templates, each optimized from the ground up to enhance your conversion optimization efforts. With drag and drop simplicity, even non-designers can change colors, adjust positioning of different elements and even create inline forms with no technical know-how.

Depending on the package you choose, there’s a limit to the number of visitors you can have. But on the plus side, you can run an unlimited number of tests across unlimited pages. A WordPress plugin is available as well to tie your landing pages into your existing content management system.  Social and video options can also be integrated with just a few clicks.

Price: A free account is available, but serves only as a demo. A starter account is just $17/month.

Real-Time Split Testing with Growth Giant

giant

Growth Giant, currently in beta, follows the “Multi-Armed Bandit” algorithm wherein the goal is to maximize conversions. That means it continuously analyzes poor or under-performing pages while delivering traffic to better-performing pages to improve conversion rates. A simple premise, but one that could truly change the world of conversion optimization tools for the better.

Because the suite is in beta, there’s no definitive launch window, but you can request beta access from the homepage simply by typing in your email address.

Price: Free, currently in Beta

Paditrack: Google Analytics for the Rest of Us

paditrack

Let’s face it, for some people, Google Analytics is a mountain of insurmountable data too large to be tamed. If you’re not a web analyst by any stretch of the imagination, it can seem like too much information is being thrown at you for you to wade through and make an informed decision.

Enter Paditrack. Paditrack works together with Google Analytics to simplify the data you’ve collected and breaks it down into meaningful insights that you can use to grow your business. Measure the performance of your landing pages, visualize your conversion funnel, even track e-commerce ROI and revenues from one intelligent dashboard.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Paditrack is its retroactive funnels, which allow you to go back and view your conversion funnel details for as long as you’ve had Google Analytics installed. Now there’s no excuse not to learn how well your site performed during last year’s holiday season!

Price: Conversion funnels are free, other reports are unavailable on the free plan. Pro pricing is $29/month.

Granify: Seamless Visitor Interaction

granify

Contrary to its name, Granify doesn’t turn you into a sweet old lady who loves to knit and bake mouth-watering pies. What it does do, is analyze and attempt to quell buyer objections before they become a problem.

It does this through the use of prompts, which you create. Granify’s system engineers will even suggest prompt ideas based on your traffic. Each prompt is fully customizable with everything from discounts to reminders. But how does this figure into real-world buying? Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say you offer free shipping (a terrific conversion strategy!) but your customers are concerned about the estimated shipping time. And while you may have this information elsewhere in your site, the point is that they didn’t see it or couldn’t find it. So they leave without buying. That’s where Granify comes in.

It puts up your chosen prompt, making sure these specific customers know that you guarantee all shipping times within the U.S.

Boom! Instant purchase. And this is just one of the many prompts you can create. Everything can be personalized to fit your brand and style. Granify even shows you how much extra revenue you made as a result of using them.

Pricing: Varies, A free 30-day trial is available. Cancel anytime.

A Reminder about Using Conversion Tools

As with any tool or service, it can be tempting to feel like this one thing is going to solve all your conversion problems forever. No tool can do that. What each of these tools does is complement your existing skill set, whether you’re in charge of building landing pages, conducting tests, analyzing the data or all of the above.

When you use these tools to help you leverage and wrangle data, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions, gain more influence with buyers and start forging customer relationships that are built on better marketing.

What are some of your favorite conversion optimization tools? Share them with us in the comments below and tell us what you like best about them!

Read more Crazy Egg articles by Sherice Jacob.

The post Conversion Optimization on a Shoestring Budget appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Conversion Optimization on a Shoestring Budget

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How to Optimize Your Event Marketing With Social Ads and Landing Pages

droids-youre-looking-for
A successful event marketing campaign will help qualified leads discover your brand – weeks before the event. Image by Stéfan via Flickr.

Participating in live events gives you the opportunity to network, learn about industry trends, find partners and develop relationships with customers – all while getting some fresh air away from your computer screen.

But what many people fail to understand when planning to participate in these events is that they need to be treated as campaigns.

If you’re dropping lots of money on plane tickets, booths and swag, you need to be able to report that it was all worthwhile. And without an action plan, you won’t see a return on your investment.

So how can you be sure that your marketing dollars don’t go to waste and that you identify new prospects and convert them into new leads (even before the event takes place)?

All it takes is a small advertising budget, clear objectives and a couple of dedicated landing pages.

Let’s get started.

