Part Four of ‘Is your traffic obsession sending you broke?’

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Get Your Free Checklist, plus, take our “30 Minute Site Review Challenge” and win one of three website critiques by a Samurai staffer.

Today we ‘bring it home’ on this whole topic of conversion. By now, I hope you’re totally convinced that testing is the easy path to increased profit, a better lifestyle and a real competitive advantage.

In our final video, we’ll cover the logistical problems that can come up when testing and how to tackle these, and then we’ll walk through the very same conversion checklist I use.

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Click here to download Ben’s personal Website Conversion Checklist.

Serious about Increasing Your Website’s Sales?

Take the Samurai “30 Minute Site Make Over Challenge”
And win one of three free website conversion critiques

OK, so you’ve got to here, you’re obviously getting serious about conversion. (Well done! This stuff is ‘live in a nicer house’ kind of powerful).

So, we have a challenge for you. I’ve thrown in a few prizes to make it interesting, but really, the benefit you want (and can expect) is a long term increase in your sales.

Early in my career I saw this process directly add over 100K to a client’s website. I’ve also watched a very ‘average’ Internet Marketing consultant consistently charge $500+ / hour to undertake this exact process (and you can do right now for free!).

Here’s the challenge:

Checklist

“30 Minute Site Makeover Challenge”

Step 1 – Remove distractions – Shut down the software that will distract you e.g. email, Twitter, Skype, and turn off your phone … (yes, the world keeps spinning if you don’t answer your phone for half an hour). If you’re a coffee drinker, go get yourself a cup (let’s enjoy this, hey?).

Step 2 – Print off and review the checklist – Print off a copy of our conversion checklist and sit it by you for reference. Take 2 minutes to skim through it from top to bottom to refresh.

Step 3 – Pick a website you want to improve – Pick your most profitable or your highest traffic website (the one where an improvement in conversion will yield the most benefit). If you’re just learning Internet Marketing and don’t own a website yet, you can still do this exercise on a competitor’s website or for a friend just to see how powerful this exercise is.

Step 4 – Pick a “starting point” – I almost left this step out, because I don’t want you to get stuck here (so don’t!).

Do you know “off the top of your head”, the most common way new prospects find you? If you do, we’re going to use this as your starting point (if not, your starting point is your home page).

You might be getting lot of organic search engine traffic, so your starting point would be the results of a Google search for your most popular search term (often your brand name). It could be an offline advert. Whatever it is, make note of this as your starting point.

If you don’t already know how customers commonly find you, don’t get distracted and try to find out, we’ll just use your website’s home page as your starting point.

Step 5 – Print off a copy of each of the pages a prospect will visit from the starting point through to finishing the ‘goal’ you want your prospect to complete (e.g. buying from you or submitting their details as a new lead). Printing off pages might sound like a bit of a time waster, but you’ll see in a moment why it’s super important.

The series of pages a prospect follows to engage with you, or buy, will vary greatly from site to site, but a common path might include:
A search result or PPC advert (be sure to print this page off too, it’s an important part of the process).
A landing page or your home page
A product details page
A single order page or a few pages in a shopping cart checkout
A thank-you page.

Now, for those generating leads rather than sales online, the path will probably be quite short but that’s fine.

Step 6 – Think about your prospect – Take five minutes to get a mental picture of a prospective customer. Ask yourself questions like:
a) What does a normal, average prospect look like? How old are they, are they male or female, what sort of income do they have etc?
b) Now think about what is their life like, how busy are they, what are their main concerns in life? What are they worried about?
c) How familiar with technology are they?
d) What are the ultimate benefits they want from the product we sell?
e) Why might they be skeptical about buying from us?

Take a moment and note down any key points or observations you make. I even like to mentally give this prospective person a name.

Step 7 – Critique your own site – Now you’re ready to be your own ‘highly paid marketing consultant’. You’re going to slowly walk through your website with fresh eyes. On one side of your desk place the printed checklist and on the other, a pile with a printed copy of each page a prospect follows from discovering your site to buying (or completing whatever the goal of your site is).

