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TJ49 – Conversion Strategies That Transform Leaky Websites in to Websites That Sell ~ Peep Laja

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If you are hosing traffic at your website and it’s full of holes, you are leaking money, probably lots of it.

Peep Laja uses the analogy that your website is like a bucket and that you need to plug the holes in it to stop visitors, leads and sales leaking away.

There are literally thousands of ways you could lose a visitor from your site; too many distractions, an unclear value proposition, bad user experience, too much perceived risk… the list goes on.

In this episode Peep Laja tells us how to identify some of your biggest holes and shares conversion strategies that will help you increase your conversion rate so your website sells more.

FREE BONUS: Download the special “fill in the blanks” framework Peep Laja uses to prioritise and conduct his own conversion strategies.


Peep Laja is the face of ConversionXL, a highly regarded blog filled with well-researched and highly actionable content aimed at “smart people” who want to learn website conversion strategies, and generally improve their website’s performance.

Peep who hails from Estonia, is a self-confessed conversion optimisation junkie who started his career in web development and design before switching over to sales and marketing where he spearheaded the sales team for a real estate portal in Dubai.

Since then Peep has been country hopping. He has helped launch a British internet television company and started the very first internet marketing agency in Panama. He currently lives in the US during the summer and Europe during the winter.

Peep is the author of the book How To Build Websites that Sell and a contributor to popular blogs such as KissMetrics, Pro Blogger and Think Traffic.


Peep Laja with James Reynolds on Traffic JamA QUICK PREVIEW OF THE PODCAST:

Here are some of the highlights from this episode of the Traffic Jam Podcast…

  • The Leaky Bucket Analogy.
  • Are Mobile Ready Sites a Must?
  • Greatest Conversion Factors.
  • How To Increase The Motivation Factor.
  • Using the Quaraloo Survey.
  • Surprising Results from Peep’s Tests.
  • Finding the Basis for Testing.
  • Important Tools for Testing.
  • The Right Approach to Ensure Conversion.


If you enjoy this episode of Traffic Jam, please share it using the social media buttons you will find on this page, or click to tweet this Peep Laja quote from the show:

You can also download Peep Laja’s quote as exclusive illustrated artwork along with more special episode bonuses: Click Here To Download The Bonuses.

To see the full transcript of this episode in-page click show/hide transcript:

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Hi there listener, welcome back to another episode of Traffic Jam, the podcast that helps you get more traffic to your website and make more sales and it’s the sales part we’re focused on today as we’re joined by Peep Laja from Conversion XL – an expert in conversion optimization which basically means he helps websites convert more traffic in to enquiries, leads and ultimately, more profit.

Before we get to the interview with Pep, a quick thank you to Amir Anzur from The United Kingdom who left a 5 star review on iTunes. He said… “Great Podcast, love the insights shared on every show.” I happen to know Amir, and he’s done some good things himself over at webpreneuracademy.com educating others how to leverage the internet.

Like Amir, you too can get a mention on a future episode by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or Stitcher. To access the Traffic Jam review pages go to TrafficJamCast.com/itunes and trafficJamcast.com/stitcher. I would absolutely love it if you were to leave a review and rating and as I said it is a great way tp get yourself featured on a future episode.

Just one more link you need to know about and that’s the episode page for this show, which you can access by going to TrafficJamCast.com/49. On that page you’ll find the full show notes – including a link to all the resources mentioned in the show. A full transcript of this episode, downloadable MP3 plus a special conversion boosting bonus I’ve prepared just for this show. So before we start the interview head on over to TrafficJamCast.com/49 and download the bonuses, and then listen along to this show.

