What to Test – Part 8

Welcome to the latest edition of our new weekly blog series, What to Test. Each week, we will introduce a new test idea. We’ll explain why it’s important to test it, what you might learn, how to carry out the test, and what to measure in order to determine a winner. Last week we tested Trust Seals.

The Test = Homepage Images

Why?

Your homepage is one of the most important pages on your website. It’s the page most of your visitors will hit first. I’ve always said that the primary goal of the homepage is to get people off the homepage and deeper into your site. And depending on your audience, that goal can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

Many homepages like to grab a visitor’s attention with a big striking graphic. Or they will use an image to showcase a special offer or sale. Others will spare the image and get right to the detail or product information. Depending on what your homepage looks like today, this kind of test might work in several different ways. But the goal is the same, get more of your visitors to stay on the site and click through to another page.

How?

To start, think about the audience for your homepage. If you have Google Analytics set up, this can help. Who is landing here most? Where are they coming from? What are they looking for? And how do they behave once they get there?

You will likely see a lot of direct and organic traffic on your homepage. It’s likely one of the most trafficked page on your site. Is the bounce rate high? That’s a sign that people are not seeing what they were looking for. Are they generally clicking through to one page over all the others? That’s a sign that the next step is either very clear, or the audience is all looking for the same thing.

If you have a big image at the top of your homepage, I suggest you first test a version of the homepage without an image. That usually allows you to move relevant text about your products, services, or company to the top of the page and above the fold.

If you don’t have an image, try adding one. Make it something striking, the hero of your page, that grabs the user and holds their attention. Overlay the image with text that tells them more about who you are or what you offer. And make it click through to another page on your site.

Next, you can test one image against another. Try different colors or different types of images. Try one with people and one without. Try different people, different ages or races or genders.

Whatever you’re testing, the key stats to track will be bounce rate and time on site. A winning image should have a very low bounce rate, meaning people continued on to another page of your site. And it should keep people there longer.

Anything to add? As always, use the comments below or Twitter #whattotest to keep the conversation going!