Interview with Petworld founder, Denice Hagen

Denice Hagen, Petworld.no founder

Image source

For most 15 year old Norwegian girls, life is spent in the great outdoors and socializing with friends. But not Denice Hagen, founder of www.petworld.no, an online pet store who at 15 years of age entered the Norwegian eCommerce market.

Now 19 years old, Denice is not only focusing on the growth of Petworld.no, but is also launching two new projects in the next 12 months.

This is a story of how passion, determination and an implement like hell attitude helped Denice create a 12+ million NOK per year online business.

For those who do not know you, can you briefly tell us about yourself?

My name is Denice Hagen, just turned 19 years old. Living in Tyristrand with my family, a small village in the countryside, approx one hour from Oslo. I am still going to school and this is my last year on high school.

How did you get started with Petworld.no?

Since I was little girl I have always been dreaming about sales and marketing. I got this wish fulfilled when I was 15 years old. I told my dad that I wanted to start an online store and he just laughed at it. Finally he said: “yes, we can try”, but he didn’t believe too much at the idea.

We didn’t know what to sell but the only business dad had good contacts in was in the pet business. So then we decided to go for a pet store since we could get the goods we needed to sell from wholesalers dad knew from before. It was very short time from when I had the idea to we opened the store, approx. three months.

We had no idea at all about ecommerce and no contacts in this business from the beginning.

Since dad didn’t believe in this project from the beginning, we started out with only one small box with goods and an old computer in our living room. I designed our first online store putted in inventory (which we didn’t actually had in stock). I opened the store and suddenly we were selling a lot of things to pets.

How did you launch petworld.no while still in school?

Before we started, we agreed that this should only be a hobby project since I was in junior high school and my dad had another job. It soon became clear that we did something right. We got a lot of orders, and dad had drive to the wholesalers almost everyday and picked up the goods we needed. And I was working on the campaigns, new products, Facebook and design in the evenings and the weekends. It was a lot of work, but funny and the store was growing fast and we worked day and night. After 5 months, dad had to quit his other job and starting full time in Petworld.no and he still do today.

In two months I will finish high school and also work full time in Petworld.no as well. And I can’t wait! The best is yet to come.

How do you promote the website?

We market Petworld.no in Facebook, newsletter, Google and some specialist magazines. In Facebook, we find channel to communicate with our customers and we like the idea of the customer can lead us feedback, ask the questions and sharing pictures of their beloved pets. I manage our Facebook page, which has over 12.000 followers, and I find it very exciting to work with.

Petworld.no Facebook account

Which marketing channels are the most important?

Google is a very important sources of traffic to Petworld.no. The organic search is of course the most important, and we work all the time to improve Petworld.no for the Google search engine. We are lucky to co-operate with a very good company who runs our paid Google AdWords. The ads we have on print in this specialist magazine is more for branding and with a long-term perspective.

Do you have any numbers you can share?

  • Website visitors are approx. 30-35.000 visitors per month
  • Marketing budget is approx. 70,000-90,000 NOK per month
  • We expect to sell for approx 12 million NOK ex. vat. this year

Petworld.no has been growing quite good. We started out with approx. 20-30.000 NOK and a little box of goods and an old computer in our family living room. Petworld.no has no bank loans or investors and the inventory in our wearhouse is paid for.

For young marketers in Norway, what would you suggest they focus on first when launching a new website?

Love what you do, stay focused and work very hard – nothing comes for free. I has dropped many things that young people take for granted, such as. parties and hanging out with friends on Saturdays nights instead I have worked with my passion and I do not regret on taking these choices today. And if you love what you do, I am sure it easier to get success.

What trends do you foresee in eCommerce stores in Norway?

I think in general eCommerce will increase a lot in Norway in the future. The customers are getting more used to buy their stuff online. Norway is perfect for eCommerce because of long-distances to physical shops. I think when the consumers are getting even more used to online shopping, this will also put new demands on the web shops like even faster shipping, larger assortment, better custumer service and of course not to forget that more and more visitors to web shops are now using their mobile phones.