You need to intentionally forget all the ‘history’ about your site (like how the developer was a pain to work with or that time, your sister said she didn’t like the colors etc) and pretend to be your best prospective customer discovering the site for the first time.

Beginning at your ‘starting point’ (see above), carefully follow the process of moving from ‘discovering’ your website through to purchasing. Take at least 15 minutes to do this – it can be the most profitable 15 minutes you’ll have this year.

For each step in the process, glance over the checklist. Using a pen, make big, obvious notes on the printed copy of your website whenever you see a ‘conversion’ problem.

Maybe your main call to action is buried and less prominent than the affiliate offer you’re promoting. Maybe upon reflection, your claims are all generic and lack specificity, maybe there’s little urgency when you could easily create some, maybe the site is simply difficult to actually use and you’re annoying prospects (a sure path to the poorhouse).

Remember – you’re not thinking like a website owner, you’re playing the role of the casual website visitor, just noting down issues as you go through.

Step 8 – Prioritize your list – Make a list of all the conversion improvement ideas you’ve identified. Order this list in terms of the improvements you think will be most beneficial. Remember, improving the earlier parts of your sales process will generally yield the best results as these often get the most exposure and test results will come in quickly.

Something I didn’t mention in the video is that sometimes you’ll encounter a problem that just needs to be fixed and it isn’t practical to test the ‘old’ version vs the ‘new one’. For example, it can be difficult to split test two radically different ordering procedures. So mark any such changes as “just fix” and organise to get that done.

For the rest of the conversion problems, you’ve now got a priority list of what to work on to boost your sales.

Well done! Make it a goal to systematically work through your list and watch your income rise!

Did you take the “30 Minute Site Make Over Challenge”?

Have you taken the time to do the above challenge? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Simply use the comments below to list the name of your site and the top three conversion improvements you’ve discovered.

In a week from today, we’ll post a list of the three winning contributions and in a follow-up post we’ll do a live critique video, showing what you’ve recommended and how else we think you could boost improvement.

Can’t wait to see what you folks come up with,

Ben

P.S. I’m hoping you don’t watch today’s video and think, “That was interesting”, or even worse “Yeah that’s good, I should work on my conversion some day”.

I’m hoping you’ll think “Damn it, I could have been making a stack more money!” and take the time to get to work and test your sales funnel.

Ben has written 10 post(s) for Noble Samurai

49 Responses to “Part Four of ‘Is your traffic obsession sending you broke?’”

  1. I really only have blogs of which the one above leads you to all the others so, try another one :-)
    Will this system work the same with a blog or not?
    Regards Frank Church

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Thanks Frank

    Conversion can be optimised whenever you have a page that calls the visitor to take a defined action and you can measure whether they did that (typically did the user reach a given target page on the website).

    Cheers

    B

    On
    jovanna replied:

    i would like to see more back and forth interactivity with others..

    as far as i am concerned there is theory and then there is doing it..and doing it you see something different..so is there a forum where we can discuss serious seo actions with others that have invested in your software..thank you

    i cannot wait a week or more..i would like to see a forum of interested and dynamic chats if that is possible here with you?
    or anywhere else?

    and then you said there was a free critque and saw no link please leave links with your offers thanks

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Jovanna

    I think a forum on conversion is a great idea – unfortunately I don’t have one I can recommend (there’s plenty around, I’m just not an active member of any, so can’t speak for how good they are). I can recommend marketingexpriements.com as a generally great resource on the topic. We’re revamping our Market Samurai forum at present, but that’s more an SEO based forum.

    In relation to the free critique, I’m just going to pick out some of the comments on this post, look at their site, and then pick the best for a critique later in the week, so if you’re interested, just post back to the comments for now, or you can email me via ben [at] noblesamurai.com

    Cheers

    Ben

  2. 2
    On July 6th, 2011 at 11:17 am
    Anthony Ventura said:

    Hope you can help
    I sent in a ticket and no reply,
    I just bought MS 2 days ago and I am getting blocked by Google, I have read a lot in forums about this and it seems you do not have a fix. This is very disappointing I hate to get a refund , I would like it to work.
    What is the future hold for MS working?