1. Lay out the objectives for your event marketing campaign

Before you create any landing pages or straighten out your advertising budget, you need to first get clear on the objectives of your event marketing campaign.

Do you want to spread the word about your brand? Collect more leads? Nurture your relationship with current customers? Establish yourself as a thought leader in your space?

When our client, social eCommerce startup GETONIC set out to participate in two major internet conferences, they wanted to be sure to stand out from other participating startups and receive attention from investors, journalists and biz dev professionals.

In addition to this, they wanted to start developing meaningful relationships with prospects and begin to collect leads.

Here were the objectives of the campaign:

  1. Branding: To get more exposure for the brand before the events.
  2. Direct response: To collect leads in an interest list to schedule in-person meetings with prospects and to ensure the turnout of a speech by GETONIC’s CEO.

2. Find your target audience

Once you have your objectives, the next step is to decide on the appropriate audience to target – and how you’ll reach them. This could mean targeting past attendees, people who have “liked” the event on Facebook and people who bought early bird tickets.

For example, these were the specifics of GETONIC’s targeted social media and retargeting campaign:

  • On Facebook, target users who appear on the list of participants/attendees on the events’ websites and Facebook events.
  • Target users who “liked” the event pages on Facebook.
  • On LinkedIn, target members of the events’ groups.
  • Finally, using Google AdWords, remarket to visitors who click through to the GETONIC website and landing pages from the Facebook and LinkedIn ads.

3. Get more exposure for your brand before the event by leveraging social proof

Any company participating in a conference or other live event does so with the goal of heightening brand awareness.

And a good way to give prospects first (and repeated) exposure to your brand before the event is by creating effective targeted social ads.

But how do you get your company to stand out amongst the hundreds of other presenters?

To get the maximum ROI from our event marketing campaign for GETONIC, we created social media ads and bolstered them with social proof. Each of the branding ads outlined the company’s unique value proposition and highlighted press coverage it had received:

fb-ad-1

For example, the ad above leveraged the social proof of being featured on TechCrunch and having received $1.3M in funding.

fb-ad-2

Similarly, this ad highlighted press coverage on The Next Web. It also outlined the unique value proposition of GETONIC:

“…a new ad product that allows businesses to more easily build and share advertisements for products across social channels and other ad networks.”

fb-ad-3

This ad leveraged a different type of social proof: the likelihood of GETONIC customers becoming brand advocates and referring their friends. It outlined the UVP of GETONIC concisely:

“Create a Facebook shop instantly, sell socially.”

If your prospects are clicking on your ads, odds are they’re interested in learning more – so make it easy for them to do so.

Prospects who clicked through to the GETONIC website from the third ad would then be shown various remarketing ads, giving them second and third exposure to the brand.


Get more exposure for your brand by leveraging social proof in your ads. #event #marketing
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4. Capture interested leads before the event with targeted ads and landing pages

Brand awareness is awesome, but it’s hard to track. If you’re running an event marketing campaign, you probably also want to see more tangible results – in the form of email addresses of leads who expressed interest in your brand.

Collecting email addresses before the event can help you remind prospects to visit your booth, attend your talks and continue to interact with your brand in general.

These were some of the ads and landing pages from the GETONIC campaign. To ensure a high conversion rate, each of the direct response ads led to a dedicated landing page with a straightforward opt in form and a concise call to action.

fb-ad-5

The Webit Congres Facebook ad above led to the landing page below.

lp-11

To help increase the attendance of CEO Adi Eyal’s presentation at the conference, the landing page included the AddThisEvent widget (above) to invite attendees to add the event to their calendars.

fb-ad-6

Additionally, the Web Summit Facebook ad above led to the landing page below.

lp-10 copy

This landing page was meant to get visitors to stop by the GETONIC booth, leveraging social proof in the form of media reviews to further incentivize people to fill out the form to receive reminders.

The results?

table-7

GETONIC generated 25 leads ahead of the event and followed up with them to schedule a meeting. And judging by Facebook branding ad clicks, over a thousand event attendees learned about the company.

Takeaways from our event marketing campaign

With a few days of planning, we heightened brand awareness and generated several interested leads for GETONIC before the events even took place.

Before you get started on creating your own event marketing campaigns, have a look at our lessons learned:

1. Prepare for uncertainty

It’s no secret that the success of branding campaigns is less quantifiable than that of direct response campaigns. In our case, it was hard to know which of the thousands of people who visited the GETONIC booth did so as a result of the branding campaign.

