I've just finished reading my latest book on conversion rate optimisation, which was Convert, by Ben Hunt of ScratchMedia. I chose the book because it had a number of good reviews on Amazon and the subject matter was just what I was looking for - I wasn't dissappointed with my choice and have since been convincing everyone I can to read it!
The book is written to be of interest to novices and professionals alike and is spilt into two parts 'Designing for Traffic' and 'Designing for Conversion'. The first three chapters covered some basic ground first, putting forward the notion that designing websites based on what you or your boss think is important is not going to produce results - this is your best guess and it will more than likely not deliver results. Instead we should take some lessons from direct marketers who ran test after test to discover what worked and what didn't - the web makes it easier to do this and there are lots of tools available to help you test what actually works. The main point is to understand your market and make sure you give people what they want.
The next chapter focused on the fundamentals of search engine optimisation and using keyword research to find the right keyphrases for your market, whilst also covering the basics of on-page and off-page optimisation. This followed with a chatper about how to use your website to build multiple entry points for visitors, a concept that Ben calls multiplicity - a strategy that we have seen work time and time again.
The next chapter was focused on what really interested me, a concept that can help anyone make their website perform better - Ben calls it The Awareness Ladder. The theory is that there are six steps of awareness that people will go through to buy a product or service:
- Step 0: Not aware of the need - people are not aware of the need for the product or service, so you have to educate them.
- Step 1: Aware of a need (but not aware solutions exist)
- Step 2: Aware of some solutuions (but not your specific one)
- Step 3: Aware of the specific solution (but not of its benefits)
- Step 4: Aware of the benefits (but not convinced)
- Step 5: Convinced and ready to buy
You have to lead people through each step of the ladder in order to make the sale, presenting the right messages at the right time to propel them to the next step. This is one of the fundamental principles of making any website convert better, creating pages for each step and leading people through to the next level will improve your conversion.
The second part of the book was focused on how to design your site to sell better and how to research, test and implement changes to your site that will significantly improve conversion and how to lead people down the steps of the awareness ladder. There were lots of examples given throughout the book to illustrate each point and how seamingly small changes can make a big difference.
The other major lesson is to test your ideas using a multivarient testing tool and let your customers tell you which ideas work the best. This book contains lots of useful information and is a worthwhile read for site owners and professionals a like, it now has 31 one reviews on Amazon with an avergage 5 star rating - clearly I'm not the only one who things its a good read!