Tag Archives: right

Glossary: Link Juice

what is link juice

Link juice is a non-technical SEO term used to reference the SEO value of a hyperlink to a particular website or webpage. According to Google, a multitude of quality hyperlinks (or just “links”) are one of the most important factors for gaining top rankings in the Google search engine. The term “link juice” is SEO industry jargon. It’s often talked about in relation to link building efforts such as guest posting, blogger outreach, linkbait and broken link building. How Does Link Juice Work? Link juice, link authority, and backlink authority are all different words that mean essentially the same thing….

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Glossary: Link Juice

Infographic: How To Create The Perfect Social Media Post

It’s easy to get into the habit of robotically posting content to social media every day. However, how you post to social media is just as important as the content itself. You need people to click on your post to see your content. So, before you rush around doing your daily social media tasks, pause, take a step back and think about how you can improve what you’re doing. Study this infographic and use it as a cheat sheet the next time you post to social media. One last hint: It’s a good idea to measure your social media efforts…

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Infographic: How To Create The Perfect Social Media Post

How to Play Into Your Customer’s Need for ‘I Want It Right Now’

Although eCommerce receives most of the limelight, 91.6% of U.S. sales still take place offline. With all the benefits of buying online — lower cost, wider choice, no need to put on pants — how come retail stores are still a thing? According to a study by Ripen Ecommerce, 30.8% is explained by people wanting to be able to touch and feel the products. The second main reason (29.9%) is that people want their items right away. This need for instant gratification is a powerful one. And while a 4D online shopping experience is likely still some years away, there…

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How to Play Into Your Customer’s Need for ‘I Want It Right Now’

The Beginner’s Guide To Making Facebook Advertising Convert

beginners guide to facebook ads

Most people use Facebook ads to pump up their visitor numbers. Wait, what? Let me be clear. They don’t wake up with that goal in mind, but it’s usually what ends up happening. I see this all the time with clients I work with. The problem isn’t that they can’t set up the Facebook ad campaigns or get visitors to their websites. It’s the next step where things go haywire. The visitors they’re paying for don’t download ebooks, sign up for accounts or buy products. The reason for this simply is that the thing they offer doesn’t appeal to those…

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The Beginner’s Guide To Making Facebook Advertising Convert

How Hotjar Gained 60+ New Trial Signups a Month with a Single Overlay

Hotjar’s content experiment with overlays is turning website visitors into new customers. Here’s how.

If you Google “Content is king,” here’s what you’ll find: More than 37 million Google results that justify how important content is online.

It’s a tired phrase, but it’s true. At Unbounce, for instance, our blog has been invaluable in growing our digital footprint and our business.

Every once in a while, you hear a story about someone who uses content to earn new customers and new revenue. And, they make it seem pretty easy (like “Why didn’t I think of that?”).

Well, Nick Heim, the Director of Inbound Marketing at Hotjar, has done just that. He offered website visitors an ebook at just the right time and in just the right way by using an overlay.

Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Still fuzzy on what an overlay is? Click here.

Overlays, a type of Unbounce Convertables, allow you to show relevant offers to specific users at the perfect time, making them less likely to leave your website without converting.

By implementing a Convertable into his campaign, Nick isn’t just bringing in new leads, he’s actually turning website visitors into paying Hotjar users. So how’s he doing it?

Let’s start from the beginning

The TL;DR? Hotjar implemented a new Convertable on their pricing page, which resulted in new signups. The overlay offered visitors an ebook, The Hotjar Action Plan, in exchange for their first name and email address.

Hotjar Pricing Page Overlay

The overlay converted 408 visitors in the first three weeks, 75% of which were not existing Hotjar customers.

Once a visitor converted on the overlay they received an email from Hotjar right away. Non-customers received an email with the ebook as a PDF, along with an offer to try out Hotjar for an extended period of time.

Nick explains:

For non-users, we sent them a quick instant thank you email followup that contained the asset and offered a 30 day trial of the Hotjar Business Plan. This is double the trial length a new user would usually receive by signing up through our site.

