Case Study 4 – Progress and Setbacks

Case Study 4 – Progress and Setbacks

Hey all! Just wanted to take a second to update you on the progress I’m making with Case Study #4, which – as you know – is focused on improving the conversion rates of a minisite I picked up on Flippa a few months ago. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go back and read the post where I introduce our test subject first, as well as the post about how I plan to boost traffic to the site.

(And yes, apologies because this update is a lot later than I intended to post it… I’ve got tons of excuses that you don’t want to hear, including extra projects at my day job (they expect me to do work?!) and some health issues (walking pneumonia and a sinus infection after a month-long flu/cold). Needless to say, I haven’t been following my own advice about having a backup plan or staying healthy!)

Anyways, here’s what’s been going on since the last update…

Building Out a Blog

One of the first changes I made to the site was to build out a blog on a subdirectory on the site and pre-load it with unique content that’s scheduled to post over the next two months. The content isn’t super high-quality, but it’s main purposes are to attempt to capture a few long tail keywords and provide an SEO benefit to the main page in terms of new, updated content.

The design of the blog was built in Artisteer to mimic the look of the main sales page, and as you can see I’m also using the Ad Injection plugin to append a signature line to each post funneling back to the main site:

building out a blog

I’m contemplating doing a lightbox-style opt-in form on the blog as well as building up some backlinks to the posts here as they come up, but it’s not as much of a priority for me as building up traffic to the main site is.

Generating Traffic

In addition to writing the content for the blog, I also had my VA write content for two backlinking articles, which I’ve spun using a new program I just picked up called SpinChimp. I’ll tell you more about it in a future post since I’ve only just started using it, but so far, I’m really loving some of the features it has that spinners I’ve used in the past haven’t had.

The spun articles have been distributed to a couple of different Fiverr outsourcers who are creating Web 2.0 sites, posting articles to directories and creating bulk backlinks to these properties according to Pat Flynn’s “Backlinking Strategy That Works”.

Beyond this SEO backlinking work, I’ve been starting some limited blog commenting and Yahoo Answer-ing, though not enough to really make a dent in anything yet. As you can see, the site has been picking up backlinks over the past few months as compared to the beginning of the year according to MajesticSEO (still waiting on October’s results to come in):

measuring site backlinks

On the positive side, the rankings for some of the long-tail keywords I’m targeting are improving (as indicated by numbers shown in green on the chart below). The ranking for my main keyword has fallen, but I’m not worried about it, as it’s natural to see some movement (aka – the “Google Dance”) as I restart my backlinking efforts.

checking my rankings in market samurai

The downside is that while I’m seeing some movement in terms of backlinks and rankings, traffic isn’t improving significantly. The Clicky stats for the past 30 days are pretty dismal, as you can see below:

traffic stats from getclicky

They’re especially interesting in light of the fact that I’ve paid for 55 clicks on PPC engine 7Search in the last few weeks – me thinks the traffic coming from here isn’t as high quality as it used to be… Needless to say, I’ve put the kibosh on that campaign!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be continuing with all these efforts – though hopefully at a much faster rate! Blog commenting is a big priority for the next week or two, and I might look at trying to do a guest post on a popular beauty site to kick up the promotion a notch.

Improving the Sales Page Copy

Beyond backlinking and traffic generation, another big focus of mine will be improving the copy on the main sales page. Of course, before I could start making specific tweaks, I needed to know more about how people interact with the site. To get this information, I installed the free version of Seevolution’s heat map tools, which gives me the ability to track where people are clicking on the page, how their mouses are moving and how far down the page they scrolled.

scroll heat map

Initially, I was surprised by the results of the scroll heat map, as it showed people reading quite a bit further down the page than I expected. I was guessing that the copy was bad enough that people would give up right away, but quite a few of the visitors tracked by the heat map made it all the way through the sales letter.

Of course, I’m keeping in mind that the unexpected results here could be due – not to actual, interested visitors – but to people clicking over from this case study to read the site for themselves. Not exactly the visitors I’m trying to target, so I’m not putting too much stock in these results.

Instead, I decided to go straight to the experts and ask for feedback on the copy from the Copywriting Forum on the Warrior Forum. Here’s a preview of what some of them had to say, although you can read the full content on my “Need your help with a copywriting case study” thread…

From Azarna:

“There are quite a few errors, which is always off-putting.”

Yep – that’s actually a great place to start… My freelance writer ears are burning!!!

Andrew Gould had this to say:

“One more thing, and this is a fundamental sales point, at the moment the page is selling the process – getting rid of blackheads – it wants to be selling the results: more confidence, more attractive, etc.”

Very solid point. I’d definitely like to see more emotional appeals brought to this copy.

Finally, seabro offered a few new headline options, including:

“Goodbye blackeads, hello beautiful, clear and youthful looking skin”, “Ugly blackheads to clear, soft skin in 22 days or your money back” or “My friends couldn’t believe the transformation, ugly blackheads to gorgeous soft skin in just 2 weeks.”

All great suggestions, and I really appreciate the time these Warriors took to check out my sales letter and offer feedback. But here’s the thing… I’m not a strong copywriter. I’ve done some informal sales copy work, but I’ve never studied all of the psychology behind long form sales letters (although I’d definitely like to do this at some point).

So instead of wasting my time hack-jobbing this already-sad sales letter with my attempts at incorporating this feedback, I’ve decided to team up with a professional copywriter to help get it back in shape. I’m not sure when we’ll have something ready or whether it’ll be a full re-write or a few tweaks, but you know I’ll keep you all posted!

That’s all I’ve got so far. I haven’t had a chance to start in on the email autoresponder, but that’s pretty low on my priorities list right now. In the next few weeks, I’m going to continue to make the improvements described above – especially stepping up the dismal traffic levels.

I’ve also got some good informative posts planned for you as a part of this case study, so be sure to stop back on Thursday for tips on how to use sub-domain blogs to drive traffic and improve SEO.

If you have any questions about my progress thus far, ask below in the comments!

Image: EU Social

2 Responses to Case Study 4 – Progress and Setbacks

  1. Chas says:

    Thanks for the update. You may be interested to know that Google updated Panda just a couple of weeks ago and a lot of sites have been hit hard by the latest matrix. One site I know of went from an Alexa ranking of around 50,000 to around 150,000. Take care of that virus. I know, I had a bug about a week ago(biological, not technical). Wishing you the best.

    • Sarah says:

      You know, I was wondering if that was it – there was a pretty significant drop in traffic around September 8th, but that doesn’t line up with Panda 2.5. Could be it was affected by another minor algo change that didn’t merit a full Panda update name, or it’s possible that the sites sending the bulk of the traffic were hit by something similar.

      We’ll see, though – nothing to do but work harder to make the site better and get more traffic flowing!

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