So here is the introduction to our guest. His name is Peep Laja and he’s got a blog called Conversion XL where he publishes research and experiments on conversion optimization and getting better business results. It seems to set the conversion apart is its well-researched and actionable content and its cheese-free style, and that’s to paraphrase Peep. As well as his own blog, he’s also featured on other Traffic Jam guests, Corbett Barr’s Think Traffic and Neil Patel’s Kissmetrics, to name just two. Peep’s also the author of How To Build Websites That Sell which is a step by step guide to boosting conversions on your site from design to copywriting to marketing efforts and that is available on Amazon. Aside from being a prolific blogger, Peep delivers training and workshops on conversion optimization and internet marketing and consults with businesses wanting to build a website that sells more and he does that through his own marketing agency. Well, I also found out prior to the interview that Peep was also a resident of Dubai just like myself back in 2007 so we were both here in the UAE around that sort of time. But anyway, he’s been country hopping a lot since then around the world and he now resides in Texas, USA. So here we are, joining us all the way from Texas, is Peep Laja from Conversion XL.

James: So welcome back listeners! This is episode#49 of Traffic Jam and joining me today is Peep Laja from Conversion Excel. Peep, how are you?

Peep: I’m good, thanks for having me.

James: So you’ve got this message on the home page of your website Conversion Excel that uses the metaphor that website are like buckets and that most websites are essentially leaky buckets, leaking customers and sales all over. I think I’d like to begin with that analogy, what are some of the biggest holes you find on websites that are literally pouring away money?

Peep: Oh, there’s so many, yet very many of them or all of them are very particular to a specific website meaning that there’s no one big bucket that is the same on all websites. There is just very little apples to apples comparison going on. The typical things that people don’t really know about or think about is all about cross browser or cross device issues that like everybody is saying, yeah, nobody is using Explorer 8 anymore but actually it has a significant impact if your website does not work with one so this kind compatibility issues is one of those leak issues that people are not paying attention to. And if we are talking about e-commerce sites. Most people focus their conversion efforts on the checkout funnel, get their products in the cart, are they going through their ship and billing steps whereas maybe the problem is your category page. Maybe people get to the category page but they are not clicking through to go to your product page, or maybe a decent amount are – they are looking at the product page but they’re not clicking at the cart button. These are the most common leaks.

James: Yeah, it is an interesting point you made about browsers. How big of an impact it is – the adoption of mobiles having on website conversion numbers?

Peep: It is a multi-faceted thing because it is also that people often do their research on a mobile phone and then they go home to their desktop computer and complete the purchase. So it is the continuation of the path because typically, mobile traffic, it is getting to like 50% off any website traffic or some are on the way of their 50% level depending on what you are selling and stuff. And what we see about conversion rates is typically mobile phones convert at maybe 20% to 30% off the level of desktop whereas tablets are like 90% of conversions. So if you look at your Google Analytics report and you look at the conversion rate per device category- tablet, desktop, mobile – and if you see that your tablet is less than 90% when compared to desktop then that means that the user experience on tablet is crap. Same goes for mobile, if it is less than 25% or maybe less than 20%, then again it might have to do with your website experience.

James: Yeah, well it is an interesting statistic, I know Google have put out some numbers on this and you might be closer to those facts than me but I think there is something like 70% of sales are multi device purchases like they have originally found a site perhaps on a mobile device but ended up making a purchase on a desktop or a tablet thereafter so I am sure it is pretty important stuff.

Peep: It is. Measuring all that is where it gets complicated. With Google Analytics you could store user IDs but they have to be implementing the fact that you can identify people across, I find it to be a little bit challenging.

James: Yeah, so let me flip my original question on its head. What are the biggest factors or principle that when handled correctly can have the biggest lift on conversions?

Peep: Well, essentially you are dealing with two dimensions. You have to be always increasing motivation and decreasing friction. So if I’m on your product page and you want me to add to cart of free sign up or whatever, then basically if you are not adding enough motivation on that page, you are causing leaks! You are making the leaks bigger. You always have to make sure that the motivation is at the highest level. Even if they go to your pricing page, are you doing something there to increase motivation or just telling them what the price is? At the same time, if you want people to take action, what are all the things that are decreasing the probability of people taking action? It might be that you really want people to click add to cart but you have 50 links on the page, 50 places where they can click. That’s attention ratio. So it is like 50 to one and you need to dramatically cut the number of actions on that page so that they would focus in on that single action that you want them to take. So reduce distractions, reduce links. Make the desired action stand out more in terms of size, colors; there are many, many levels you can use here. So at all time you ask yourself, how can I make taking action easier and how can I make them want to take action?

