How New Year Resolutions Can Help You Optimize Your Life

We’re all aware that our time on this planet is limited. It’s an undeniable, yet liberating fact about human life.

This is one of the reasons that as humans:

  • we aspire to achieve greatness in everything we do,
  • we aspire to take the world forward,
  • we aspire to be our best possible selves, and so on.

To achieve success and improve our lives, we’re trying to optimize the limited time we have.

At the start of 2018, many of us would have made New Year resolutions for the year, in the hope to change an undesired trait or behavior, achieve a personal goal, or otherwise improve any aspect of our lives.

We make new year resolutions for them to serve as a personal roadmap in meeting the goals for the next 12 months.

In this blog post, we’ll focus on how you can achieve your new year resolutions by following and applying conversion rate optimization principles.

New Year Resolutions and CRO

At VWO, we champion the idea of following conversion rate optimization as a structured, methodical process.

Over time, CRO experts and practitioners have realized that being methodical and data-driven in your approach can increase the propensity of your success manifold.

Without it, you’re just shooting in the dark, hoping for something to stick.

Similarly, if you follow a framework for optimizing your life (read “achieving your new year resolutions”), the chances of your success will increase.

Step 1: Research: Identify Key Areas of Improvement

The first step of the Conversion Rate Optimization process is to identify key areas of improvement by tracking your visitors’ behavior.

You begin with analyzing the quantitative data you have available from tracking goals and funnels, to pinpoint what parts of the conversion funnel needs fixing. This data tells you where customers are dropping off in your conversion funnel.

Next, you look at the qualitative data available from your visitors’ visual behavior analysis, website surveys and form analytics, to figure out the reason why your they are dropping off.

Only when you know what needs fixing, can you go ahead and plan to fix it. Which is why research is the most crucial step of your conversion rate optimization process.

The more thorough and comprehensive your research, the better your chances of success.

Takeaway for Your New Year Resolutions

Just like the first step in the CRO process is finding what to improve, the first step in setting new year resolutions for yourself should be to identify what habits, behaviors, or aspects of your life you wish to change.

For this, you’ll have to rely on the corresponding empirical information about yourself you already know.  

Consider this example: for the previous year, you have been running low on money at the end of every month. You now know the where of the problem.

The reason being, the exorbitant shopping and regular cafe-hopping, among many others. This gives you the probable why of the problem.

With this information available, you are now aware of one aspect of your life that you can improve. Apply the same to figure out more in a similar manner.

Step 2: Hypothesis Phase – Construct an Educated Hypothesis

After the research is complete, you’re able to identify the pages that have the highest drop-off and hence, scope of improvement.

Per this information, you should be able to construct a hypothesis about what changes to your pages or funnel can bring about a desired change.

At its core, a hypothesis consists of 3 parts:

Here’s an example of a good hypothesis: I believe moving trust signals closer to the billing form will result in 5% more checkouts because it instills confidence in the payment gateway.

Takeaway for Your New Year Resolutions

From the research phase, you can glean enough information to make an educated guess about the changes you can make to your life and their possible impact.

Building on the example shared in the previous step, consider the following hypothesis:

I believe freezing 20% of my monthly salary in advance will result in having adequate money at the end of the month with me because I won’t be making unnecessary expenses.

Similarly, you can create more hypotheses for your new year resolutions, based on the areas of improvements identified from your research.

After you have a number of hypotheses available, prioritize these as the next step.

Step 3: Prioritization Phase – Prioritize Test Ideas

After you uncover areas of improvement for your funnel and create hypotheses for testing, you need to plan out your testing schedule. What do you test first?

Several frameworks exist to help us out here. One of the most popular is the P.I.E. framework formulated by Chris Goward at WiderFunnel:

Takeaway for Your New Year Resolutions

Depending on what you’re aiming to improve and the many ways possible for you to achieve it, you’d have created a number of new year resolutions, which you can go ahead and follow.

However, not all new year resolutions would be created equally. Perhaps you’d want to focus more on being physically fit than cutting down on your spending habits. Which is why you should prioritize.

