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Welcome to Josh Baker's Practical Advice for Optimizing Your Internet Marketing blog. Here you will find internet marketing optimization and online strategy articles full of tips, tricks, discussions, and thoughts to help you take your marketing and business to the next level of success.
Feb
15

Best Practices & Implementation in Web Site Optimization

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Best practices by definition are ways to do “things” that are more effective or efficient than the other existing ways in order to reach the desired outcome. Every industry has best practices, and almost every task seems to have one as well. Usually they become best practices because a large group has reported that they are following that particular process or procedure and have more effectively or efficiently reached their desired outcome, or even that they have implemented that best practice with no lesser outcome. Many times, best practices are reported and shared by industry associations, seminar speakers, books and reference materials, or even from special reports from your favorite blog or author. From here they spread even more so and become in many instances common place almost as a required implementation to do.

But, this article isn’t really about best practices themselves though, best practices do serve a very import role – even alerting you to what others are currently trying and to foster idea and innovation generation, but rather this is about best practices and marketing optimization – making sure that you don’t blindly implement them and possibly become part of the minority that they didn’t work for and ultimately move further away from your desired goals.

What you’ve heard, read, or been told is a best practice, might not produce the best results for your own website and the traffic that is visiting it – but how do you know?  

For example, a certain best practice may be a best practice for 78% of your industry peers, but then this would leave 22% who either didn’t implement it, never heard of it, or it didn’t work for. Not to mention that out of the 78% who did implement it we have no proof of the level of effectiveness it proved to be for each -and are they well versed in reading the results, did they have the right tools to read the results,  did they have unknown problems with their tracking, and so on. Now, this isn’t saying that out of that 78% all of them are wrong for using it; maybe 77% were correct in doing so. The point being is that we need to determine how this best practice will work for us and what we are attempting to do and achieve. The proper way to do this is to test the best practice just as you would test anything else.

ColonialCandle.com, according to quotes that appeared on Internet Retailer by Internet marketing manager Katie Fernands, recently ran a multivariate test on a page from their website using Google’s Website Optimizer. This winning page combination was different than their marketing and design departments’ assumptions of not requiring a visitor to scroll down a page too much to view content. In fact their longest page combination increased page conversions by 20% and produced $20,000 in incremental revenue.

Had they not tested (or maybe this was a blind discovery, not sure as I am not aware of the actual test hypothesis they had) the best practice of limiting scrolling on an ecommerce site Colonial Candle would have not discovered that for them a longer page that required scrolling produced better results in producing more conversions resulting in more revenue.

Bottom Line: It’s important to test the best practices for your website rather than just implementing them as gospel in order to make sure that they produce the same results for you that made them known best practices in the first place.

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