Category Archives: Breakdown

Bluetooth Low Energy E-Book

I think this landing page is pretty good.

At first I thought the page was for some kind of free guide, but then I realized that the idea is to get notified when an upcoming book comes out. I think this lack of clarity is probably the biggest problem with this page.

The book cover looks really nice. The page design is clean and “quiet”. There’s only one call to action—put in your email—which is smart. I would even go so far as to remove most of the links from this page so that the user really only has two options: opt-in or leave.

The copy on the page is relatively short but I think it should be a little shorter. I would still to bullet points and one or two sentences. Right now there’s just enough text that it seems daunting.

Mohammed, another thing that could help, if you can get it, is some testimonials for your work. Also, the photo of you and the “about” snippet are great. If you can find a way to move those two things above the fold, I imagine it would help.

Key Takeaways:

  • Limit the number of options. One single call to action is best.
  • Make it as clear as possible exactly what the offer is.
  • For an email opt-in page, a few bullet points is sufficient. Too much text seems like too much work to read.
  • Social proof helps, especially in the form of a testimonial.

WP RSS Aggregator

This landing page breakdown is a little different from the ones I’ve done on this site so far. Before I did this breakdown, I actually got on a Skype call with Mark from WP RSS Aggregator to better understand his business and the products and services they offer.

This Website Is Confusing

I needed to get on a call with Mark because, based on the website, I didn’t understand what the website was for or how the product offerings around WP RSS Aggregator were structured. Since I didn’t understand, I imagine you, the reader, don’t understand either, so I’ll explain.

Where Am I Again?

What I was confused by was the fact that the domain of the site is wprssaggregator.com and it says “WP RSS Aggregator” in the top left, giving me a pretty strong indicator that I’m on the website for something called WP RSS Aggregator. However, when I click the big red button below the headline, it takes me here:

The headline says Add-Ons: Premium Extensions for WP RSS Aggregator. This confuses me because I thought I was on the site for WP RSS Aggregator. How do I get WP RSS Aggregator itself?

So my main confusion was that this seems to be the site for WP RSS Aggregator, although you can’t get WP RSS Aggregator here.

I learned through Mark that if you want to get WP RSS Aggregator, the way you do that is through the WP RSS Aggregator plugin page on wordpress.org. If you want to install any of the add-ons listed on the WP RSS Aggregator site, you first have to install the WP RSS Aggregator plugin itself.

So it’s kind of like the WP RSS Aggregator site assumes that you’re already familiar with WP RSS Aggregator and already have it installed. Right now it’s really more like the WP RSS Aggregator Add-Ons site, not the WP RSS Aggregator site. But I don’t think that’s what Mark really wants. I think he wants the WP RSS Aggregator site to get people who don’t have WP RSS Aggregator to install WP RSS Aggregator.

Right now the path is apparently something like this:

  1. Land on wprssaggregator.com
  2. Probably initially be really confused (and probably leave), but maybe somehow find the tiny “Download the free Core plugin” link
  3. Come back to the site at some point down the road and install some add-ons?

If You Want People To Install The Plugin, Offer Them The Plugin

I think the path should be something more like this:

  1. Land on wprssaggregator.com
  2. Be invited to install the free core plugin

That’s all. I think the number one goal of the home page of WP RSS Aggregator should be to get people to install the WP RSS Aggregator plugin.

Opportunity: Educational Lead Magnet

There’s actually another flow that I think might be better. People aren’t motivated to install WP RSS Aggregator because they want to aggregate content, they’re motivated to install WP RSS Aggregator because they want the benefits that WP RSS Aggregator will afford them. They want more traffic, more sales, a boosted reputation online.

Mark, I can conceive of you putting together a 30-page PDF which you might call, “How to Drive Traffic to Your WordPress Site”. In it you could lay out everything you know (at least what would fit in 30 pages or so) about how to drive traffic to a WordPress site. A big part of the solution would of course involve WP RSS Aggregator, but the point of the PDF would of course not be a pitch-fest for WP RSS Aggregator but a genuinely helpful guide that people find valuable. Most importantly, you want the reader to trust you and trust your expertise so that they think, “Hey, Mark really knows what he’s talking about with this traffic stuff, and he seems like a good guy. I’ll give his plugin a spin.”