Just as it would make more sense to reduce drop-off on your eCommerce store checkout page first compared to the home page. You need to determine what new year resolutions you should focus on more and then aim to follow the plan through the end.

Step 4: Testing Phase — Choose the Right Test and Set It Up

After the hypotheses are created and prioritized, it is time to test these per the complexity of the change to be implemented by using A/B Test, Multivariate Test, or Split URL Test.

Testing helps validate or invalidate your hypothesis, else it can give you learning to implement in future optimization efforts.

Thankfully, the operational aspect of setting up and measuring your tests can be taken care of by an A/B testing software, which also comes built-in within VWO’s conversion optimization platform.

Takeaway for Your New Year Resolutions

By now, you would have prioritized the actions you need to take to achieve your new year resolutions. You should go ahead and implement these.

You can track the progress of the results you achieved for fixed durations (say, two months), and see if these are close to the expectations.

For the example we had been considering in the steps above, you can do the following:

Save an amount that you would need by the end of the month, in a bank account other than your primary one. See if you are able to manage without having to spend it before the d-days arrive.

In case the plan for improvement you have created is not helping, you should go back and create a new one, based on fresh research and analysis.

Step 5: Learning Phase — How To Analyze Test Results

Learning from your test results is the last but an equally important task as any other in your conversion optimization journey.

If your hypothesis is validated, that is, your test is successful, go ahead and implement the winning version on your live website. Also, share your learning with team members and other departments.

If your hypothesis is invalidated, that is, your test has been unsuccessful, jot down all the key learning points for future optimization experiments. Make sure you don’t repeat the mistakes, if any.

Takeaway for Your New Year Resolutions

Based on the success, or the failure, of the improvement plan you’ve set yourself on, you should decide whether to follow it till the end, or to change things altogether while including learning from your efforts.

Are You Ready to Optimize Your Life?

Let’s face it. Following up on your new year resolutions, acquiring good habits, and so on is… tough, to say the least. It requires a whole lot of determination, will power, and focus to bring a drastic change in your life.

As optimization and experimentation are our bread and butter, with this post, we aim to contribute our perspective on how you can achieve your new year resolutions, keeping in mind the concepts of conversion rate optimization.

We believe you can follow the CRO framework to optimize your new year resolutions, and hence, your life. At the very least, you’d have experimented with something new and practical.

Well, isn’t that what optimization is all about?

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How New Year Resolutions Can Help You Optimize Your Life

Think Less, Embrace More: Inspiring Desktop Wallpapers For February 2018

Time flies by… The first month of the new year is already behind us, and with February just around the corner, it’s time for some fresh inspiration. So how about some wallpapers to tickle your ideas? Wallpapers that are a bit more distinctive as the ones you usually find out there? Well, we’ve got you covered.
As every month since more than nine years already, artists and designers from across the globe once again fired up their favorite illustration tools and got out their paint brushes and cameras to create charming desktop wallpapers that are sure to breathe some fresh life into your desktop.

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Think Less, Embrace More: Inspiring Desktop Wallpapers For February 2018

A Comprehensive Guide To Product Design

(This is a sponsored article.) What is a product? Until recently, the term was used only in relation to something material and often found in a retail store. Nowadays, it is coming to mean digital products as well. Apps and websites are modern products.
When it comes to building great products, design is the most important “feature.” We’ve moved into the stage where product design dominates — it’s what sets companies apart and gives a real edge over competitors.

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A Comprehensive Guide To Product Design

How Quora Can Help You Drive Massive Traffic and Conversions to Your Website

Many of you are probably familiar with Quora. But not everyone knows that Quora can be turned into a perfect marketing tool that will drive high quality targeted traffic and conversions to your website. I made the most out of Quora and continue to use it as one of my major marketing tools for increasing conversions. How, you ask? I’m one of the most viewed writers on many popular topics including videos, online videos, video production, and explainer videos. My answers gained 1.2 million+ views during the last 10 months. Want to know how to make a go of Quora…

The post How Quora Can Help You Drive Massive Traffic and Conversions to Your Website appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How Quora Can Help You Drive Massive Traffic and Conversions to Your Website

Respect Always Comes First

The past years have been remarkable for web technologies. Our code has become modular, clean and well-defined. Our tooling for build processes and audits and testing and maintenance has never been so powerful. Our design process is systematic and efficient. Our interfaces are smooth and responsive, with a sprinkle of beautiful transitions and animations here and there. And after so many years, accessibility and performance have finally become established, well-recognized pillars of user experience.

