Articles

Join us for Lance Loveday’s opening Keynote at Conversion Conference 2015!

Join Lance Loveday and the Closed Loop entourage at Conversion Conference, a two-day event for digital marketers and analysts who are passionate about converting more of their website traffic into sales, leads, and…

Free Resource: Smart TV UI Sketch Template

At Closed Loop, our designers are big fans of Sketch because it enables us to work quickly and efficiently. So when we kicked off a new Smart TV UI design project, Sketch seemed…

5 Powerful Reasons to Bid on Your Brand Terms

Should you bid on your brand terms? The answer is a resounding YES – and here are 5 compelling reasons why…

Reinventing the Client-Agency Partnership

Behold, the typical client-agency relationship: We’ve all been there. Everyone is excited at the kickoff, eager to build the next leaning tower of awesome together. Sometimes it’s a hit (and there is much rejoicing!) But other times it’s a miss and it’s back to the drawing board, leaving both teams wondering what went wrong and feeling a little emptier inside.

Interview: Lance Loveday on Web Design for ROI

Our CEO Lance Loveday speaks about a wide range of topics surrounding web optimization, conversion design, and content hierarchy in this podcast from Marketing Optimization.

Closed Loop’s New Office Space

Closed Loop is growing and so is our office! We just took over the space next door to give us even more flexibility and capacity for projects, especially user research. We’re very happy with…

Lance Loveday Talks CRO at HeroConf 2014

Our very own Lance Loveday will be presenting on April 29th in Austin, TX at HeroConf 2014, produced by Hannapin Marketing! Lance will be co-presenting with Chris Goward, founder and CEO of WiderFunnel. Their presentation,…

ROI on UX – The Evidence is Mounting

It should not be news by now that investing in a good customer experience throughout a company drives better business results. Yet somehow, companies are still reluctant to fully commit to revamping websites,…

The Pursuit of Tappiness: Six Easy Ways to Make Your Website Tablet-Friendly

Tablets are taking over, so make sure your site is happy to the touch. Learn a few simple changes you can make today that will improve the way tablet users experience your website…

Should You Blame Your Designer for Poor Conversion Rates?

Recently, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the conversation rate optimization (CRO) community—blaming low conversion rates on web designers. Designers are being caricatured as either “clueless” or unable to restrain their conversion-killing creative…

The Niehaus Wireframe Technique – Methods to Conversion-Optimize New Projects

When developing website projects there is often a disconnect between the target audience’s needs and priorities, the hypotheses to be deduced from them, actual implementation, and the crucial question of whether it is…

3 Essential Traits of Conversion-Optimized Design

We regularly perform expert CRO reviews of web designs for our clients. What informs these reviews? Is it just our aesthetic opinion? Must a design look a certain way to be effective at…

3 Reasons NOT To Run Conversion Tests

Testing is a hot topic. But before you decide what to test and which kind of test to run, step back and ask an even more basic question—whether to bother testing at all….

Small, Site-Wide Conversion Changes To The Rescue

Ever feel like a marketing castaway? You know what I mean: you want to improve conversion rates, but your site is trapped on a desert-island CMS and surrounded by hostile IT and C-level…

Pop This! How To Manage Visual Hierarchy For Conversion

Establishing a clear visual hierarchy is key to creating a well-optimized web page. But how do you achieve the right balance? In this article,I’ll look at nine visual “toggles” you can use, with…

Conversion Zen: Transforming Errors into Opportunities

Who’s responsible for your site’s error messages? Who decides what they say, when they appear, and how they look? It’s a key question—because if you haven’t paid attention to how your site treats…

Landing Page Optimization Tools to Watch

In this article on imediaconnection.com, Lance Loveday weighs in on the tools currently available for landing page testing, and why companies aren’t making more use of them to increase conversion rates and business…

A/B Split Testing Versus Multivariate Testing – Interview with Lance Loveday

In this video interview, conversion expert Lance Loveday explains the pros and cons of simple A/B split-testing vs. the much more complex multivariate testing: We’ve found, says, Loveday, that A/B testing tends to…

What to Test on Non-Landing Pages – with Lance Loveday

In this video interview by Web Marketing Today, conversion and design expert Lance Loveday discusses why it’s important to test non-landing pages. Historically, he says, the first emphasis was on optimizing clicks to…

Building Better Landing Pages – an Interview With Lance Loveday

[Interview and Article by Kevin Newcomb, Editor, Internet Marketing Institute] Many companies spend tens of thousands of dollars to acquire customers, but ignore what happens next. Paying attention to your landing pages —…