Here’s what the actual email looks like:

Hotjar follow up email

Hotjar makes good use of the email they sent to preexisting customers, too. That variation contains the ebook as well as a simple question about what type of content they’d like to see — allowing Hotjar to continue delivering value to their customers. #winwin

The overlay strategy

The overlay Nick built was set to appear only to first-time visitors who are exiting the Hotjar pricing page.

According to Nick,

This was more of a visitor experience decision than anything. We didn’t want to come off as badgering visitors in the research phase [of the buying process].

Hotjar Convertable Setup
Setting trigger rules in the Unbounce builder.

So, did it work?

“Absolutely, we’re getting 60-70 new users per month as a result of the Convertable,” said Nick.

From the overlay, about 3% of page visitors convert on the page.

Hotjar Convertable Results

Of those that converted on the overlay, 75% were not current Hotjar customers and about 19% of the non-users who received their follow-up email with the PDF have become new Hotjar customers.

Already an Unbounce customer? Log into Unbounce and start using Convertables today at no extra cost.

Experimenting the Hotjar Way

Nick explained that his team at Hotjar hadn’t implemented overlays into their lead gen strategy before using the Unbounce Convertable; “this was a total experiment. We wanted to be able to nurture the new leads coming from different channels and bring them back.”

Nick pointed out that, “these things [overlays] can be used really wrong. You need to be careful and consider the human on the other end. Think about the entire process.”

For their experiment, Nick said, “[we didn’t have] hard goals, but we wanted to prove whether there was a case for using overlays.” Nick pointed out that it can be difficult to measure the negative effects of user experience — especially without a baseline to measure your results against.

“We wanted to see if the risk was worth the reward. We did get the quantitative results — which for us, measure better than industry standards.”

Hotjar’s Golden Rules for Using Overlays

Through this trial experience, Nick and his team at Hotjar established some general guidelines for using overlays. Nick shared his golden rule for delighting visitors with overlays (opposed to pestering them).

Start by asking yourself these questions:

First, is it appropriate to use an overlay in this part of the user journey?

If the answer is yes, ask yourself “What’s the least annoying way to accomplish that?” If the answer is no, don’t use it.

Second, “Does it solve the problem [website visitors] are looking to solve?” Nick emphasized that the offer on the overlay needs to align to the problem that people are trying to solve.

Finally, how do you know if you’re offering the right thing? Nick says, “Ask people! This is an awesome way to improve your content.”

Hotjar's golden rules for using overlays

Should you use Convertables?

Overlays give us marketers an opportunity to present the right people with the right offer at the right time. Of course, they can also be used to do the opposite, and, as Nick says, “you don’t want to leave someone with a bad taste in their mouth,”

Like any good data-driven marketer, you’re going to want to take it for a test drive. Like Hotjar, try experimenting with overlays to decide they’re a good fit. At the end of the day, it’s your customers and your brand that will decide if overlays work in your marketing strategy.

Originally posted here: 

How Hotjar Gained 60+ New Trial Signups a Month with a Single Overlay

Unbounce Convertables, Now with Advanced Targeting: Show the Right Offer to the Right Visitor at the Right Time

advtarget_blogtop

Imagine you run one of those old-timey candy shops.

It’s packed wall to wall with chocolate, gummies, bubble gum, licorice and everything in between.

Unfortunately, you spent all your money opening the shop, and haven’t the funds to hire someone to help the customers while you tend the register. So when the shop gets busy, you notice many of your patrons become overwhelmed by the selection, often walking out of the shop empty handed.

Now imagine the candy shop is your website, and the patrons your visitors.

Each visitor to your website is unique — one may know exactly what they want while another requires a little more assistance. Your website, however, is simply not equipped to convert all your visitors, and you don’t have the time or resources to make changes to your website, hire a consultant to run a bunch of A/B tests or run a new campaign to attract more prospects.

What do you do?

