Case Study 4 – Meet Our Conversion Rates Test Site!

Case Study 4 – Meet Our Conversion Rates Test Site!

improve conversion ratesWho’s ready for another case study?! Is it you guys? I thought so… 🙂

So, as I mentioned in my last “Sarah’s Corner” post, this case study is going to revolve around a site that I’m flipping. I picked up the site at Flippa a little over a month ago, and I haven’t done much of anything to it yet. I’ve made a few tweaks (which I’ll describe below), but otherwise, the site look pretty much the same as it did when I bought it. Over the next month, I’m going to be working on the site in more depth, and I’ll be sharing the techniques I use to improve the site’s conversion rate in this case study.

Let’s get started!

First of all, let’s talk about the site, which can be found at www. getridofblackheads . info (squish that together for the full URL). As in my last few case studies, I’m not going to be linking to the site from here and I’m going to be careful about how often I use the site’s target keywords in print so that I don’t affect it’s traffic or rankings unnaturally.

Currently, the site is a long-form sales letter that sells a $7 ebook and a lightbox-style opt-in form gathering signups for a 52-week autoresponder series on the backend. When I purchased the site, it also came with a $37 backend product (that’s also listed and approved in Clickbank), but for now, I’m focusing on getting the base page ranking and performing (no reason to put a bunch of work into a one-time offer page if no one’s buying the entry product in the first place!).

According to the seller, the site hasn’t been promoted in about three years, but when it was actively promoted with article marketing, the site was generating as many as 10 sales per day. Whether or not that’s true is anyone’s guess (as just about anything on Flippa can be faked), but I since it currently isn’t making *any* sales, I’ll settle for any kind of improvement 🙂

Because I’ve had the site for about a month now, I’ve been able to collect some analytics data to establish a baseline for the site’s performance. As you can see below, the site is still receiving some traffic, although it’s not great quality (take a look at that average time on site!).

Most of the traffic is coming from referring sites, and the largest referrer to the site is Ezinearticles:

The site is currently ranking at #133 for its target keyword according to Market Samurai, although it does have a few higher positions for sub-keywords, as you can see below:

So far, the only changes I’ve made to the site include a few aesthetic tweaks (ie – changing the font size, deleting some extra spaces, etc) and moving the opt-in form from being inline at the top of the sales letter to the lightbox format. I’ve also set up a split-test using Google’s Website Optimizer program to test different versions of the sales letter headline, although I don’t have any conclusive results yet.

That’s what I’m looking at so far – now here’s how I plan to tweak the site…

Step #1 – Add Traffic Sources

Since most of the traffic is coming from a few old articles, there’s definitely room to expand the traffic strategies that are currently being used on the site. Here’s what I’ve got in mind:

Organic SEO Traffic – Because the site is older, I can be a little more aggressive with my backlinking than I could with a new site. I’m planning to hit it pretty hard with some new links, following Pat Flynn’s “Backlinking Strategy That Works” (I’ve always used a structure that’s similar to this, but I’ve been curious about testing out his techniques for a while).

Blog Commenting – I’m not sure how well blog commenting will work for this niche or this style site, but I’m going to give it a try. I might also mix in some promotion via Yahoo Answers, which I’ve used successful with self-help niches in the past.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – I don’t usually work with PPC advertisements, but for this particular site, I’m thinking about throwing a few dollars in traffic at the site via 7Search. I like 7Search because it’s ridiculously cheap to use and, in the past, the traffic quality has been much higher than the other second-tier engines I’ve worked with.

The reason I’d add PPC ads to this campaign is that I want to be able to split test several different elements quickly, but in order to do that, I need a certain number of visitors in order to conduct meaningful tests. Since SEO traffic and other techniques like blog commenting will take some time to show results, I’m considering paying for some traffic to get more eyeballs on the site as quickly as possible.

Step #2 – Build Out a Blog

One of the results of the Google Panda updates is that thin sites – those with very little content, like this site – are having a harder time getting ranked. So if I’m going to be putting all of this effort towards backlinking and site tweaking, I don’t want to be shooting myself in the foot by promoting a site that isn’t eligible to rank well anyways.

