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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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.

Hurtigruten increases online sales from $3 million to $100 million

From 2008 to 2012, Hurtigruten increased sales from $3 million to $100 million. The growth was a result of several things and the online efforts played an important role. Here´s some insight into some of the focus activities.

In 2011, Hurtigruten improved the online user experience by introducing key functionality (booking box) on the home page. Since then, continuous improvements have been made and documented, such as the results of what happened when we move the functionality above the fold and how the improvements increased sales online.

Since launching the booking box, we have continued to increase online sales and improve the user experience. The blog post will review the impact to online sales of each improvement.

February Week 2, 2011

On February 15th, 2011 Hurtigruten launched key functionality on the home page. The booking box was implemented below the fold but the results were immediate as initiated bookings increased by more than 173%. Online bookings increased by 28%.

Increased initiated bookings

Initiated bookings

June Week 1, 2011

On June 1st, Hurtigruten moved the placement of the booking box to above the fold. The reason for this was that during usability tests that were ran in March, 2011 only 2 of the 10 testers found the booking box on the home page. The results were immediate as online bookings increased by 4%.

March Week 2, 2012

On March 5th, Hurtigruten implemented a new booking box after extensive research into 2011 sales data. The new booking box included both passenger selection and cabin requirments, thus giving the user a more exact price earlier in the booking process. The results were immediate and online bookings increased by 42%.

June Week 3, 2012

On June 18th, Hurtigruten launched a new version on the website in Norway. The improvements were based on the results of the usabiity tests in March 2011. With a new web design and improved booking box, online bookings increased by 15%.

Booking box design improvements since Feb 2011
[Left booking box on both above and below the fold]

Booking box

In September 2012, further improvements will be implemented as we introduce tours (currently live on the German site) and a five day calendar view on the search results. These improvements are in line with feedback from usability tests we have performed.

Mock-up of new booking box

New booking box

The current booking box is targeted towards Hurtigruten’s Norwegian market.  However, during the last 12 months, more than half of the total web traffic has been from countries outside of Norway. Most international customers do not know where Kirkenes or Bergen is, and most travellers do not know their specific travel date. This information is critical in the decision making process. Thefore, an international booking box will be created for non-Nordic web visitors. We expect this improvement to increase conversion rate.

Prototype of International booking box


Gerry McGovern once said „I can’t think of a successful website I’ve dealt with hasn’t had a continuous improvement management model“. In 16 months, Hurtigruten have continued to improve key functionality and online sales have increased tenfold. We will continue with our improvements.

All the sales information in this blog post have been presented in publicly available reports.

Do you have any success stories on continuous improvement? Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve the booking box further? Suggestions are welcome in the comments box below.