In that case, maybe the path would be:

  1. Land on wprssaggregator.com
  2. Be invited to receive the free guide and subscribe to receive free traffic tips via email
  3. Send the subscriber an email containing the free guide and an invitation to download WP RSS Aggregator
  4. Over the course of the next several days, send the subscriber helpful educational content along with invitations to download WP RSS Aggregator

Key Takeaways

  • Make the call(s) to action match what the website appears to be about.
  • Don’t have multiple competing calls to action. Make it abundantly clear to the user what you want him or her to do.
  • By providing a free and genuinely helpful guide, you can establish trust with the visitor as well as open a channel (your email list) where you can communicate with the subscriber (and sell to them) in perpetuity.

Growth Equity Interview Guide

This site has a strong visual design but could benefit from a lower-commitment, more narrowly-focused sales objective.

Michael Hinckley shared with me his new venture, Growth Equity Interview Guide. His site has pretty good visual design and also some big opportunities for improvement.

Here’s what Growth Equity Interview Guide’s site looks like above the fold:

“Land your dream job at a premier growth equity fund” seems like a pretty compelling headline to me. It’s a very clear proposition. I myself have no idea what a “growth equity fund” is but I assume the target market does.

It seems like we’re off to a good start but some issues quickly emerge, mainly one big one.

At a high level, the biggest problem to me is that this page seems to be trying to sell two things simultaneously: 1) a course, which costs from $219 to $329, and 2) an email subscription featuring “our best tips on growth equity recruiting”.

And wait a second, I thought this site was called “Growth Equity Interview Guide”? When I think of a “guide” I think of some sort of PDF that’s either free or costs less than $100. Instead of a guide, I’m being presented with a “course” and the side offer of “tips”.

If it were me, I wouldn’t try to sell the $219+ guide on the home page. When faced with any decision, I like to ask myself, what would Ramit Sethi do?

I’ve noticed that Ramit has never tried (as long as I’ve been aware) to sell products on his home page. His home page has exactly one goal: get you on his email list.

(If you take the quiz, it leads into a page that asks you for your email address.)

I believe the reason for this is the following: between getting someone to take out their credit card and pay you and getting someone to enter their email address, the email address is a much easier “sale”. Then, once you have that person’s email address, you can market to that person indefinitely, or at least until that person unsubscribes. If you’re selling a $500 product, you don’t have to attempt to get the person on board in one shot. You can gradually build up rapport and trust with that person over time and over the course of many email interactions.

That’s my guess as to why Ramit goes for the email address initally instead of the sale. I think my guess is probably right.

If you do navigate to Ramit’s Products section of his website and then go to the first one, How to Talk to Anybody, you’ll see that the sales page is long as fuck. It’s almost absurd how long it is. Why is this?

I think the reason Ramit’s sales page is super long is because the product costs $348 (12 payments of $29) and there’s kind of a lot of trust that’s necessary to pay someone $348 over the internet. Unlike an in-person sale, the seller doesn’t have the advantage of being able to respond to objections in real time, so the seller has to anticipate all those objections and pre-emptively respond to them in writing. That’s part of what makes the page so long. The page also features a support email, a support number, and a support chat. Those are all trust signals.

Anyway, the reason I bring all this up is that if it were me, I would try to pattern my landing pages off of Ramit’s. Instead of one single page I would have two: one that sells the email subscription and one that sells the paid product. (I realize that the current site has several different “pages” but they’re not separate; you can get to all of them just by scrolling. I wouldn’t want any sales page’s message to be muddied by the presence of another sales page’s message.)

Since what I’m suggesting is such a radical departure from what’s there right now, I won’t bother to address many of the details of the existing page. I do want to mention one thing that would carry over to a new design, though: there seems to be a mix of “I” and “we” on the page. My suggestion: just go with “I”. It seems pretty clear to me that this is a one-man operation and that’s totally fine. In fact, it’s probably better. What’s more trustworthy: a mysterious collection of anonymous people or one guy, Michael Hinckley? If I were you, I’d put my identity front and center. A big part of the value of the guide, in my view, is your personal experience and knowledge.

The next step I would recommend is to create a “free guide” PDF and create a new landing page for it. I would model this landing page off of Ramit Sethi’s home page. Your free guide will serve as a lead magnet to get prospects onto your email list. Your “tips” offer already serves that purpose but the offer is somewhat vague. It would be better to offer a guide, with an actual visual representation, like what Drip is doing here:

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t try to sell a high-ticket product on a website’s homepage. Instead, try to “sell” an email subscription.
  • High-ticket products require a lot of trust. That’s why for high-ticket products, copywriters pre-emptively write long sales pages which try to pre-emptively address all of the buyer’s potential objections.
  • Use “I” instead of “we”. People want to buy from people, not faceless organizations.