Hopefully we will see new and better ways to shop online with our phones soon.

What are the 3 biggest tips/ advice you can share with young entrepreneurs in Norway who want to launch their own business?

I would say having a good and clear concept, make a good research on your future competitors, find their strong- and weakness and try to do your business better. A lot of work will normally pay off, but remember you’re not going to millionaire tomorrow. Be patient!

What’s next for Petworld.no?

We are continuing to do what we do today; expand the product range, offering super fast shipping and a good customer service which normally are open 7 days a week. We are launching a new and responsive site later this year and looking forward to make our shop even better to our customers. In the close future the customer will also find a wide assortment for horses, livestock and hobby farming.

Outside of Petworld.no, what else you do do?

Outside of Petworld, I have some projects underway. CarlMahon.com coming 2015, this store will be inspired by my Instagram account @interior123, which has nearly 400.000 followers. This account was created in January 2013 and it has grown fast. Beside CarlMahon.com project and Petworld.no, we will also launch a new online store this summer, Hundebur.no. This is an online store we bought a few months ago; the shop was in bad condition so we closed it the same day we bought it. We started to built right away and it soon finish.

Denice Hagen, Instagram

Conclusion

Launching a new business is not an easy feat and yet, at 15 years old Denice was determined enough to succeed.  It just goes to show what you can achieve when you stay focused. A big thank you to Denice for taking the time out to answer these questions. It’s been very inspiring.

For more information, you can connect with Denice on LinkedIn or visit Petworld.no.

How I hacked my future

iStock_000021385091Small

As long as I can remember, people kept asking me: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Deciding what you want to spend your time doing for the rest of your life is not something you do when you’re 16. Here in Norway, you have to make certain choices already in that age. I had no idea what I wanted to be. Perhaps a racedriver. Or a teacher, like my father? I flunked my senior year. So I had to retake a few subjects and take an entire year over again in high school.

I needed this time to think about what I wanted to be – or as I rather came to understand: what I wanted todo. As the nerd I am, I took a stroll down the aisles the last day in high school. “Marketing 101” by Philip Kotler caught my eye. I borrowed it and read it out in 3 days. I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up – but I certainly knew what I wanted to do with my life.

I applied for several colleges, and got into Oslo School of Management. I started my first year with joy – August 2011. I loved it. The subjects, the teachers, and the students – this was it! But still, I felt I didn’t to enough. I got great grades, but still – something was missing.

I decided to take this into my own hands. I created a Twitter profile, registered a blog, and started building my competence within social-media marketing. I read dozens upon dozens of book ordered from Amazon, as well as several scholar articles on the internet. Now, I had always been fascinated by computers – my dad got me my first one back in 1997, when I was 6. Computers and technology was my life, so studying social media marketing was absolutely the right path for me.

I basically understood one principle. When you are going to enter the labour-market, you have two choices:

  1. You can get a high degree and get straight A’s.
  2. You can prove your competence through references and earlier work.

That’s what I wanted to do. I was doing great in school, but I was still missing that references-and-earlier-work-part. Damn. I have to get a job. I studied the art of job applications, and I think I cracked the code. I sent out 20 applications, and got accepted for a interview 20 times. But I had no earlier references or competence to show to – remember, I was still a student. I didn’t get any of the jobs. Hell – I have to do something. I haven’t got the time to sit back and wait for school to end.

I started blogging. I would spend hours reading up and researching several subjects I would blog about. I started a blog where I stated my opinions. And soon enough – I’d even dare saying I got noticed in the marketing-businesses in Norway/Oslo. I attended allt he conferences I could, to be able to build a network. I followed these on twitter, and started interacting in conversations on all the digital networking sites.

Now, at the age of 22, I work as a Marketing Designer for Fanbooster, one of Europe’s most emerging SaaS businesses with focus on Facebook. I absolutely love what I do. The catch? There are no catches. I am still a student – studying at Oslo School of Management, finishing my last semester. I have been working at Fanbooster for over a year now.