For this reason, I’m going to be adding a WordPress blog to a subdirectory on the site. The content will be optimized to the lower-level keywords I’m planning to target, and each post will conclude with a signature pointing visitors back to the main sales page. I’m currently having this content written by my virtual assistant, as I’m pretty crunched for time right now!

Step #3 – Improve Copy

I’m not a copywriter. Even with as much writing as I’ve done online, I’ve always focused exclusively on informational web content. Writing to persuade is much more difficult for me, but even I know that the copy on this site isn’t all that hot.

Of course, assuming the seller wasn’t totally lying, it’s made some sales before, but I still think there’s plenty of room to make it even more engaging and persuasive. Going forward, I plan to solicit feedback from my friends in the Warrior Forum Copywriting Forum and implement changes based on the tips shared on Copyblogger.

Step #4 – Optimize Email Autoresponder

Just like the site’s copy, the email autoresponder messages aren’t really anything worth writing home about. Using some of the Aweber advanced tools, I’m going to look at the analytics data I have regarding message open rates and clickthroughs to see where I’m losing people and what I can do to make the messages more sticky.

Not exactly a small project, eh?

In addition to all of this, I’ll be posting weekly articles with more detail on the techniques I’m using to improve the site’s conversion rate. Mark your calendars for Saturday, when I’ll be posting the first of these training messages, focusing on how to get traffic to your site quickly.

Do you have any other suggestions for items I should be improving on this site? Share your feedback in the comments below!

6 Responses to Case Study 4 – Meet Our Conversion Rates Test Site!

  1. Chas says:

    Half the things you mentioned, I was unaware of, such as Flippa and 7Search. You said you don’t usually do PPC- mind saying what your main marketing focus is? Thank you for sharing such an informative article; I hope you will share updates, as your changes to the site progress.

    • Sarah says:

      Chas – Usually, I’m all about free backlinks that contribute to SEO (basically, article marketing, Web 2.0 sites, blog commenting, forum commenting, etc). The problem is that some of these methods can be so darn slow, especially if you’re counting on high SERPs rankings to provide the traffic.

  2. Paul Evans says:

    Hi Sarah

    Great blog, and a great idea here which I will endeavor to follow

    I would recommend, for the wordpress subdomain blog, that you install this magical SEO plugin : http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/. I have been using it for years now on my sites (mainly all in French even though I’m a British expat – here’s a shameless link to one of them about croisières – cruises in English so you can see what i’m on about (look at source code))

    The beauty is 2-fold :
    1. It allows you to differentiate your from the article title for each article – ie you then target real “searched” terms in the based on your keyword analysis as you show above. You might also want to consider it for this site as well, to target your niche terms
    2. Breadcrumbs – because Google only indexes the first link in each page, best to get the link back to the homepage as a keyword-rich anchor text – “get rid of blackheads” in your example above. That way each page of the site links back to the homepage with that anchor text. That way even the sub-domain will more authority on that keyword and then you just have to handle how you link back to the sales page, as you say.

    In my experience, using this plugin gets you at least +50% traffic. You can’t go wrong with it.

    Good luck, please keep me posted
    My blog on conversion marketing is almost ready for a hard launch, please check back in a week and you can sign up to my “conversion secrets” pdf 🙂

    Regards
    Paul

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Paul – Thanks for the recommendations! I’ve heard great things about the Yoast plugin but haven’t really experimented with it much before. I’ll have to take a look at it 🙂

  3. ES says:

    I build new blogs from ground-up and the main technique I use to promote them is fresh and new content added regularly. I have not tried optimizing a website that is focused on selling a product, even though I am planning to do that on the long term after my blogs start generating a lot of traffic. Thanks for these suggestions…

    • Sarah says:

      ES – Fresh content is definitely a great way to build traffic to a site, which is part of the reason I’m adding a sub-domain blog to the site. But I’ve found that it can take time for updated content to result in traffic, which is why I’m adding other techniques as well – glad to hear they’re useful for you!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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