Pitfalls of Website Optimization

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There are good ways and bad ways work on optimizing your website. We’ve covered a few of the good ways: Customer Needs and Perfect Headline. Now lets take a look at some of the ways testing can go wrong.

Poor method of testing
You have to stick to a scientific process in order for the results to make sense. For example, an A/B test that tests two distinctly different items is an example of a bad test. You want to compare apples to apples. Another pitfall of poor testing methods is changing your criteria. If you’re criteria requires 1,000 pageviews, don’t make a decision until you’ve reached that mark.

Universal best practices
No magic bullet exists to optimize your site. You can read a hundred books and they will all describe “best practices” for SEO, conversion, optimizing calls to action, etc but in reality the only way to know for sure is to test. Your goal may differ slightly from the next person so why would the both of you use the same strategy? There may be some universal rules that push you in the right direction but none will give you as much useful information as you can get from running quality tests on your own site.

Everything changes with time
Six years ago, the iPhone didn’t exist. Today, nearly everyone has a smart mobile device and we are more connected than ever. Has your website changed since then? I hope so. If it isn’t responsive and updated to the latest standards, you’re really missing out. Have your business goals changed in the last year? Maybe you’re offering a new product or service you didn’t before. Your website needs to be updated to reflect these offerings and if you’ve been testing along the way and have a good idea about the behavior of your visitors, it should have been both easy and successful. If you’re not constantly trying for improvement, it will be much hard to update later.

Bad-to-worse is not a test
If you run a test and the results are negative, don’t simply replace the old code and move on. You’ve clearly identified something that can be improved – don’t give up! Unless you can explain exactly why that particular test was a failure, you haven’t made effective use of the test.

Don’t overlook larger problems
Don’t spend time trying to optimize an overall poor design – its like treating a gun shot wound with a bandaid. If you’re design is bad, why spend the time making sure the email form has the right color? Fix the bigger problems before working on the smaller problems.

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