7 Website Conversion Optimization Best Practices

My Post (2)For the past year at BiggerPockets, we have been testing ways to drive up our free membership sign up conversion rate.  BiggerPockets is an online resource for real estate investors, with education and tools designed to help people seeking financial freedom through real estate investing.

I run the conversion-rate optimization program at BiggerPockets, which has been focusing on driving free membership signups for the past 9 months. In that time, we’ve been able to increase our free signup conversion rate by 81%.

If you take all of the successful tests we’ve run and group them into themes, seven core categories emerged. Below, I’m sharing these seven types of acquisition tests we’ve run at BiggerPockets, with real experiment examples and data, so you can start leveraging these with your own experimentation team.

1. Social Proof

The power of community cannot be overstated for every website. Most simply put: When people see that other people like them are doing something, they begin to perceive that action as more valuable (it must be if everyone else is doing it!). You can put this concept into action on your website by finding ways to communicate to your users what their peers are doing on your website.

At BiggerPockets, we’ve had success with this concept in a number of places. Most notably, we used it on our homepage to to drive an increase in our sign up conversion rate:

Hypothesis: If users see that other members of the Biggerpockets community are signing up, they will see more value in signing up. This will result in more users filling out the signup form.

What we tested: Added text to our sign up form that said “X,XXX” people have joined BiggerPockets this week

Results: +6% increase in sign up conversion 

conversion optimization social proof

As a final note I will add: We have found that this concept works well on our free sign-up flows but is less likely to work on conversion for higher dollar items (E.g. our $390 BiggerPockets Pro membership). It’s important to consider your different audience cohorts in experimentation and how motivations may be different.

2. Call to Action: Lower User’s Commitment

When a user lands on your website, asking them to make a $400 purchase within 5 minutes is like proposing to somebody on the first date. Asking them to take one tiny step towards using your website is much more palatable. I recommend analyzing all of your registration calls-to-action (CTAs) to ensure you are not overstating the commitment a user is making by clicking on that button.

For example: On the BiggerPockets bookstore, we have a page which lists every book we sell (essentially a product-listing page for those familiar with retail). For a long while, our CTAs on this page said “Buy Now.” However, by clicking on the button the user was not actually making a purchase. Instead, they were linked to a page which gave the user more details about the book they were considering purchasing. We tested changing this CTA from “Buy Now” to simply “Book Details” to reflect the true commitment the user was making by clicking the link.

conversion optimization call to action

Hypothesis: If we change the bookstore CTA from “Buy Now” to “Book Details”, users feel like they are making less of a commitment when they click the CTA and be more likely to explore what the book is about.

What we tested: Changed bookstore CTAs from “Buy Now” to “Book Details” – Read more