To get some idea of the effectiveness of your branding campaigns, consider using a campaign hashtag or simply asking leads how they were referred.


Track the success of branding campaigns with campaign hashtags or by asking how leads were referred.
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2. Co-brand for social proof

If you’re just starting out, the vast majority of your target audience will not recognize your brand. That said, they’ve been exposed to the event’s branding (they registered for it, after all), so you want to leverage that.

We found that the click-through rate in ads with the events’ logos was much higher than those with the GETONIC logo alone. For example, in one of our Facebook campaigns, the CTR of an ad with the Webit logo was four times higher than that of an identical ad with the GETONIC logo (with a statistical confidence level of almost 100%).

fb-ad-5

3. Don’t be shy to brag – put social proof front and center

Media endorsements are nice to have on your landing page (assuming they’re positive). And when it comes to increasing the conversion rate of your event marketing campaigns, flaunting your mentions in the press and in leading blogs is a must.

You’ve likely heard others sing the praises of social proof, but we saw its effects first-hand.

The landing pages for each of the events were identical in layout other than the placement of the social proof. On the Web Summit landing page, media endorsements were placed above the fold, but appeared below the fold for the Webit landing page.

With the social proof front and center, the Web Summit landing page’s conversion rate was 13.54% – almost double that of the Webit landing page (6.78%; confidence level of 93%).

You should always test to see what appeals to your own audience, but when in doubt, don’t be shy to brag.

Make the most of your event marketing

If you put the time and effort into spreading the word about your participation in events, you may find that your hard work pays off in terms of collected leads and heightened brand awareness.

By using targeted social ads, a small advertising budget and landing pages, even small event marketing campaigns can see great ROI. And though these campaigns are often limited in scope (limited to event registrants), this type of face-to-face lead nurturing can result in lifelong customers who make the investment worthwhile.

Now it’s your turn. Have you run similar event marketing campaigns? Which strategies worked best for you?

– Gil Shterzer


droids-youre-looking-for

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How to Optimize Your Event Marketing With Social Ads and Landing Pages

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Is Your Responsive Design Working? Google Analytics Will Tell You

Responsive web design has become the dominant method of developing and designing websites. It makes it easier to think “mobile first” and to create a website that is viewable on mobile devices.

In the early days of responsive web design, creating breakpoints in CSS for particular screen sizes was common, like 320 pixels for iPhone and 768 pixels for iPad, and then we tested and monitored those devices. As responsive design has evolved, we now more often start with the content and then set breakpoints when the content “breaks.” This means that you might end up with quite a few content-centric breakpoints and no particular devices or form factors on which to test your website.

However, we are just guessing that our designs will perform well with different device classes and form factors and across different interaction models. We need to continually monitor a design’s performance with real traffic.

Content-centric breakpoints are definitely the way to go, but they also mean that monitoring your website to identify when it breaks is more important. This information, when easily accessible, provides hints on what types of devices and form factors to test further.

Google Analytics has some great multi-device features1 built in; however, with responsive design, we are really designing for form factors, not for devices. In this article, we’ll demonstrate how WURFL.js2 and Google Analytics can work together to show performance metrics across form factors. No more guessing.

Why Form Factor?

Speeding up and optimizing the user experience for a particular device or family of devices is always easier. In reality, though, creating a device-specific experience3 for all types of devices is not feasible, given that the diversity of web-enabled devices will just continue to grow. However, every device has a particular form factor. Luke Wroblewski4, author of Mobile First5, outlines three categories to identify device experiences6:

  • usage or posture,
  • input method,
  • output or screen.

Because devices vary between these categories, we get different form factors. Hence, treating form factor as the primary dimension through which to monitor a responsive website makes sense. This will indicate which type of device to test for usability.

The examples in this article all use WURFL.js, including the form factors provided by it, which are:

  • desktop,
  • app,
  • tablet,
  • smartphone,
  • feature phone,
  • smart TV,
  • robot,
  • other non-mobile,
  • other mobile.