Heres my tips for future “go-getters”:

– Dare to challenge teachers and the industry.
– Be social. Go to events and lunches with interesting people.
– Don’t be afraid to brag. Stop being humble.
– Remember to give more in value than you take in payment.

How An Idea Turned Into An Explosive Viral Post!

The literal meaning of “going viral”, is that your content has stirred up the audience so enormously, that it’s spreading like fire. It ends up being the very latest big thing on the Internet. It happens when your content is getting liked, retweeted, commented on, shared, blogged on, and is being talked about by everyone in the industry – something that earns you more views than you would ever have imagined.

The things mentioned above are nothing but a powerful result for your content and the brand’s reputation. However, it is rather unrealistic to make content viral just like that. What one should concentrate on is to make the content the most informative, fascinating and the most interesting online experience for their audience. Going viral is not at all about good fortune or luck. Instead a number of things go into it. This post is about how we turned an idea into one of the most comprehensive post for the SEO fraternity, which will be looked forward to as a very valuable and helpful source of study by experts and amateurs alike.

How it all started?

Our team was having a discussion on what is it that the SEO’s all around the world would be looking forward to know. Something that could prove to be a valuable resource and at the same time, budding SEO’s could actually come to know what are those things that their SEO idols do. The first thing one would like to know is their way of working. This includes a number of things, but what really drives our curiosity is the tools/plugins that they work with.

SEO Plugins are one the most compelling things in this industry, and to know which ones are being used by the prominent names in the industry would prove to be a boon for everyone. This gave us an idea of getting in touch with all the SEO experts around the globe and ask them what is it, in terms of plugins that they can’t live without while SEOing. We asked just one simple question:

“Which are those 3 SEO Browser Plugins/Extensions you simply can’t work without?”

Identifying the Participants

We knew that the answers to these questions would be looked upon as a valuable source to all experts and budding SEO’s alike. The question was simple, yet curiosity driving. The answers to these questions were all set to become valuable assets not only for us, but also for those who would be accessing them. This drove us to get the answers straight from the horses’ mouth. The people who are considered to be the assets of the SEO industry, contributing their valued information for the well-being of other co-SEO’s. Sounds like a great idea? Read on…

We made a list of all stalwarts in the online marketing industry who are considered to be the trend-setters. Those people who were regularly coming up with new posts, blogs and videos to educate people on SEO were the first choice, as many are looking forward to their advice on various aspects of the industry. This made the team prepare a whopping list of 280 experts for this post. We acquired their e-mails from their websites and social media and started sending them personalized mails.

Unfortunately, almost 38% of those on the list were unable to contribute, maybe because of a very tight schedule. However, we were overwhelmed to see the responses appearing on our inbox from the rest.

The Response

What we got in response, made us go dumbstruck! We had never imagined that 105 SEO experts would actually be gracious enough to share their favorite SEO plugins, and let the world know their desktop secrets. It was this massive response that made our endeavor a successful one. We received their contributions in absolutely no time after asking them the question. The contributors have actually helped in making this post viral.

The Contributors

All those in the SEO industry, would be able to identify the names of the contributors at once. Saying anything about these prominent names, would be an understatement.

The Contributors

The Contributors

The Making of the Post

As soon as we got the response, we started organizing all the data that had been received from all the contributors. We also filtered out the top 5 plugins, those which appeared commonly in all the contributions. This serves the purpose for all those who are looking for the top plugins used by SEO experts around the globe. The next thing was to make a compilation of all the feedback and present it along with the post. The idea behind the whole process is to come up with a post that could prove to be a valuable resource for eternity.

The team did exactly the same, and the post was created that carried pictures and messages of all the successful SEO experts. The idea behind the whole post was simple:

Know the Flow: One of the most important things to get the desired response for a post is that it should touch the audience in some way. The content has to inspire awe and trigger curiosity. The motive was to set an awakening, broadening of knowledge which could be cherished for a long time.