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Respect Always Comes First

Automated Browser Testing With The WebDriver API

Manually clicking through different browsers as they run your development code, either locally or remotely, is a quick way to validate that code. It allows you to visually inspect that things are as you intended them to be from a layout and functionality point of view. However, it’s not a solution for testing the full breadth of your site’s code base on the assortment of browsers and device types available to your customers.

Excerpt from – 

Automated Browser Testing With The WebDriver API

Enter The Dragon (Drop): Accessible List Reordering

Over the years of being a web developer with a focus on accessibility, I have mostly dealt with widely-adopted, standardized UI components, well supported by assistive technologies (AT). For these types of widgets, there are concise ARIA authoring practices as well as great tools like axe-core that can be used to test web components for accessibility issues. Creating less common widgets, especially those that have no widely-adopted conventions for user interaction can be very tricky.

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Enter The Dragon (Drop): Accessible List Reordering

No-Touch CRO: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Website without Touching Your Website

Wait a minute, no-touch website optimization? How on earth can you optimize your website without touching it? That’s absurd. Insane even. Have you gone stark raving mad, Oli?

Who me? Never! Or at least, not all the way crazy. I’m talking about ways that you can experiment, learn, and change behavior simply by using page and UI elements like Popups and Sticky Bars. An approach I call no-touch CRO (conversion optimization).

What is No-Touch CRO?

Kinda like the title suggests, no-touch CRO is about uncovering, exploiting, and maximizing the conversion opportunities that exist on your website. It’s all about velocity, getting results, and learning quickly and easily so you can make informed updates and optimizations to your website backed by data.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell. You install the Unbounce script on your site once, and then you have access to creating experiences on every page, without touching any code or design on the site.

Think of it as a layer of abstraction that exists above your site. Like literally.

“Are you doing that product awareness thing again, Oli?” Yup. I most definitely am. But only because I think the 11 ideas below are badass, and it’s how I like to work.

(Skip to the 11 website optimization ideas).


Navigating the Politics of Website Optimization

The reason I like this approach is because the politics of website development, design, and optimization are a complicated and slow-moving pain in everyone’s ass. The number of stakeholders, sign-offs, reviews, and revisions that are necessary to get a change implemented are always underestimated. Not to mention budgets, different departmental priorities and needs, and of course time. It’s basically a giant cluster that needs to be navigated proactively.

Which is why, if you can come to the table with some evidence that your ideas can affect positive change, those same naysaying stakeholders will become advocates for your work.

Now, I’m not suggesting the first thing you do is to start hammering your pricing page visitors with popups. You have to be smarter than that. Starting small, on low-traffic pages, and using techniques that are legitimately useful for your visitors, and provide as much evidence and learning as possible. The more successes you can show, the greater the bounds of your website optimization freedom will be in the future.

I’m going to share 11 ideas for you to get started with no-touch website optimization using popups and sticky bars, but first, you need to get your web developer to install the script on the website.

Your developer may have some questions such as: How big is the script? Which pages does it need to be added to? We interviewed two of our web developers at Unbounce to understand these concerns, and it was enlightening to hear about their process, and what they check when considering adding another script to the site.

We found that it’s typically a 1-2 day turnaround to get a new script installed, based on the research they need to do regarding page speed and bug testing etc. But one of the most interesting parts to me was simply the desire for the web developer to be included in the process. They didn’t want marketers installing it on the site themselves because it’s a serious concern that needs to be handled properly.

A big positive insight was that the amount of features available in the Unbounce platform (for triggers, targeting, and timing) allows significantly more functionality, interaction, and marketing campaign content without any requests of the developer’s time – making it a big win-win overall.