James: Yeah, well let us drill a little bit on those two categories because it is interesting conversation. What are some of the factors therefore that might increase motivation? Let’s say on a check out page, let’s assume that this is a purchase related conversion where someone is going to exchange some money perhaps for a product or a service, they are getting their wallets out, what might some of those things be that we could place there that might increase that motivational factor?

Peep: Well, we have to understand what goes on inside the mind of the customer when they’re on the page. And there’s only so much we can figure out or guess ourselves. It is better to ask users, so typically when I am optimizing the site and I need to increase checkout page conversion and let us say it is a simple form so it’s not hard to fill out so we are mainly dealing with motivation factor. So on this page, I would do like add a survey like add a Quaraloo or something where I would ask, hey is there anything holding you back from taking action from this page or anything. I want to hear the language of the user, the voice of the customer while they are on this page. What goes on inside their mind? It could be that they are having some fears and doubts about like, I don’t know, I am about to part with my money, will this thing really work? If that is their main concern, we can increase their motivation by adding language or proof that your service or product really works to solve their problem. Like maybe reiterate their problem, the software solves just like 30 more seconds and you are already on your way to paying this invoice or whatever. Painless invoicing probably needs a more than generic invoicing but basically you address and benefit that they’re about to get. Or maybe the hesitation in their mind is that, I have never heard of this software, am I the only idiot using this? So then you can use a social proof, 50 million or however loyal customers, add some testimonials there, maybe some five-star review in whatever magazine. So stuff like that, start with what is the user experiencing on that page, what is the thought process that goes on? And you won’t know until you ask them.

James: Yeah, and I guess it’s that classic survey isn’t it? Why did you buy or why did you not buy? And those are the things you need to address either one way or another.

Peep: Right! You communicated with people that are on this page before they even make a purchase so you want to ask them and try to figure out the sources of hesitation, what kind of doubts, is there anything holding you back, whether it’s that or other stuff.

James: Yeah and I can imagine you can have something like a Quaraloo survey that you suggested will work really well. I am guessing also something like a live chat function would also be good research in this particular scenario where you can get in touch with customers when they are almost in the act of considering or getting ready to purchase and see what kind of thought patterns are in that particular time.

Peep: Yeah, absolutely. You are absolutely right! And also reading live chat transcript can be super insightful. Or even talking to your customer support reps, what are the most common questions people ask while they are on the page can be really, really insightful.

James: Yeah, well you tweeted out something the other day that resonated so much with me that I actually shared it with my own audience. that was that the outcome of other people’s testing has no impact on our own and of course we should test using our own website and our own traffic. what are some of the most surprising results you’ve experienced perhaps where you’ve expected one result and gotten something just completely different?

Peep: Currently a hot topic with mobile designs is how do you design a menu for mobile sites? An aesthetical, very common use is the hamburger which is three lines underneath each other. And there have been lots of blog posts around helping people testing this and typically the hamburger tends to lose in those tests. So now, I think it was last or so that the number one travel site published their study. They did not reveal their numbers but basically they said that they tested the hamburger against the button menu and it was no different and the hamburger worked. So then me and my clients we launched a test on an e-commerce site testing hamburger against hamburger with a menu underneath it and now this was a very small change. This was a very small change, very tiny, just added the word menu underneath the hamburger icon, and this test has been running for 16 days so it’s not quite done yet, we should increase the sample size and the duration more to be sure. But the revenue is up 15% and 9% more purchases form just a small button change. 15% more revenue which in this client’s case is hundreds of thousands of dollars, so a very small thing but very surprising that how big of an impact this button test.

James: Yeah, and I guess that is making the assumption that everyone knows the little hamburger icon is in fact a menu. I guess some people just obviously don’t.

Peep: Oh yeah. Absolutely! If you are not selling to a tech savvy audience and in this case the product is scented candles so it’s like homemakers are buying them. It might not necessarily be a tech savvy audience.