Overlays can help

In November 2016, we launched Unbounce Convertables, a new conversion tool to help you capture more conversions on any page of your website, blog or online store.

The first type of Convertables is website overlays triggered by visitor behavior: entrance, exit, timed and on-scroll.

Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Still fuzzy on what an overlay is? Click here.

If we’re using the candy shop analogy, overlays are the shop helpers that present your visitors with exactly what they’re looking for (or what they didn’t know they were looking for!). And the best part is they’re a fast, reliable and affordable way to add conversion opportunities to any web page, meaning you can launch them effortlessly while looking like a conversion hero.

Overlays work because, when implemented properly, they leverage psychological principles to focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer.

However, just like the rest of your marketing campaigns — be it PPC or email — the better targeted the overlay, the better results you’ll get.

Which is why we’re pleased to announce our new advanced targeting and trigger options.

Here’s what’s new:

These new features, combined with Unbounce’s core offerings — our trusted drag and drop builder, high-converting templates and marketing automation integrations — mean that you can build on-brand overlays quickly and…

Present the right offer to the right visitor at the right time

Has this ever happened to you? You’re killing time surfing the interweb when boom! — you’re presented with the most perfect-for-you offer that you wonder if your fairy godmother really does exist.

There are two possible explanations for this phenomenon: she does (lucky duck) or the offer was so perfectly targeted that it only feels like magic.

The latter is at the crux of Unbounce Convertables’ new advanced targeting: target the right person at the right time with the right offer.

Not only does this approach ensure your prospects see only the most relevant, timely and valuable offers, it ensures that you generate the best quality leads, signups and sales.

Let’s dig in.

Location targeting

Thanks to the internet, we can find what we’re looking for regardless of where we live.

For marketers, this is both a blessing and a curse — a blessing because you can cast a much wider net, and a curse because of differences in language, currency, laws, competitive landscape and preferences.

By pairing your overlay with location targeting, you can guarantee only visitors arriving from a specific country will see it. Here’s how it might look in the real world:

  • Offer region-specific ecommerce promos, like free shipping for UK visitors only
  • Abide by local data collection and age requirement laws, like the US’s CAN-SPAM or Canada’s CASL legislation
  • Promote local events to only local visitors
  • Present the same offer in different languages of origin
  • Highlight the most popular product in a country only to visitors from that country
  • And much more

Referrer targeting

Message Match is a principle we consistently preach at Unbounce. It’s about making sure your visitors see the same message from point A to point B of your funnel, which is important because strong message match increases conversions by reassuring visitors they’ve come to the right place.

With referrer targeting, you can show a Convertable to visitors who have arrived from a specified URL, creating that message match and forward momentum through your funnel. Here are just a few of the many ways referrer targeting can be used:

  • Offer organic visitors popular content, like a 101-level ebook, via a lead gen overlay
  • Present visitors navigating from an internal product page an offer to purchase
  • Show visitors who’ve viewed a technology partner page content relevant to them, like, for example, how your tool integrates with the partner tool
  • And, you guessed it, much more

Dynamic Text Replacement

Like referrer targeting, Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) allows marketers to maintain a consistent message from referral source to overlay.

However, unlike referrer targeting where the visitor’s source triggers the presentation of a unique overlay, DTR lets you customize the actual text of your Convertable using URL parameters.

This means that the visitor sees custom copy, which increases the relevancy of your overlay for each individual user. Here’s what that could look like:

  • Create personalized incentives (e.g., “Hey Judy, how ‘bout free shipping?”)
  • Make relevant offers based on previous account activity (e.g., “You really really really like Carly Rae Jepsen — sign up for our newsletter for more on your favorite artists”)

Forget Cookie Monster, marketers love cookies. But we’re not talking about the ooey gooey chocolate chip kind (though I certainly wouldn’t scoff at one), we’re talking about cookie targeting.

