CrazyEgg Case Study: Heatmap Reports Increases Conversion Rate by 51%

Softmedia, founded in 2003, is the world’s leading provider in penny auction software. On October 11th, they implemented CrazyEgg Analytics on the top five most visited web pages on their site. The goal was to identify areas for improvement on the website and increase lead generation.

CrazyEgg’s pricing is as low as $9 per month with a promise to “Increase your website’s conversion rate or revenues within the next 30 days… or your money back.”. With a low cost pricing model, Softmedia were happy to test the tool to see if conversion rate or revenue increased.

This CrazyEgg case study explains exactly how to use the heatmap report.

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The A-Z Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is one of the most important aspects of building a successful e-commerce site. If your website exists but users do not convert, you are losing business to the competition. This A to Z guide will help improve the user experience, your conversion rate and online sales.

A/B TESTING will help identify improvement areas to your website and increase conversion. Don’t make tests based on gut instinct – Use your web analytics data. Blivakker saw an 11% increase in sign ups when they ran an A/B test earlier this month.

Use BADGING on your best selling products to capture the reader’s attention and influence. Badge copy includes “Top rated product” or “Best seller!”

CAPTURE EMAIL address early and remarket to your subscribers. Make sure your email signup field is on the home page and above the fold.

DON’T ASK for what you don’t need! This includes contact forms, white paper download and your checkout process. Softmedia conversion rate increased by 170% by keeping the contact form simple.

EMPHASIZE the benefits of why customers should shop with you. Take 10 minutes and bullet point 5 reasons and paste these benefits all over your website. Hurtigruten increased online sales by $100,000 by making the benefits of booking online clear.

Shipping costs are still a major factor as to why users abandon the shopping cart. Think about FREE SHIPPING in order to increase online sales and reduce exit rates.

GO GLOBAL and localize your websites into high volume traffic countries using your web analytics data. Localize content, currency and online marketing efforts.

Prioritize your HOME PAGE CONTENT to increase cross-sell opportunities. Take your top 3 most popular products and place them prominently on your home page.

Take action and start IMPLEMENTING LIKE HELL. You don’t need to wait until everything is perfect – 80% is good enough to launch.

Remove your JUMP PAGE (or splash page). More often than not, these pages are not optimized and have a high bounce rate. You can use alternative methods such as IP detect if you want show the visitor that the website is available in another language.

Make sure KEY FUNCTIONALITY can be found on your home page. Key functionality includes newsletter sign up, step 1 of the order process or a contact form. Hurtigruten saw online sales increase by more than $20 million when launching key functionality.

Think LONG TERM and customer LIFE TIME VALUE. Don’t short change customers for the sake of a quick sale – Be generous to existing customers.

MAKE IT EASY to browse your offline material online. If you have a catalog, allow your users to browse your site by catalog ID. Use short URLs to promote your website offline.

Prevent “NO RESULTS FOUND” in your internal site search. Internal site search data is valuable. Make your search page list relevant results to boost conversion.

OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE for tablets and smartphones. As much as 25% of total traffic is from mobile according to recent reports and this number will continue to increase. Make your site and shopping cart mobile-friendly.

Offer multiple PAYMENT OPTIONS in your shopping cart. Not all customers will use a credit card and approx. 30% of customers will abandon your cart if their preferred payment method is not offered. Multiple payment options can increase conversion by as much as 14%.

Ask for feedback from web visitors and use QUESTIONNAIRES and surveys. Web visitors are happy to provide feedback and this data will help improve the user experience.

90% of purchases are based on recommendations – Include product REVIEWS by real customers on as many products as you can. Localize the recommendations for positive SEO advantages.

SHARE SUCCESS STORIES – When something good happens, share it and make sure you celebrate your victory!

Be TRUSTWORTHY and make sure sensitive information requested is secure (SSL). Be true to your word and if you do happen to fall short, keep your customers informed at all times.

Run monthly USER TESTS using Identify usability issues and fix them quickly.

Implement inline VALIDATION on your web forms using both positive and negative validation. It will increase conversion rates by as  much as 22%.

“Add to WISH List” is one of the best buttons you can have on your website. Implement it now, and remarket to those add products to wish lists.

Monitor your EXIT RATE and identify why users leave your shopping cart. Use the conversion funnel in your web analytics to fix pages with the highest dropout.

YOU or YOUR; write in second person to allow the reader to connect with the content. Try to avoid using “we” or “us”.  Make the reader believe you are talking directly to them.

ZERO in on your target audience and understand their intent. Create landing pages that answer your visitor’s questions and needs.

Conversion rate optimization is an ever evolving process and you should always be testing, optimizing and improving your website.

What important techniques have I missed in this A to Z guide? Comments are welcome below.


