At Waterfront Digital we have access to a wide range of internal tools we have developed for us and our clients however we do use a lot of third party tools too for carrying out SEO campaigns, site audits and site designs.
Below is a list of our favourite tools that we use for carrying out usability assessments and conversion optimisation campaigns. We also curated a bunch of other useful resources such as case studies and great articles we reference regularly.
User Testing and Conversion Tools
Working with the right user testing tools plays a vital role in the success of your conversion optimisation campaign. If you choose the wrong tools, you’ll end up wasting everyone’s time pursuing unusable data.
- Concept Feedback provides a great tool where you post your site, mockup, wireframe or landing page and get feedback about your usability, design and marketing campaign from real people in the Concept Feedback community. The best part it’s totally free.
- Optimizely – their solutions offer A/B and multivariate testing tools that deliver actionable insights into visitor behaviour. The company was founded by Dan Siroker who was behind the 2008 Obama campaign.
- KISSmetrics – takes all the data you’re collecting and ties it to real people. Every last piece gets connected to a real person. All of it. It doesn’t matter if people bounce around between different browsers and devices. Or even if it takes them 6 months to come back. You’ll see what real people do. You get all the reports that you’ve come to expect from analytics. Funnels, cohorts, revenue, metrics, it’s all there. You’ll also get the one thing you won’t be able to live without: people.
- Unbounce – makes it easier for marketers to design landing pages and carry out A/B tests quickly and easily without the requirements of IT support slowing them down.
- VWO – use VWO to test, target and analyse your desktop, mobile and tablet websites. The visual campaign builder emulates the mobile and tablet experience so that you can see how the changes exactly look on other devices.
- Clicktale – is an excellent tool for helping you analyse different forms on sites so that you can see which fields are taking too long for users to fill in. In some cases, forms can actually cause users to leave the site.
- Usability tools – allows you to easily gather feedback on your visuals. Verify layouts of new or existing websites and identify their strengths and weaknesses. There is no limit for tasks and questions that you can ask within your study.
- Five second test – helps you understand people’s first impressions of your designs. By finding out what a person recalls about your design in just 5 seconds you can ensure that your message is being communicated as effectively as possible. Prices from just $20 per month.
- Feedback Army – is a very fast way to get feedback about your site’s design and engagement with visitors. You can submit all of your questions for user testing with your site design and receive 10 responses from Feedback Army users.
- Crazy Egg – With an easy-to-use format, you get a smart interface that makes it simple to navigate and view results of your site analytics. Crazy Egg also provides overlays to show what users clicked which elements on the page. Information is collected and passed on to you. Cost for basic plan is just $9 per month.
- Click Test – upload a mock-up you’re working on or a screenshot of an interface to click test and add some instructions you want testers to carry out. You can choose whether you want their community to help you out or keep your test private and only share it with your own testers.
- Usabilla – allows you to invite your visitors to give feedback on their own agenda. The intuitive feedback interface allows your visitors to simply select the part of your website they wish to give feedback on.
- UserTesting – their biggest draw is the large panel of quality users that work with the site to provide excellent user testing results. You can use their tools for on-demand tests and track every movement of users as they interact with your site. You can get a free user review of your website with Peek
- GhostRec – allows you to record real visitors surfing your website without additional hardware or software.
- Silverback – only works on Mac. It allows you to perform usability tests in a different way known as “Guerilla” testing. You film the user as they take each test, capture screen activity, record reactions and use some other interesting metrics to gauge your audience.
- Feng Gui – upload an image of a web page to Feng-Gui and it will create a heatmap showing which aspects of the design will get the most attention. What’s unusual about this tool is that, rather than using human researchers, it simulates human vision using algorithms. You can find out the ideal places to put buttons and banners to get them noticed.
- Mechanical Turk – is Amazon’s human intelligence tasks service (HITs) expert review group. Reviewers join Mechanical Turk and volunteer to complete tasks. The reviewers are paid for each completed task.
- ClickHeat – provides an interesting display method of results via heat maps. But unlike other usability tools, ClickHeat is a free Open Source tool that can be deployed on your web server. This provides a major advantage, which is actual users will be providing the data that drives the click maps. Also comes in a handy WP plugin.
- Morae – a far more comprehensive tool than some of the others in this list and can be used to gather feedback on more than just websites. $1,495 buys you a bundle consisting of Morae Recorder, Observer and Manager, which can be installed on up to three different computers.