Cookie targeting allows Unbounce users to specify which visitors see (or don’t see) a Convertable based on their browsing history. Here are a few examples of what cookie targeting allows you to do:

  • Hide Convertables from visitors who have already opted in
  • Show only one Convertable per visitor and hide all others (this is key if you’re running multiple Convertables, since you want to avoid bombarding your visitors)
  • Ask returning visitors who have already converted to complete a post-conversion action, like following you on Twitter

But wait, there’s more

You didn’t think that was it, did you?

On top of our advanced targeting and DTR, we’re also releasing a new type of trigger.

On-click trigger

Whereas targeting allows you to specify which visitors see your overlay, triggers determine when they’ll see it. Convertables launched with four triggers (on arrival, on exit, on scroll and after delay) and today we’re rolling out a fifth trigger: on click.

Overlays triggered on click mean you can select any element on your web page to trigger an overlay when the user clicks on it. Use it to build your newsletter subscriber list on your blog or to gather interested contacts for product updates.

Still not sure what we mean? Click here.

The secret to highly effective overlays…

The secret to highly effective overlays is really no secret at all — it’s all about presenting the right offer to the right visitor at the right time.

Using Unbounce Convertables, you can mix and match different targeting and triggers to present the most relevant, timely offers for your visitors.

And you can do it all within Unbounce’s trusted drag and drop builder, loaded with fully customizable overlay templates so you can stay on brand and still launch in mere minutes.

Convertables are available now from Unbounce. Try them for free for 30 days!

Already an Unbounce customer? Log into Unbounce and start using Convertables today at no extra cost.

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Unbounce Convertables, Now with Advanced Targeting: Show the Right Offer to the Right Visitor at the Right Time

3 Scientific Reasons Why Overlays Are So Freaking Effective

Fact: Overlays increase conversion rates.

Why? Because science.

But before we dig into the science, let’s take a look at why overlays are a marketer’s best friend.

overlay-best-friend
Image via Giphy.

A second (and often last) chance to convert

Here’s something no one in ecommerce wants to hear: Prospects abandon websites in droves, and most will never return.

There are many reasons why visitors leave: they’re not swayed by your offer, they’re not the right fit (or they just don’t know it yet), they’re distracted, they’re rushed.

Regardless of why, it doesn’t take a scientist to point out that re-engaging abandoning visitors could dramatically improve your conversion rates.

This is where overlays (a.k.a. your new “bestie”) come to the rescue.

Overlays provide a second chance for your audience to convert. And by focusing the visitor’s attention on just one timely, relevant and valuable offer (the trifecta of effective overlays), your chances of conversion go through the roof.

Here’s an example…

Upon seeing the shipping costs associated with their order, a potential customer may decide to abandon the sale. Implementing an overlay offering a deal on shipping could prevent cart abandonment and close the sale.

happy-conversion-dance
This is our we-just-closed-a-sale dance. Image via Giphy.

But why do abandoning users change their minds?

Back to the science.

#1: Overlays counteract the paradox of choice

Think about the toothpaste aisle of your drugstore. There are whitening toothpastes, natural toothpastes, cinnamon flavored toothpastes… spearmint, peppermint, bubblegum!

analysis-paralysis
Are you overwhelmed yet? Image via Giphy.

With an online store, customers face a similar overload of options. They come in the form of multiple buttons, links and messages calling out for the visitor’s attention.

When they can’t decide, they flee. It seems that while humans are empowered by a little bit of choice, too much choice can result in analysis paralysis.

Author Barry Schwartz further illustrates this in his oldie-but-goodie book, The Paradox of Choice. In it he discusses the negative psychological impact an abundance of choice can have on our well being, and how eliminating choices can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Alleviating anxiety by way of eliminating options, then, is critical to making a sale.

It’s for this reason that landing pages are so effective in converting targeted traffic. By keeping the Attention Ratio at 1:1, landing pages focus a visitor’s attention on a single conversion goal, thus resulting in higher conversion rates than a page on your website.

But what about those web pages — shouldn’t they be optimized, too?

Yes, absolutely.