Conversion Optimization Touch Points: Turning Errors Into Opportunities, Part 1

On the web, errors are seemingly inevitable, and there are plenty of best practices for minimizing their negative effects. But what if we treated errors as an opportunity? What if we deliberately designed…

How to Plan Landing Page Tests: 6 Steps to Guide Your Process

We all want to find a change that will turn a lackluster landing page into a monster. Will it require a bigger button? Or perhaps a different image? Find out how to pick…

Conversations on Conversion Podcast: Interview of Sandra Niehaus by Ion Interactive’s Anna Talerico

[Excerpt from the podcast notes:] As the VP User Experience at Closed Loop Marketing, Sandra Niehaus is a passionate advocate for usability and design and she brings it all together to create, test…

Conversion-Optimized Touch Points: The Thank You Page

In the field of conversion optimization, there’s an understandable focus on landing pages. But why stop there? Every single touch point is an opportunity to improve the user experience and the bottom line….

Evil Conversion: When Optimization Goes Too Far

As online marketers and conversion experts, we want our sites to be effective. No, it has to be said: we want more than that—we want to turn our sites into kick-butt conversion machines,…

“Not Done Yet” – A Tale Of 2 Years, 3 Landing Pages & 6X Conversion Improvement

Quick question: how much conversion improvement is enough? Would hitting your industry’s average conversion rate convince you to rest on your laurels? If you doubled your old performance, would you stop there? Hopefully…

Interview of Lance Loveday, by RKG’s George Michie

It was a real treat for me to meet Lance Loveday at Shop.org Annual last fall. He’s been a favorite columnist of mine for some time, and getting to know him since then…

Roundtable Podcast on Testing for Conversion Optimization

This podcast discussion includes conversion optimization experts Brian Eisenberg, Lance Loveday, Anne Holland, and Chris Goward. Some of the topics discussed: Where should someone new to testing begin? Does method matter? Is suboptimization…

Conversion Conversations – Anna Telerico Interviews Lance Loveday

My next guest’s tweet from yesterday evening says it all: We just doubled conversion for a longtime client, for whom we’d previously tripled conversion. Thrilled. And that’s why he’s next in the line…

3 Ways to Leverage Time for More Conversions

Time, they say, was invented to keep everything from happening all at once. Whether we’re performers, filmmakers or UX designers, time allows us to organize events and engineer an audience’s experience. Time is…

Choosing Effective Website Photos & Images – Part 3

Using faces in photos on your website presents some unique challenges. I’ll group these challenges into two major groups for this article: “Faces draw attention” and “Faces don’t mean the same thing to…

4 Steps to Setting Better Conversion Optimization Goals

Ever failed to stick to a New Year’s resolution, and then blame yourself for poor willpower? Well, it may not be your will that’s to blame—it may simply be the way you phrased…

Choosing Effective Website Photos & Images – Part 2

This article continues a series of guidelines to help you with website image selection. In Part 1, I covered some general principles to consider, including the image’s mood, uniqueness, content quality, and contextual…

Choosing Effective Website Photos & Images – Part 1

Not all images are created equal. The right image on a web page can capture attention, inform, and even persuade your site visitors. The right image can communicate who you and your company…

Button Balance: Using Design to Differentiate & Prioritize

It matters where you put things. I learned this basic design principle in 4th grade band class, where I noticed that each type of instrument had a specific place to sit within the…

E-Commerce Catalog Optimization

Could your e-commerce technology platform be costing you money? How can you make your e-commerce catalogs more effective? Tim Ash, author of the book Landing Page Optimization continues his webcast series of the…

How to Dominate Google AdWords – an Interview with Lance Loveday

Last week while at SES San Jose, I took a break from being a panel jockey and meeting meister to talk about Google AdWords campaigns with Dr. Ralph Wilson of Web Marketing Today….

Bing a Google-Killer? Get Real.

Yes, this is another article about Bing. But I’m going to take a different spin. Instead of doing another expert review of the quality of the results and the cool interface like all…

Designing for the Subconscious Mind

In last month’s column, I brought up the idea that the first impression your web site makes can have a bigger impact than many of the more traditional design considerations we tend to…

Do Your Landing Pages “Feel” Right?

Question: What do web users and professional athletes have in common? Answer: They both make fast decisions about their next action based on limited information in the blink of an eye. This thought…

Search: Too Boring For Branding?

