Traffic Chasing On Its Own Sucks! Website Optimize!

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This article was written by Daniel Offer, owner of the Facebook app for PC and suite of Facebook chat applications entitled Chit Chat for Facebook.

Who Are You And What Can You Teach Me About Website Optimization?

For the past three years I’ve owned and ran the Facebook desktop application, Chit Chat for Facebook. It’s now become a suite of products that runs on the Blackberry, on your desktop, in your browser and on your iPhone. My Facebook messenger apps have featured on the TV, in magazines and been written about all over the internet.

Like most things, website optimization had been at the bottom of my list for a long while as other aspects took priority – such as traffic chasing. However, it should have been something that I gave priority to earlier. Over the past few months I’ve significantly increased the conversion rate (the amount of people that install Chit Chat) on my website by changing just a few things.

Learn from my mistake and start looking into website optimization sooner rather than later.

Increasing Traffic Is Great – But It’s Not the Only Way or Best Way to Increase Conversation

If you’re a webmaster chances are, you spent much of your working life chasing traffic for those goods or services that you are offering. Traffic chasing, you’ve probably found – albeit via organic search results, pay per click or through social media you’ve found results in you earning more money when you target the right keywords and phrases. As such, you focus on chasing more traffic – whether you’re looking to build on 100 unique visitors a day or 10,000 unique visitors a day. Your goal is more traffic.

Don’t Over Look Improvements to Your Website

One thing you’ve probably overlooked is website optimization. Website optimization is something that is very easy to forget about- it’s easier to look out at what you can do to drive additional visitors to your site rather than concerning yourself with how to make improvements with your own website.

Whilst ten years ago, most websites were run for the “fun of it” – nowadays most websites have a long term profit maximization objective – i.e. they want to deliver great content and have users come back to them for more whilst earning, in the long run, more money.

Still not convinced? Getting a 5% increase in your traffic in order to get a 5% increase in conversation may take a lot of time and effort, whereas getting a 5% improvement in your conversion could take you less than an hour.

However much you think it is, your website design and language probably isn’t perfect By changing just a few things you can probably increase your revenue and thus success of your website.

What Do You Need To Improve Conversion?

You’re probably now thinking to yourself. Gee, this website optimization stuff sure sounds great but – Dan, I’m not that great at maths, my coding is OK at best and I don’t have any money to invest in this. Well, the good news is – Google Website Optimizer does most of the work for you, and it’s free.

Starting to use Google Website optimizer will take just a couple of hours of your time, at the most, and once you’ve started using it. You’ll never go back to managing your website without trying to make improvements.

What Would You Like To Maximize?

Before you start with Website Optimization, you need to have an objective in mind. Your objective could be:

• Maximize Google Adsense Revenue
• Maximize downloads or installs of your application
• Maximize sales

To illustrate this, as previously discussed, I distribute a Facebook software application that allows one to connect to Facebook chat from your desktop. On my website, the objective is to maximise the amount of installs that the website gets of my Facebook desktop software app.

Once you’ve decided what you want to maximise you can then create a list of the aspects that you wish to test in order to increase conversion.

Facing The Music – Optimizing Your Website

Admitting that your wrong, or that in general other people like things in a different way or design can be hard for some people to face. I would recommend that you have an attitude of a social scientist, doing some “crazy experiments” in order to test “what works.” Your attitude should be that you’re doing tests to make it work better – make more money – for you.

As such, you’ll need to face the possibility that in general people prefer a plain background to that background you spent hours on in Photoshop. Or perhaps, that logo which you paid a lot of money for needs to be smaller. Statistics don’t lie – they just tell a version of the truth.

What Should I Change – Or Optimize – On My Website?

Each website is slightly different – thankfully! However, below, I’ve listed a few things will give you an idea on what you can optimize on your website:

• Page Background
• Logo Size
• Click To Action Button Text, Colour, Size and Style
• Call to action text size, colour, font and content
• Key messages that you deliver on site
• Changing Headings

If you want to be radical, you could test changing the entire design – however, if I were you I’d start by testing easier to change aspects.

Can you give me an Example of what you’ve done with your Facebook Desktop App?

Sure, so for example on the site where I distribute our Facebook program, by changing the button text from “Download Application” to “Download Facebook IM” I was able to achieve a 3.5% increase in conversion. Additionally, by changing the background image from an image of several attractive women profile picture to a plain dark blue background, I was able to achieve a conversion rate boost of nearly 9%.

I would backwards rationalize these increases by supposing that (1) people like confirmation on what they’re downloading and (2) that women felt alienated by the pictures of very attractive women in the background rather than creating “social proof.”

How Do I Start Using Google Website Optimizer?
In order to use Google website optimizer, you’ll need:

• A website, where you can insert PHP script
• A Google Account – your email address for example that is on gmail is considered to be a gmail account.

Then, head over to the Google Website optimizer page, and login. Follow the on screen instructions – you will need to decide whether you are doing an A/B test or a multivariate test. Ignore the complex language here; what it basically means is whether you’re going to test one big change (A/B) or several variables (multivariate).



- who has written 446 posts on TechOfWeb.

Atul is a professional blogger and techie who writes at TechOfWeb.

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