- Google Analytics – is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed information and reports about the visitors to your website. If you run an e-commerce site you can setup your GA account to measure sales conversions, so you can understand which pages and keywords are or are not performing well. Within Google Analytics you can setup Content Experiments to A/B test different landing pages.
- Piwik – this is an open source analytics system that means Google don’t have access to your stats. Download this PHP/MySQL software program and install it on your own web server.
- UX Recorder – UX Recorder is for conducting usability testing on mobile Web sites. It uses your iOS device to record screen activity, video of the user’s face and audio.
- Evergage – let’s you personalise based on test results, e.g. serve the winner of a test to different segments (e.g. Chrome/Safari) if you have different winners for different segments
A key method in the various phases of conversion optimisation include obtaining customer feedback via surveys. Below are a list of useful survey tools you can use to gather live feedback on your site or conduct user research.
- Qualaroo – allows you to add customer feedback directly to your website with easy, targeted questions that will pop up on your site. It is the perfect way to do quick usability testing with your website visitors.
- SurveyMonkey – offers a popular online hosted survey tool that works well for basic surveys. The free version might be useful for very small and informal surveys, but allows very little customization of the look of the survey, no downloads of reports or data, and can only collect 10 questions and 100 responses per survey
- Wufoo – offers design templates to match brand identity and allows you to incorporate collection of payments. You can create forms by dragging and dropping a selection from a group of predefined field types. Field types can include text, numbers, drop downs, selection boxes and more.
- Surveymoz – with over 15 question types including multiple choice, rating scales, open ended and more you can be sure to get the answers you’re looking for.
- Survey.io – a free web-based service that allows you to create a survey using just a few data points. You can generate an unlimited number of responses, however if you’re looking for a more in depth tool then try Qualaroo.
When you are designing new landing pages it’s important to be able to generate mock-ups and wireframes that are straight-to-the-point. Wire framing requires that you define a skeletal outline of essential page elements such as headers, footers, navigation and content area and should illustrate how to cater and respond to any possible interaction from a user.
- Balsamiq – it’s easy to create click-through prototypes and low-fidelity wireframes with sketches using tools from Balsamiq. You can show how to increase website functionality and conversions. Balsamiq starts at $79.
- Lumzy – can create mock-ups of how your site or application will function by adding events from the extensive list of controls on offer. It has a great set collaboration tools for live team editing and a chat engine for deliberating over designs. All of this and it is absolutely FREE.
- CTA Button Creator – a joint venture by Michael Aagard this free tool allows you to create different CSS or PNG call to action buttons quickly and easily.
- Mockingbird – allows you to use browser-based tools that make it easy to create, preview, link and share mockups of any application or website. You can try Mockingbird for free, but plans start at just $9.
- iPhone Mockup – a very simple and easy to use app that allows you to create your own iPhone mock-ups very quickly, share them with other people at the click of a button, and any changes you make will by synced to everyone who has the mock up’s URL.
One of the biggest wins for improving conversions on your site can come from optimising the performance of the site. Here are a few tools we use to help speed up our clients sites.
- Google PageSpeed Insights – checks the content of a web page and generates suggestions to make that page faster. Recommendations are based on general principles of web page performance, including resource caching, data upload and download size, and client-server round-trip times.
- YSlow – analyses web pages, suggests why they’re slow based on Yahoo!’s rules for high performance web sites, and then offers suggestions for improvement. When analysing a web page, YSlow deducts points for each infraction of a rule and then applies a grade to each rule.
- GTmetrix – uses PageSpeed and YSlow to grade your site’s performance and provides recommendations to fix. The site also features tools to monitor your site and track its performance, such as video playback and performance reports.
- Which loads faster? – is a handy tool to compare loads times of two sites side-by-side. Go head-to-head with your competitors or match up against the industry big dogs, as you tweak your performance to ensure your edge.
- Load Impact – provide a free tool for load testing and performance testing. Test your site’s performance with mounting traffic. Choose a worldwide load zone, then test simulated clients, bandwidth, data received, and requests per second. The tool displays a nice chart to measure load time as more clients become active.
- WebPagetest lets you test your website speed from multiple locations around the globe using real browsers and consumer connection speeds. Enter multiple URLs to compare them side-by-side, or compare sites against industry pages. Perform advanced testing, including multi-step transactions, video capture, content blocking and more.
- SiteSpeedio – this tool uses YSlow and Pagespeed to analyse the page speed of every page on your site.
Case Studies & Useful Articles
If you are looking for ideas around different tests to try out on your website you’re in the right place. Below are some of our favourite case studies, research and highly actionable articles.