I’m not a big fan of TV. But my wife and I decided to cancel our satellite TV service effective next week, so I’ve found myself watching more TV than ever recently, trying…

Every Touch Point Matters – Optimize the Logout Thank You Page

This post is part of a series examining some oft-neglected online customer touch points and exploring ways to optimize them.  Today, I’ll look at a type of page very similar to thank you…

AdWords Management – When to Just Say No to Google

As an SEM practitioner, I am a self-proclaimed fan of Google AdWords.  I love the ease of their platform, I love the depth of their reporting, I love our dedicated Google agency team…

How to Lose Money & Alienate Your Customers

With all the emphasis lately on how to market in a down economy, I’ve decided to go against the grain and dole out some advice for those organizations wanting to make less money…

Every Touch Point Matters – Optimizing the Email Unsubscribe

Are you ignoring an engagement opportunity? The way an organization handles a simple email unsubscribe transaction can leave a lasting impression on the audience. It’s a customer engagement opportunity to increase goodwill –…

Social Media Gold: Ratings & Reviews

I’m an introvert by nature, so this whole social media thing has left me feeling like an outsider looking in. While everyone Facebooks and Twitters each other to death, I’m asking “What’s the…

Is Your SEM Agency Working for You – or Working You Over?

Are you getting the most from your SEM agency? How do you know if your SEM agency is working for you or working you over? Here’s what to look for…

A Plea To Stop Dissing Your Customers

Cross-posting my article from Search Engine Land here… Dear Search Marketers: I’m worried about us. The way we’ve started talking about our target audience has me concerned that our priorities may be out…

Top 4 Tips to Market Smarter, Get Better ROI

How Efficient and Effective is Your Marketing? As I write this, the U.S. economy has been declared officially in a recession. And for all of us who aren’t big enough and/or incompetent enough…

PPC Timesavers – Free SEM Tools from Closed Loop Marketing

Let’s be honest.  Setting up a new PPC campaign or editing an existing one is a somewhat tedious process.  Granted AdWords Editor has eased some of those burdens, but still there are a lot…

Landing Page Optimization and Value Propositions: Back to Marketing 101

Last month, I attempted to better myself by attending the Landing Page Optimization Workshop put on by MarketingSherpa and Marketing Experiments in Santa Monica. While Closed Loop Marketing has extensive experience optimizing search…

My New Column on Search Engine Land

I’m one of four authors now writing the Just Behave weekly column on Search Engine Land. In a sure sign that I really suck at this whole social media thing, it only now…

The 8 Things Every Web Team Should Know – #1: Kick Ass or Suck!

I had the good fortune of delivering a keynote address at the Web Design 2.0 conference in Las Vegas last month. The conference organizers courageously said I was welcome to talk about whatever…

Designer, Test Thyself – Five-Second Usability Tests

These days, most web designers know the value of testing designs with representative users. And most have heard that there’s a lot to be gained from conducting even small, informal usability tests to…

Google AdWords Continues to Excel in Transparency & Accountability

Google recently released a new version of its interface that allows advertisers to now see stats split by Google vs. Search Partners (AOL, Ask, Google Product Search, Earthlink, Shopping.com, etc) vs. Content. Until…

SEM for ROI – Top 10 SEM Checklist

In the past couple of years, Closed Loop Marketing has had more and more companies contact us who were actually already running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns – some managing in-house, some outsourcing to other…

Finally! Tracking Phone Leads with Google Analytics

One of our clients – Ifbyphone – just announced some new functionality that will make it a LOT easier for advertisers to track phone leads by advertising campaign and pull the data into…

Take the Customer Experience Survey

During her crazy adventure to Finland for the Persuasive Technology conference (more on that here), CLM’s Amy Greer met a fascinating gentleman from the UK named Richard Sedley. Richard works at a UK-based…

Match Type Strategies – [Lessons Learned], “Lessons Learned”, Lessons Learned

Let me share with you how one PPC advertiser achieved… An ROI increase from 77% to 323% A conversion rate increase from 6.15% to 8.39% A CTR increase from 6% to 8% …solely…

Every Touch Point Matters: Optimizing Error Messages

This post is a continuation of a topic I began a few weeks back, about the cumulative impact that small, often overlooked interactions can have on the relationship between a company and their…

Google DoubleClick Predictions Revisited

This is a follow-up to a post I wrote last April – Why the Google / DoubleClick Deal is Brilliant – when Google announced they were buying DoubleClick. I made a number of…

Every Touch Point Matters: Optimizing the Thank You Page

Once the party’s over, are you leaving customers out in the cold? Thank you pages typically don’t receive much design or marketing attention. After all, by the time a site visitor sees a…

Google Now Provides Search Volume Projections by Match Type

As I’m sure many of you already know, Google made a much-appreciated change to their Keyword Tool last week. Now, Google’s keyword tool provides actual search volume numbers, as opposed to the green…