    Anthony

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Anthony

    Sorry to hear about your problems. Apart from weekends, our support folks typically clear tickets in around 36 hours, so I’m not sure what happened there.

    The problem you’ve experienced is being felt by a group (but not all) of our users and in the last few months we’ve had several occurrences like this, in which the Keyword Research module has stopped working as expected for some of our users.

    This has generally occurred due to small changes Google have made to their AdWords Tool; these changes affect Market Samurai’s ability to interface correctly with the tool, and we need to update the software before Keyword Research works normally again.

    While we do keep updating — as we’re sure you’ve noticed! — the changes to the AdWords Tool keep coming. We know that the resulting interruptions have been increasingly inconvenient and annoying for our users, including you (and us!).

    The good news is, we’ve started work on a complete overhaul of the Keyword Research module. Our development team are rewriting the module to access keyword data in an entirely new way, meaning that Google’s tweaking of their website will no longer affect our ability to gather the data you need.

    We’re hoping to have the new version of Market Samurai ready for you to try within about four weeks. Our most optimistic estimates say that it could be ready earlier, but we’re taking the time to do this properly and make sure the new Keyword Research module is as stable and reliable as it can be.

    If you’d like Beta access to the new version of Market Samurai once it’s ready, so please let us know (email support [at] noblesamurai.com ) if you’re happy to be added to our Beta Access list.

    Regards

    Ben

  3. Hi there, I think MS’ blog post has been great to mee. This is the true freebie, even I found better content than paid course out there about conversion., It’s doable and I want to put this checklist into my own website, I hope my conversion will increase soon,,

    thx team

  4. Sorry I didn’t realise that my blog address wouldn’t come out in the comment so here it is.
    http://www.silverfox-trading.com or try http://www.holidayrentalsandtraveltips.com

    Many thanks for any comments or replies coming my way. I am really very new at this and need all the help I can get.
    Regards Frank Church J.P.

  5. at first i intuitively chose my key terms and my stats demonstrated that they were popular

    now i chose the key words with the heavy clicks and it doessn’t seem to be the only factor since it does not show up in my stats

    however i appreciate this very intelligent and pragmatic peice of info. thanks

  6. Ben:

    Thanks for the article and focus to improve user experience and enhance web content and interaction. While this is not a direct sales site, I know response and traffic can be improved here.
    I started an evaluation last week for a redesign [before seeing this article] and will include your steps along as well as SEO & keyword assessments in our process.

    Thanks for your well planned approach!

  7. Hey Ben,

    Thanks for the opportunity to review my site with a fresh perspective. I think i might not have done it, but for this post.

    Here is what I have found.

    1. The sidebar had too many call to actions. Instead of focusing on my optins, I had a blogging buddy banner which was quite huge, rss banners and lot’s more. I took down the blogging buddy banner and reduced my sidebar clutter.

    2. My single optin page at salesmaximus.com/freebie/free-book.html could be better if I aligned the header. Maybe a few design modifications and a better copy will land me with more optins. Going to split test after getting a new page done in a few weeks. I am thinking whether to replace a standalone HTML page with a blog page. It might blend better with my blog.

    3. I tried to infuse more persona onto my about page. Now it’s not just about me, it’s about what my site can do for my users as well.

    4. I think social proof would be better if it goes on my sideabr. Will think about getting client testimonail and adding it to sidebar. However, I wonder whther it will clutter my sidebar.

    5. The footer is not very well optimized. I may need to tweak it better to provide a clear logical flow of how I can help

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Adarsh

    That’s a great list – I’d love to use your site as part of a review (which would be then the basis of a video on this blog) – if you’re comfortable, either post back in the comments, or email me via ben (at) noblesamurai.com

    Hope to hear from you.

    Ben

    On
    Adarsh replied:

    Hi Ben,

    Sure. Please feel free to use my blog for review.