Just make sure you involve your developers.

If you have Google Tag Manager set up on your site, it’s even easier to get the Unbounce script added. Send this post about adding the Unbounce script using GTM to your web developer now.


11 No-Touch Conversion Optimization Opportunities You Can Take Advantage of on Your Website

Alright! Time to start optimizing your website without touching your website. Here are eleven creative ways to increase the number of conversions, and insights you get from your website.

#1: What on earth are you clicking on?

If you are a frequent observer of heat maps you’ll have no doubt seen big splotches where many people are clicking a page element (word, image etc.) when the element isn’t even clickable.

There can be several reasons for this:

  1. It’s just what people do when they read
  2. They are expecting something to happen

In the case of option B, there’s an opportunity to learn why they are exhibiting this behavior and ask them what they expected to happen.

You can do this by using the click trigger to launch a popup with a simple open-ended question such as “What did you expect to happen when you clicked that?” or “What are you looking for?”.

Conversion Implications

The responses from these research questions could inform you as to a missing part of the experience which you can then consider adding to the website, either directly, or after an A/B test of some kind.

An Unbounce Example

When I was researching behavior on our “What is a Landing Page?” page, I noticed interesting behavior on the first paragraph, where the first word was really strongly highlighted. I had two theories about this:

  1. It’s just a thing people do when they start reading.
  2. People were clicking on the first word and then dragging their mouse to the end of the first or second paragraph to copy the text. Because the page is a very well written and simple definition of what a landing page is, I hypothesized that people doing research who needed a definition to include in their content were copying the definition.

    To confirm this I watched some session recordings and observed someone doing this. I also searched Google for my newly written definition and found over twenty sites had done exactly that. Inbound links FTW.

#2: Create a Custom 404

Wouldn’t you like to know what people are thinking when they’re on your 404 page? If you dig into your analytics you’ll be able to figure out where they came from, but where should they go next?

By using a popup on your 404, you can take advantage of several conversion opportunities:

Option A: Research & Redirect

If you can establish where people are coming from (in order words, where the broken link is), you can use the referrer URL targeting in Unbounce to create a custom experience for them.

If the broken link is on your own site, you can get that fixed, or a 301 redirect put in place to a relevant page and if the broken link is on someone else’s site you can reach out to them for an update.

However, both of those options take time and resources to accomplish. You should put them in motion regardless, but in the meantime, there’s plenty you can do to learn and optimize.

This is a great place to experiment with a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) experience to see what the preferred next step is. If you can show a pattern of next step desire here you’re ready to make a more permanent 301 redirect to the popular choice.

An open-ended question like “What were you looking for?” coupled with a few large buttons that redirect people to some of your critical path conversion pages.

Option B: Replace

Something you might not know is that if you use the Unbounce WordPress plugin for your landing pages, there’s a way to replace a broken link with a landing page.

When using the WordPress plugin, any URL you set up on your domain in Unbounce will assume dominance over an existing page. Now you most likely don’t want to do this with a legit page that’s working. But for a broken link you could publish a landing page using the very same URL to present an experience that you are in full control of – no developers required.

Warning! Don’t simply go overriding pages all over your website (unless you own it fully). Let your web and marketing coworkers know what you’re doing.

#3: The Login Hijack

I introduced The Login Hijack in my 5 Legitimately Cool Use Cases for Website Popups You’ve Never Considered post. The concept is to create an experience based on the information that you (probably) have a large % of visitors (customers in this case) only showing up to click the login link.

Note: You need to drop a cookie on your login page to identify customers, then you can use the cookie targeting in Unbounce to show the popup when they return next time.

This is a perfect place to insert some product marketing content. Here are two ideas:

Idea #1

Run a “did you know?” survey to measure new feature awareness. This could take the form of a series of large buttons with product or feature names on them, and a request to “Click all of the features you were not aware of.” The heatmap on this could be fascinating. Don’t forget to also include a login link so customers don’t have to click to close the popup before proceeding.

You could also include a login redirect after the question is answered to prevent the need for an extra click.

