Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: March 2015

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 almost seven years now1, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

This post features free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for February 2015. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!

Please note that:

  • All images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper,
  • You can feature your work in our magazine2 by taking part in our Desktop Wallpaper Calendars series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?


Designed by Elise Vanoorbeek3 from Belgium.


Let’s Spring!

“After some freezing months, it’s time to enjoy the sun and flowers. It’s party time, colours are coming, so let’s spring!” — Designed by Colorsfera38 from Spain.

Let's spring!39

Fresh Lemons

Designed by Nathalie Ouederni71 from France.

Fresh lemons72

Hello, Spring!

Designed by Roxi Nastase90 from Romania.

Hello, Spring!91

Wake Up!

“I am the kind of person that prefers cold but I do love spring since it’s the magical time when flowers and trees come back to life and fill the landscape with beautiful colors.” — Designed by Maria Keller123 from Mexico.

Wake up!124


“As we all grow hopeful for spring to start, this floral background lightens my mood and I’m always inspired by Wes Anderson’s insight.” — Designed by Jordan Thoma174 from the United States.


The Early Adopters

“Last year I made also a wallpaper with these little chickens. The whole year up to now they lay on my desk and looked at me: ‘we are still cheerfull, use us again for your wallpaper’ ‘Allright, you have me’
Happy March!” — Designed by Agnes Swart216 from the Netherlands.

The early adopters217

Racers Spring

“All nature and creatures come alive.” — Designed by Corina Moscu255 from Bucharest, Romania.

 racers spring256


Designed by Aswathi J V290 from India.


March Madness

“To me “March” is all about colors, new leafs, fresh air containing super molecules of madness :) SO get MAD and enjoy the freshness!” — Designed by Abhijit Sarkar327 from India.

March Madness328

Crazy Glasses

Designed by studio Pietje Precies344 from the Netherlands.

Crazy Glasses345

It Smells Like Spring!

“It’s spring! Everything is green again!” — Designed by Design19361 from Romania.

It smells like Spring!362

Spring Is In The Air

“March is here, and with it we hope to get new projects and ideas flourish … We are going to start watering, just in case!” — Designed by Verónica Valenzuela404 from Spain.

Spring is in the air405

Chutki’s Holi

“My imagination on how Chutki (a famous character of Indian animated comedy series named ‘Chhota Bheem’) will enjoy HOLI this year!” — Designed by Sanchari Sarkar425 from India.

Chutki's Holi426

Spring Awakening Tree

“Springtime is the nature awakening.” — Designed by Antun Hirsman468 from Croatia.

Spring awakening tree469

Cartographic Wuppertal

Designed by Fabian Hüttenhoff487 from Germany.

Cartographic Wuppertal488

The Sound Of Music

“This month marks the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music, the movie with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer that first captivated audiences in 1965.” — Designed by Dan Di504 from Italy.

The Sound of Music505

I’m A Business, Man.

“March, even just by name, is a month for action and hustle. This quote is one of my all-time favorites, and I think it’s a pretty great reminder to stay on your game.” — Designed by Resa Barillas549 from the United States.

I'm a business, man.550

Tune In To Spring!

Designed by Iquadart584 from Belarus.

Tune in to spring!585

After The Rain

Designed by Richard Davis606 from South Africa.

After the rain607

Join In Next Month!

Please note that we respect and carefully consider the ideas and motivation behind each and every artist’s work. This is why we give all artists the full freedom to explore their creativity and express emotions and experience throughout their works. This is also why the themes of the wallpapers weren’t anyhow influenced by us, but rather designed from scratch by the artists themselves.

A big thank you to all designers for their participation. Join in next month649!

What’s Your Favorite?

What’s your favorite theme or wallpaper for this month? Please let us know in the comment section below.



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The post Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: March 2015 appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: March 2015


7 Unlikely Places to Get More Personal Brand Exposure

Building your personal brand is all about getting the right kind of exposure. What is “the right kind of exposure? It is the places and activities that lift your personal brand in front of your target audience.

Lofty branding goals and big audiences are one thing. Getting there is quite another thing. If you’re familiar with the realm of personal branding, then you know the basics:  Be on the right social media platforms, do guest blogging, tweet every day, put videos of yourself on YouTube, etc., etc.

Those are the basics. But if you’re stuck in your personal branding efforts, it’s time to pull out the not-so-common techniques for getting more exposure. I don’t promise that these are easy, but I can guarantee that they’re going to give your personal brand the shot in the arm that it needs.

1. Write a book.

Write a book? Publish it? Isn’t that kind of, uh…daunting?

Writing a book is not as hard as you think. There are three basic steps to writing a book or major resource:

3steps getting book published

Why a book? A book signifies that you have a resourcesomething that is worthy of a person’s time and attention. Tweeting and Facebooking don’t warrant the level of commitment that a book does.

People read a book. They spend time on it. They are willing to exchange their email address or even money for it. A book requires engagement.

Plus, when you write a book, you get to score spots on some of the world’s leading websites.

Let me explain each of the steps involved in writing a book. I want to show you that it’s not that hard and that the payoff can be huge.

  1. Doing the actual research and writing. This is the most time-consuming part of the project, but you’re going nowhere unless you get it done. If you have the money, pay someone to help you. A quality freelance writer with a strong writing voice can do the writing; you just provide the ideas and guidance.
  2. Getting the book published. You can go the hard route or the easy route. The hard route is being published by a major publisher. Getting noticed, getting an agent, and getting your manuscript accepted is one of the most difficult things you will ever attempt. It will suck your life from your very veins, and leave you doubting your existence. The other option is to self-publish. You can release your book on your website, or you can publish it on Amazon. For maximum branding exposure, make your book free.
  3. Promoting the book. Easy part. Do your typical promotional stuff here — tweeting, sharing interviewing, reviewing, and discussing your book.

What does this look like in real life? Let me give you an example.

Ryan Andrew Kinder is a Reddit maniac. You don’t get this kind of redditor cred without some major commitment:


Kinder realized he had a gift for writing, and so he took to writing a book of his own. You can go buy it on Amazon for $0.99.


Ryan Andrew Kinder may not be the world’s most famous celebrity. What he did, however, is strategic.

  • He invested heavily in a platform (Reddit).
  • He wrote a book on a subject he was good at (big project).
  • He published the book on Amazon (smart).
  • He is listed on the world’s sixth top-ranked website (Amazon).
  • He can now call himself an “author.”


I’m using Kinder as an example because he has successfully positioned his brand in front of the right audience.

Let me show you another example, this one from Jayson DeMers, CEO of AudienceBloom. Instead of publishing a book on Amazon, he published a book resource on his company’s website. His goal was two-fold — to grow his personal brand and to build a resource on his website that would improve SEO. Mission accomplished.


Writing a book is a massive time and resource commitment, but it pays in spades.

2. Review products or books.

Maybe you don’t have time to write a book. No problem. What about reading one or three, and then reviewing them?

Often, your target audience comprises people who read books. Not only can you be reading these books, but you can also be reviewing them. When you do this, you establish yourself as an authority.

For an example of this, let’s go back to Why Amazon? First, because Amazon sells millions of books annually. Second, because people plan to buy their books from Amazon. Third, because people read reviews on books that they plan to purchase on Amazon.

As soon as a book hits the market, readers can write a review on Amazon. The reviews with the most upvotes get featured at the top of the review stack on the Amazon product page. Here’s an example of a top-rated review for the book Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Notice how this review received dozens of upvotes. The reviewer has reviewed hundreds of books.


For readers of business or self-help books like Essentialism, this reviewer is an authority. He backs up his personal brand with his careful reviews.