  8. Ben – This is so timely! I just read Convert by Ben Hunt and I am already working with GWO. I have a Joomla! website and I just found a plug-in that would import the javascript for me, and I can run multiple tests on different pages while I wait for the right amount of traffic. But this list you present with the 30 minutes I see as the way to pick a funnel and get started. Once you know how you connect your pages (you may not have had them connected before!) to create the path from awareness – knowledge of solutions – benefits – convinced you can work on the parts of that funnel that are the conversion points and keep making the incremental improvements that a website needs. I truly believe that this is what the successful marketers do more often. Thanks for the videos and information.

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Thanks Mathea – what was the name of the script and was it easy to use? I know we’ve got some Joomla devotees on our list and it’s something I think they’d like to know about.

  9. Yes Ben, important suggestions you avail here. So many alternatives for internet surfers seeking answers and quality from a supplier. Measuring and testing , changing website characteristics I feel what works today may not tomorrow much like used cars really. I see your prominent points clearly with regards to sales funnel. I know if I am reading a new products sales page it is often my underlying need for the product that causes action on my behalf. I sometimes think maybe I get ahead of myself to much in this regard when really what I should be doing is concentrating more on conversions with what I have and maybe just maybe the new “bells and whistles” are only a like Christmas decorations that are used for a time and then every one has the same gimmicks, pretty much any attractiveness is soon watered down. Any how that’s all from me. Thanks for ideas and the checklist, see what I can do.

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Richard

    Thanks for your comment. It’s been my experience that the innovations that drive traffic change at a faster rate than those that drive conversion. With conversion we’re looking at tapping into our prospects fundamental motivations (which only change as the sentiment of the market changes). But with traffic innovations, often the ‘bleeding’ edge is actually just capitalising on a trend or new feature of some platform that becomes less profitable when the rest of the world catches up. What do you think?

    All the best with your projects.
    Cheers

    Ben

  10. 10
    On July 6th, 2011 at 1:40 pm
    Dominic said:

    Great information guys. Can’t wait to seriously go through this process… Thanks!

  11. Ben:

    This will likely be a long comment :) I thought your post was PHENOMENALLY good. Everybody at Nobel Samurai has been a godsend. I lost my job about a year ago and have been reading everything I can get my hands on included your posts. I use the MS day in and day out purchased it last year when I got into online marketing via the 30DC.

    I’ve been busy working on my site, but of all the information I’ve gotten the stuff from you and your team has always been the best by a light year. I understood your post perfectly and will be going back through it again tomorrow to see what I can test in addition to what I’m doing now.

    Thanks again. Sorry if my message is a little garbled I’ve been up for 20+ hours working on my site. Really appreciate the posts they make a world of difference.

    Matt

  12. Hi Ben
    It is great that you have given the worksheet. I have been testing my landing page with a workaround for WOrdPress. It hasn’t given me any outstanding improvements. YET! But i have learned a lot from the process and your videos have been great.
    Thanks
    Paulie

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Paulie

    Stick with it – try a few radically different approaches too.

    I’ve had cases where I’m working on a site and a string of tests give me nothing and then one pulls a big improvement.

    Cheers
    Ben

  13. Hi Ben,
    Got part 1 but not parts 2 and 3!
    Where can I find them?
    Cheers
    Keith
    aka Beermatman

    On
    Theresa Delgado replied:

    Keith,

    I didn’t get them either, but I found them under June archives.

    Here: http://www.noblesamurai.com/blog/date/2011/06/

    Ben,

    Thank you for the outstanding information. The detailed “formula” is amazing!

