Dec 282011

This guest post is by Gab Goldenberg, of The Beginner’s Guide To Usability Testing.

Want to find out how to boost RSS subscriber conversion? I did, but I hardly found any information about it online!

Besides having an obvious call to action above the fold and getting to [social news site]‘s front page, the blogosphere doesn’t much discuss how to convert more readers to subscribers.

I’d been meaning to test my RSS subscription page for a while, and finally got around to it. Here’s what the old page looked like:

The newsletter top

The newsletter bottom

The RSS subscription page was way too busy!

Notice the loads of links on the page? There’s the sidebar navigation, the breadcrumbs, the main navigation…

Additionally, the benefits copy is above the calls to action, which pushes them below the fold.

The conversion rate theory and the execution

My hypothesis was that by eliminating the distractions I would increase conversions. In other words, I’d eliminate the links on the page and move the benefits below the calls-to-action.

The reasoning for moving the benefits copy was that if someone clicked to view the subscriptions page, they were probably already pretty convinced and should be shown the conversion form and button immediately.

People who were still hesitant once they got to the page would be able to scroll down and read the benefits copy. That’s also why I moved the reassurance text (“You can unsubscribe with a single click, anytime”) below the form.

Finally, I did one more thing, which wasn’t originally in the plan, but which my limited HTML/CSS/Photoshop skills forced: I added testimonials into the left-hand sidebar. I’d initially planned to get rid of the sidebar, but that broke the page’s alignment and looked bad.

(Since my site is powered by WordPress, I used this Google Website Optimizer-Wordpress workaround to be able to use GWO. That’s because I never had a successful experience using GWO with WordPress, partly because GWO isn’t designed for sites that use a content management system, because I have a custom theme, and because many of the plugins are bad quality.)

Here’s what the page looked like after I edited it:

The new signup page

And here are the results:

That’s right, the variation outperformed the original by 56.3%—I added

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