Feeding Data To Google Analytics

The first step is to put WURFL.js on the pages that you want to track. Simply paste this line of code into your markup:

<script type="text/javascript" src="//wurfl.io/wurfl.js"></script>

This will create a global WURFL object that you can access through JavaScript:

console.log(WURFL.form_factor);

Now that the script tag is in place, the only other thing to do is add the highlighted lines of code to Google Analytics’ tracking code:

/* Google Analytics' standard tracking code */
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-99999999-1']);
_gaq.push(['_setDomainName', example.com']);
_gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

/* Tell Google Analytics to log WURFL.js' data */
 _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',	1,’complete_device_name’,WURFL.complete_device_name,1]);
 _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',	2,'form_factor',WURFL.form_factor,1]);
 _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',	3,'is_mobile',WURFL.is_mobile,1]);

/* The rest of Analytics' standard tracking code */
(function() 
var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
)();

Or, if you have updated to Google Analytics’ new “Universal Analytics7, you would add this:

/* Google Analytics' new universal tracking code */
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m)i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r],i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)})(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');
ga('create', 'UA-99999999-1, 'auto');

/* Define the custom dimensions */
ga('send', 'pageview', 
  'dimension1': WURFL.complete_device_name,
  'dimension2': WURFL.form_factor,
  'dimension3': WURFL.is_mobile
);

Further, if you are using GA Universal Analytics, you must remember to define the custom dimensions. You do that by clicking AdminCustom DefinitionsCustom Dimensions.

GAcustomdim-preview-opt8
For Universal Analytics you need to define the custom dimensions in the Admin section. (Large preview9)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/03/03/how-to-use-analytics-to-build-a-smarter-mobile-website/
  2. 2 http://wurfl.io
  3. 3 https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2012/01/24/device-experiences—responsive-design/
  4. 4 http://www.lukew.com/
  5. 5 http://www.lukew.com/resources/mobile_first.asp
  6. 6 https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2012/01/24/device-experiences—responsive-design/
  7. 7 https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2790010?hl=en
  8. 8 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/GAcustomdim-large-opt.png
  9. 9 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/GAcustomdim-large-opt.png

The post Is Your Responsive Design Working? Google Analytics Will Tell You appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Is Your Responsive Design Working? Google Analytics Will Tell You

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6 Banner Ad Split Tests To Try Right Now

Online advertising isn’t as alluring as it once was.

When the first banner ad was placed 20 years ago, it was so new and attention-grabbing that it received a click through rate (CTR) of 44%! That’s 440 times more than today’s average CTR. However, it was the only ad on the page and it was unfamiliar to viewers. Essentially, it stood out.

These days, display ads have to work a lot harder to earn clicks. With multiple ad placements on webpages, ad exhaustion and banner blindness, advertisers have to step up their strategy to get ahead.

That’s where the value of display ads come in.  Earlier this year, reports showed that display advertising revenue is currently growing at 21% a year, and is expected to hit $74.4 billion by 2016.

Whether you’re placing your ads using real time bidding (RTB), direct media buys or retargeting, including display ads in your marketing mix is extremely powerful for bringing traffic to your site.

banner ad - placeitSource: Placeit.net

So what’s the secret to making your display strategy a success?

Well obviously, having the right ads in the right place — which can easily be accomplished with media buying intel tools such as WhatRunsWhere.

Start by making a really good ad. By ‘really good,’ I don’t mean the most polished! In fact, some of the best performing ads use filter-free images, but they all have the essentials of a quality ad that drives clicks, including:

  • Minimal but attention-grabbing copy
  • Images that evoke emotions or highlight benefits over features
  • A strong and clear call to action (CTA)

The best way (and truthfully, the only way) to figure out what a successful ad looks like for your campaigns is to test, optimize and repeat.  Split testing takes time, but it provides valuable information about what works and doesn’t work for your target audience.

abtest

Start by building 3-4 different ads for each of your campaigns and rotate through them evenly to begin collecting data. Once you start getting significant results, you can begin performing split tests to better optimize the ads that are performing best.

Remember, even the smallest test can make a dramatic difference. Be sure to only test one element of your ad at a time, so you can accurately pin point what’s working.

Examples of things to test are:

  • Ad copy – test size, color, shadowing, font and of course, the ad copy itself.
  • Add a boarder or none – does your ad stand out better with a white background or will draw more attention with a black vs. colored border?
  • Call to action (CTA) – test buttons vs. links
  • Promotion – free shipping or discount offers, such as “save 50%” vs. “save $20″
  • Price points –$0.99 vs. $1 or lowest price guarantee
  • Headlines – this is the most vital part of your ad so definitely test your headlines; consider stating a fact, asking a question, highlighting a feature, etc.

Here’s some inspiration!  Look at what these advertisers are testing…

Allstate

Personalization is key for directly grabbing your audience’s attention. Your ads should be relevant to consumers, whether that means solving a problem or creating a want/need.