Value: The post should be used as an informative source that helps others in improvising on their SEO tasks, understand things better and make valued decisions with the help of the information available.

Eventually, the team came up with a compelling post which was all set to create a buzz in the SEO industry.

Promoting the Post

It wasn’t very tough as the post itself is a guide for all those who want to know the best tools in the market to perform various SEO activities.

The reason why I am writing this particular post is because I wanted to share an idea. An idea, that if you have a valuable, an informative, and an engaging resource on hand there isn’t much marketing required, as it has all the capabilities of going viral. The post was an initiative to educate people, and the purpose was received very well by all the contributors. Half the job was done by them as they started sharing this post throughout their network. This made the post spread faster than lightning, and the count of visits was ticking up with each passing day.

We did not resort to any paid advertising. Instead we decided to promote it through our social profiles and it started spreading like wildfire. Read on to know the social networking figures.

The Virality

The team had never imagined that what started out as a mere idea to create a post to help out, would prove to be a massive hit among its readers. The post proved to be so successful, that it started receiving a stream of appreciating comments from all over. The count of likes, tweets and shares started going up with each passing day, and we are still counting.

All those who have read this, find it to be the most comprehensive and a very useful guide for those who would like to try out new plugins for their SEO projects. People are actually asking us for more of such posts which could give industry insights. We could now say that this post has actually turned out to be a linkable asset for us, for the number of times it is being shared on social networks.

Success Factors

I know very well, what you are looking out from the SEO’s perspective. Here are some of the most popular counts. Before mentioning them I would like to mention that this count is at the time of writing this segment of the post.

  • Links:   50+ including one from Search Engine Land
  • Google+ 1s:   437
  • Linkedin Shares:   149
  • Tweets:   375
  • Facebook:   238

And, if you want to have a look at the number of visits here is the graph. On the very next day of putting the post live we were overwhelmed to see the number of visits.

This was meant to be just that – another post. We had never thought that we would come up with a post that would manage to create a buzz.

Conclusion

Creating survey posts like this could take a lot of time, and the responses could be long-time pending from those whom you requested.

However, once you have created one, you’ll get tons of comments, shares and likes if found useful by your readers. By conducting surveys like this one, you and your readers could find out how your idols work, and also this shows what the audience is looking for. This response could serve as a platform to come up with more compelling posts and surveys.

Guest Author: Sanket Patel is the Founder of Blurbpoint.com, a leading Internet Marketing Company specializing in content marketing and SEO Services. He has extensively researched on the ultimate recovery process of Panda/Penguin which is working successfully these days.

The Complete Magento SEO Best Practice Guide

Magento SEO guide

Download Magento SEO Guide (Plus Bonus Tips)

If you have a website, you will want to attract natural and organic traffic.

And as e-commerce platforms go, Magento is one of the best out-of-the-box solutions you will find for how to optimize your website for search engines.

To make the most out of your visibility in search engines, there are a number of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques within the Magento admin you can do to increase the potential of buyers finding your site and making a purchase. During the last five months, I’ve worked with a brand that has five websites in five different languages.

The following Magento SEO guide explains how several improvements lead to an increase in organic traffic from 4,200 visits to 28,800 visits and an increase in organic revenue from $57,000 to $395,000. organic traffic increase

Register your website with Google and Bing Webmaster Tools

Webmaster Tools provides insight into how Google and Bing see your site and if you have problems with it when they crawl your pages. Register your website in both Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools  – Google will provide you with a ‘Google site verification’ tag and Bing will provide a ‘msvalidate’ tag. Copy and paste the HTML tag into the Magento admin. You can find this under System > Configuration > Design > Miscellaneous Scripts. webmaster tools field