Reviews like these get a lot of visibility and are instrumental in helping people decide to make a purchase. To get even more eyes on your reviews, you can participate in the book-loving social media site, Goodreads.

Of course, you can review more than just books. You can write reviews of software, technical equipment, computer hardware, or anything else within your niche.

3. Post on niche job boards.

Many of the people in your target audience are job seekers. Job seekers are often the up and coming movers and shakers in the industry. Soon, they will be active members of the niche in which you work. If you can gain exposure to this crowd, you’ll be able to grow your personal brand.

Here’s why this works. Employers project and create a brand. If you are an entrepreneur or visible leader of a company, your company’s branding has an impact on your personal brand.

One of the trends in the recruiting field is the rise of “employment branding.” Employment branding refers to the way that a company brands itself to prospective applicants and the public in general.

Here is a definition of employment branding according to,

Employment branding is a targeted, long-term strategy to manage the awareness and perceptions of employees, potential employees, and related stakeholders with regards to a particular firm….It works by consistently putting forth an image surrounding management and business practices that make your organization an attractive, “good place to work.”

ApplicantStack explains, “Strategic companies are focusing on developing employment branding strategies to help take their workforce to the next level.”

Basically, it’s branding. But it’s branding from a different source — the company’s recruitment strategy.

So how does this affect you personally? Let’s take a look.

Pretend that a software engineer is looking for a new gig. He knows that the place to find great jobs is He sees this posting:


The job description is compelling and attractive. In order to investigate the job more closely, the software engineer clicks through the company’s website, or reads more about the company.


The sum of this investigation is that a software engineer somewhere is 1) aware of, and 2) impressed with a company that he previously knew little or nothing about. He realizes that this company is in his niche, speaks his language, and is looking for and working with people of his particular skill set.

Each of these features is a branding signal, creating a general brand awareness in the software engineer’s mind. The software engineer, in turn, may tell a friend about the job or share the job on his social network

Now, instead of HelpScout as the company posting the job, think about your company there or your personal brand name. Awareness of your brand grows in the job applicant community. As long as you’re posting on relevant and high-quality job boards, you’ll gain exactly the kind of exposure that you want and need.

Obviously, in order to post a job on a job board, you have to be hiring for a job. Personal branding is simply a byproduct of the main effort, which is to recruit and attract talent for a specific job.

4. Publish a book on Audible.

Many professionals today get in their “reading” by using audio books. Audio books are a $1.2 billion dollar industry, and growing.

Audible, an Amazon company, is the clear leader in the audio book space. Audible’s millions of members listen to an average of 18 books each year.

Smart personal branding professionals have caught on to a fascinating and under-utilized strategy:  Create and sell audio books!

This strategy is similar to the one I explained above — writing a book. The significant difference, of course, is the format and platform. An audiobook will have a different level of circulation and audience than a traditional print or digital book.

Marketer Ben Settle has used this technique to grow readership and audience. He’s involved in the typical suite of personal branding techniques such as blogging and guest blogging.


He also releases his books on Audible.


Just as you can self-publish books in Amazon’s Kindle format, you can also self-publish audiobooks on Audible using the ACX platform.

5. Do business with smart people.

If you want to have a thriving personal brand, you need to work with the best people in the industry.

When you work with smart and hard-working people, you can create something great together. I owe my personal branding in part to my business partner, Hiten Shah. We’ve built several businesses together. Without his skills and genius, there wouldn’t be any KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg or Hello Bar. By combining our skills, we’ve grown our individual personal brands.

Take Steve Jobs as an example. He worked with smart people like Steve Wozniak. Woz didn’t have the business-building or brand-building prowess of Steve Jobs. What he did have was a blazing intellect that made him one of the world’s most innovative computer engineers. Steve Jobs needed Woz to build a brand and a personal legacy.

Jim Rohn famously said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

This truth applies to your personal branding. You can’t expect to be successful as a personal brand if you spend your time with negative people who drag you down and burn you out. Your personal brand depends as much on the people you work with as it does upon you as an individual.

“Your personal brand depends as much on the people you work with as on you as an individual”
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Distancing yourself from negative people is hard to do, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful. Often, in order to help more people, you have to release yourself from crippling relationships and associations.

Kai Sato said it well in his Entrepreneur article:

Here’s the really hard part: Giving a silent critique of the people you keep around you may sound judgmental and downright ruthless, but understanding their influence on your performance is critical to your success. As an entrepreneur, you have too much at stake to let this go unaddressed. If someone is bringing down your average, you have to reduce his or her involvement in your life. Not doing so may hinder your energy, vision and ultimate success.

In addition to getting negative influences out of your life, you should bring positive influences into your life. You can work with a well-known partner or expert in your industry, and share both her expertise and her personal brand.

Lee Frederiksen, a managing partner of Hinge Marketing, said this:

You should hire or partner with a highly visible industry expert whom [sic] your target audience views as an authority in the area touched by your product.

I’ve learned that business partnerships are fragile things. Unfortunately, they usually don’t work. Once you do find that rare person you can work with, you’ll go places. As a result, your personal branding will take off.

If your personal brand is weak, find people who are strong. Together, you can become more than the sum of your parts.

6. Help people.

Working with talented people is important, but there’s another side to this coin. You should help people, too.

Remember, you’re creating a personal brand, not just a public image. Your personal brand is shaped by your actions with real individuals. One thing I’ve learned is that genuinely helping people is one of the only ways to be truly happy and truly successful.

Early in my career, I remember helping someone who asked me for advice. Few people hung out with him, maybe because of his broken English and body odor. As a result of the few minutes I spent helping him, I later landed a consulting contract for $1.2 million.

I wasn’t angling for any big deals, or even thinking about how this act would impact my future. I was just helping someone who wanted help. As it turns out, this event was the catalyst for greater success in my consulting business.

7. Speak at a community college or local event.

The idea of “speaking” is a popular one in brand building. But let’s be realistic. You’re not going to get invited to host a workshop at SXSW or PubCon unless you have some credentials.

How do you get the credentials you need? You start somewhere. You start small.

A major speaker like John Bates didn’t begin his career with an invitation to speak at TEDx. Instead, he started small. Now, he trains high-powered executives to speak better.


If you want to grow your personal brand by speaking, then go for the small speaking engagements first. Local colleges are often looking for people to share their professional experience. Volunteer organizations work with people who are willing to share industry knowledge and lessons.

Tip: If you want to grow your brand through speaking, go for small gigs first.
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Use these experiences primarily to give back and to help others. You can also use them to build on your own ability to speak. The more you speak, the better you’ll get. You can list “speaker” on your public profiles, and begin pitching workshop topics for the conferences you attend.

Eventually, you might even be like Mike.



The title of this article is “7 Unlikely Places to Get More Personal Brand Exposure.” The word “exposure” implies vulnerability. You’re not going to build a personal brand unless you’re willing to risk something — to be public, exposed.

It’s not easy to stick your neck out and build a public identity. In today’s marketing environment, however, it’s an incredibly powerful advantage.

There’s no such thing as a timid brand. The world’s most notable personal brands are those that are bristling with confidence and boldness. You may not have the real life sizzle and crackle of a devil-may-care boldness, but you can cultivate that bold persona in your online branding.

Where have you gained your best personal brand exposure?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

The post 7 Unlikely Places to Get More Personal Brand Exposure appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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7 Unlikely Places to Get More Personal Brand Exposure


The Battle between Short and Long Pages Continues. Guess which Scored a Point.

I think I should make a series of all the A/B tests that I have personally come across in which removing a certain element worked for one company, and adding that same element worked for another. (To understand what I mean by element, you should read this post.) After all, every business is different. And so are their target audiences.

