Results May Vary

by Melvin Ram on September 7, 2010

About 21 hours ago, I read Carlos Taborda’s blog post on how they were able to increase their conversion rates by 45% through testing and optimizing their design/content. The results were impressive. The key changes they made were:

  • Remove navigation bar. The idea was to limit the users options. They had to either either click to see Plans & Pricing or view the features.
  • Red call to action button.
  • Features instead of Screenshot.
  • Big Letters
  • No Pricing in front-page
  • Some better description text, more concise, bullets, etc.

Of the above, the one that I hadn’t tested was removing the navigation menu on our home page. I’ve tested removing it on our consultation form and it works great but I hadn’t tested  it on the home page. Next task: Test!

Test Overview

Using Visual Website Optimizer, it was pretty easy to get a test setup and running.

Here’s the header for control:

Here’s the header for the variant:

I setup 4 conversion goals:

  • Viewed Pricing Page
  • Viewed Consultation Page
  • Became Lead
  • Engagement (inverse of bounce rate)


After a few hundred people viewed the test, here are the results as compared with the control which was website with menu on home page:

  • Viewed Pricing Page: -15.57%
  • Viewed Consultation Page: +3.19%
  • Became Lead: +1.1%
  • Engagement: -49.73%


As you can see from the data above, the engagement rate is way way down. Consultation page views and Lead conversion is up slightly but it’s not worth the huge gigantic drop in engagement on the website.

This quick test doesn’t prove that you must have a menu on your website. It simply means that you should take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt and test everything you change on your site because as they often say in weight loss commercials, “Results May Vary!!”

PS: I know the sample size is small but the difference is so significant that a reasonable conclusion can be drawn on which variation will be a better performer.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carlos Taborda September 8, 2010 at 12:09 am

Hey there Melvin. Great article :)

One thing that I wanted to mention, your ‘call to action’ button sends your users to “Get a Free Quote” not directly to a Signup page.

Then, after they go into the signup page, they have to decide if they want to get a quote and start a conversation, rather than just signing up.

Our workflow is different.

Front Page -> Sign Up form -> Instant Gratification.
Front Page -> Page with different options -> Then start a conversation about seeing if I want this product or not. By the time we reach the 3rd step the sale is already made, in your case the user gets to the 3rd step and the only thing he has done is given you his email.

Anyhow, great article! Thanks for the mention.


Carlos Taborda.

Melvin Ram September 8, 2010 at 12:14 am

Yea, we’re just testing how many people actually click through to view the lead gen form page so I can gauge whether the price points would make people be interested.

Within a couple weeks, I’m going to add a more direct way of signing up. In fact, I’m going to possibly borrow parts of your pricing page :D. I like how the pricing page is actually the first step in signing up and the next steps are right below it, not on a second page.

Anyhow, keep up the good fight :)

~ mel

Carlos Taborda September 8, 2010 at 12:41 am


Great stuff :)

I love your business idea, really solves a problem for the mainstream users. Who are you guys hosting with now? ;)

Let me know if we can help out with anything ;)



Melvin Ram September 8, 2010 at 1:04 am

Thanks. Right now we’re with Rackspace Cloud.

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