James: Yeah, totally. I am guessing there is literally hundreds of things that we could test on a website but I am sure that there are some that have greater impact than others all the same. Where do you suggest people start with their testing? What are the hierarchy of the most important things perhaps to test first?

Peep: the key thing to remember is that, don’t test because based on your opinions. If the way you conduct testing is like you ask your colleague, hey, Joe, what do we test next? You’re doing it wrong. That’s not how testing works. Everything should be data based and data informed. The way that it would work is if you want to gather, yes you want to have opinions as well, meaning to a certain speech of your screen like the website category, product and pricing or checkout page, whatever. And just try to assess them for clarity. Let’s look at this page and make it clearer, can we reduce distraction here? Can we reduce friction here? Maybe make the form shorter and so on but your opinion based analysis of your website is just your opinion. So, I declare all of the results of the experience based and the result is experience based so I have identified things which I think might make a difference when we change them, but might not. So next step is we need qualitative and quantitative data. In the quantitative data, you need Google analytics, heat mapping tool, form analytic stuff like that. The main thing you want to understand is, where is the flow stuck? Where are most of them stuck? As I said, they might get to the category page but they are not clicking through to a product or if on the product page, they don’t add to cart. And in every step of the checkout funnel, where is the biggest draw? Once you know which pages have the biggest drawbacks, you’ll know that that’s where you want to focus first. The biggest drawback is your biggest opportunity. And what is wrong with those page? Why are people dropping off? We want to hear from the users so again, like the pages with the biggest drop offs, put some color wheel surveys on them and ask, what’s going on, is there anything holding you back from taking this action now? Also survey recent first time buyers, people who have no prior experience or relationships with you but recently bought something like three days ago. And send them an open ended survey, maybe ask 7 or 8 questions. And you want to ask about their intent. Like which they are solving for themselves and you really want to pay attention to the language they are using to describe it, because that is what you use for copywriting later on on that page, you want to ask about the friction they experienced, the hesitation, style, questions they had that could not find answers to and when you get this data in and you compare it with your own experience based assessment, then the picture starts coming together. Maybe you’ll have formed analytics like hey the people are using this form but this form field is causing this problem. So you have this data and now based on that you can come up with a hypothesis that is not purely opinion based but it is supported by data that you’re seeing then you come up with a test and then also when you are ranking, when you are on the same page there are multiple things that you want to test. You want to somehow rank this test and the way you want to do it you it is you want to assess 2 criteria here. One is potential uplift, and of course this is subjective. You don’t know how big of an uplift something you’ll have because if we knew we wouldn’t be talking here. So it is the severity of the problem. People on the product pages are saying I just can’ figure out how to add this damn product to the cart. If they’re telling you this, you know that is a severe problem so that is something that you want to test first. Whereas if it is just your opinion or idea and you have no data supporting that, it’s a problem, then the potential is not so big. So you rank all your test hypothesis, you score them from 10- 1, 10 being the biggest potential. And also ease of implementation because it might be that you have a brilliant idea how to completely reimagine the process on whatever page, but doing that you’ll need your designer to spend 20 hours designing then you need your developer to do 20 hours of coding stuff. So the ease of implementation is not very high. So again you rank your hypothesis based on ease of implementation like 10 being I can put this test live in 2 minutes and 1 being it will take 3 months of development. If you invest all of your designer and developer hours upfront and you have no idea it will perform, it is risky, right? So taking those 2 factors in to consideration, the potential uplift and the ease of implementation, so you want to test big impact, easy to implement stuff first.

James: Yeah, so it’s almost one number times the other I guess to kind of get the overall perspective of what’s going to be the right one to start with first. I can see how that might work out, now we have mentioned that we are going to need some kind of way to gather data and analyze this properly, and everyone loves a good tool tip. What sort of tools or software do you recommend using for testing purposes?