    Now off I go to use it,
    Theresa :)

    On
    Onur Ibrahim replied:

    Hi Beermatman,

    You can find all of the videos and more here:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/noblesamuraidojo#p/u/3/ZI8bRZQI7WM

    Onz

  14. Very useful Tips, i have already started implementing some of the changes and will be using more tools to give a better visibility to my site visitors. Thanks for Sharing the Tips and sharing the valueable Video

  15. Ben – This has been an excellent series of posts – I have actually had conversion experts propose to review my site for thousands of $$. They said it would take weeks of split testing etc etc. But, you have cut through all the bull and said it like it is, now I just need to spend the half hour and do it!
    I use magento and the checkout process can have up to five steps to complete the order. There are quite a few extensions that reduce this down to one page, I’m thinking this is probably my first thing to test.
    I’m going to go through the customer flow through the site and even if I improve conversions by a couple of % its like getting another 100 or so visitors… a no brainer :)
    Thanks again, John

  16. Thanks Ben – very good video series and should be mandatory viewing for anyone with a business online. Have the checklist printed up on my wall.

    Your saying: “Conversion: it’s what the professionals know that the amateurs don’t” – stuck in my brain ;)

  17. thanks you for tips and your personal Website Conversion Checklist. Great share!!

  18. Somehow I only learned of this series today! I should make a new email box just for market samurai because they’re always good.

    Will this be as useful for offline marketing and getting phone calls?

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Sorry Michael

    We opted to mail the first and last post in the series but not the middle two as we didn’t want to bombard people’s inboxes.

    If you’ve got the time, I think it’s probably best to watch the four videos (as they basically flow) and then use the checklist for your own projects.

    All the best with boosting your conversion.

    Ben

  19. 19

    I really appreciated listening to this video and actually took time out to sit with no distractions and a note pad.

    Some great points covered

    Thank you so much

    BERNARD

  20. Hi Ben,
    Some very good points, most of which I am still missing, because my conversion is basically non-existent! So I have a huge job ahead of me, doing a website makeover!
    Thanks for sharing.

  21. Great tips shared here. Always had a problem getting the conversion just right. It’s amazing how just taking a few moments and pretending your the visitor can make a huge difference.

    Thanks for the above and keep up the good work here at Noble Samurai.

    Cheers!

  22. HiBen,

    Thanks for such a comprehensive series!
    I love my MS and all it offers!
    I recommend it to everyone that is serious about their website! The blog is an added bonus!

    Thanks again,
    Maggie

  23. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for a very timely and useful blog/checklist. I get quite good rankings for a few search terms but the overall volume of traffic is low and I need to up conversion on my existing vistors. I only get the summer (in our hemisphere) months to work on web seo at the moment and I’m also starting a migration of my .co.uk html website to a .com wordpress based one.

    Whilst I still need to raise traffic overall, I have taken the time to do the 30 minute site makeover challenge …quality visits then quantity!

    OK, so here’s my priority list:

    1. Google Meta Description – change the wording a little but probably not too bad (I rank 3 times on the first page for “singles caribbean sailing holidays” but need to work on better rankings for other keywords.

    2. Home Page – make sure the user feels he is ‘in the right place’ move the pic of the boat and the newsletter sign-up from the right hand side to lower down the page. Look at options for clarifying what the user should do next but not too bad also.

    3. Singles Sailing Page – needs the most work (complete revamp???) to answer concerns, sell benefits and create confidence then link to trips; trips need to be searchable by sailing experience/date/location; and create a sense of urgency.

    4. Trip Pages – need to promote the things single people are looking for in a holiday and have comments from previous guests on similar trips; create urgency with offers for booking now and emphasis on limited places.

    I see I have four instead of three changes…sorry!

    Getting on with the changes, THANKS!

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Sam

    Great feedback – we’ll add your site to the list we’ll critique later in the week, so hopefully we can add to what is already a great list.

    Cheers

    Ben

  24. My site is fairly new so I might have to wait until I have more traffic to start testing. I am very excited about the possibilities of increasing conversion and will start reading “Influence” by Robert Cialdini tonight.

    The first thing that jumps out of me is that I need to personalize my site. I could be more specific about using authorities that are behind this product.

    I’m not sure if the video is distracting or helpful. I have it mainly to impress Google and to help my listing stand out from other affiliates promoting this product.