7 specific contact form improvements to turn visitors into customers

Having a contact form on your website allows a web visitor to get in touch with your business. People don’t like complex forms. They take too much time and require too much thought. Easy contact forms are proven to increase leads and conversion rates, which in turn leads to increased revenues.

During the last month I have worked with a software provider to help improve their websites online experience and contact forms. We made sure the contact form was readable, easy to complete and prominently featured on the site. The following improvements made to the form lead to a 170% increase in conversion rate and 277% increase in completed contact forms.


Make the form secure

Internet users are becoming increasingly aware of fraud and phishing techniques online. When entering sensitive information such as credit card details, users look for the trust and verification logos. However, personal information such as name and email are just as sensitive so we made sure that the page is secure with https:// and SSL certified. Don’t risk having IE or Chrome label the page as insecure. Next to the “send” button, we included copy that read “this form is secure” for added reassurance.

Reward good behavior

It’s now common practice to include inline validation (javascript) when a user does not correctly complete a field in the contact form (example below):


What is no common is a reverse effect of inline validation. Instead of presenting a negative validator we also improved the form to include positive validator. We reward the user when an action is completed successfully (example below):


In September 2009, research by Etre and Luke Wroblewski found that inline validation has a great impact on completed contact forms, resulting in:

  • 22% increase in success rates
  • 22% decrease in errors made
  • 31% increase in satisfaction ratings

Using this data, we applied both positive and negative validators on the contact form.

Set expectations early

The human race is becoming more and more impatient. Everything has to be fast, whether it car repair or load times on a web page. We are time sensitive and completing a long web form may be enough to turn away a web visitor. The client’s contact form contains 15 fields, which at first glance may appear to require 5 minutes of time. However, the average time on page for completed forms was less than a minute. Using this data, we removed the previous copy above the form “Please fill out all fields carefully……” and instead used the following:


Avoid friction

One of the fields in the form asked for the users website. This is common amongst B2B sites and helps the client when assessing the possible best service to offer. However, when running a simple test we found that entering was not working. Several tests were performed using different variations (,, etc) yet we were unable to proceed. The problem was the CMS setting for a valid website address including the http:// prefix. We immediately removed the prefix and to only include free range text in the field in order to make this form user friendly.

Capture email address early

The world’s top 10 converting websites send email campaigns to users who visit the site only to abandon the shopping cart (known as remarketing). An easy way to capture the email address before the booking process is to ask for it on your contact form early, and above the fold. Alternatively, you can ask for an email address on your home page, and offer incentives to sign up including a free e-book or white paper.

Only ask for what you need

There are millions of contact forms on the web that ask questions including name, email address, address, sex, etc. and so on. I was recently interested in signing up for a newsletter at a travel company and the sign up form asked me for my postal address. It didn’t make sense to me so I left and did not sign up. Do you really need a postal address when asking users to sign up to a newsletter?

In this blog posts example, we removed the following fields and reduced the form from 18 fields to 15:

  • City
  • Country
  • Telephone

In 2010, Dan Zarrella of Hubspot found that when removing one field that, moving a total of four fields down to three, the conversion rate increased by 50%. If you can reduce the number of fields and only ask for what you really need, you could see an increase in completed forms.


Thank you page

Once a user has completed a form, don’t send them away with a generic “Thank you, we will contact you shortly” page. The Thank You page is under-utilized in almost every organization. Here are three suggestions on what you can do once a user has completed the form:

  • Download a whitepaper
  • Sign up to a newsletter
  • Register to a webinar

Keep the communication going and complete two goals at once, both for you and the visitor.


Making your contact forms easy to use and complete should be at the top of your to-do list. In just under a month, leads and conversion rate has tripled and the number of users abandoning has decreased. A higher conversion rate means more leads, more sales and more success.

What else can we do to improve contact forms and is there anything I have missed from my list? Please comment below.


The four week SEO workout plan

In any organization, the basics are often overlooked. It’s much more fun to work on exciting projects such as launching a new website, instead of solving system issues such as reporting accurate data.

During the last six months, I have worked on five SEO audits and each organization has the same problem – The basics of SEO are overlooked (and ignored). Each audit, I approach the same way; I collect the data:

Each tools provides valuable data. In webmaster tools, there are usually a high amount of crawl errors found.

Crawl errors

Instead of having a team that addresses these problems, resources are instead used for link-building, content creation and web design. While all important factors in SEO, yet if Google is specifically telling you it has problems crawling your site, why is there so little focus? If Google has problems finding your site, then chances are so do your potential customers.

Of the three site audits I have performed during the last two months, only one site has been quick enough to take action and addres the issues.. The audits usually have the same outcome; duplicate content issues, URL parameters and session IDs, crawl errors, etc. The site audit is filled with recommendations and suggested next  steps.