Peep: Well, of course Google analytics. But with Google analytics, you need to make sure that you are measuring everything that needs to be measured and I am talking way past have your goals configured and funnels set up. All the even tracking, like if you have an ecommerce site, 99% of ecommerce stores I come across don’t have even tracking on add to cart button. They only track visits to the cart page which is not the same thing. So if you want to improve the number of people clicking on the ad to cart product page, and you are not measuring that, how do you improve it? how do you know you are doing better now? So you need to make sure that every action is measured. If you have filters on your product, if you filter by size, brand or color, or whatever, if people use the widget, will it increase or decrease your conversions. If you are not recording every time somebody uses it, then how will you know? But if you record an event you can set up an advance segment in Google analytics and see people who interacted with this widget, are they now less likely or more likely to convert or no difference? And based on that you know which of your features actually have a positive impact. So for instance, I have a client, an allergy site, and they sell allergy products, and there is this widget on the homepage where they can say Choose, I need allergy relief from, and they choose a condition. Now, since we are tracking the usage of that widget, we see that people who interact with that – that sites average conversion rate is 3% – 4%, people who use that widget, their conversion rate is like 15%. Huge difference! So now, my test hypothesis or question is, how can we get more people to use that widget, right? So Google analytics, but you need to measure everything. Really great for order event tracking and tracking funnels and measuring the impact of these events is the tool called Heap Analytics. So this is the tool that records all events. You don’t need to configure your event tracks, you don’t need to bother your developer. It will record all the events and you just need to do some configuration within the Heap Panel for analytics. It is a great tool, I love it. and my third recommendation would be a tool called Inspectlet which combines heat maps like crazy egg kind of things. But crazy eggs like lacks analytical features. Inspectlet also adds form analytics, so you can see which fields in your forms is actually causing problems. Like maybe people leave it empty even though it is required, or they are getting a validation error or they hesitate filling out this field. All kinds of these great data per form feeding your forms, and it adds session replays. You can watch videos of people using your site. So if you have a page on your site and you have no idea why people are not taking action, you can actually watch videos of your users on that page and you can see what they’re doing and not doing and that can be very insightful. Time consuming, but very insightful. So those three tools I would use for the quantitative data gathering.

James: Nice! It sounds a little like my first job when I left college, I use to work for a company that did consumer research and we track people around the shopping aisles of big department stores and we’d watch where the picked up and how they’d move just to get an understanding of their interaction with the product interface and I guess that’s kind of taking that concept but now placing online on top of a website, right?

Peep: Exactly! Right.

James: Very neat. Now I guess a lot of the Traffic Jam listeners will be running paid traffic to their landing pages. What advice do you have that will help our listeners build a high converting landing page for paid traffic?

Peep: Key thing here, as most of your listeners already know, is relevancy. If I see your ad and the ad sets an expectation, and if I click on the ad and the landing page does not repeat what the ad said, there’s a mismatch. So the pre-click and the post-click messages have to be aligned. And the easiest way to do it is that you have dynamic landing pages meaning that your ad landing page copy changes depending on your ad copy. So of course you have a bunch of ads, ad proofs and whatever, and the message is different because you are split testing different messages targeting different keywords and whatnots. So make sure that your landing page, where you drive traffic to, is not static. So maybe the headline and some body copy will change according to your ad copy, and you can do that either by poking your developer friend in the ribs and he’ll write a simple script for you, or use a tool like Unbounced that has a built in feature exactly for this purpose.

James: Cool! I think we’ll get close to drawing to a close, I have a couple other questions I want to ask you Peep, first one is I am imagining that a good number of our listeners are in different scenarios with what they’re selling. We’ll of course have those that are selling low priced products with very short buying cycles. Perhaps and others maybe selling high priced services with very long buying cycles. How does what we’re actually selling affect our approach to conversion optimization?

Peep: Right, so I guess the main principle is that the more expensive and or complicated the product, the longer is your purchase cycle. So if your product costs like in my case where I sell conversion optimization services where the fee start from $10,000 a month, so it is not an impulse purchase, right? So if it is my first meeting with you, I am not going to sell you anything. I am not going to even tell you that I offer this service because I know that you are not going to buy so take my collections. Join my newsletter, read my blog posts, and I’ll send you a newsletter and want you to come back and read some more to build trust around that stuff and eventually down the line, when you have the need, I will let you know like hey, I am offering this service as well. So, I think the biggest mistake people selling complicated products make is that they are jumping the gun, they immediately ask for a purchase even though your prospect is not ready for it. I think the best way in this situation to increase sales is to avoid the sale at the beginning. Get them to opt in and interact with some widgets and something else.