Auto redirect base-URL to canonicalize your domain

It’s important that Google only find and index one version of your home page. If both http://www.example.com and http://example.com  can be accessed, your website will be penalized for site-wide duplicate content. You will need to redirect one to the other in Magento. The default setting in Magento is set at a 302 temporary redirect. A 302 temporary redirect will not pass on any link juice so you need to change this to a 301 permanent redirect. You can change this under System > Configuration > General > Web > URL Options and set “Auto-redirect to Base URL” to “Yes (301 Moved Permanently)”. autobase redirect url

Enable web server rewrites for user-friendly URLs

Having a user-friendly URL structure is important for both search engines and usability.In order to make sure your URL’s are user-friendly, visit System > Configuration > General > Web > Search Engine Optimization and set “Use Web Server Rewrites” to ‘Yes’. web server rewrite The difference in having a user-friendly URL structure compared to session based/ dynamic URLs can be seen below when we turned on the “Use Web Server Rewrites” setting, with the number of impressions in Google increasing immediately. search impressions In 2012, Atoll Paradise updated their URL structure to be more user-friendly and organic traffic increased by 350%. Over the course of twelve months this mean more than 420,000 visitors.

Prevent duplicate content by disabling category URLs

By default, Magento will use the category structure in the product URL. For example, a home furniture store may have a page URL www.mywebsite.com/bedroom/candles. However, you may have products that exist in multiple categories. For example,

The best URL structure here would be www.mywebsite.com/candles.This removes the category in the URL. To change the URL structure visit System > Configuration > General > Catalog > Catalog > Search Engine Optimization. You can then change the setting “Use Categories Path for Product URLs” to “No”. category path If you haven’t done so already, you can edit two further settings under “Search engine optimization”. Make sure that the following fields are set to “Yes”:

    • Create Permanent Redirect for old URLs if Url key changed
  • Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories
  • Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products

Using the rel=canonical tag will stop your website being penalized for duplicate content. rel-canonical

Create and upload robots.txt file

A robots.txt file is a text file that help search engines determine which information on your site to index. As a default, there is no robots.txt file in Magento so you will need to create the robots.txt file yourself. By having a robots.txt file, you can prevent duplicate content issues and hide pages from search engines that you do not want indexed, such as CMS login, reports and files. A robots.txt file is set up for one domain. In order to install it, create a new text file in Notepad and save it as a robots and a “.txt” file. You can then upload the file to the web root of your server (ex, www.mywebsite.com/robots.txt). Here as an example of a standard Magento CMS based robots.txt file: robots txt file Simply copy the above and upload to the web root of your server.

Enable “Index, follow” to get your website found in search engines

It’s common that when you’re testing your website before launching, you hide the site from search engines so you enable “no index, nofollow”. But it’s also common that when you go live with your new website, you can forget to change it to “index, follow” or any other option that prevents your site being found in search. To ensure that your website is being indexed and links are followed, visit System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Default robots “Index, follow”. index follow

Create default Meta data to avoid duplicate content

As a default setting, Magento will leave your “default description” field blank, which means that both the default title tag and Meta description is missing. By leaving them blank, you may end up with hundreds or thousands of duplicate content issues on your site and Google will struggle to index certain pages. In order to set a default title tag and Meta description for pages that have yet to be optimized, you can visit System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Default description. default meta content

Using Rel=alternate hreflang for International rankings

For International websites, you will most likely have similar versions of your website in multiple languages. Google has provided a way for webmasters to not be penalized for duplicate content by creating the rel=alternate hreflang=X link attribute. By implementing this snippet into the <head> section of your website for each page that exists in a different language/ website, Google will be able to show the correct language and page in the search results. For example, if you have German websites for both http://www.mywebsite.de and http://www.mywebsite.at, you would implement the following snippet in the <head> section on both websites.