Overlays take on the role of a helpful salesperson, tapping your prospect on the shoulder and asking if they can be of assistance. They narrow the visitor’s attention on a single, enticing offer, and simplify the decision-making process for potential customers.

SImply put, overlays are effective for the same reason landing pages are effective: they eliminate distractions, provide the user with a last-chance offer and distill the choice down to a simple yes-or-no answer.

#2: Overlays re-engage prospects by using a neuro-linguistic programming technique called pattern interrupt

wait-what
Neuro what? Image via Giphy.

Sorry, let me explain.

Pattern interrupt is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) technique that has been used by salespeople for years. The concept is pretty straightforward: do or say something unexpected to disrupt a person from their normal patterns.

By interrupting patterns we create moments for change, which is why some people use the technique for breaking bad habits. Even something as simple as slapping an elastic band against your wrist can help interrupt a regular pattern

Overlays are driven by a similar logic. Unexpectedly, they show the visitor an offer that sweetens the pot, convincing them to think twice about their predictable path toward the ‘Back’ button.

In essence, you’re using the overlay much like you would the rubber band, to get your visitor’s attention and then focus it on something else, since what they were looking at before clearly wasn’t engaging them.

#3: Overlays leverage effective frequency by repeating and reinforcing your message

Several years ago I began seeing ads for a three-step skin clearing system that shall remain nameless.

At first I didn’t pay much attention to them, but after seeing ad after ad I started to wonder whether their claims had any validity; I was intrigued.

A few months later, I had a nasty breakout. I’d already warmed up to the idea of testing the product out, so I keyed in my credit card info and placed my order. A week later, a package arrived at my home with my first month’s supply.

ups-package
Image via Giphy.

That — what happened there — was the result of effective frequency.

Effective frequency is the number of times a prospect must be shown a particular message before taking the desired action.

There are varying theories on what the optimum number of times to show a message is — the law of seven, for example, suggests that it’s, well, seven. Whatever the case, it’s always more than once.

Overlays leverage effective frequency by providing you with an additional opportunity to serve up and thus reinforce your message. By using an overlay with similar messaging to your web page, you are in fact nudging your prospect toward becoming a customer.

Takeaways and learnings

Overlays don’t work because they’re the shiny new thing. They work because scientific — and particularly psychological — principles are at play.

  • Our brains don’t like complicated scenarios, and given how many we already face in daily life, the last thing we want are complicated consumer decisions. Simplicity of product choice = higher chance of conversion.
  • People are habitual by nature. We have certain patterns that we subscribe to, often unconsciously, that allow us operate on “autopilot”. Disrupting this pattern creates a moment for change, and doing so with an overlay may be just the thing to turn an unengaged visitor into a customer.
  • The more times we’re served up a message, the more likely we are to believe it to be true. By reinforcing the message on your web page with a similar supporting message on your overlay, you are in fact nudging your prospect toward becoming a customer.

Have you experimented with overlays? I’d love to hear about it the comments.

Get overlay ideas you can launch today

Download Unbounce’s newest ebook, 12 Proven Ways to Convert with Overlays
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3 Scientific Reasons Why Overlays Are So Freaking Effective

Infographic: A Breakdown of Color Preferences by Gender

true-colors

Choosing the right colors for a web or app design can be one of the most difficult decisions there is. Funny right? Not the coding, not the copy: the darn colors! Those who are not skilled in graphic design or the arts should probably leave this decision alone :). We always botch it! One factor that comes into play when making these palette decisions is: What gender are you targeting? The infographic below will shed some light on how males and female receive different colors and even how they identify colors by names. These interesting insights may adjust your thinking…

The post Infographic: A Breakdown of Color Preferences by Gender appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Infographic: A Breakdown of Color Preferences by Gender

Get your website testing-ready with the Technical Optimizer’s Checklist

Reading Time: 9 minutes

If you were planning to race your car, you would want to make sure it could handle the road, right?

