New Detailed Image Home Page

In an effort to continuously improve our conversion rate, Mike recently re-designed our Detailed Image homepage. While there was nothing wrong with the old one, we know that the majority of customers are there to shop so we wanted to emphasize the things important to shopping – browsing, searching, our Daily/Monthly Specials – while subtly de-emphasizing the rest. Make no mistake – this isn’t exactly a science. It’s educated guesswork. We know that most users on the old homepage clicked those things so we decided to reorganize to put a focus on where they want to go…which is also where we want them to go. The real driving force was the Monthly Specials. Those are great deals that just weren’t being highlighted as much as we think they should be.

Here’s the old home page:

Detailed Image Home Page

Here’s the new one:

Detailed Image Home Page

Here are the points of emphasis:

Detailed Image Home Page

We’ll check back in a few months and see what the data tells us (if anything…)

17 comments on New Detailed Image Home Page

  1. nethy says:

    Adam,

    Since your previous posts about private sharing, I am feeling a need to contribute (but not too much) 😉

    Here is one of my favourite page optimisation tricks:

    1 – Go in to your Google Analytics (can use whatever analytics software) select: content>> site overlay
    This will bring up your site with stats on each link. You will be able to see how many clicks each link receives.

    2 – Find any lists of links. I see 3 lists in you left menu, five in the footer & a couple of other ‘sort of’ lists.

    3 – Rearrange all lists so that the links with the most clicks are higher while those with the fewest are lowest (Some people prefer the links with fewest clicks in the middle. The idea is that the middle of a list is more prominent then the bottom.). This makes it easier for people to find the links they are looking for & speeds up the site experience.

    Tips

    1 – Use common sense. You might have a good reason for your order. For example you might not want to encourage clicks to contact us. If so, you don’t have to change it. The above proposition is simply better then arbitrary.

    2 – Account for different pages. Your list may be part of the site navigation. It may appear on multiple pages. If this is the case, you need to remember that each page might exhibit different click patterns. If there is a very big difference, you might have found a good reason to have different navigation menus on different pages.
    * hint: home page vs inner pages is a good place to start.

    3 – Google analytics can’t actually tell what link was clicked, only where the visitor went next. If you have many links leading to the same page, the above might not work so well. To get better data, make sure each link has a unique URL. With most sites, you can just ad a ‘?something’ to the url and it doesn’t affect the page. like this: http://www.adammcfarland.com/2009/08/30/new-detailed-image-home-page/?anythingyouwant
    * There are potential SEO complications

    I like the above method because it is quick, easy & straightforward to understand and apply. It rarely does any damage. It won’t give you a 180. But it does make your site a little bit easier to use.
    If you make an improvement of this magnitude once a month, your site will be on a great curve.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Nethy –

      That’s a great process. Thanks for sharing!

      I look at that overlay all the time for the same purpose.

      Our nav isn’t 100% in the order that people click because it’s in the order of the detailing process (first you wash & dry, then use quick detailers/clay, polish, etc). That’s the same order we have our guide in. We discussed switching the links, but decided that since that’s the logical progression detailers make it makes the most sense to keep it the same.

      But I think for most e-commerce sites it makes the most sense to re-arrange the way you described.

      Adam

  2. nethy says:

    Cheers Adam,

    BTW, how did you pick the order of the links in your footer?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      I basically ordered them in the order I thought people would be looking for them, with the top left being most clicked. The only exception was the “Contact Us” link. I put that on the bottom-left so that (hopefully) people will look at the Shipping page, Returns page, and FAQ page prior to contacting us.

      I just checked Analytics out of curiosity and it looks like we got it right for the most part. Like you said, it only bases the data off of where the visitor lands, so a lot of the links that are also available on the sidebar or top-right of the page get skewed. Most of the remaining links show up as rounded down to 0.0% of visitors…with just the “contact us” and “about” pages at 0.5% and the few located directly above “contact us” around 0.3%.

  3. Oke says:

    Nethy,

    Thanks for the keen advice for Adam and others. I just looked at mine and it looks like shit. I changed a couple of things around and will see how it helps. I will get a redesign in the future, but for now I need to make money with my side hustle and photography before that even happens.

    I got a quick question for yall. How do you change things up for the better, while not being web designer savvy?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Oke –

      I’m sure Nethy will have his 2 cents as well, but it’s an inexact science at best in my opinion. It’s just impossible to get in the minds of every person coming to your site (and even if you could, their web knowledge would vary drastically, as would their objective for being on your site in the first place).

      I like to start with the “common sense test”. Does the layout make sense to you based upon the path(s) you think your visitors are going to take.