- Beginners Guide to CRO – if you are new to CRO then this is a great place to start. Lots of useful information and tools all in one place for you to get your teeth into.
- 9 Awful Ways we Push Customers Away – Rohan Ayyar on the Hubspot blog breaks down some stats and research on why over 67% of people abandon shopping carts on ecommerce sites.
- 7 Ways to make CRO a Growth Driver for Your Business (Video) – Sean Ellis from Qualaroo shares his presentation from Conversion Conference Chicago 2014
- How I Increased Conversions by 785% in One Day (Without A/B Testing) – Brian Dean gives some useful advice for people who want to grow their email list. Brian took his email opt-in rate from 0.5% to 4.8% with just one change to his site offer.
- How we made $1million for Moz – a great case study from the team at Conversion Rate Experts that showcased the work they did on the old SEOmoz website to help them increase signups.
- What is a Good Conversion Rate – Larry Kim from Wordstream analyses common traits between some of the highest converting websites his team manage for PPC clients.
- Using Video to Lift Landing Page Conversion Rate by 100% – a great case study from Vidyard who were able to double their conversion rates on their main coming soon page by using a video.
- 21 Ways You Are Screwing Up Your Landing Pages (And What To Do About It) – another excellent article from Peep Laja highlights some examples of common landing page mistakes.
- What Conversion Tactics Will Make the Biggest Bottom-Line Difference? – a group interview with some great CRO experts highlighting some tips businesses should implement.
- Which Test Won – for $75 per year you get access to over 400 A/B and multivariate case studies, definitely worth the investment.
- Guide to Google Analytics Demographics Reports – if you are new to Google Analytics demographics reporting then this article from Search Engine Watch is a great place to start.
- Eric Siu’s A/B Testing Tips – SingleGrain’s Eric Siu shares his 23 favourite A/B testing tips
- Wheel of Persuasion – has loads of cool psychology theories and tests/results run off the back of them, along with ideas of things to test
- Marketing Statistics – Pete Wailes from Built Visible has written some great articles on Statistics for marketers. A lot of marketers have trouble knowing if their tests are conclusive so be sure to brush up.
- 17 Insanely Actionable List Building Strategies That Will Generate More Subscribers Today – Brian Dean (Backlinko) shares some practical advice backed with case studies on ways you can grow your email list
- Where’s the Best Place for your CTA – Oli Gardner from Unbounce wrote a great article on where to place your CTA’s, whether you should place them above the fold, below the fold or at the very bottom of the page.
Blogs about Conversion Optimisation
If those case studies weren’t enough for you and you’re looking for more great articles on A/B testing, Psychology and UX then below are some blogs you will want to check out.
- Unbounce Blog – the Unbounce blog covers topics from A/B testing to social media including conversion optimization.
- Conversion Scientist – Brian Massey, the conversion scientist, regularly publishes information from his first hand experiences as a conversion optimisation professional on The Conversion Scientist blog.
- Conversion XL – helps turn more visitors into customers with actionable conversion advice based on scientific research and in-depth industry knowledge.
- Content Verve – Michael Aagard is an experienced Conversion Rate Optimization expert. He writes about CRO, copywriting and Content Marketing on his blog, Content Verve.
- KISSMetrics Blog – the KISSmetrics blog covers topics from analytics to website optimization.
- VWO Blog – the VWO blog covers topics from A/B split testing to conversion.It has a lot of great case studies too.
- Crazy Egg Blog – a regularly updated internet marketing and conversion focused blog by Crazy Egg the Heatmap tool.
- Smashing Magazine – covers all kinds of topics on their site including conversion testing and website usability.
Conferences and Events
If you’re looking for some great conferences to learn more about CRO and growth then here are a few conferences you might want to take a note of.
- Digital Elite Camp – a conference in Estonia for growth focused marketers. It’s quite an intimate affair and is one of our favourite conferences to attend.
- Growth Hacking Conference – 2014 sees the first ever Growth Hacking Conference. It will be hosted in London in October and the Waterfront Digital team will be attending – hope to see you there.
- Measure Fest – a one day digital marketing conference and series of training workshops which focus exclusively on analytics, big data, business intelligence and conversion rate optimisation.
- Conversion Conference – a conference dedicated to conversion optimisation, held in various locations each year.
- – an open, free-to-attend unconference, different to any other web analytics conference held around the world.
- Call to Action Conference – a one-day conversion conference fro the team behind Unbounce, to be held in Vancouver.
- Content2Conversion – a B2B focused content marketing and CRO conference held in Arizona.
- As always if there are any articles or tools you think are missing then please get in touch.