Few months back, I came across this wonderful test in which an SEO company went from a content rich page to one with only a form and headline texts, and improved their conversions. I was intrigued, and curious to know the science behind why such pages work, and why even giants like Facebook, LinkedIn and Quora have bare minimum homepages. I have added my findings about why they work, and what the challenges of such a page could be in the same post. Do give it a read.

In fact, we, at VWO, were so inspired by this test that we decided to give it a shot. And hey, have you checked our homepage recently? And may I add, it’s working well for us as well.

For today’s case study, I have a test the bang opposite of this!

The Company

PayPanther is an all-in-one solution for free Online Invoicing, CRM, Time Tracking, & Project Management software for freelancers & businesses.

The Test

PayPanther wanted to test between a long and a short version of the ‘pricing and signup’ page. The first time they made this page, they believed that a shorter page would drive more signups as there would be lesser distraction and content to read. In this test, they setup the original page to be pitted against a page which had 3 more sections: FAQs about pricing, testimonials, and another call to action button asking people to sign up.

This is how the original looked like:


And this is how the new page looked:


The test was run for a month on about 1000 visitors and the variation, containing FAQs and testimonials, won! It recorded an increase of 372.62% in signups.

Thrilled by the results, PayPanther has implemented this longer page as their default “pricing and signup” page. They even plan to do further tests to find out the most optimum headlines and button texts.

Why the Variation Won?

  1. The FAQs section answered the common doubts and concerns the website visitors had. It, thus, created a sense of credibility and trust.
  2. Adding testimonials work, always. I am yet to see a test in which adding testimonials hurt conversions. You can look at this, this, and this case study for examples. Of course, they have their own rules and to use them effectively, I suggest you read this excellent post to get the most benefit from testimonials.

Let’s Talk!

Tell me know what you think about this case study. Have a similar test that you did on one of your webpages? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.

Spread the awesomeness by sharing this post with your network on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The post The Battle between Short and Long Pages Continues. Guess which Scored a Point. appeared first on VWO Blog.


The Battle between Short and Long Pages Continues. Guess which Scored a Point.


5 Must-See Productivity Tools for Conversion Rate Optimization Experts

As a conversion rate optimization professional, you’ve no doubt tried dozens of tools to help make your work easier.

Whether it’s simplifying analytics data or simply improving collaboration, we’ve collected five of the best tools to help you do your job better.

And keep in mind, this isn’t the same old resource list you’ve seen hundreds of times before. If you’re into CRO, you already know about Google Analytics, so let’s skip the basic stuff and get down to getting more done!

5 Must-See Productivity Tools for Conversion Rate Optimization Experts
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Best Project Management Tool for Conversion Optimization Experts: Comindware Project


Comindware Project makes integrated project management, networking and tracking easy and straightforward

If you are in charge of list management and need to juggle multiple tasks and assignments — separating what’s urgent from what’s not based on metrics, responding to requests from other project managers or departments, and perhaps worst of all, having to look at the monster that is your ever-growing to-do list — then you should consider Comindware Project for marketing teams.

Comindware Project is a simple and intuitive project management and collaboration software. Built on top of Comindware Team Network, the industry’s first pre-integrated social collaboration platform, Comindware Project provides a unified workspace for marketing project managers and their teams, enabling seamless data and document sharing as well as the real-time view on project priorities, resource availability and task completion progress.

Comindware Project will enable you to:

  • Unify tasks, documents and people in a single system
  • Have your team execute timely and efficiently on project priorities
  • Maximize visibility into team workload and increase resource utilization
  • Collaborate on and across marketing projects
  • Put an end to marketing work chaos

Comindware offers a 30-day free trial with pricing as low as $29.99/month.

Special Deal for Our Readers!

In partnership with Comindware, Crazy Egg is providing 4 months free on Comindware Project. Sign up for an annual subscription of Comindware Project by the end of March 2015 and enjoy the next 365 days of better productivity!

To claim your discount, use the coupon code “S82-PD1-AST” in your shopping cart.

Looking for hands-on experience with Comindware Project? Follow the link to activate a free 30-day trial of Comindware Project.

Best First Impression Analyzer: Five Second Test


Five Second Test gives you a real first impression look from visitors

Studies have shown that most visitors only stay on your pages for a few seconds. But have you ever wondered what kind of impression your site leaves with them? Did they leave because it was difficult to navigate? Did they not find what they were looking for, or were there too many calls to action?

With Five Second Test, you can find out answers to all these questions and much more.

You simply upload your screenshots or mockups to start the process. Users get five seconds to view your image and are then asked a series of questions (which you can customize).

The responses are collected and charts are generated for you automatically, so you can get meaningful results from the test quickly. You can see a sample report to learn what’s included.

Five Second Test is free to sign up, and you can invite your own testers for free. If you want to use testers available from Five Second Test, however, the cost is $1 per response. A pro account is also available for $99/month which gives you further customization options and the ability to select the demographics of your testers.

Best Sales Funnel Data Analyzer: PadiTrack


Beautiful funnel tracking and retroactive analytics are just the beginning of what Paditrack can do

Let’s say you’ve had Google Analytics installed for quite some time. But you’ve only recently made use of the conversion goals and funnels feature.

Don’t you wish there were a way to go back retroactively and see how well your offers performed in the past? Or better yet, to have recent results delivered to you in a beautiful format that’s easy to understand and act on?

That’s what PadiTrack is all about. With PadiTrack, you can have unlimited funnel lengths with varying mandatory and optional steps, so you’re only getting the information you really need to be able to make confident decisions.

PadiTrack is free for conversion funnel analysis, but a Pro account ($29/month) will also let you analyze and get reports on your landing pages, e-commerce performance, and micro-conversions achieved along the way. The Pro account also lets you export your data and allows an unlimited number of profiles in your Google Analytics account to be used with PadiTrack.

Best Form and Checkout Conversion Leak Fixer: Formisimo

formisimoWhy aren’t visitors completing your forms?  Find out with Formisimo

Having analytics data for your conversion funnels, landing page and overall e-commerce process is one thing. But oftentimes, even this information can’t tell you why people aren’t finishing your forms. Did they encounter a technical error? Browser incompatibility? Issues with fields or personal questions (like their phone number?)

Formisimo can give you details and insights on these problems and much more. Whereas most analytics packages concentrate on the big picture, Formisimo is only concerned about forms and checkout processes.

Learn how long it takes people to complete fields, what fields were corrected most often, and what areas people typically drop off on before submitting the form.

Formisimo has a 14-day free trial, along with a free plan that lets you use 1 domain and gather data for 1,000 visitors per month. Small business plans start at $59/month.

Best Real-Time Whiteboard Collaboration: RealtimeBoard


Sticky notes in your browser — what’s not to love?

As its name implies, RealTimeBoard brings the collaborative and communicative facilities of mind maps, sticky notes and storyboards to the browser.

What’s more, it’s fully compatible with Google Drive, so you can add PDFs and documents directly from the cloud. You can also import pictures and videos (Youtube and Vimeo) to create a rich media experience.

And if you love the idea of using technology but still miss your stick notes and highlighters, you can have the best of both worlds with RealTimeBoard. A free account limits the number of boards you can have, whereas the paid accounts (Premium and Team) offer capabilities like screen sharing, increased storage space, video/voice chat and manual backup functions. With a paid account, you can also limit access rights, so confidential brainstorming sessions stay confidential.

RealTimeBoard is free for up to 3 boards and 100 MB of space. A Team account starts at $8/user/month (billed annually) or $10/user/month when billed month to month. A premium account is the same price but is geared toward personal projects. Educational licenses are also available.