Imagine racing a car that is not ready for the surprises of the road. A road that is going to require you to twist and turn constantly, and react quickly to the elements.

You would find yourself on the side of the road in no time.

A well-outfitted car, on the other hand, is able to handle the onslaught of the road and, when the dust settles, reach the finish line.

Well, think of your website like the car and conversion optimization like the race. Too many companies jump into conversion optimization without preparing their website for the demands that come with testing.

Get the Technical Optimizer’s Checklist

Download and print off this checklist for your technical team. Check off each item and get prepared for smooth A/B testing ahead!



By entering your email, you’ll receive bi-weekly WiderFunnel Blog updates and other resources to help you become an optimization champion.

But proper technical preparation can mean a world of difference when you are trying to develop tests quickly, and with as few QA issues as possible. In the long-run, this leads to a better testing rhythm that yields results and insights.

With 2017 just around the corner, now is a good time to look ‘under the hood’ of your website and make sure it is testing-ready for the New Year. To make sure you have built your website to stand the tests to come, pun intended.

In order to test properly, and validate the great hypotheses you have, your site must be flexible and able to withstand changes on the fly.

With the help of the WiderFunnel web development team, I have put together a shortlist to help you get your website testing-ready. Follow these foundational steps and you’ll soon be racing through your testing roadmap with ease.

To make these digestible for your website’s mechanics, I have broken them down to three categories: back-end, front-end, and testing best practices.

Back-end setup a.k.a. ‘Under the hood’

Many websites were not built with conversion optimization in mind. So, it makes sense for you to revisit the building blocks of your website and make some key changes on the back-end that will make it much easier for you to test.

1) URL Structure

Just as having a fine-tuned transmission for your vehicle is important, so is having a well-written URL structure for your website. Good URL structure equals easier URL targeting. (‘Targeting’ is the feature you use to tell your testing tool where your tests will run on your website.) This makes targeting your tests much simpler and reduces the possibility of including the wrong pages in a test.

Let’s look at an example of two different URL targeting options that you might use. One is a RegEx, which in JavaScript is used for text-based pattern matching. The other is Substring match, which in this case is the category name with two slashes on each side.

RegEx Example

Products to include:

  • www.test.com/ab82
  • www.test.com/F42
  • www.test.com/september/sale98

Products to exclude:

  • www.test.com/F4255

Targeting:

  • RegEx: (ab82|F42|sale98)


Substring Example

Products to include:

  • www.test.com/products/engines/brandengine/
  • www.test.com/products/engines/v6turbo
  • www.test.com/products/sale/september/engines/v8

Products to exclude:

  • www.test.com/products/sale/september/wheel/alloy

Targeting:

  • Substring: /engines/

In the first example, the company assigned URLs for their product pages based on their in-house product numbers. While writing a targeting rule based on RegEx is not difficult (if you know JavaScript), it is still time consuming. In fact, the targeting on the first example is wrong. Tell us why in the comments!

On the other hand, the second example shows a company that structured all of their product URLs and categories. Targeting in this case uses a match for the substring “/engines/” and allows you to exclude other categories, such as ‘wheels’. Proper URL structure means smoother and faster testing.

2) Website load time or ‘Time to first paint’

Time to first paint‘ refers to the initial load of your page, or the moment your user sees that something is happening. Of course, today, people have very short attention spans and can get frustrated with slow load times. And when you are testing, ‘time to first paint’ can become even more of a concern with things like FOOC and even slower load times.

So, how do you reduce your website’s time to first paint? Glad you asked:

  • Within the HTML of your page:
    • Move any JavaScript that influences content below the fold to the bottom of the body, and make these sections load asynchronously (meaning these sections will execute after the code above it). This includes any external functionality that your development team is bringing from outside the basic HTML and CSS such as interactive calendars, sliders, etc.
    • Within the head tag, move the code snippet of your testing tool as high as you can―the higher the better.
  • Minify* your JS and CSS files so that they load into your visitor’s browser faster. Then, bring all JS and CSS into a single file for each type. This will allow your user’s browser to pull content from two files instead of having to refer to too many files for the instructions it needs. The difference is reading from 15 different documents or two condensed ones.
  • Use sprites for all your images. Loading in a sprite means you’re loading multiple images one time into the DOM*, as opposed to loading each image individually. If you did the latter, the DOM would have to load each image separately, slowing load time.
Technical_Testing_Sprite
Load all of your images in sprites.

