Today when you’ve arrived on Credo, you may feel like something is different but not be quite sure what. Over the last few months, I’ve been working on a number of visual and user experience changes on the logged out part of the site.
My wife is a fantastic designer, mostly focused on UX though she is also quite adept at the visual arts. Because she is awesome, he has helped me out with rethinking some parts of the site that needed the love. I rolled out some of those changes this weekend, so here’s what’s new and what we’re moving towards over time.
Yesterday I rolled out the following:
- New top navigation
- Reskinned /inquire/ page (check it out on mobile, it’s super fresh!)
- New /start/ page (it’s a test)
- Redone /confirmation/ and /confirmation-page/
- Expanded pros that are emailed about leads so that if a lead says they are looking in the $1-2k/mo range, the pros who have a minimum of $2000/mo will also be emailed instead of just pros who work between $1000-2000/month. This expands the number of pros who are notified of the lead by approximately 25%.
The goals of these are multiple, including:
- Streamline the design across the site, creating a new style standard and guide for the rest of the site to (over time) follow. It already has been in place on /team/ and category pages (eg /pros/seo-consultants/) and this is the next step.
- On the /inquire/ page, to improve conversions through building more trust with the user that this is a well-designed and trustworthy place to find only the best digital marketers to help them grow their business.
- With the redone /confirmation/ and /confirmation-page/ pages, to set their expectations for what will come next.
- With the redesigned header, to streamline the design of the site font-wise and move toward a more sophisticated look. The top navigation still had the default style from the theme upon which this site is built (Vertex from Elegant Themes).
At the end of the day, what matters for Credo is converting visitors into leads that pros can then contact and close into clients. I also must balance the need to drive the general open leads (that Agency level members have access to) as well as leads specifically to pros as that benefits the Freelancer level members. It’s a constant balancing act that I am still trying to get right, and the advent of the /start/ page is another test in that direction.
What I’m Testing
With the roll out of the /start/ page, I am testing the following hypothesis:
Some leads want to be contacted by the “right” pros, while others are still doing their research and want to use the site to research potential pros (and eventually contact them).
Leads grew well over the month of August over July and continue to grow in September. By providing the /start/ page, they can choose their own adventure and be taken into one of two different flows – the /inquire/ page or a set of pages that narrows down their results to the pros who can do what they need for their budget.
Of course, I would not roll out a page like this without keeping an eye on what it does to conversions, so I will be watching that over the next week or two and will then make a call on if it’s been effective or not, then change as needed.
What I’ve Learned
Over the last year building Credo (can you believe it? It’s hard for me to believe it), I’ve tested a lot of things, including:
- Making the top section on the homepage Credo blue instead of an image
- Sending visitors directly to the narrowing conversion funnel instead of the /inquire/ page (didn’t work)
- Sending visitors directly to the /inquire/ page (first test failed, second succeeded after some tweaks)
- New image on blog posts (didn’t improve time on site or bounce metrics)
- New grey background on blog posts (does improve metrics)
- Implemented the Get Started button across Verticals and Taxonomies (worked to drive more leads)
For everything I test, I make sure to have one goal in mind and one metric to improve whether that is leads, conversions to email list, time on site, or whatever other metric I think I need to improve in order to further the ultimate goal of more leads sent to pros.
Overall, the biggest lesson I have learned is this:
Test everything and measure it. When you’re early stage, get good directional feedback, ship it, and move on to test something else. Time is of the essence. You can always come back and test again later.
Design-wise, I decided a month or so ago to spend $250 to run five user tests on UserTesting.com. Within 24 hours, I had five 15-20 minute videos in my inbox that I could watch to see if these users were able to accomplish the ultimate goal I gave them – sending a lead to an agency. What I got back was disheartening:
Three of 5 made it to that step, even though I specifically asked them to, and 2 of the 3 said that they didn’t trust the design of the site.
I have to be honest and admit that watching these five random strangers go through my site and critique it was tough to watch. But I am so glad I did it because watching the feedback is the most valuable thing I have done for conversions since I started the site. They specifically gave me (not my wife, because she’s been telling me this all along) on:
- Button color and size (yes, this stuff still matters)
- What they clicked on instead of what I intended for them to do (so now I’ve removed some distractions)
- Fonts and inconsistency of fonts (something I am constantly trying to get better at)
- Trust signals (or lack thereof)
- What they need to see in order to trust pros
If you’re trying to make your site convert better, then I definitely recommend using a service like UserTesting, which I have no affiliation with but find very valuable.
I’m constantly trying to make the site easier to use, drive more traffic, and drive more leads to the pros on the site. While I am always working on new product features, they are not always super obvious and I do an admitedly terrible job of shouting about them. But coming up I have some exciting new features:
- Location pages. Something agencies have been asking for and searchers in Google use to find a marketing pro.
- Case studies on pro pages.
- Redesigned pro page to better integrate reviews, location, budget range, and case studies.
- Redesigned form on profile pages.
- New homepage
- New blog design
- Expanding the number of pros that can contact a lead to 4, from the current limit of 3.
Many of these are front end changes meant to continue the streamlining of design and building trust with potential leads as they visit the site through search, referral, or elsewhere.
And of course, being a marketer, I am constantly working on creating great new content on the site. The real estate marketing guide is an example of what is to come as I work on a guide to SaaS marketing and a guide to marketing digital marketplaces. I am also guest posting a lot, with recent posts on Inman and many other real estate sites (to market the real estate guide) and some exciting upcoming posts on various sites online.
2016 has been a great year for Credo so far. I am super proud of what has been done so far and am super jazzed for the rest of the year and into 2017 as Credo continues to become the place for businesses to come when they want to find only the highest quality vetted digital marketers and agencies.
Well that’s it for this time. Until the next update!