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2010-09-12: With a budget that covers about an hour a month, I'm maintaining a website that sells into the golf market and, in its niche, has a page 1, position 2-4 place in Google, which is nice. With a budget like that there's not a huge amount I can do about its position, but I can tweak the site a little.
The site design is very 1994 but the guy's a doctor and doctors aren't renowned for their graphic design skills. I think the design adds to its authenticity, and it converts at 2% so there's some evidence to support me.
However, there was a huge amateur logo at the top which took up about half of screen so a couple of months ago I reduced that by half. I just check conversions: up by 59%.
See, weeny things done on a tiny budget can make a huge difference.
So for my next trick, I'm using an influence trick called 'commitment'. There's the home page, the description of the problem page, and the buy page. So on the home page, I've changed the link to the description page so it says something like "I've got the problem, show me how to solve it". Clicking that is commitment, you're saying you have the problem. At the bottom of the description page it now says something like "I'm ready to do something about [the problem]".
Of course I'll let you know how that goes. The idea is that by the time people get to the payment page, they have said they have the problem, and they've said they are ready to solve it, so now if they don't buy the solution they are being inconsistent with themselves.
We are very sophisticated nowadays. An adverse effect might be that I just screwed up the doctor's authenticity and turned him into a sneaky salesperson. We may not know why, but we may be reticent to click those new links precisely because we don't agree with them and don't want to get into a sales staircase.
That's why we test. I'll watch the numbers and if they improve things, I'll move onwards to the next thing. If they don't, I'll revert and try something else.

By John Allsopp
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