Don’t Forget…

While it can be exciting to try all these resources and shave hours (if not days) off of your conversion-related tasks, don’t forget that these are still just tools. All that information you’ve been collecting still needs to be analyzed and transformed into meaningful changes that will make an impact on your target audience.

In other words, don’t get so bogged down in the feature list that you forget the purpose of these tools – maximizing your productivity!

That being said, there’s no doubt that new services and apps are changing the way conversion optimization professionals work. What are some of your favorite tools and productivity products? Share them in the comments below and tell us what makes them great!

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sherice Jacob.

The post 5 Must-See Productivity Tools for Conversion Rate Optimization Experts appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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5 Must-See Productivity Tools for Conversion Rate Optimization Experts


Build Your Own Product Hunt With Telescope And Meteor

Over in startup land, one of the big stories of 2014 was, without a doubt, the success of Product Hunt1. It’s is a community where people post, vote on and comment on new products they’ve discovered or launched. Whether you’re looking for the next big thing to invest in or just want to find a better weather app, Product Hunt has got you covered.

Coincidentally, in addition to being a fan of the website, I also have a pretty personal connection to the company. I’ve been online friends with Product Hunt’s designer Jonno Riekwel2 for years, and I was part of founder Ryan Hoover3’s previous project, Startup Edition4.

Product Hunt (View large version6)

All this to explain that Product Hunt has been on my radar for a while now. In fact, what many people don’t know is that Ryan initially considered7 basing Product Hunt on Telescope8, an open-source app that I had just started working on! Sadly, Telescope was still too immature at the time, and Ryan wisely decided to build his own solution.

But I’m here to tell you that things have changed. As we know, Product Hunt has gone on to become Silicon Valley’s latest darling. But Telescope has also kept quietly evolving, and it’s now a full-featured solution for people to build their own communities. So, today, let me show you how you too can set up your own personal Product Hunt-style website.

Introducing Meteor

Product Hunt wasn’t the only success story of 2014. Another one was certainly Meteor9, the company behind the open-source JavaScript framework of the same name. Meteor completely changes the way we write apps by getting rid of the age-old client-server divide. Unlike other JavaScript frameworks such as AngularJS and Ember.js, Meteor runs not only in the browser, but also on the server. So, with Meteor, not only is your whole app written in JavaScript, but you can even share the same code and call the same functions in both environments!

The Meteor JavaScript framework (View large version11)

I decided to pick Meteor to build Telescope, and in fact I liked the framework so much that I ended up writing a book about it12. But that’s a story for another time. Don’t worry: Meteor may be cutting-edge, but it’s also very approachable. Even if you’re not a JavaScript expert, we’ll have you up and running in no time (about 45 minutes, to be exact)!

Installing Meteor

If you’re on Mac OS or Linux, installing Meteor is as simple as opening a Terminal window and typing:

curl | sh

Though Meteor doesn’t quite support Windows yet, a preview release13 is available, and an official version should be coming very soon.

Installing Telescope

Next, you’ll need to clone Telescope’s code base from GitHub14. Just type:

git clone

If you don’t have Git, you can download the command-line utility15 or use an app, such as the free GitHub for Mac16.

Running Telescope

Almost there! First, drill into the newly created telescope directory with this:

cd Telescope

Then, run your app with this:


Your app might take a minute or two to initialize the first time. But once it’s done, your brand new Telescope app should be up and running! Head to http://localhost:3000 to check it out.

Your new Telescope app17
Your new Telescope app (View large version18)

If at any point you need to stop your Meteor app (maybe it’s crashed or you want to get the command prompt back), you can do so by opening the Terminal tab where your app is running and hitting Control + C.

Configuring Telescope

Let’s personalize the app a bit. The first thing to do is create a user account by clicking the “Sign Up” link in the top navigation menu. Because this will be the first user account you’ve ever created, it will automatically be assigned administrative rights, which will let you access Telescope’s admin area.

Telescope's settings panel19
Telescope’s settings panel (View large version20)

Once your account is created, head to the “Settings” page via the “Admin” menu. There, you can set various options, such as your website’s title, description and color scheme.

For example, try setting the header’s color to #1282A2 (or any other color!), and then click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the form.

Customizing colors21
Customizing colors (View large version22)

Activating “Product Hunt Mode”

Telescope was originally based on the popular hacker hangout Hacker News, which is why the default view is just a uninterrupted list of posts. But with the success of Product Hunt, more and more people started asking for an option to use a day-by-day view, which I like to call “Product Hunt mode.”

To enable it, just go to the “Settings” page, scroll down to the “Default View” option, and set it to “Daily.” Save the settings and refresh the home page. You should now see a much nicer layout!

Product Hunt mode23
Product Hunt mode (View large version24)


Let’s show the world the result of our hard work. Deploying an app is usually a painful process, but not today. It turns out that Meteor provides its own free hosting service for quickly deploying small apps and prototypes.

Open a new Terminal window, browse to your app’s directory, and then type the following:

meteor deploy my-app

Replace my-app with the name of your app.

If this is your first time deploying on Meteor’s service, you’ll be prompted to create a developer account25.

Once the deployment process is finished, your app will be live at!

Note that the settings of a Telescope app are stored in its database, which is not transferred as part of the deployment process. So, you’ll need to re-enter any settings that you’ve previously set.

Customizing Your App With Packages

So far, we’ve changed the default view and tweaked a few colors. We can take things much further than that. Let’s start by adding a few extra CSS customizations.

To do so, we’ll create our own package. At this point, we could just go ahead and modify Telescope’s code, but that could lead to Git conflicts when we try to update the app down the road.

Instead, we’ll use Meteor’s package system to make sure that any customizations we implement stay independent of the main code base and will not be overwritten even when we pull in future updates.

By the way, the code for this tutorial is also available on GitHub26.

Inside your app, locate the /packages directory, and create a new telescope-custom directory inside it (either with the mkdir command or by going to File → New Folder). From now on, we’ll put the files we create inside this directory.

Each Meteor package needs a file named package.js, which contains the package’s manifest, a simple set of instructions that tell Meteor what the package actually contains.

So, create the package.js file inside telescope-custom, and type the following:

  summary: 'Telescope custom package',
  version: '1.0.0',
  name: 'telescope-custom'

Package.onUse(function (api)   
  api.addFiles('custom.css', 'client');

The Package.describe block provides some basic information about the package. But the interesting part is the Package.onUse block, which tells Meteor which files to load in our package. In this case, we’ll say we want to add a custom.css file.

Remember I said Meteor could handle code on both the client and server? This is why we have to specify where we want to add our files — in this case, on the client.

All that’s left is to actually create this custom.css file!

Customizing The CSS

Let’s open the custom.css file we just created and add Product Hunt-style yellow hover states to each of our posts:

  background: #fcf5e2;

We’re almost done. We still need to tell Meteor that we want to use this new package. We can do so with the following command:

meteor add telescope-custom

Once you’ve added the package, your browser tab should automatically refresh, and you’ll see that our new yellow hover state is working!

Hover effect27
Hover effect (View large version28)

But wait, we didn’t even tell Meteor where to import that new style sheet from. How can that even work?!

This is one of Meteor’s cool time-saving features. It’s smart enough to notice when you add a new CSS file to your code base. It will automatically concatenate it, minify it and load it in your app.

Customizing Templates

A nice touch in Product Hunt’s UI is how it includes banners between days. It’s a great way to link out to other content and break up the monotony of listed links, while maintaining a clean layout and not disrupting the experience. Let’s see how to do the same thing with Telescope.

Telescope already has templates before and after each day, but the default templates are empty. So, our mission will be to override the afterDay template with one that contains actual content.