Idea #2

Present a popup with a 50-50 vertical split. The left side can present information about a new product or feature with a “Learn More” button, and the right half can provide a large login button. Not only does this allow you to get product messaging in front of your customers, it also makes the login link/button bigger that it would have been.

#4: Advanced Video Interactions

If you have any videos on your website you probably have a call to action at the end. This is great. Until you look at the engagement data and realize that 50% of people never get to the end.

You can get around this problem with a very cool interaction model that Unbounce Noah Matsell built.

Using this method (requires a little Javascript – ping me at oli@unbounce.com if you’d like it), you can present your visitors/customers with a popup based on 3 different levels of interaction.

On completion

When the video has been watched to the end. Note that a popup presents a significantly large area to present an offer than the typical text/button CTA that appears in the middle of the video window. You can even instruct people to watch the whole video to get a special offer.

You can see a demo here.

On pause

This idea ups the cool factor for me. You can present an offer if someone pauses the video. A great place to ask a question (“Why did you stop watching”), or to present your offer right away.

You can see a demo here.

On series completion

Saving the best for last, this implementation allows you to monitor the viewing of several videos, show a live progress bar, and then present a reward/prize/offer when all of the videos have been watched.

This is great if you have a series of videos that you want to encourage people to binge watch Netflix-style, like The Landing Page Sessions, or a set of instructional videos that guide a new customer through a training or onboarding sequence.

You can see a demo here.

#5: Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) entrance experience

Do you have different target customer segment? At Unbounce we consider agencies and in-house marketing teams to be our ideal target customer archetype.

Given that you most likely have multiple ideal customer types, should they all be getting the same experience? No, of course they shouldn’t. But designing multiple experiences can be difficult. Which is why some experimental experiences can be incredibly eye-opening.

I’m a big fan of the Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) approach, and it’s not hard to create a few custom flows for your visitors.

By using an entrance popup with a simple self-identification question, you can drop cookies that help you create more customized experiences in other areas of your website.

I’d start with an “I’m an Agency or Marketing Team” type question.

Once you’ve dropped the cookie(s), you can take that knowledge and create experiences elsewhere on your site (or other web properties), and you can redirect the visitor to the best experience you have on your site for that persona.

For example, if someone self-identifies as working at an agency, you could provide an agency-specific resource or offer if they try to exit your site on the pricing page. For example, “Did you know we offer an agency program that includes a, b, c ?” or “Would you like a demo of Unbounce with one of our agency specialists?

There are almost infinite ways you can leverage this approach just by asking once for people to identify themselves.

And once again, you didn’t have to change anything on your website.

#6: G2 Crowd awareness

Got good reviews on G2 Crowd or Glassdoor? Embed some of the details on an entrance sticky bar for visitors to your “About Us”, “Team”, and “Careers” pages as social proof.

You could take your rating, a badge, or a review to use as social proof.

#7: G2 Crowd reviews

Ask customers (use the cookie you dropped on the login page for the login hijack example) to rate you on G2 Crowd. As you’re dealing with customers and they already do a lot for you, I’d suggest making this a subtle sticky bar and not an in-your-face experience.

#8: Welcome back MVP

If you know what your most important pages are you can use cookies and cookie targeting to drive people to them.

In my Advanced Triggers and Targeting post, I presented the “You Didn’t See My Most Valuable Page (MVP)” concept, where you set a cookie when visitors see your most valuable page(s). That way you can check for the existence of the cookie whenever someone leaves your site, and show them a popup directing them to the important content.

Using a similar approach, you can provide an entrance experience that welcomes them back and drives them to the important content.

To do this you’d combine cookie targeting (doesn’t have the MVP cookie) with a frequency trigger set to second visit. That way you know they are a repeat visitor and haven’t seen the MVP – as opposed to a first time visitor who hasn’t seen it which could mean they are already on their way there.

Create a Google Analytics report that tells you what % of visitors see your MVP, then observe if your Welcome Back MVP influences the number.

