21 (More) Things to A/B Test

Optimizely published a list of 71 Things to A/B Test on their blog. It’s a pretty cool list. Here’s my additional 21 things you could consider testing if you’re hunting for inspiration:

  1. Wizards. For setup processes, checkouts or other long-ish flows, test a wizard-style UX vs one long ‘settings’ page.
  2. Surveys. If you’re running customer surveys A/B test different formats/lengths to find the best response rates before sending it to everyone.
  3. Symbols of trust. Split test landing pages that contain trustworthy symbols (such as industry affiliations, security checks, etc) to see whether the give your users more confidence in your product.
  4. Popups. Those things that pop up on the bottom right of your browser. Yes. They can be really useful for gathering feedback and subscriptions. Split test the content, visuals and time delay.
  5. Overlays. When clicking on a CTA test whether people will convert more if you take them to a different page or if you show them an overlay with the content/form they requested.
  6. Long-form vs. Short-form. Test out versions of your home page (or landing page) that are short and to the point vs. longer scrolling versions containing tons of content.
  7. Up-sell. When somebody’s about to check out or complete an action test out whether they’d be interested in a (relevant!) upsell. Eg, if I’m buying some bit of enterprise software I might be up for adding a premium support package. 
  8. Cross-sell. “People who bought this also really liked that.” Boom.
  9. Customer Support. If you offer post-sales product support try testing whether people convert more if you play it up on your landing pages or checkout process.
  10. Highlighted text. If you have long paragraphs try highlighting relevant parts in bold or a good background colour.
  11. Animations / Transitions. If things need to change on the page when the user makes an action (or moving to a different page) try using CSS animations to make the transition and experience smoother. If you confuse users less they might convert more.
  12. Rounded corners. Yup.
  13. Instantly Valuable CTA. OK, what I mean here is to try and deliver instant gratification to your users. For instance, Optimizely do a really nice job of this by asking you to simply plug in your website URL and without signing up or anything you can immediately start using the product.
  14. Shorter forms. Forms are necessary but the shorter they are the more likely your users will fill them in.
  15. Optional forms. Try testing making more items in your subscription forms optional.
  16. Phone numbers. Sometimes providing a prominent phone number gives customers the confidence that you’re a ‘real’ company.
  17. Company logo. We all want that branding but does it have to be that big? And colourful? :-) Try testing a smaller or monochrome version of your company logo to give more space to your content.
  18. Question CTAs. Try testing whether your visitors will convert more if you position your CTA text as questions. “Do you want to save money? <Yes!>”.
  19. Pricing. It’s perfectly ok to A/B test your product price to find the optimal price point at which people will convert.
  20. Features vs. Benefits. Are your customers in the market for a “backup and encryption tool” or “peace of mind”? Split test your message to find out which resonates more: features of your product or the benefits.
  21. Task vs. Goal. Let’s say you sell a live chat support product. The kind people embed on their sites for users to chat to a rep. Are you selling to your customers the “ability to integrate live chat easily” (task) or the possibility of “being in touch with customers 24/7″? This is subtly different to #20 but quite similar I admit. Anyway, just test it :-)

Feel free to split test me on Twitter.

Interview: How Paul Jarvis works with Jetpack

Originally posted on Jetpack for WordPress:

We got in touch with one of our users Paul Jarvis to find out what he thinks of the Jetpack plugin – how it has helped him and what he’d like to see in a new version. Paul is a freelance web designer/developer as well as an author of various popular books who’s been using WordPress since before he was born.

Paul lives in British Columbia, Canada. You can stalk him on Twitter @pjrvs or read about his books and work on his website.

Who is Paul?

paul-jarvis-2

What do you do for a living?

I’m a freelance web designer/developer and author. I’ve built websites for 20 years and written books for the last 4.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I can set my own hours and stop working when I’ve made enough for the year (typically 3-4 months off per year).

How did you first start using…

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Top 5 Best Practices when using Jetpack on client websites

Originally posted on Jetpack for WordPress:

If you’re creating WordPress websites for clients, Jetpack is for you. Jetpack easily adds a great number of features to your client’s websites without the need for a dozen different plugins, reducing the technical debt that you or your client will need to maintain over time.

We recommend these best practices when using Jetpack for a client site that will keep things running smoothly and help you provide a great service to your clients.

This article covers:

  1. Use Jetpack’s Development Mode
  2. Invite your client to connect to WordPress.com
  3. Activate Jetpack only on the live domain
  4. Use your account when a connection is required
  5. Work with staging sites
  6. How to install Jetpack

1. Use Development Mode

Jetpack offers a Development Mode that is enabled when using Jetpack on a localhost. If you’re developing on a development server, you can manually enable development mode.