Lance’s Interview with Shopify/Jaded Pixel

While at SXSW in March, I ran into Shannon McKarney from Jaded Pixel, the company behind the popular Shopify hosted e-commerce platform. Shannon asked if she could interview me for the Jaded Pixel…

Interview of Lance Loveday and Sandra Niehaus at SXSW

While at the SXSW Interactive Festival last month, Lance and I were interviewed about our book, Web Design for ROI. The interview has been posted to YouTube, but in case you’d like to…

Closed Loop Marketing Partners with Widemile Inc. on New Multivariate Testing Solution

I’m very pleased to announce Closed Loop Marketing’s partnership with Widemile, Inc. Closed Loop Marketing is one of thirteen leading agencies invited to use the beta-release of Widemile’s new multivariate optimization platform. Designed…

Incorporating Usability Tests Into Design

What if you could inject usability test results directly into your design process – and do it quickly and easily? Web and interface designers are in a unique and powerful position to serve…

Google Product Results Monopolizing Prime Pay-Per-Click Real Estate?

Universal Search has created quite the stir in the SEO community throughout 2007. Many companies that had enjoyed living on Page 1 of Google for quite some time began seeing their precious high…

Evil Usability: When Business Goals and User Goals Collide

We’ve all experienced it at some point; the sneaking suspicion that those we’ve chosen to trust may not be entirely worthy. Take web sites, for example. We visit a web site, look around…

Overcoming the Challenges of B2B Search Engine Marketing

When I first joined the Closed Loop Marketing team in February 2007, I came with 3 years of online marketing experience. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to start fine-tuning our clients’…

The agile web site launch

When did the web site design process become a roadblock to launching a site, rather than helping it along? When did the details of site design and function become a site owner obsession,…

Evil Usability: Lessons from the Dark Side – Part 2

It’s finally official: usability can be used for evil. I’ve always suspected this to be true. After all, even the most innocuous of items””children’s toys””recently were transformed into agents for evil, so how…

Gaming Google – It Really Is That Easy…

I gave a talk at Web Design World in Seattle last month on Balancing Design, Usability & SEO. While doing some research on that presentation, I was trying to find some examples of…

Increase your ROI with Google Performance Placement Reports and Search Query Reports

There’s nothing I like better than when Google AdWords decides to make our lives as search marketers just a bit easier. If you’re interested in working smarter and improving campaign results, be sure…

The myth of the patient and forgiving web user

When it comes to things that should, but don’t work right, I’ll admit I’m one of the most impatient, easily offended people I know. Analytical and idealistic to begin with, my years in…

Increase Your Blog Traffic – 8 Important Steps

Want to increase traffic to an existing blog? Starting a new blog? With more than 120,000 blogs being created every day, you’ve got some heavy competition. Here are 8 important steps for increasing…

The Art of Conclusive A/B Testing

The ability to perform A/B tests on ad descriptions and landing pages in paid search is truly a beautiful (and powerful) thing. If you are not testing ad descriptions against one another for…

Why the Google / DoubleClick Deal is Brilliant

SNAPSHOT: Search revenues are projected to triple to $44.5B over the next 5 years (Piper Jaffray). Google is already positioned to capture a significant majority of those revenues. But Search only represents ~50%…

Lessons from the Trenches #1 – Blurb PPC Landing Page

If we’ve learned nothing else during our years of usability and conversion practice, it’s this: No matter how knowledgeable your opinion, users will still surprise you. That’s what testing is for – to…

Directories: Are They Still Relevant?

With all that’s going on with advanced link building techniques, what’s to become of our old friend the Web Directory? That tried and true guide to the World Wide Web. The organizer of…

Make Your Metrics Meaningful: 3 Must-Have Rules for Any Report

If you’ve ever presented the results of your SEO or SEM efforts to a client of yours then this scenario will be familiar: You spend hours (or days) compiling the data. You conduct…

Evil Usability: Lessons from the Dark Side – Part 1

We tend to think of usability as a good thing, a helpful light in the murky wilderness. After all, usability is all about the user, right? Helping smooth the user’s path, and making…

Google Quality Score: What is the True Measure of ‘Quality’ Anyway?

With Google’s Quality Score taking on more and more importance and Yahoo and MSN now adopting similar ranking methods, some new challenges have arisen for the conversion-based marketer. But first, before I fire…

Introducing Usability 2.0

There’s a disturbing trend emerging in the world of usability. More and more, clients are conducting their own “usability” tests and claiming those tests justify what is clearly a suboptimal, or even unusable,…