      Then, I like to compare to the best in the industry. If it’s a blog, I find the best 5/10/20 blogs that are similar to mine and see how they do things. What do I like, what don’t I like. What do they all do the same. In my opinion, you won’t ever go too wrong if you base your decisions on what the best in class are doing. You also have the advantage of being “familiar” to someone who is visiting your site that also frequents on of those sites.

      Then once you can collect some data, I think you have to do things like Nethy described above, Rob describes below, and possibly even watch your visitors interact on your site using something like ClickTale.

      We still aren’t quite at the point where we’re studying things to the extend that we want to. I think once we level off a bit with the “major” features we plan on adding, we’ll be able to collect/analyze data a little bit better.

      Oh, also – you can never go wrong with trying a split test. If you’re not sure which will work better, try them both and collect the data and see what it tells you. Sometimes you’ll be surprised. Google offers a free tool called Website Optimizer that I’ve heard good things about (but have yet to use)

      • nethy says:

        Oke,

        I’m not sure how to answer that. I suppose the options are: pay, learn or do without.

        pay – You can always hire someone. If your problem is making something look nice, you can get design services at every price range. You can have pages mocked up in photo shop at very low prices. You can have themes for popular CMSs applied fairly cheaply too. If what you want is help with usability, help can be pretty pricey.

        Learning by doing is also always an option. If you are interested in anaylitics & usability, I suggest you start reading this blog: http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/ . Improve by making small changes. Split test, etc. Some people are brilliant designers, & they put all their faith in design. Some people love analytics (read that blog), & they want stats to tell them exactly what to do. Some people came to this field from a software development/usability angle. Everyone ends up learning from a different angle, so it is hard to tell you exactly how to go about learning.

        Doing without is not necessarily a terrible option. Google suck at design. They are great at software. They actually do without design as much as they can. They compensate with other stuff like speed & simplicity to make things usable. They can do this by not trying to design. Everything is very simple: Google Reader, Search, Gmail, docs… It is all substantially simpler then most anything else. They just avoid designing.

        *Sometimes it doesn’t work. Noone wants a Google Sites site as their company website. Not even as a personal homepage. The design sucks.

        That’s my 2 cents.

  4. Rob says:

    Interesting stuff – and a really good idea from Nethy.

    I came across a service along similar lines this morning – it’s aimed at photographers but I think it’s equally applicable to any website (though it’d need to be re-worded a bit).

    The easiest thing is just to show you the test for my site (hope you don’t mind Adam, feel free to delete if you do!)… http://bit.ly/M4b8t

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Very cool Rob. Definitely don’t mind you (or anyone else) linking to any site so long as it’s relevant to the conversation. I just tried it out. That would be a great idea for any website…anyone know of a more advanced version? If not, it’ll go on my “long term to-do list” 🙂

  5. Rob says:

    There’s two problems with that test as far as I can see…. 1, it’s really critical of load times – I can’t tell if this is a good thing or not, but I don’t think the majority of sites out there are completely loaded in 7 seconds. This could be addressed by precaching the site in the background and then revealing it (ie a popup that masks it and then goes away) but speed is obviously a factor that applies in real life when trying to get conversions on your site so perhaps the test should be left as is…

    The second issue is that it really needs to be completed by people unfamiliar with your site, and they’re not going to be the easiest target audience to reach, unless you make it some sort of collaborative thing – ie. you have to review 10 other sites before you can submit your own, or something like that.

    • nethy says:

      Rob & Adam,

      Here is something along those lines that might help. It’s basically just a front end for the mechanical turk that does split testing. The idea easy, non-scientific market research. Basically an online equivalent of asking a bunch of people in a cafe a question.

      You might be able to use it for a similar purpose to that 7 second test, but it’s not built for that.

      http://pickfu.com/

  6. Rob says:

    Nethy, thanks for the link. I stumbled on this one while looking at something totally unrelated though! http://fivesecondtest.com/

  7. Neville says:

    Oh thank god…there’s finally pictures of CARS on the site!

    A good friend of mine who does this kind of optimization for a living at Google said:

    “I put the laptop on my desk, load the web page, stand 10 feet back….and if I can’t tell what I’m supposed to do, I’ve failed.”

    • Adam McFarland says:

      There is an exotic car on every single page in the background on the lower left. Changes each time you refresh the page 🙂

      • Adam McFarland says:

        And there are pics of cars in the guides, and on the product pages. It’s something we made a point of getting more of when we re-launched the site. We don’t want to be obnoxious with it, but – to your pt – there weren’t many cars on the old site and that was a mistake.

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