#9: Best Blog Content

In tomorrow’s final Product Awareness Month post, I’ll be sharing a lot of lessons I’ve learned over the past 30 days. One of those revolves around the topics of content that you’re writing about, and making sure they are things that people are A) interested in, and most importantly B) searching for.

To help you with this, you can use an exit popup to ask people which content they’d like to see more of. Then use this data (in combination with your SEO research) to guide your writing.

You can embed a simple Typeform in the popup to capture the responses.

Note: to add a Typeform survey in Unbounce, simple paste the embed code (from Typeform) into a “Custom HTML” element that you drop onto your popup in the Unbounce builder.

#10: Product Awareness Clicker

If you want to collect data about the levels of product awareness you have, at the same time as increasing product awareness, this tip is for you.

While similar in terms of the question to the login hijack, your goal here is to target new visitors as opposed to existing customers.

Trigger a popup on your homepage or features page after a time delay, presenting a series of product/feature icons with the request: “Which products/features did you NOT know we provide?”.

To select the appropriate time delay, look at your analytics for the average time on page for the pages you’re targeting, and set it accordingly. You want to set it just below the average so people see it, but still have time to read your content.

You can measure the results with a click heatmap, or by embedding a Typeform survey in the popup like the previous example. I like Typeform because they have some beautiful and simple big-button layouts that are perfect for this concept.

This is a good way to measure movement in your awareness metrics. For more clarity, segment customers from non-customers. You could do this with a second question on the Typeform survey that simple asks are you a customer. Or you could drop a customer cookie on your login or login success page and remove this cohort using the cookie targeting in Unbounce.

#11: Discount on 3rd exit

Just like shopping carts, pricing page abandonment is big deal, but you probably don’t want to give a discount the first time people leave, just because they’re leaving.

But if they repeatedly visit and leave your pricing page, it could be a signal that there’s an issue with them pulling the trigger. It might be the price point, and it might be worth experimenting with a discount using Popup or Sticky Bar.

You should be careful with discounts (if you’re a SaaS business) as they can affect your metrics in negative ways, but there is always a time and a place where it makes sense.

You can choose your own number, but I’d say that the third time someone visits and leaves your pricing page means it’s time to offer either a question (WTF dude?) or an offer/discount.

To do this with Unbounce, just use URL targeting for the pricing page, and show the popup on visit number 3.


So there you have it. A whole bunch of ways you can get into website optimization without bugging your web developer (more than once).

Aaaaand now, tomorrow marks the end of my 30 posts (that became 20) in 30 days product awareness challenge. This will be a transparent deep dive into everything I’ve learned over the course of the month, data from conversions, leads, clicks, adoption, awareness, and every interaction I’m able to consolidate in the next 24 hours.

See you tomorrow. I promise some very interesting learnings and results.

Cheers
Oli Gardner

p.s. Don’t subscribe to “Product Awareness Month”, because it’s over. Instead you should just read the entie epic 20-post collection when you have time for some binge-reading.

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No-Touch CRO: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Website without Touching Your Website

Your Author Bio Is A Conversion Gold Mine

gold mine

Are you treating your author bio as an afterthought? If you’re like most online marketers, the answer is probably yes. Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘author bio optimization’ and see what your search turns up. Not much. Just one or two dated guides. Clearly, digital marketing experts are not seeing the business potential of an optimized author bio. Well, I’ve got news for you. By ignoring your bio, you’re missing out on a lot of business. Your author bio has a lot of marketing potential. It’s an untapped goldmine that can do so much for your business. Would you like…

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Your Author Bio Is A Conversion Gold Mine

Your Author Bio Is a Conversion Goldmine

gold mine

Are you treating your author bio as an afterthought? If you’re like most online marketers, the answer is probably yes. Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘author bio optimization’ and see what your search turns up. Not much. Just one or two dated guides. Clearly, digital marketing experts are not seeing the business potential of an optimized author bio. Well, I’ve got news for you. By ignoring your bio, you’re missing out on a lot of business. Your author bio has a lot of marketing potential. It’s an untapped goldmine that can do so much for your business. Would you like…

The post Your Author Bio Is a Conversion Goldmine appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Your Author Bio Is a Conversion Goldmine