James: Yep, it’s like that metaphor of don’t propose to the girl on the first meeting, right? You’re not going to get a hand in marriage in the first five minutes, or maybe you are.

Peep: Exactly! Right! And if you are only after her small kiss, you might choose a different approach.

James: Cool! Let’s almost wrap things up but I’d like to leave our listeners perhaps with something actionable to take away. So let us assume they’ve got a website, they’ve got some marketing in play, perhaps they want to go off and audit currently doing for improvements. What are some of the things that they can check right now as a good starting point in improving their conversions?

Peep: Okay, I guess the most important thing is you want to identify where your website is leaking money so a couple of things you can do. You go to your behavior all content site report and you sort your pages, you want to filter out low traffic pages because basically you want to identify your high bounce pages, high bounce means people are leaving as well as high exit rate pages. High exit is more complex because people don’t usually exit on the page where the problem is they have two or three frustrating things already. So that is one, and of course make sure that your funnel is all set up. There are so many reports here so James why don’t you link to a blog post that I have written called Google Analytics reports to show you where you are leaking money. I have 10 reports with screenshots that anybody can just follow and figure it out.

James: Perfect! We will make sure that that’s in the show notes for this episode so head on over to the episode page and we’ll make sure that that’s linked off to. Peep, I am guessing ConversionExcel.com would be a great place to send our listeners off too, anywhere else in the web that they should connect with you?

Peep: No that’s it. Every week we post at least 2 very long in depth posts where we have extremely high editorial standards so everything that you’ll find in our blog is solid gold. Check it out!

James: Awesome! Well thank you once again Peep and pleasure to have you on the show and perhaps we can do it once again sometime.

Peep: Thank you so much!

So there you have it that was Peep Laja from Conversion XL. To help take your conversions to the next level, I’ve put together a special conversion boosting bonus for you. For instant access to the bonus go to TrafficJamCast.com/49, that’s TrafficJamCast.com/49 where you can also download the MP3 and full transcript of today’s show, plus join in on the discussion for this episode too.

So thank you for listening in to Traffic Jam this was episode 49. To make sure you are the first to hear episode 50 as soon as it is released make sure you are subscribed via iTunes or Stitcher Radio, which you can do by going to TrafficJamCast.com/iTunes and TrafficJamCast.com/stitcher.

We end the show this week with a Traffic Jam chosen by Peep Laja called Ratamahata by the band Sepultura, and a word of warning, this is some pretty heavy alternative metal, but anyway, enjoy and I’ll see you back here in about seven days from now.




The Traffic Jam track is a musical ‘jam’ chosen by our show guest. Peep Laja has opted for the track Ratamahatta, one of the best known tracks from groove metal band Sepultura.

Ratamahatta is the last of three singles released in 1996 on Sepultura’s album Roots. It is also the final single to feature founding frontman Max Cavalera.

Ratamahatta – Sepultura


In order to get the best results from conversion optimisation (and fast), you need to know which elements of your website to test, and in which sequence.

So that I remove ALL your guess work for you, I’ve created this special “fill in the blanks” spreadsheet, that will ensure that you get to work on testing only the right things in the right order.

T.I.R. Framework:

The T.I.R, (Testing, Impact, Results) framework is a format Peep uses to prioritise and conduct testing on his own sites and that of his $10,000+ per month clients. It’s the same powerful formula he mentioned (very briefly) on this episode.

I’ve expanded on the explanation given by Peep and put together an easy to follow, step-by-step spreadsheet you can use right away to get to work on your own testing. Upload the spreadsheet to Google Docs online, or store it to your computer.

For ease of use your special bonus is provided in all the following formats;-

  • Excel (.xls) document.
  • Apple Numbers (.numbers) document.
  • PDF.

Click below for instant access to your T.I.R. “fill in the blanks” framework to help you prioritise and conduct your own conversion testing:

Peep Laja Conversion Strategies Bonus Downloads

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