We all love free right? From free beer to free downloads, there’s something about free that makes my mouse-finger click happy and likely yours too. So I’m going to discuss some ways you can get some free conversion rate optimization advice for your site.
Site Review Panels At Conferences
Ok, so I’m cheating by putting something on the list that isn’t strictly free (since not all conferences are free!) but it’s a free bonus to the already great value of most online marketing conferences. Most conferences these days have site review panels and where historically these panels would only have had SEO advice more and more these panels are including conversion rate optimization advice. So putting your site forward for a live review can get you often extreme expert advice directly targeted to your site, and all it costs you is the slight embarrassment of having your site put up on screen in front of a crowd.
What is Paditrack? Simply put, it’s a way of segmenting your conversion funnel on the fly. Awesome. I’m still waiting for Google Analytics to pull this feature into the product natively, but until they do, a tool like this is invaluable in getting insights into your site. Whether it’s segmenting by browser version or only new visitors this can give you really detailed insights from data that you already have.
No, that’s not a veiled insult! What I’m getting at here is that asking real people (e.g. your mom) for their feedback on your site. You can do this for free simply by asking people you know. Don’t underestimate the power of real people off the street browsing your website in front of you. This feedback from friends, family—even strangers—is invaluable in the first stage of conversion rate optimization of knowing how to make the website better. Focus on getting objections out of these people. Once you have a list of objections, then coming up with the counters to those objections should be fairly straight forward.
To take this idea to the next level, ask your community for feedback. Here’s a good intro to online surveys for your site. But as the comments point out, don’t forget good old fashioned Google Docs. The Google Docs interface and data collection is really solid and can be a great way to embed a link to a survey in an email or on a blog post. Gathering data from these users will again get you solid advice on what to change on your site.
Beyond your own existing users, look for other communities out there which are open and friendly which might be able to give you some honest feedback. For example, the Hacker News community is usually pretty friendly and will give you some good constructive and intelligent feedback if you ask nicely. Check out some of these other topics they’ve posted.
If that kind of public option is too scary for you, consider Feedback Army. It’s not free, but for $15 it’s as good as free. This will let you get some random people looking at your site and is the online equivalent of pulling people in off the street. We’ve used this in the past and seen some amazingly detailed responses on why a site sucked and how we could make it better.
Be Transparent And Friendly
Never underestimate how friendly our industry is. If you’re too small to afford any of the big guns but are willing to send a box of chocolates, then get in touch with any of the hot shots in the conversion rate optimization industry such as Dr Pete, Stephen Pavlovich, CRE etc. and ask really nicely. This works for SEO advice as well. We’re such a nice bunch in this industry that just being nice will get you a long way. The key here is not to be a douchebag.
Ninjabutton is a pretty specific tool, but it’s so awesome (and has Ninja in the name!) that I feel compelled to mention them. It’s like a stripped down version of Google Website Optimizer which specifically looks at button conversion rate optimization changes and also provides you with the ability to make nice looking buttons from within the Ninjabutton interface so there’s no need to know how to code or design in order to use the tool. The tool is free for 30 days and only $14 / month for up to 10,000 impressions. Easily cheap enough to dip your toe in the water and justify why you should be investing more heavily in conversion rate optimization.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.