You can enable this as constant in…

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Git and GitHub Tutorials

I’ve not used Git or GitHub much in the past except for checking out stuff. I’ve been getting up to speed on how it all works and found the following tutorials extremely useful:

  • The Simple Guide to Git
    This is great if you’re either already familiar with Git and/or are comfortable with command line apps. I found this to be really useful as a crib sheet.
  • GitHub for Beginners
    A 2-part, step-by-step tutorial that could easily be called “GitHub for Dummies”. I skipped over most of this but I think it does a really good job of explaining stuff in layman’s terms.
  • Pro Git
    A full-length online book (free) that covers everything.
  • Git Reference
    And finally this is a full reference of all Git commands and their options.

 

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Yesterday I was conned in the most marvellous way

I’m in downtown Vancouver heading back to my hotel at around 9pm. Walking down Seymour St a guy is walking in the opposite direction and catches my eye from a distance. As we pass each other he slows down, does a small double-take and says something like “Hey, where are you from?”

The guy looks North African; short curly hair, dark skinned, close-cropped beard, Tunisian style cap and a charming, friendly smile. In other words, save for the cap, very much like me.

I hesitate but say “Malta”, curtly but not rudely.

His smile broadens into a grin. “No way”, he says, “I know Malta! I’m from Morocco. Parlez vous Francais?”

“Oui, un peu” I respond.

“Fantastique! Que plaisir reencontrer quelq’un Méditerranéen. J’ai été loin de là depuis si longtemps,” he continues slightly poignantly. “But you’re probably more comfortable in Italian or English I guess?”

I chuckle and say that yes I understood him but English or Italian is easier. At this point although being drawn into a conversation I’m aware of pickpockets (bitten before) so I’m keeping my distance and make double sure my stuff is safe.

“K fai qui a Vancouver?” he asks. “Ero qui per lavoro e adesso ho qualche giorno libero primo di tornare a casa,” I say. And then the fatal mistake: “And you?” I ask.

So he describes how he’s been travelling all around the continent up from Mexico, through the States with a friend, and just got back to Vancouver this week. At this point I kind of smile, say that’s really awesome and start to indicate I want to leave.

So he kindly asks me if I need directions and I say I’m good. We start walking away and he goes:

“Hey listen, sorry to take up your time. But I’m kind of in a fix. Us Moroccans sometimes have a hard time over here and I’m stuck waiting for papers.”

“Ah that’s pretty shit,” I say. “I get that at border control at times. Wish I could help mate.”

“Well, I could do with seven dollars for my shelter tonight.”

Boom. Hook line and sinker. There’s nothing for it but to dig into my pocket, bring out my change, and give him the five dollars or so of loose change I have running around there.

I walked away smiling and then stopped dumbstruck at how cleverly executed that sales pitch was. Here’s what he did in a total time of about 3 minutes:

  1. He chose his target carefully. Somebody he guessed he could build a rapport with.
  2. He found a topic of mutual interest establishing common ground.
  3. He offered me assistance making me obligated to him.
  4. He got me to commit to helping him when I said “I wish I could help”
  5. At this point there was no way I couldn’t give him the money without feeling like an asshole hypocrite.

If you’ve read Influence by Cialdini this is practically textbook. Follow me on Twitter for updates.

Farewell Red Gate. Hello Automattic.

About 4 and a half years ago I was offered a job at a company I’d never heard of called Red Gate. I took it and soon found out that I’d been lucky enough to join a company that’s literally one of the best software companies to work for in the UK. As a bonus, Red Gate is based in the best place to live in the UK: Cambridge.

What I’m trying to say is that all in all it’s been a really great 4 and a half years. If you’re looking for a software job in the UK you’d be hard pressed to do better than Red Gate. Additionally I’ve been lucky enough to have done a wide variety of jobs there including web design, product design, team lead, head of UX, programme and project management and generally being a pain in the ass.

But now its time to move on. Late last year my (significantly) better half and I moved back to Malta (the place with 3K+ hours of sunshine a year!) and the next two weeks will be my last at Red Gate. Then, in mid-March I’ll be joining Automattic, the folks who make WordPress. As far as I can tell, it’ll be an even more awesome place to work. I plan to find time to write about my experience working there in the coming months.

So thank you for putting up with me Red Gate and farewell, I have a hunch we’ll meet again.

Hello Howdy Automattic, I’m looking forward to getting to know you :-)

Make sure to follow me on Twitter for updates.