The following screenshots are taken from Google Analytics Organic Traffic report between July 1st to July 30th. Can you guess which site implemented the findings from the SEO audit?

Site 1

Site 1

Organic traffic decrease of 13% compared with June 2012

Site 2

Site 2

Organic traffic increase of 10% compared with June 2012

Site 3

Site 3

Organic traffic increase of 350% compared with June 2012

Congrats! You guessed it, it’s site 3.

I’ve made a note in Google Analytics for each improvement made using Annotations. Here is the list of improvements by date:

  • Jul 10, 2012        Redirect implemented for non-www to www
  • Jul 23, 2012        URL re-write, improved page titles and meta descriptions
  • Jul 24, 2012        New page titles added to home, and destination pages
  • Jul 24, 2012        /index redirected to /
  • Jul 25, 2012        New navigation menu launched
  • Jul 26, 2012        Google analytics goals implemented
  • Jul 27, 2012        Improved internal anchor text
  • Jul 27, 2012        Google analytics tracking script moved to top of the page
  • Jul 27, 2012        XML sitemap submitted
  • Jul 27, 2012        Crawl errors fixed – Reduced from 155 issues to 6 issues
  • Jul 30, 2012        New meta descriptions added for top destination pages
  • Jul 30, 2012        https pages now redirected to http
  • Jul 30, 2012        Google Analytics tracking script updated (only one per page)
  • Jul 30, 2012        New XML sitemap submitted for http URLs

In less than a month, organic traffic has increased by 350% (based on weekly traffic) and organic leads now account for 50% of total conversions, up from 3%. No link-building was involved and no content creation strategies implemented,  just fixing the basics reported that are reported in webmaster tools.

Has your organic traffic increased since fixing the crawl errors reported in webmaster tools? Feel free to comment below.

Case study: How a company increased conversion rate by 390% in 5 months

Conversion rate is a metric that every web manager pays attention to. The number of visitors who convert on your site, whether it means signing up to a newsletter or purchasing a product in your e-commerce store is is highly important. Each web manager has a goal of increasing conversion rate. Experts claim conversion rate to be a science and that it requires an understanding of customer psyche and behavior, I disagree. This post will explain how one website increased conversion rate by 390%.

A multi-channel approach

At the end of the 2011, the global conversion rate  of a travel company was 0.43%. At the start of the year, the conversion rate dropped to 0.20%. Travel industry professionals know that January is the busiest sales month of the year and we quickly set an action plan to increase our online efforts. The focus was to improve on-site SEO and PPC, increase email marketing activity, conduct usability testing and implement customer survey on the site. Each week we monitored our progress.

In February 2012, the conversion was 0.20%, with approx 30 transactions per week and revenues of approx €35,000 (value of €1.8 million per year).

The improvements quickly made an impact on the bottom line and as of today, the conversion rate is 0.98%, with approx 100 transactions per week and revenues of €120,000 (value of €6.2 million). That’s a 390% increase in conversion rate.



Sales continue to grow to now more than €100,000 per week and year on year revenue is up by 31%.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate

Conversion rate has increased by 390% since February

Travel is a very seasonal industry. However, the chart below compares this year’s increase with 2011.

Conversion rate 2011 and 2012

2011 conversion rate between Jan-Jul was 0.34%.

Four channels to improve web traffic quality

Here are the exact steps we took to increase conversion rate as per each marketing channel:

Search Engine Optimization

  • Sign up to SEOmoz and fix issus found under crawl diagnostics
  • URL rewrite with user-friendly keyword URL’s
  • Improved page titles and meta descriptions
  • Uploaded XML sitemap to webmaster tools

We now rank top of the SERPs for our most competitive keywords

Search Engine Marketing (PPC)

Click through rates have increased by more than 700%

User Experience

  • Launched 4Q customer survey
  • Emphasized the benefits of booking online
  • Added guest reviews to key pages
  • Launched a pricing calendar

Users can now complete tasks on site much quicker

Email Marketing

  • Newsletter sign up on front page
  • Emphasized the benefits of signing up
  • Monthly email marketing activity based on segmentation
  • Personalized newsletters

High open rates and click through rates with low unsubscribe rates

Having a clear goal and focus

These efforts were not the result of a highly experienced online marketing team. In fact, the team that lead us to this remarkable achievement had no prior online marketing experience. Through self-educating, a clear direction and implementing like hell, conversion rates and sales have increased.

When this project was started, the goal was bring the conversion rate back to a minimum of 0.43%. By having a clear goal, online sales have tripled and the approach will now be rolled out globally and implemented on several websites, which potentially could lead to more than €42 million in increased sales.

 How has your conversion rate increased in 2012? Post your comments in the section below.