Fol­low­ing are a few of the ques­tions about test­ing that I get most often, and my best answers. Let me know if your expe­ri­ences match mine.

Is it true that “ugly” pages always win?
Hardly. This is a mis­con­cep­tion caused when an ugly page beats a high-concept design. Remem­ber, ugly beats con­fus­ing any day.

Is sim­ple always bet­ter?
My expe­ri­ence has shown that all things being equal, sim­ple usu­ally wins. Sim­ple doesn’t mean Spar­tan; it just means a page that’s focused on the task at hand.
Any­thing on the page that con­tributes to that pri­mary goal can fit into a frame­work of simplicity.

Should I put my reg­is­tra­tion process all on one page?
Sur­pris­ingly, test­ing shows that it’s often more effec­tive to split a reg­is­tra­tion flow over more than one page. This makes each page short and sweet, and once a user starts the process they’re more likely to finish.

What’s the most com­mon mis­take you see on land­ing pages?
No clear call-to action, or com­pet­ing calls-to-action. I find this usu­ally hap­pens because com­pa­nies stop look­ing at their pages with a fresh eye. Make sure you show your users what to do.

What are the most impor­tant user seg­ments to keep in mind when test­ing?
Good seg­ments are big enough to mat­ter, and also con­tain key infor­ma­tion about the users. Here are the two that I find most actionable:

Refer­ral source: With each of these sources, you know some­thing about the user, such as a search key­word or the mes­sage they saw before arriv­ing on your site. Use this info to tar­get a rein­forc­ing message.

·    Paid search
·    Organic search
·    Dis­play ad
·    Email
·    Affiliate

Visit His­tory: First time vis­i­tors may need an intro­duc­tion to your ser­vices. For repeat vis­i­tors, you can tar­get con­tent based on their pre­vi­ous behavior.

·    First time vis­i­tor
·    Repeat vis­i­tor

What’s the best color for but­tons?

Believe it or not, this is the ques­tion I get most often!  Based on all our tests, red or orange but­tons usu­ally per­form the best. On B2B sites, text links often per­form bet­ter than buttons.

Where’s the best place to start test­ing?
The opti­mal place to start meets three cri­te­ria:
1) The page gets plenty of traf­fic
2) The page has a mea­sur­able suc­cess met­ric
3) The page is under­per­form­ing on that metric

It’s tempt­ing to test on a page that meets only two of these three cri­te­ria. Resist the temp­ta­tion – oth­er­wise you’ll be test­ing for testing’s sake.

With all of these answers, there’s one com­mon thread: At the end of the day, you won’t know until you test. When­ever I get com­pla­cent or feel like I know it all, I run a test that turns every­thing upside down.

I wouldn’t have it any other way… that’s what keeps my job so much fun.

Can you think of any I’ve missed?


Hi, With reagrds to web-forms (registration/lead gen) left or right on a page? Thanks, Adam