While these strategies are not exhaustive, if you do all of the above, you’ll be well on your way to reducing your site load time.

3) Make it easy to differentiate between logged-in and logged-out users

Many websites have logged-in and logged-out states. However, few websites make it easy to differentiate between these states in the browser. This can be problematic when you are testing, if you want to customize experiences for both sets of users.

The WiderFunnel development team recommends using a cookie or JavaScript method that returns True or False. E.g. when a user is logged-in, it would return ‘True’, and when a user is logged-out, ‘False’.

This will make it easier for you to customize experiences and implement variations for both sets of users. Not doing so will make the process more difficult for your testing tool and your developers. This strategy is particularly useful if you have an e-commerce website, which may have different views and sections for logged-in versus logged-out users.

4) Reduce clunkiness a.k.a. avoid complex elements

Here, I am referring to reducing the number of special elements and functionalities that you add to your website. Examples might include date-picking calendars, images brought in from social media, or an interactive slider.

This calendar widget might look nice, but is it valuable enough to merit inclusion?
This calendar widget might look nice, but is it valuable enough to merit inclusion?

While elements like these can be cool, they are difficult to work with when developing tests. For example, let’s say you want to test a modal on one of your pages, and have decided to use an external library which contains the code for the modal (among other things). By using an external library, you are adding extra code that makes your website more clunky. The better bet would be to create the modal yourself.

Front-end setup

The front-end of your website is not just the visuals that you see, but the code that executes behind the scenes in your user’s browser. The changes below are web development best practices that will help you increase the speed of developing tests, and reduce stress on you and your team.

1) Breakpoints – Keep ’em simple speed racer!

Assuming your website is responsive, it will respond to changes in screen sizes. Each point at which the layout of the page changes visually is known as a breakpoint. The most common breakpoints are:

  • Mobile – 320 pixels and 420 pixels
  • Desktop and Tablet – 768px, 992px, 1024px and 1200px
Each point at which the layout of your page changes visually is known as a 'breakpoint'.
Each point at which the layout of your page changes visually is known as a ‘breakpoint’.

Making your website accessible to as many devices as possible is important. However, too many breakpoints can make it difficult to support your site going forward.

When you are testing, more breakpoints means you will need to spend more time QA-ing each major change to make sure it is compatible in each of the various breakpoints. The same applies to non-testing changes or additions you make to your website in the future.

Spending a few minutes looking under to hood at your analytics will give you an idea of the top devices and their breakpoints that are important for your users.

Technical_testing_analytics
Source: Google Analytics demo account.

Above, you can see an example taken from the Google Analytics demo account: Only 2% of sessions are Tablet, so planning for a 9.5 inch screen may be a waste of this team’s time.

Use a standard, minimal number of breakpoints instead of many. You don’t need eight wheels, when four will easily get the job done. Follow the rule of “designing for probabilities not possibilities”.

2) Stop using images in place of text in your UI

Let’s say your website works in the many breakpoints and browsers you wish to target. However, you’re using images for your footer and main calls-to-action.

  • Problem 1: Your site may respond to each breakpoint, but the images you are using may blur.
  • Problem 2: If you need to add a link to your footer or change the text of your call-to-action, you have to create an entirely new image.
Buttons_Technical_Testing
Avoid blurry calls-to-action: Use buttons, not images.

Use buttons instead of images for your calls-to-action, use SVGs instead of icons, use code to create UI elements instead of images. Only use images for content or UI that may be too technically difficult or impossible to write in code.

