No Conversion? Your Baby’s Ugly-Now What?

Cry Baby
photo credit: Chalky Lives

Good morning from  SearchEngineStrategies San Jose 2009.  This year the “Extreme Makeover” series is offering attendees expert site-audit reviews, with a different focus each day.  Yesterday the “Conversion Issues” edition revealed how site owners can pump results with internal search, design and usability as well as identifying nasty  barriers to success.  

Anne F. Kennedy, SES Advisory Board, Founding Partner and CMO, and Managing Partner & Founder, Beyond Ink moderated the session and Bryan Eisenberg, SES Advisory Board & Co-Founder, Future Now, Inc. and Ethan Giffin, CEO, Groove Commerce provided the expert advice for two site owners.

This was a great session because the format isn’t just audits on the fly, the presenters actually used focus group research from to  help illustrate site issues.

First site was founded in my home town of Hood River, oregon.

Extreme Makeover: Conversion Issue


  • Make phone number larger
  • Allow visitor to speak to a kayak expert
  • Make it clearer what value proposition is
  • Drive focus into calls to action
  • Move search dialog box up to top to give searchers use of use
  • Move shopping bar above the fold
  • Show progress in the sales process
  • Better establish community
  • Users didn’t have a reason to buy
  • Need to better distinguish between products
  • Page is loading slowly
  • People know where to go, but not how to buy

Second Site was

  • No product info about the products at category level
  • Fewer clicks to important information
  • Add tagline with key messages
  • Quality product, but features not being presented well
  • Increased H1 size for readability
  • Added ratings and reviews
  • Added refer a friend
  • Click expanded view of testing
  • Added sort function for products
  • Changing add to cart button to make it stand out

Audience participation was brisk and much concern was expressed about how to tackle all that needs to be done to do search well.

It takes real bravery to share your site with the world and be told, “Look, your baby is ugly” but there’s a great deal of value to be gained through the exercise.

Forbes Magazine interviewed Eisenberg last week and wrote an article about The Upside of Bad Customer Reviews which further illustrates how to take lemons and make lemonade.

“How do you get people to eat the big elephant that is search marketing?” asked Eisenberg.  He explained that site owners need to spend time having their sites evaluated and then test for improvement.  Conversion is as much about paying attention to the good stuff as well as the bad stuff.

Watch for more clinics this week, including Extreme Makeover: Live Landing Page Clinic as well as opportunities to have your site reviewed by Groove Commerce.

Lisa Williams has been an online marketer for 12 years and search marketer for eight.  Williams is CEO of MEDIA forte marketing located in Hood River, oregon which specializes in pay-for- performance search marketing for ecommerce sites including Hitchsource Trailer Hitches

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