Allstate Insurance has a number of targeted display campaigns. From placing motorcycle insurance ads on motorcyclist sites, to the campaign below, which directly calls on each of their competitor’s clients.

This is a great example for testing targeted copy in your ads…

ALLSTATE

Volvo

What is your ad telling the consumer to do?

Testing your CTA is one of the most powerful ways to impact your campaign’s CTR. Your CTA basically sets the tone for the next step.

For example, ‘Buy Now’ may be too aggressive for pushing the sale, so try ‘Shop Now.’  If you are offering a Free Trial, use ‘Try For Free’ instead.

When it comes to high-value items that are not purchased online such as cars, your CTA should drive consumers to your site (no pun intended)!

Look at the various CTA’s that Volvo is using for their V-60 Sports Wagon campaign…

volvo

SproutSocial

Social media management tool SproutSocial seems to have found their ideal headline, CTA and color scheme. All that’s left is to figure out what design accents these elements best.

Take a look at how these four ads play around with a similar design…

sproutsocial

Seamless.com

The same ad won’t work for everyone, so switch up images to target audiences with different interests.

Seamless, an online delivery ordering service is split testing by switching the grilled cheese and fries to a salad in order to reach a more health conscious audience.

 seamless

MoneyGram

Another tactic to reach a wider audience is to test your product or service’s benefits over features.

MoneyGram is currently testing two different promotions against each other. On each of the sites where they run ads, they are testing “Send money online 24/7” vs. “Fees start at $5.”

The first ad is powerful for attracting consumers who are not necessarily used to the convenience of sending money online, while the second ad is great for attracting people who already send money online but likely are being charged a higher fee.

moneygram 

Dot & Bo

Testing fine details are important, but don’t get bogged down by it.

This popular online retailer is moving furniture around in their ads and while these little changes may have impacted Dot & Bo’s bottom line, swapping out the product color would certainly have made for a more dramatic split test.  For example: using a different shade of orange or making it an entirely different color.

 Dot & Bo

Time To Get You’re A/B Testing On!!

It may seem like a no-brainer, but shockingly only 44% of companies use split testing when trying to boost conversion rates. Testing and optimizing is imperative to any successful advertising campaign.

Hope these tips will help you get a head start.  If we missed anything, please share your comments below.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Danielle Forget.

The post 6 Banner Ad Split Tests To Try Right Now appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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6 Banner Ad Split Tests To Try Right Now

Customizing WordPress Archives For Categories, Tags And Other Taxonomies

Most WordPress users are familiar with tags and categories and with how to use them to organize their blog posts. If you use custom post types in WordPress, you might need to organize them like categories and tags. Categories and tags are examples of taxonomies, and WordPress allows you to create as many custom taxonomies as you want. These custom taxonomies operate like categories or tags, but are separate.

More here – 

Customizing WordPress Archives For Categories, Tags And Other Taxonomies

A Quick Tour Of WordPress 4.0

Today, WordPress has released the first release candidate (RC) for the upcoming 4.0 version. According to the official version numbering, WordPress 4.0 is no more or less significant than 3.9 was or 4.1 will be. That being said, a new major release is always a cause for excitement! Let’s take a look at the new features the team at WordPress has been working on for us.
Further Reading on SmashingMag: How To Speed Up Your WordPress Website A Look At The Modern WordPress Server Stack Secrets Of High-Traffic WordPress Blogs Do-It-Yourself Caching Methods With WordPress Installation Language Since I’ve always used WordPress in English, it took me a while to realize how important internationalization is.

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A Quick Tour Of WordPress 4.0

Dropbox’s Carousel Design Deconstructed

Many of today’s hottest technology companies, both large and small, are increasingly using the concept of the minimum viable product (MVP) as way to iteratively learn about their customers and develop their product ideas. Jump to Part 2 of this case study.
By focusing on an integral set of core functionality and corresponding features for product development, these companies can efficiently launch and build on new products. While the concepts are relatively easy to grasp, the many trade-offs considered and decisions made in execution are seldom easy and are often highly debated.

Link: 

Dropbox’s Carousel Design Deconstructed

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These Landing Page Copywriting “Best Practices” Turned Out to Be Conversion Fails

fail-whale-conversions
Don’t be a fail whale – test landing page “best practices.” Image by Bjarne P Tveskov via Flickr.