Greenpeace

For a large, well-known organization, Greenpeace is making some surprisingly elementary website mistakes.

Greenpeace is a nonprofit whose mission I believe in. I’ve been giving them a donation each month for the last few years. I receive their emails regularly but I don’t visit their home page much.

Since Greenpeace is a big, well-known organization, presumably with a relatively large amount of funding behind it, I assumed their website would be pretty well-done, with little room to suggest improvement.

I was surprised to find that Greenpeace’s site actually kinda sucks in a couple pretty important ways.

When you first land on greenpeace.com, they give you a full-screen overlay.

What you can’t see from this screenshot is that there’s a big bright green “Donate Today” button below the fold. The arguably single most important element on the page is hidden from view! So there’s an easy opportunity for improvement: put the “donate” button above the fold.

What happens if I do click on that “Donate Today” button?

One of the fundamental principles of effective landing pages is to keep the choices to a minimum.

On this page, I have to first choose whether I’m going to make a monthly or one-time donation, and then I have to choose the amount. These choices are probably necessary although the process of making the choices probably could have been made easier for me.

 

Also, it seems a little “forward” of them to immediately ask for a donation. It’s like “asking to get married on the first date”. What if they just offered to educate you on the benefits of donating?

Let’s move on from the donation popover and take a look at the main page above the fold.

Apparently one of Greenpeace’s favorite things to do is to put call-to-action buttons below the fold. There’s a green “take action” button below the headline which you of course can’t see except for the very top of it.

There are also way too many choices on the home page. There are four competing sections on the page: the white rectangle, the darker gray top bar, the lighter gray are underneath that, and the “take action” call to action.

These all seem to be competing for visual prominence, and to my eyes, there’s no clear winner. My eye is equally drawn to the nav links on the left in the white bar and the other nav links inside the lighter gray area. But my eyes are also drawn to the red “Donate” button in the top right corner.

I’m left confused about what I’m supposed to do. I didn’t come to the site to make a donation, so that’s out. I just came here to kind of check out the site and maybe learn a little more about Greenpeace. Should I pick “What We’re Doing” or “About”?

If I go to click “What We’re Doing”, I’m surprisingly presented with a “drop-down” that shows me yet more options!

Ugh. I just wanted to see what Greenpeace is up to! Now I have to decide which of these things I want to read about? I care about most of these issues, not only one of them. I don’t know how to decide.

And it’s kind of funny how a “donate” button shows its face again. It’s brightly-colored and features a photo, making it the most prominent element on the drop-down.

By this time I’m annoyed, confused, and just want to leave the site.

Key Takeaways

  • Having too many equally-weighted options gives people “analysis paralysis”.
  • “Asking to get married on the first date” is offputting. Better to build rapport in smaller increments.
  • If your page features a call to action, it should be visible above the fold.

Moraware

Moraware could probably boost conversions with better segmenting and by putting more visual emphasis on the call to action.

Moraware is a small software company that makes software for countertop fabricators.

Here’s what their website’s home page looks like:

And this is what I see above the fold:

There’s something I’ve learned over the years about selling software: some products can be totally self-serve (e.g. Basecamp), and therefore it’s appropriate to offer visitors a sign-up form. But certain other products require a big commitment and have a high switching cost (e.g. hair salon scheduling software) and in those cases, prospects really need to get on the phone with an actual human being before they’ll feel comfortable moving forward with the software.

I understand Moraware to be the latter kind of product. That’s why Moraware’s home page’s call to action isn’t “sign up for an account today” but “call us or email us to schedule a demo”.

This page has room for improvement in at least a couple ways.

First Improvement: Layout

When I first land at moraware.com, my eye is drawn to the following two places:

The big blue bar contrasts so sharply with the white background that I can’t help but immediately notice it. Since people love pictures of people, I also find myself keenly interested in the photos toward the bottom of the page.

This is unfortunate because the “email address” form—arguably the single most important thing on this page—gets relegated to background noise.

Let’s contrast Moraware’s homepage with some other landing pages for somewhat similar products.

This page is far from perfect (the background image is distracting, the copy inside the yellow box is uncompelling, and the “Get Started” button competes too much with the “Take the Tour” call to action) but it does demonstrate one thing well: the site, for the most part, squeezes you into a single call to action. It’s impossible to miss that yellow box and the white email field inside it.

Let’s take a look at another example.