Add a banner.html file to your package, and add a simple banner:

<template name="banner">
  <div class="custom-banner"><a href="">Follow us on Twitter!</a></div>

Next, we’ll tell Telescope to override the default afterDay template with this one. To do so, we create a new banner.js JavaScript file at the root of our package:

templates["afterDay"] = "banner";

Before calling the afterDay template, Telescope will check in the templates array to see whether we have provided a replacement. And since we have, it will use the template code from banner.html instead!

We’re not quite done yet, though! Just as before, we need to add our new files to the package’s manifest. And this time, we’ll also need to add package dependencies to it.

We’ll add the templating package, which lets us use templates, as well as the telescope-base package, which exposes the global templates object that we’re calling in custom.js. So, let’s go back to package.js and modify its contents:

  summary: 'Telescope custom package',
  version: '1.0.0',
  name: 'telescope-custom'

Package.onUse(function (api) 


  api.addFiles('custom.css', 'client');
  api.addFiles('banner.html', 'client');
  api.addFiles('banner.js', 'client');

Finally, let’s add a little CSS for good measure. Go back to custom.css and add this:

  background: #c4e6ef;
  padding: 20px;
  text-align: center;

Twitter banner29
Twitter banner (View large version30)

Adding Some Logic

Things are looking good, but you’ll notice that our banner is repeated after every single day.

This might get a little repetitive. Let’s see how to show our banner after only the third day.

To do this, we’ll need a bit of JavaScript magic. First, we’ll use Meteor’s templating logic (known as Spacebars) to add an if statement to the template:

<template name="banner">
#if isThirdDay}
  <div class="custom-banner"><a href="">Follow us on Twitter!</a></div>

We haven’t yet defined what isThirdDay is supposed to be. We’ll do that through a template helper.

Template helpers are simply bits of JavaScript code you can assign to variables and use in your templates. Let’s open banner.js and add the following code to the file:

  isThirdDay: function () 
    return this.index == 2;

Because our afterDay template is called from a loop, we can access the current day’s index using this.index. And because that index is zero-based, the third day will be the one whose index is 2, which in turn gives us the contents of our helper.

Here you go! Now our banner is appearing after only the third day and no other.

Twitter banner, not repeated31
Twitter banner, not repeated (View large version32)

Other Features

We’re running out of time, but this is by no means the extent of Telescope’s features. Out of the box, Telescope also makes the following possible:

  • Add a banner to sign people up to your email list.
  • Generate and send a newsletter of the best posts on your website.
  • Add thumbnail previews to each new posted link.
  • Automatically import posts from an RSS feed.
  • Require new posts to be approved by an admin.
  • And much more!

If you want to go further, a good place to start would be Telescope’s documentation33. You can also find a nice introduction to Meteor itself on the official website34.


As Product Hunt’s success has shown, there’s a big demand for websites that help us deal with information overload by streamlining and centralizing content. Telescope is a fast, modern platform on which to build your own community, social news app or link-sharing website. And, as you’ve just seen, extending it is very easy. I encourage you to give it a try. And if you end up building the next Product Hunt with Telescope, I hope you’ll remember who first told you about it!

Thanks to Loren Sands-Ramshaw, Phil Pickering, Nigel Anderson, Austin Stoltzfus and others for reviewing a draft of this article.

(vf, il, al)


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The post Build Your Own Product Hunt With Telescope And Meteor appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Build Your Own Product Hunt With Telescope And Meteor


What 9 Conversion Experts Learned the Hard Way (So You Don’t Have To)

Cheer up, Picard. Your mistakes make you smarter. Image source.

Conversion rate optimization is all about improvement.

Whether you’re reading blog posts, running A/B tests or attending awesome conferences, the end goal is to get better. Better at formulating hypotheses, generating leads and securing more conversions.

But there’s a lot of baggage that comes with improvement. Namely, making big mistakes and falling flat on your face.

We asked nine of the conversion experts speaking at the upcoming Call to Action Conference about their biggest conversion mistakes – and the most valuable things they learned from them.

Here are some of the biggest CRO lessons they learned the hard way (so you don’t have to).

You don’t know what you don’t know

As the founder of Enchanting Marketing, Henneke Duistermaat teaches marketers how to freshen up stale copy that just isn’t resonating with prospects.

One mistake she sees again and again is people assuming that they know what’s best for their customers without first talking to them:

henneke-duistermaatWe often think we know what our customers are looking for.

We think we know what phrases they use.

But we’re all affected by the “curse of knowledge” – after being immersed in our company, our products, our specialist niche, it becomes difficult to imagine what it’s like to be a customer and not know the things we know.

To break out of this bad habit, here’s what she recommends:

Get away from your company. Talk to your prospects. Read product reviews.

Keeping strong connections with real prospects and real customers is the best way to write high-converting copy and grow your company.

Joanna Wiebe – co-founder of CopyHackers who recently wrote the ebook on landing page copywriting – also thinks you should turn to your prospects for copywriting inspiration:

My confession: I’m a thief. And I’m gonna keep on stealing.

According to Jo, the best copywriters in the world are thieves:

joanna-wiebe1We’re thieves because we steal words from our customers and prospects. Truth be told: it’s our thievery that makes us powerfully effective copywriters.

It all depends on your audience. That’s why you shouldn’t defer to your own mind or the mind of a copywriter to find the best words for your audience. Rather, go listen to your market.

She sums it all up nicely with this great line:

Think of yourself as an editor and your customers as your copywriters. @copyhackers
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Don’t be afraid to break the rules

Talia Wolf of Conversioner thinks that one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a conversion rate optimizer is to assume that “best practices” apply across all verticals and audiences.

Yea, “always be testing” is a cliché by now, but for a good reason: Talia has debunked “best practices” time and time again with her tests.

One such test took a lengthy form and broke it up into smaller chunks – first asking for email and name and then the rest of the info in the second step. The assumption was that longer forms create friction, but the test results suggested otherwise:

talia-wolfThat version actually lost. It turned out that people were put off by the shorter version and were more likely to fill in the long detailed registration form as it made them feel like they were starting the process immediately.

It just goes to prove (yet again) that nothing is set in stone. Just because it’s someone else’s best practice doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Demian Farnworth, Chief Copywriter at Copyblogger Media, has had similar experiences. As a result, he’s learned to test going against the grain:

demian-farnworthWhen I was working for a large non-profit. I convinced them to use the word “free” in their email subject line.

This was a few years ago, so the fear of “free” being considered spam was still real. But I convinced them adding that word would beat anything else they offered.

I think it was a winner by 43%. And thus began a culture of testing.

Conversion rate optimization is about learning the rules – and then breaking them.
Click To Tweet

Test smarter, not harder

CRO expert and UX champion Craig Sullivan isn’t ashamed of his mistakes. In fact, they’ve taught him a thing or two about creating winning hypotheses:

The biggest mistake I’ve made was testing the “stupid stuff,” meaning things that people were arguing over or had a personal whim to test, including mine.

However, unless there is a clear hypothesis, driven by user insight, data and inspection techniques, it’s just moving deck chairs around on the Titanic.

Craig has learned to go with a more structured, deliberate approach:

craig-sullivanThese days, I’m driven by fitting every piece of work into this sentence:

“From observing data [A] or feedback [B], we believe that doing [C] for people [D] will make outcome [E] happen. We’ll know this when we observe data [F] and obtain feedback [G].”

If we’re making changes to a client site and a test or product change doesn’t fit into that sentence, it’s a good flag that our thinking isn’t straight!

Every winning hypothesis starts with extensive research

Michael Aagaard of Content Verve agrees that smart A/B tests start with an informed hypothesis borne of extensive research.

To illustrate this, he shared this quote from Abraham Lincoln:

Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the ax.