3) Keep your HTML and CSS simple:

Keep it simple: Stop putting CSS within your HTML. Use div tags sparingly. Pledge to not put everything in tables. Simplicity will save you in the long run!

No extra  tags! Source: 12 Principles for Keeping your Code Clean
No extra div tags! Source: 12 Principles for Keeping your Code Clean

Putting CSS in a separate file keeps your HTML clean, and you will know exactly where to look when you need to make CSS changes. Reducing the number of div tags, which are used to create sections in code, also cleans up your HTML.

These are general coding best practices, but they will also ensure you are able to create test variations faster by decreasing the time needed to read the code.

Tables, on the other hand, are just bad news when you are testing. They may make it easy to organize elements, but they increase the chance of something breaking when you are replacing elements using your testing tool. Use a table when you want to display information in a table. Avoid using tables when you want to lay out information while hiding borders.

Bonus tip: Avoid using iFrames* unless absolutely necessary. Putting a page within a page is difficult: don’t do it.

4) Have a standard for naming classes and IDs

Classes and IDs are the attributes you add to HTML tags to organize them. Once you have added Classes and IDs in your HTML, you can use these in your CSS as selectors, in order to make changes to groups of tags using the attributed Class or ID.

You should implement a company-wide standard for your HTML tags and their attributes. Add in standardized attribute names for Classes and IDs, even for list tags. Most importantly, do not use the same class names for elements that are unrelated!

Example:

technical_testing_naming

Looking at the above example, let’s say I am having a sale on apples and want to make all apple-related text red to bring attention to apples. I can do that, by targeting the “wf-apples” class!

Not only is this a great decision for your website, it also makes targeting easier during tests. It’s like directions when you’re driving: you want to be able to tell the difference between the second and third right instead of just saying “Turn right”.

Technical testing ‘best practices’ for when you hit the road

We have written several articles on testing best practices, including one on the technical barriers to A/B testing. Below are a couple of extra tips that will improve your current testing flow without requiring you to make changes to your website.

1) If you can edit in CSS, then do it

See the Pen wf-css-not-js by Ash (@ashwf) on CodePen.

Above is an animation that WiderFunnel Developer Thomas Davis created. One tab shows you the code written as a stylesheet in CSS. The tab on the right shows the same animation written in JavaScript.

JavaScript is 4-wheel drive. Don’t turn it on unless you absolutely need to, ‘cause you’re going to get a lot more power than you need. CSS effects are smoother, easier to work with, and execute faster when you launch a test variation.

2) Don’t pull content from other pages while testing

When you are creating a variation, you want to avoid bringing in unnecessary elements from external pages. This approach requires more time in development and may not be worth. You have already spent time reducing the clunkiness of your code, and bringing in external content will reverse that.

The important question when you are running a test is the ‘why’ behind it, and the ‘what’ you want to get out of it. Sometimes, it is ok to test advanced elements to get an idea of whether your customers respond to them. My colleague Natasha expanded on this tactic in her article “Your growth strategy and the true potential of A/B testing”.

3) Finally, a short list of do’s and dont’s for your technical team

  • Don’t just override CSS or add CSS to an element, put it in the variation CSS file (don’t use !important)
  • Don’t just write code that acts as a ‘band-aid’ over the current code. Solve the problem, so there aren’t bugs that come up for unforeseen situations.
  • Do keep refactoring
  • Do use naming conventions
  • Don’t use animations: You don’t know how they will render in other browsers

Glossary

DOM: The Document Object Model (DOM) is a cross-platform and language-independent convention for representing and interacting with objects in HTML, XHTML, and XML documents

iFrame: The iframe tag specifices and inline frame. An inline frame is used to embed another document within the current HTML document

Minification of files makes them smaller in size and therefore reduces the amount of time needed for downloading them.


What types of problems does your development team tackle when testing? Are there any strategies that make testing easier from a technical standpoint that are missing from this article? Let us know in the comments!

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Get your website testing-ready with the Technical Optimizer’s Checklist