In order to get the most out of your International website, this should be implemented at page level site wide. For example, your product page would include a similar snippet:

By implementing these snippets, Google will then be able to show the Austrian page to searchers in Austria and the German page for searchers in Germany. To implement the rel=”alternate” hreflang snippet in Mangento, visit System > Configuration > General > Design > HTML Head > Miscellaneous Scripts. href lang At nameOn, we saw that the Norwegian website, which had the highest domain authority, was being ranked first in Google for branded searches. nameon SERP 1 Once we were able to implement rel=”alternate” hreflang on both the German and Norwegian websites, the German website was immediately positioned in the first spot, which has helped organic traffic grow in Germany. nameon SERP 2

Implement Google Analytics tracking code

Although not entirely related to SEO, tracking website visitors and site behavior is crucial to your businesses success. You will able to track which marketing activity generates revenue and from which country. Your Google Analytics profile ID will start with “UA” and be followed by several numbers. For example, UA-3465789-9. Paste your Google Analytics profile ID into the field and tracking will begin immediately. It’s easy to get started with Google Analytics and once you have created an account, you can visit System > Configuration > Sales > Google API > Google Analytics. google analyticsgoogle analytics For International websites, it is recommended that you implement cross-domain tracking so that you can avoid having your websites appear as sources under the referral traffic report. cross domain tracking

Default home page title tag

Another default setting in Magento will be the homepage title tag, which is set to “home”. You will need to edit this into a natural title tag that summarizes what your website is/ or does. To edit the home page title tag, visit CMS > Pages and once you find your home page, edit the “Page Title” field. default title tag In addition, you can edit the Meta Data tab (on the left) and update your home page Meta description. default meta description

Create an XML Sitemap and submit it to Webmaster Tools

Creating an XML sitemap allows Google and other search engines to find products, categories and pages on your website. It’s up to Google to determine whether or not your page belongs in the index but an XML sitemap will speed up the process of being indexed/ crawled. To set up an XML sitemap, visit www.xml-sitemaps.com. Once you have your XML sitemap upload it to the root of your website (for example, http://www.mysite.com/sitemap.xml), and submit the sitemap under “Catalog > Google sitemap” in Magento. xml sitemap You can also submit your XML sitemap to Google Webmaster tools and best practice is to include the XML sitemap in your robots.txt file too. Here is an example of how we included it at nameOn. xml sitemap robots txt When adding the XML sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools, we saw an immediate impact in the number of pages crawled by Google. crawl rate

Conclusion

No CMS is fully optimized for search engines and you will always need to further optimize your site to increase its visibility.

SEO is an ongoing process but the SEO tips used above only need to be addressed one time, which means you can instead focus your efforts on building your social media presence, creating content and optimizing conversion rates.

By following the Magento SEO tips above, more people will find your website in search engines and this will lead to an increase in visits and higher organic sales.

Looking for help with Magento? Visit the Magento blog for eCommerce tips and more.

Bonus section

Now that you have these Magento SEO tips set up to dominate the search engine results pages, it’s time to take your search engine optimization knowledge one step further. I’ve created a proven model that will boost your SEO traffic and revenue.

The three tier keyword conversion model helps you identify a wealth of keyword opportunities. I don’t always share my secrets; this is an exception.

Are you interested? (click the link below).

How to Track Organic Keyword Goal Conversions in Google Analytics

Tracking revenue generated from each organic keyword is a common report ran by SEO’s for e-commerce stores. Google Analytics E-Commerce Tracking is a powerful report that makes budget allocation a lot easier as you can see which channels generate revenue.

Lead generation websites are different.

There is no on-site sale, no e-commerce tracking so therefore SEO’s need to be able to report the number of leads generated from their search efforts. The basic report in Google Analytics allows you to track conversion rate for any given keyword, but SEO’s also need to see which keyword generates the most leads by number, not a percentage.

The following explains how to set-up a custom Organic Keyword Conversion Tracking Report that provides data on visits, organic searches, goal completions and goal conversion rate.

1. Goal Tracking In Google Analytics

Before creating this report, it is important to have goal tracking implemented. Without website goals, your analytics loses purpose. Whether your websites goals are sales, to capture leads or download a PDF product sheet, the goals of your website should reflect your overall business goals. Setting up goals will show you exactly how many goals were achieved but also how they were achieved and through which channels.