But how does this quote relate to CRO?

michael-aagaardJumping headfirst into a series of A/B tests with no data and insight is like chopping blindly away at a tree for hours with a dull ax, hoping that the tree will eventually give way to the blade and fall over.

In CRO, collecting data and getting insight is like sharpening the ax. We’re trying to increase our chances of being able to take down the tree in the first attempt – maybe even in the first swing.

Your A/B test is only as good as your hypothesis.

Prioritize tests with the most potential

When it comes to prioritizing important tests, here’s what Peep Laja of ConversionXL had to say:

peep-laja2Start with conversion research (qualitative + quantitative, heuristic analysis) to identify where the areas for growth are, which levers work.

You have a limited amount of traffic, so test issues with the biggest uplift potential first. If you don’t know what to test, you’re doing it wrong.

Take a step back and think of your entire funnel

In CRO, conversions are all-important. But if you’re not minding what happens before and after the conversion, then you’re only getting a glimpse of what is happening to your marketing campaign.

During the optimization process, take a step back and look at your entire funnel – in all its complexity.

Colin Nederkoorn of fell into the trap of focusing too hard on product sign ups… until he realized was that there was a ton of untapped optimization potential before the conversion even took place:

Some people buy right away. Other people aren’t ready to buy yet.

For those people, if you don’t have a low-pressure way to stay connected with the company, you lose a hard-earned lead.

After he realized this, he started thinking of ways to optimize his funnel before the conversion:

colin-nederkoornIf you can capture an email address on a landing page in exchange for something like a downloadable PDF, or a newsletter signup, you can nurture that relationship until the person is ready to buy from you.

We didn’t do this early enough, and are still working on giving people enough opportunities to connect with us outside of buying the product.

Similarly, before you make a change that you think will lift conversions, pay attention to potential downstream impacts.

Oli Gardner of Unbounce learned this lesson firsthand:

oli-gardner3The biggest mistake I’ve made was to push what looked like a winning variant live without exploring the impacts of doing so.

We ran a test on our pricing page that added a new bullet point list of benefits. The impact on new trial starts was negligible (in the slightly positive but close to nothing range), so I pushed it live.

Unfortunately, there were some unforeseen consequences:

What I didn’t anticipate was that this design inclusion pushed the “Open a free account” link down the page by about 300px. Three weeks later this materialized as a big drop in upgrades because there was a big dip in new free accounts.

It took us a week to figure out the problem and six weeks to recover financially.


Don’t alter your campaigns without considering downstream impacts. The consequences could be costly.
Click To Tweet

Mistakes make you a smarter marketer

Mistakes have a bad rap. No one wants to admit failure.

But if you treat your CRO blunders as opportunities to learn, you can never fail.

So treat every single mistake as a problem that needs solving. Ask yourself, “What happened, and why?” The answer will equip you with the smarts to formulate better hypotheses and run smarter tests.

Simply put, you’ll become a better marketer.

Like what these experts had to say? Come see them throw down their knowledge in real life on September 14th and 15th in Vancouver at the Call to Action Conference.

– Stefanie Grieser



What 9 Conversion Experts Learned the Hard Way (So You Don’t Have To)


An Epic Landing Page Makeover That Debunked 3 Landing Page “Best Practices”

If you’re in the online marketing space, your inbox probably looks like mine. An avalanche of emails with advice on A/B testing, conversion rate optimization, lead generation and tips on how to engage your list with valuable content.

Everyone seems to have best practices figured out, so why reinvent the wheel? Tell me what works — I’ll try it. Show me what failed — I’ll avoid it. Follow those who have gone before… it makes sense right?

It does make sense! Until it doesn’t.

In this post, you’ll see how three common conversion tips got totally debunked during our testing with my client NueMD a medical billing software and EHR company. Does it mean these best practices never work? No. But I guarantee it will change the way you think about best practices — and it’ll help prevent you from making the same conversion mistakes on your own landing pages.

Below, check out the initial redesign:

nuemed - 600

The original NueMD landing page (left), and the re-designed and “conversion optimized” version I created (right).

Oh. My. Stars. #FAIL doesn’t begin to describe the best practices bellyflop we experienced. Do we expect to disprove hypotheses in testing? Of course. Do we expect to iterate? Toats!

Do we expect for best practices to do a TOTAL faceplant? No!

“Best practice” #1: Headlines Must Address Visitors Pain

I *know* it seems impossible to debunk this, but before you freak out in the comments, please read on..

Talk to your customers about the problems *they* wanna solve.

This piece of wisdom is a biggie in the realm of optimizing headlines for conversions — and for good reason. In many testing scenarios, it works. You’ve got to lead with your peeps and their problems (not your product!) if you want to connect with your audience.

The result of making this assumption was probably the most surprising piece of data from our testing.

Our original headline read, “Watch a Free Demo of NueMD Medical Billing Software:”

nuemd 2 - 600

When I step into the mind of the visitor reading this headline, I hear:

“What do I get?”
“What does this demo show?”
“These people don’t understand my challenges at work.”
“Am I going to get a call from a sales person?”
“How much does this cost?”

This headline scares people off, right? It’s talking about the product before the people!

After a lot of research and collaboration with NueMD’s marketing director, I developed a hypothetical “script” of what visitors are thinking when searching “medical billing software”:

“Getting reimbursed by insurance companies is consuming a huge part of my practice’s administrative time. Dealing with the back and forth, denied claims, delayed accounts receivable puts such a strain on our productivity. All we want to do is take care of our patients. This should not be such a huge deal and we’ve got to find a way to simplify.”

From this dialogue, we decided to test an alternative headline that touched on real pain points found in our research (delayed accounts receivable, laborious tasks and software that is difficult to use).

The headline we tested encompassed each of these three elements, and appeared just above a testimonial that reinforced the headline statement:

nuemd 3 - 600

So how did it perform against our original headline?

nuemd 4 - 600

Well this is embarrassing. Our new headline lagged by almost 2%.

Our A/B test revealed that our new headline lagged by almost 2%.

Conversion Freak-Out Note #1: If you’re freaking out about the test being called after 13 conversions, this means you: 1) have high traffic landing pages that reach the baseline of 250 conversions in less than a year, or 2) you’re a conversion expert who thinks low-traffic pages aren’t worth testing, or 3) work with clients that have a really large budget for PPC landing page testing. If you read through to the end of this post, you’ll see how we navigated the low-traffic situation and worked within my client’s PPC budget.

Conversion Freak-Out Note #2: This headline test ran for a full month. Would we have preferred to run until we got a total of 250 conversions or a full year of testing data? Of course. However, if you’re like a lot of PPC advertisers, you: 1) have a budget and 2) can’t force more people to search for your keywords. My client, NueMD had a PPC budget to work within and felt confident we could test in a way that produced more leads for their sales department. (See “The Results” at the end of this article for final results.)

Back to the headline. What happened?

We had a solid hypothesis, didn’t we? We addressed the visitor’s problems and that’s a good thing, right? We connected with their pains and dreams and that’s what people want, don’t they?

I think the answers are yes, yes and yes, but our testing disproved several assumptions:

  • We thought visitors needed more information about the benefits and value of the software. Our heatmaps showed they were ready to see a demo.
  • We assumed visitors needed to be “seen and heard” at this phase in the buyer journey, when they actually just wanted to see the product in action.

Testing showed this audience didn’t want to hear about problems within their medical practice. They are most likely in a hands-on role and already know the problems. They’re busy and don’t need to have their in-office problems re-articulated to them.

When they arrive on the landing page, they have a different problem than the actual problem they’re dealing with in their practice. They need the information a demo contains!

And they want a headline that says they’re going to get what they want, which is a demo!