PSST! Joanna Wiebe will be speaking at our first ever Call to Action Conference on September 12 in Vancouver. Check it out!

Why split test your landing pages?

Because you never know what impact a copy or design change might have on your business.

Why should you report on your test results?

Because sharing our successes and failures can help inform future optimization efforts. Test data can sometimes tell interesting stories worthy of addition to the canon of landing page “best practices.”

But if the growing body of A/B testing case studies can teach us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as a “best practice” and that you’d be wise not to base your new landing page on what worked for someone else.

Disagree? Agree enthusiastically? Then you’ll definitely want to check out these three examples of landing page copywriting “best practice” fails…

So-called best practice #1: Never be clever

When writing copy for a landing page that will convert, the rule of thumb has been to write a clear message, not a clever one. Clarity trumps cleverness, right?

Not always.

When we tested clear, straightforward copy against clever copy, we were surprised by the results:

clear-vs-clever-test
Click for larger image.

As you can see, we got nearly 18% more visitors to schedule an iPhone repair when we used a clever headline and subhead.

So does clarity always beat clever copy?

Evidently not. In this case, the clever message may have performed best because it more closely matched the conversation in the visitors’ heads at the moment they landed on the page. Perhaps the less formal language felt relatable and echoed the pain they were experiencing.

Rather than hatin’ on clever messaging, you might want to apply these better practices:

  1. Write the way your audience talks.
  2. Join the conversation already happening in their heads when they arrive on your landing page.


Contrary to “best practices,” clear copy doesn’t always convert better than clever copy.
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So-called best practice #2: Lead with the benefit

The prevailing wisdom is that people do not buy products – they buy solutions to their pain. They buy either painkillers or vitamins, as my friends Jack and Adii put it in this book.

As marketers, we take that wisdom and we try to turn it into repeatable tactics. We say that people always want benefits, not features, so we should never lead with features.

Talk about benefits first! Talk about a great outcome! Talk about value! Do NOT lead with a message about the product itself!

But is this always best for conversions?

We tested a rather bland product-focused headline against two headlines that better spoke to the value of the product and the reason to use it. Here are the three creative treatments we tested:

lead-with-benefits-test

Which of those two variations do you think beat the control?

Take a look.

Consider them closely.

Decided? Well it may surprise you to learn that neither variation 1 nor 2 beat the control. We ended up with flat results on this test. No winner, no loser.

As a copywriter, I was pretty floored by the results of this test. How could a headline like “VueScan Scanner Software” perform as well as headline and subhead combos that better reflect the benefits – and the value – of choosing VueScan?

Hopefully your brain is whirring with why that was the case. You may be thinking that it’s because the treatment copy was too long. Or the negative “don’t” was too aggressive. Or the “dead” phrasing was too risky. Or visitors were already plenty aware of the product and their own pains, causing them to glaze over almost any headline.

Whatever the case may be, the fact is clear: sometimes, you can lead with your product.

But you have to test.


Think your landing page copy should always lead with benefits? You should test that.
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So-called best practice #3: Use short headlines

If you’ve heard – or told others – that landing page headlines should be seven words or fewer, chew on this…

We tested two lengthier headlines against a shorter control on this B2B SaaS home page. Here’s how many words were in each treatment:

Control: 6 words
Variation 1: 10 words
Variation 2: 22 words

And here’s the creative with the results:

short-headlines-test
Click for larger image.

The 10-word headline AND the 22-word headline both beat the 6-word headline, with 99.4% and 97.8% confidence respectively. On a short copy page!

When we look at these results, what can we say? What story do the numbers tell?

It’s not that long headlines are best. And it’s not that short headlines are best. It’s that there is no “best.” Sometimes a long headline can outperform a short one. Which means your copy’s success has got abso-freakin-lutely nothing to do with word count.


Use as many words as you need to – no more, no less – to connect with your visitor.
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Only one thing is certain

There are very few facts in the world of copywriting and marketing, but here’s one I can stand behind: there are no best practices. There are only better practices.

That’s why we test.

Because a “sure thing” doesn’t exist.


For every winning test that teaches us X, there’s a losing test that challenges the validity of X.
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Now it’s your turn.

What so-called best practices have you seen fail in tests? What did you once believe about online marketing that’s since been destroyed by cruelly inconsistent reality? Share your fails in the comments below.

– Joanna Wiebe


fail-whale-conversions

This article is from:

These Landing Page Copywriting “Best Practices” Turned Out to Be Conversion Fails