To create a filter, you can visit Admin > Account List > Analytics profile > Goals

Google analytics goals

The most common goal is URL destination. For example, if you want to track the number of newsletter sign-ups on your website, once the newsletter form is submitted, the “thank you” page URL is usually http://www.domain.com/thank-you. In this case, you would enter /thank-you and click save.

2. Setting Up The Keyword Conversion Tracking Report

To create the Organic Keyword Conversion report, you will need to visit Traffic Sources > Search > Organic and click Customize:

customize

To create the report, you will need to add metrics to Report Content. The metrics you need to add are:

  • Visits
  • Goal Completions
  • Goal Conversion Rate
  • Organic Searches

Note: If you do not add ‘organic searches’, the report will include keywords from your paid search campaigns.

You will then need to add ‘keywords’ to the Dimension Drilldowns section (you can ignore ‘filters’).

Custom report

You can now apply the Organic Keyword Conversion Tracking report to all profiles within your Google Analytics account and then click save.

3. Getting The Keyword Conversion Tracking Report Data

Once the report has been saved, the data will be presented.

Keyword tracking data

The report will show keywords based on visits to the website. You can filter by goal completions and to view all keywords that convert, change rows from ‘10’ to ‘100’ found at the bottom of the page.  As per usual, the report will automatically show data for the last 30 days.

Goal filtering

4. Exporting The Keyword Conversion Tracking Report Into Excel

Once you have the data, you can then export the Keyword Conversion Tracking Report to Excel and filter the report by branded and non-branded converting keywords. You can also use this data to find any increases in organic leads and view the progress of your SEO efforts.

The Keyword Conversion Tracking Report is a simple yet powerful report you can create to showcase your SEO investment is paying off.

Bonus: Convert more organic visitors

I want to help you increase your website conversion rates, so I’ve developed a keyword strategy that you can use to grow organic sales.

  • First: I’ve created a secret keyword strategy that will send your organic conversions through the roof
  • Second: This strategy is yours to download as a PDF (or for you to save it and print it out)
  • Third: I’m giving my strategy away, for free.

Does this sound good?

 

Case Study: How CrazyEgg Heatmap & Overlay Reports Increased 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.

Theory

By visualizing problem areas on the website, we can remove distractions and increase form completion rates.

Findings

Twelve days after implementing CrazyEgg, Softmedia had collected more than 10,000 page views of data. Using the heatmap report, they immediately noticed distractions on the site that sent visitors away from the web form.

Softmedia heatmap

A “Do not click here” button was leading visitors away from the “request a quote” button (on the second most visited page) and by having a video demo on the contact page, the video acted as an incentive for users to be directed and navigate away. We removed these distractions immediately.

Providing these improvements were successful, traffic would increase to the inquiry form. The next step was to use CrazyEgg’s Overlay report. They wanted to make the form as simple as possible, without compromising the quality of the leads.

Softmedia form

The overlay report allowed them to identify fields that are not being completed (note: not all fields are required). By removing fields that users did not complete and data that Softmedia did not use, they immediately improved the web form.

Result

The recommendations found from CrazyEgg heatmap and overlay reports were sent to the web development team. The improvements made to the site took 10 minutes and the impact was immediate. According to Google Analytics, the site conversion rate has now increased by more than 51%.

Softmedia conversion rate

Conclusion

By removing distractions on your website, web visitors will be more likely to complete your on-site goals and thus increase the number of leads to your business.

CrazyEgg delivered on their promise and for $9, Softmedia were able to increase conversion rate and the number of daily leads. Have you used CrazyEgg analytics and did it have a positive impact on your conversion rate?

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.

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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):

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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):

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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:

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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 www.mysite.com was not working. Several tests were performed using different variations (www.mysite.com, mysite.com, 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.

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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.

Conclusion

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.

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