We proved this hypothesis to be true, changing the headline on the new design to read, “Watch a Free Online Demo,” with sub-headline, “And see why 24,000 medical professionals choose NueMD.”

nuemd 5 - 600

This design contains similar information as the original, but consistently outperformed the original.

Takeaways for Your Landing Pages

In this headline test, we learned the importance of defining the buyer journey and identifying where your prospect is in their buyer journey. Before you write your next headline, try the following:

  • Test your PPC traffic to see what message resonates. In our case, we could have tested “Get a Free Demo” against “Automate and Get Paid Faster” or “Get Paid Faster.”
  • Develop a hypothetical “script” of what visitors are thinking when they are searching for your product/service. What phase of the buying process are they in? Are they searching for a solution to a burning problem or are they aware of the solution and looking at their options?

Understanding your prospect’s place in the buyer journey is your first step in writing a headline that resonates.

“Best practice” #2: Only High Value Content Gets Leads

You can’t get quality leads without providing high-value content. This is best practice #2. When people provide their email, they often know they’re being put on a list — so you better make it worth their while.

Based on this best practices advice, we made the assumption that the “Register below to view a FREE demo of our software!” wasn’t a high value offer compared to the quantity of information required to get it.

Landing Page Call to Action

The demo is barricaded behind a form that requires my first/last name, email AND phone number. Notice the emphasis on FREE in the form’s headline…  This implies that some people pay for a demo, which some may find odd or at least confusing.

When I step into the visitor’s mind, I hear a lot of “exit page” dialogue:

“I don’t think so.” /exit page
“I don’t have time.” /exit page
“Just give me the demo.” /exit page
“I don’t want to talk to a salesperson.” /exit page

You get the idea. Logic tells us people don’t provide an email address for something that should be freely available.

Problem is… the data showed I was wrong, and an average of 4–6% of visitors consistently fill out this form.

But why?

One (of many potential) hypotheses: All of their competitors have the same call to action. If you want a demo of medical billing software from *anyone* without providing a name and email, you’re up the creek:

nuemd 6 - 600

All of NueMD’s Google AdWords competitors also used a gated demo.

Of the competitors bidding on “medical billing software,” all of them kept their demos behind a form. In the medical billing software field, requiring contact details for sales staff to follow up is pretty much “table stakes” across the industry.

So how does the competitive landscape change the conversation in our visitors mind?

For starters, it can color their expectations. Maybe their inner dialogue sounds more like this:

“Good grief, I can’t get a demo anywhere without entering my email. Whatever.” /fill form
“Oh they require the same as XYZ company. Okay.” /fill form
“I’ve got to see how these guys compare to XYZ company I’m talking to.” /fill form
“Whatever. I have to see this demo to get on with my research.” /fill form
“I’ve heard good things so I guess it’s fine.” /fill form

Takeaways for Your Landing Pages

In this test we learned:

  • You have to test various offers and CTAs on each audience to find out what really constitutes “high friction.”
  • Logic does not prevail. Even if something seems like a common-sense assumption, you have to test your logic/hypotheses.
  • It’s important to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Click on your competitors’ ads to find out how their messaging may be affecting the action visitors take on your landing page.

“Best practice” #3: Low-Traffic Pages Aren’t Worth Testing

I can’t NOT talk about this. Low-traffic pages, or pages that take a loooong time to reach 250 conversions or “statistical significance” are common. I’ve noted this already, but it’s a point worth exploring in more detail.

To say I’m going to “debunk” this best practice may be overstating, but the results of this test (summarized in “The Results” section) prove that you can still increase leads into your sales funnel using a low-traffic landing page.

So let’s look at the details. Our testing for these pages ran for a total of 5 months and allowed for full-week, Friday-to-Friday testing. Each week we review results and either let the test keep running, or discuss new things to test.

Via AdWords, this page gets around 300-400 unique visitors a month. There could be some AdWords click-through optimization to increase traffic to the pages, but we can’t force more people to search for “medical billing software.” There is a ceiling on the number of people looking for this product, which you may experience in your business as well.

So how do you A/B test pages that won’t reach “statistical significance” (or get 3,000–4,000 conversions, or heck even 100 conversions) until the year 2054?

Test High-Impact Changes

We can’t dramatically increase the number of visits to the page, so the way we handled this question with NueMD is by testing high-impact changes. High impact changes are those that test variants with very different elements. Examples from NueMD include:

  • Different messaging/headline: “Watch a Demo” vs. “Automate and Get Paid Faster”
  • Design: Big shift in the typography, layout and visual design

When you don’t have a ton of traffic to send to your A/B tests, big changes have more noticeable and measurable effects. Making dramatic changes per variant helps you get the data you need, even if you can’t send more traffic (or wait until 2054!).

If you make a dramatic change that seems like it’s promising, it may be worth the wait to keep the test running as long as you can. But if you have a challenger that’s consistently underperforming, don’t be afraid to pull the plug altogether and go back to your control. It’s really a balancing and juggling act — working with your PPC budget, PPC messaging and conversions, landing page messaging and conversion, and doing your best to make wise decisions with the money you have to spend.

The Test Results

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Whether you’re working on a page that gets gobs of traffic or not, at the end of the day, did you drive more leads into the sales funnel or not? Here’s our pre-redesign stats:

Landing Page Stats Before

and our stats after:

Landing Page Stats After

On average, NueMD is consistently seeing 1.5% more leads to their inside sales team over a 5-month period as a result of our testing and optimization. That’s an additional 31 leads to their inside sales team in 5 months. Low traffic or not, calling the test too early or not, that’s a concrete result we can directly attribute to our optimization efforts.

Takeaways for Your Landing Page

To recap, you can test and get meaningful data from low-traffic landing pages. Statistical significance won’t play the same kind of role it does on consistently high traffic pages, but you can still gather insights and optimize for more leads.

When you’re testing low-traffic pages, try the following to keep your A/B testing moving along:

  • Make dramatic, high-impact changes for more noticeable and measurable effects.
  • If a challenger looks like it’s completely bombing, you don’t necessarily need to wait until statistical significance eliminates it. Pull the plug, go back to the original, and move on to your next test.

What to Do Next

The beautiful thing about A/B testing is that even failed tests can bring you invaluable, actionable insight.

The important thing is to start testing today.

There were so many awesome nuggets learned from this exercise that I didn’t even get to share in this post, but here’s a recap of the biggies:

  • Conversion “best practices” can be dead wrong. Test assumptions even if they go against common advice.
  • Do some testing around your buyer’s journey, and find out if you’re making correct assumptions about what they want at their stage in that journey. Effective headlines and CTAs are heavily dependent on location in the buyer journey.
  • Check out your competition — they may be doing things that influence your buyer’s clicking habits.
  • If you don’t have a lot of traffic, you can still optimize your pages by testing for high impact changes. And don’t be afraid to pull the plug on an underperforming challenger, even before statistical significance.

One final word: These insights are a great launching pad for your next test, but you should always test them yourself to be sure the same rings true for your particular niche or audience!

Over to you — have your A/B tests debunked any “best practices”?

The post An Epic Landing Page Makeover That Debunked 3 Landing Page “Best Practices” appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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An Epic Landing Page Makeover That Debunked 3 Landing Page “Best Practices”


[PODCAST] The Psychology of Landing Page Design

Understanding how anticipation works in a user’s brain can help you create more psychologically powerful landing pages. Image source.

There’s a reason that so many conversion rate optimization “best practices” stem from the field of psychology.

If you understand human behavior – the desires and motivations of your audience – then you’re better equipped to give people what they want.

In this episode, Neil Patel of KISSMetrics and Quick Sprout explains how anticipation works in a user’s brain and how you can leverage it to create more enjoyable user experiences… all while increasing your conversions.