This one is also far from perfect but, like the Lessonly example, the demo form and the “Request Demo” button are unmissable.

So here’s my concrete suggestion regarding layout: put the email form in a visually distinct box and use unexciting colors for the rest of the page.

But, I actually wouldn’t even recommend including the email form on the home page. Read the next section to find out why.

Second Improvement: Segmentation

This isn’t visible above the fold (which is probably kind of a problem) but if I scroll down a little, I can see that Moraware apparently has two customer segments:

It looks like I can identify either as someone who wants to quote countertops or someone who schedules and tracks jobs. Depending on which segment I’m part of, a different product is appropriate for me.

This make sense, although I might argue that the visitor doesn’t need to know about the product names “CounterGo” and “JobTracker” yet. We just need to know which bucket the visitor goes in.

What I would recommend on the home page is just big buttons, one that says “Countertop Quoting Software” and another that says “Scheduling and Job Tracking Software”, and no pictures. You want the buttons to be the most interesting thing on the page.

The SiteTuners website is a pretty good example of similar segmentation:

Notice how they funnel their visitors into “Large businesses” and “Small businesses” groups.

So now let’s put my two suggestions together: on the home page, I would just have these two segmentation buttons and no email form. Then I would put an email form on each of the quoting software and scheduling software landing pages.

Third Improvement: Testimonials

I noticed a great testimonial on one of your pages:

“COUNTERGO IS A LIFESAVER. OVER THE LAST YEAR, I’VE BEEN ABLE TO GROW THE COMPANY TO SEVERAL JOBS PER DAY AND HAVEN’T HAD TO HIRE ANYONE ELSE TO DO QUOTES.”

This testimonial is good because it’s quantifiable. He didn’t say the software was good or anything like that (which wouldn’t have been a very helpful compliment), he said the software allowed him to grow to several jobs per day. I wish the testimonial were even more specific, though. How many jobs per day was he doing before? What does it mean to him personally for the business to have grown? Has he been able to afford to buy something he’s always wanted? Has it allowed him to take more vacations or sleep better at night?

There should be more testimonials and at least a couple of them should be featured prominently on the home page.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t add visually interesting things like photos and bright colors in places where they’ll compete with your opt-in form.
  • Do use visual interest to make your opt-in form stand out.
  • Give the visitor as few options as possible. If the visitor can’t immediately discern what he or she should do, he or she may well simply do nothing.
  • Feature some quantifiable testimonials on the home page.

 

 

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Ramit Sethi's website is clean, quiet and simple with a singular focus on just one certain call to action.

I’ve long thought that the more “innovative” a website is, the harder it is to use.

The more animations, the more sideways text, the more “creativity” a site contains, the more it differs from the web conventions visitors have come to expect and rely on.

Ramit Sethi’s website is totally un-innovative. That’s why I think it’s good.

There’s no giant hero image or crazy ass giant video in the background on Ramit’s site that starts playing when the page loads. Aside from the photo of Ramit, there’s just one color, yellow!

And not only is everything else gray, it’s light gray text on a lighter gray background. It’s as if he wants you not to notice the rest of the site. I believe that’s precisely the idea: the only thing Ramit wants you to do on this site is to take his earning potential quiz.

Here’s the part of the page that’s visible in the viewport:

As you can see, it’s clear that the designer of this page really wanted to you click that “Start the quiz” button.

It’s also pretty clear what you get if you do click that button. I can tell that if I click that button, I’m going to be presented with an “earning potential quiz” and then I’ll get a custom report after that. It looks like Ramit only wants to attract people who want to “discover how to start making extra money”.

Below to the main call to action are the media outlets where Ramit has been featured. He’s using a tactic called social proof. Social proof, which I first read about in Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, is basically a shortcut our brains use that says, “Look, a bunch of other people think this thing is good, so it’s probably good.”

Besides the few short blurbs under “What you’ll get”, there’s really not much at all on this page. There aren’t even footer links like you’d expect from a big, popular site like this. This page has one single goal, which is to get you to take that quiz (and ultimately give Ramit your email address).

By the way, if you’re someone who markets and sells stuff online, I highly recommend that you get on Ramit Sethi’s email list. I teach myself email marketing mainly by subscribing to the email lists of “the masters” and observing their tactics. I don’t know of anyone better at email marketing than Ramit.

Key Takeaways

  • Point all your guns in the same direction. Decide one single action you want the user to take and make everything on the page support that action.
  • A quiet, “boring” design is probably more effective than a “creative” or “modern” design.
  • Social proof builds trust.