  25. Hi Ben,

    Excellent and down to earth post. I think too much hype is generally surrounding SEO, and also conversions, when most is just common sense. I have just done the excerscise with one of my sites, and come up with a quite a few things I could do to improve both content, site-layout and navigation. Not that I wasn’t aware that there was room for improvement. With this approach, I got it down on paper and implemented a few straight away.

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Tonny

    Thanks for the nice feedback.

    If you’re feeling game, share your suggested ideas and URL and you’ll be in the running for a site critique later in the week (there’s only been a few people list their improvement ideas in these comments), so you’re chances are pretty good :-)

    Cheers

    Ben

  26. i still cannot find your win your free critique here?

    On
    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Jovanna

    Sorry, I’ve obviously done a lousy job of telling people how to apply. Basically in the comments to this blog post simply tell us your site URL and the ideas you’ve come up with to improve conversion. Eugene (a fellow Samurai) and I will pick the best submissions and use them as the basis for a site critique.

    Hope that makes sense :-)

    Cheers

    Ben

  27. Hi Anita

    The rego emails get sent instantly (automatically), and we occasionally have deliverability problems with gmail (which I suspect is the issue here).

    I’ll shoot you a copy from my personal email (ben@alliancesoftware.com.au) to ensure it arrives.

    Cheers

    B

  28. Very very very informative article, and awesome checklist.

    I’m very appreciate this kind of stuff, like of looking to the usual things in the new way.

    Great idea to printing of the series of the pages, it’s really help to hold the whole image of the lead generation process into the mind.

    And very smarty way to “change yourself” and make a view like a customer.

    Awesome,
    Vitaly Makarkin

  29. Is there a video for this part? You mention it at the end but I don’t see one. I know I’m not THAT blind…:)

  30. Great share!

    I think this is a perfect method to follow for beginners like me. Implementing the methods above should yeild positive results. I am new to seo and I am learning A LOT with MS’s tutorials. :-)

  31. Hi Ben-
    Happy I finally found time to take a list at this post. I actually just changed my site’s theme to Thesis, so now is a great time to use the checklist to make sure everything is set up to convert well.

    Here is the site: http://teachingthefuture.net. Would love to see an expert’s opinion.

    Here are some of my improvements:

    1) I need to use a logo that immediately shows visually what my site is about. At present I can’t think of one…

    2) I need to use more pictures on my landing page to draw people visually to my e-book offer. From what I’ve heard many people just follow their eyes, and my page has no clear visual pathway to sign up.

    3) Up until now I’ve been putting opt-ins for most of my posts. This is a real pain in the neck since I have to put in each opt-in individually. I need to switch to using a footer that shows up automatically in each post, and that pushes my e-book.

    4) I now have a clear image of who my ideal customer is. I don’t think that my site “speaks” enough to that ideal customer.

    5) I have an about page, with pix, but I took away the image on my sidebar. I thought it cluttered up my sidebar, but maybe I should reconsider.

    6)I think my headlines have started to lose their punch a little.

    7) I could probably be much more specific with the benefits for my site in general, and ebook more specifically.

    8)I need to get my product (finally finished) out there!

    Anyway, these are some of the thoughts I had. Would love to see your opinion too.

  32. Just wanted to second what Erik said so you wouldn’t think either of us were blind. Didn’t see the video anywhere in the post. I got to it on YouTube when I went there to watch the part #3 video, but just thought I’d let you know.

    Awesome series, thanks very much!

    Scott

  33. Thanks a lot for these articles.
    I’ve been working since some months to increase my conversion rate, but the fact to print the path followed by a customer is a great way to rediscover my website.
    I’ve seen at least 20 minor improvments I’ll do in the next weeks… Here is my personal top 3 :
    1-Improve my add to cart button. Mine is nice, simple, but I need something bigger with more color…
    2-Move my checkout button on top of the cart page
    3-Add more visibility to my guest checkout.

  34. 34
    On July 19th, 2011 at 1:27 am
    Eric@computer programmer jobs said:

    I tried commenting on this post but i do not see my comments above.