Tune in to learn…

  • The science behind why positive messages lead to higher conversion rates.
  • How understanding real-world visual cues (such as stoplights) can help you design better landing pages.
  • How anticipating what your visitors want will help you rise above competitors.

Listen to the episode

Listen on iTunes.
Prefer Stitcher? We got your back.

Mentioned in the podcast

– Stephanie Saretsky



[PODCAST] The Psychology of Landing Page Design


RICG Responsive Images For WordPress

I recently teamed up with Mat Marquis of the Responsive Images Community Group to help integrate responsive images into the WordPress platform. We decided to refactor a plugin that I had built several months ago, hoping that it would lead to a more useable and performant solution.

After months of pull requests, conversations on Slack and help from WordPress’ core team, we’re finally ready to share what we’ve been working on. You can download and install RICG Responsive Images1 from WordPress’ plugin directory, while keeping track of our development progress on GitHub2.

What Does The Plugin Do?

WordPress hasn’t changed the way it outputs the img tag in quite some time. And although there are plenty of ways to hook into WordPress’ native functions and alter the img snippet, doing so can be overwhelming for beginners and non-theme developers alike. Compound that with the complexity of Picturefill and of the srcset specification, and WordPress users have had few options for implementing a clean and properly functioning responsive images solution.

To solve this problem, we set out to build a plugin that gives users responsive images as soon as the plugin is installed, with no extra effort needed. No admin setting, media uploading configuration or coding is required. The plugin comes with one dependency3, a polyfill for browsers that don’t yet support native responsive images. Removing this file is completely optional and will not affect the functionality of the plugin, as long as the user has a modern browser.

As soon as an image is uploaded through the media interface, WordPress automatically creates three variations of the image at different sizes. When the plugin is activated, adding “Featured” and content images to a post will return WordPress’ standard image markup, with an added srcset attribute4. We’re using the srcset attribute because it’s the easiest attribute for both developers and users to add. While the picture element provides the user with a richer set of options5, we felt that the srcset attribute makes the most sense as an out-of-the-box solution. It’s also best to use when you’re focusing on resolution-switching more than art direction6 (more on that later in the article).

<a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-6" src="" srcset=" 150w, 300w, 1024w, 1800w" alt="a cool responsive image" width="1800" height="1800"></a>

The plugin is designed to be backwards-compatible, meaning that images added before the plugin was installed will be responsive when added to a post or “Featured Image” section. This is because it uses the image sizes previously defined by WordPress and the active theme’s functions.php file. The image ratio will be maintained throughout the srcset array, meaning that images differing from the aspect ratio of the initial uploaded image will be left out.

Theme developers can use the plugin to place responsive images wherever they’d like by using the tevkori_get_srcset_string() function, which takes an image’s ID and size as parameters.

<img src="myimg.png" <?php echo tevkori_get_srcset_string( 11, 'medium' ); ?> />

There’s also a tevkori_get_srcset_array() function that takes the same parameters and returns an array of srcset values for the specified image.

How Does The Plugin Work?

Most of the functionality happens when an image is dropped into WordPress’ WYSIWYG editor. Because all of the resized images will have been created during the uploading process, the only thing left to do is create an array containing the URLs of the available images in various sizes, as well as their dimensions. This array is then filtered to remove the image sizes with aspect ratios that don’t match the ratio of the full-sized image.

The array is created by calling the wp_get_attachment_image_src() function and storing the results. At the same time, we use wp_get_attachment_metadata() to retrieve the same results but for every possible variation of the image. Next, the ratio is calculated by multiplying each image’s width by the result of the initial image’s height divided by the initial image’s width. If that result matches the initial image’s height, then the image will be pushed into the final array, to be returned by the tevkori_get_srcset_array() function.

The tevkori_get_srcset_string() function calls tevkori_get_srcset_array() and places the result inside of the srcset attribute. A filter is applied to the image_send_to_editor function, where a regular expression is used to place the result of the tevkori_get_srcset_string() function directly after the src attribute in the image. The same process occurs for featured images, with a filter being applied to the post_thumbnail_html function.

If the image size is changed in the post’s editor, then the plugin will detect the change and update the srcset value accordingly. This ensures that the correct image ratio is always maintained. To enable this functionality, we’re using JavaScript to hook into the object7 and recalculating the srcset attribute by running the same image-ratio calculations defined in tevkori_get_srcset_array(). Before starting on this project, I was unaware of the object and its useful functionality. Because not much documentation for it exists, explaining in detail how we’re using it might be helpful. As it turns out, you can listen for an image-update event in the post’s editor by adding an event listener to the object. 'editor:image-update', function( args ) 
  var image = args.image;
  //more function logic

With this function, a theme developer can access every image as soon as it has been updated in the post’s editor. You can also take advantage of Underscore8, which is used as a dependency by the media uploader to edit image data on the fly. In the case of our plugin, we’re using a helpful Underscore utility to get our image-size ratios once the editor:image-update event has been fired.

// Grab all of the sizes that match our target ratio and add them to our srcset array.
_.each(sizes, function(size)
  var softHeight = Math.round( size.width * metadata.height / metadata.width );

  // If the height is within 1 integer of the expected height, let it pass.
  if ( size.height >= softHeight - 1 && size.height <= softHeight + 1  ) 
    srcsetGroup.push(size.url + ' ' + size.width + 'w');

To learn more about how we hook into the object, be sure to look at the code in wp-tevko-responsive-images.js9.

The sizes Attribute

Currently, this plugin doesn’t add a sizes attribute10 to complement the srcset attribute. The reason is that we initially recognized that we could never predict what those sizes would need to be, because they depend on how the user’s theme is styled. While we are working on a solution to this issue, we’re encouraging all users to include a sizes attribute on their own, either manually or via another WordPress plugin, such as wp-lazysizes11. One thing to note is that the responsive images specification has recently changed, and use of the w descriptor must now be followed by a sizes attribute. Omitting the sizes attribute will render the markup technically invalid, while still falling back to a default size of 100vh.

What About Features X, Y And Z?

While much more can be done with responsive images, you’ve probably noticed a few use cases that this plugin doesn’t cover. The first thing that we’re usually asked about is a feature for art direction. Art direction refers to loading differently styled images at different breakpoints — whether that means entirely new images or the same image cropped or focused differently. This feature would require use of the picture element, which in turn would mean a lot more markup to generate the final image.

Adding this feature to WordPress would be impossible without the addition of a fairly complicated interface in WordPress’ media uploader, because the user would need to be able to define all breakpoints and then select images to be loaded in when those breakpoints are reached. Our goal for this plugin is to allow for a basic implementation of responsive images, with absolutely no configuration needed by the user. So, we’ve decided to omit this feature. We will, however, do our best to allow art direction to work side by side with our plugin as we expand the API for theme developers.

Lazy-loading and image compression are two other features that we have no plans to implement, simply because they fall beyond the scope of a more or less “default” solution for responsive images. Again, we aim to make the addition of these features possible for theme developers who use our plugin via a feature-rich API.

What’s Next?

While the plugin is available for everyone to download and install, we’re actively working to make it better. So, users can expect frequent updates, resolved issues and an all-around better functioning plugin as time goes on. We’re planning to add more features, such as the sizes attribute and hooks that allow theme developers to further customize the plugin.

Another feature we have yet to consider is ratio descriptors like 2x and 3x for “Retina” use cases. Better documentation and support are coming soon as well. Eventually, we’d like to see this plugin become a part of WordPress’ core, which means that it will stay minimalist, admin-less and easy to use.

(il, al, ml)


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RICG Responsive Images For WordPress