Conversion Rate Optimization & User Testing

We had a great talk with Quinn Zeda from Conversion Crimes about CRO and User Testing. Conversion Crimes helps you increase conversions by providing qualitative feedback.

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Greg Heilers

Greg

Quinn, thank you so much for agreeing to talk today. I actually had a great time the last time we chatted. It’s obvious to me how your productized service came about.

I mean it came about from over a decade of doing the service yourself but full service, right. And so I want to introduce you, but to be honest, I’d rather ask you to kind of introduce yourself. And then for the format today I want to dive into a few of my questions. 

But I’m really excited just to have you poke holes at our own service page because yours truly helped craft the copy for that and the design and we’ll see how that holds up to scrutiny. 

So thanks for coming on.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Awesome. Thanks for having me. So I’m Quinn Zeda and let’s see. I’ve never had a real job. So I started my career freelancing graphic design which kind of grew into websites which kind of grew into focusing – and then I realized that there’s a cap on like how much you can really earn as a designer. 

And so I started measuring my design results with real business results and then that’s where I was able to really increase my prices. 

And as I started getting too much work as a freelancer, I started hiring other people, and eventually it kind of turned into an agency where – which was called Zeda Labs where we helped seven-figure businesses scale. 

So we would go in and we would interview and research their customers, go through analytics, question their pricing, go through some of their operational processes, and really kind of our goal was to create a really good user experience that was the best on the market for that company’s niche. And so user experience hits all touchpoints of the business. 

We really went in there, did a bunch of research. Then we would write new copy, make a new brand for the website, and then kind of launch that. And in that process I learned that usability testing was kind of the 80/20 of CRO and UX. 

It was what gave us a lot of the insights into how people were using the website, how they were interpreting the copy on the website. And we really used that to help us develop the final version. 

Then we also have the side stuff that we did was audits for small businesses, and we would kind of do really – they were kind of an 80/20 version of our bigger projects in an audit, kind of do kind of the most important research. 

And really all of our clients that did that they always commented on the usability testing videos, and so that’s when I kind of realized that oh there’s something here and that’s what kind of inspired the launch of Conversion Crimes which helps businesses increase their conversions and user experience and I kind of consider it the 80/20 of – I’m all about efficiency.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Yeah. I’m right there with you, and like any small business owner or even higher level manager you got to focus on those major leverage points, right. I really want the bulk of this convo to be about Conversion Crimes’ work, but not promo but like how you do this and what you do. I had a selfish question though. 

Being that you did so much freelance design and we don’t have anyone in-house and we’re constantly looking for outside people. Just real quick, if you can think back to when you were a freelance designer from a client’s point of view, what should they be looking for and what are like giant red flags on their vetting freelance service providers in the graphic design or maybe entrusting them with the whole website experience if they’re not going after multiple people? What would you recommend?

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

So when looking for a designer a lot of times I look on Gerbil because it’s kind of easy. And they’re selective on who they allow on their platform, so you already know they’re a good designer if their work is there, especially if you can’t tell the difference between good or bad design. Gerbil is just a really good place to go to narrow it down to at least these designers have the technical skill, right. 

They can make something look pretty. But then when it comes to websites you don’t necessarily want someone that can just make things pretty because making things pretty is not what actually converts users, right. So you can have the prettiest design in the world, but if it doesn’t actually convert, it’s completely useless. 

And you can have an ugly design that converts. And it doesn’t look good, but it works, right. And so when I’m interviewing designers and stuff I always want to know about their process, like how do they do their work. 

Do they just like mess around until they kind of come up with something? 

Are they thinking about it or are they sketching? What is their process, whatever it is? 

And then I usually like to look at their portfolio and see if they have similar work to kind of what I’m looking for to at least kind of in the ballpark. And then I want to ask them a question on it. It can be any question. 

And it’s just like why did you design this that way? Why did you do that? And it really doesn’t matter their answer as long as they have an answer that’s not like oh it just looked good. 

Oh, whatever. That’s what Amazon did or whatever the answer is. You want it to be something like oh I put that there because in the analytics we saw that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, so we did it this way so that users would understand this or like some kind of strategic reasoning behind why they put something there that’s not just like oh it looked good or that’s what like whatever website did because what works on another website might not work on another website. It’s all contextual. 

So those are kind of the biggest tips for hiring designers I would say.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Like I said, selfish question. Two out of three of those we didn’t do. Lessons learned, right. We saw some pretty things that didn’t align with what we wanted, and we thought well if they could pull that off, they could probably pull off our idea. 

So it sounds like we missed the boat there. And we also didn’t ask the why at any point. So great. Thank you for those. We’ll see the end result in a little bit, not to knock our designer because I think it’s an interactive relationship, right. If the person commissioning the work doesn’t know what they’re doing, that has an impact.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

It’s hard hiring people kind of knowing what to look for and stuff, especially if you don’t really know stuff about the industry.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Okay. Well let’s flip that question. In the context of doing like user experience testing our own site – and I think maybe I’ll drag a question in here from later on that I had planned. Let’s say we thought we could leverage a tool like Hotjar to do this. 

Do we have any hope to do that as a business owner who knows nothing about UX or is that a feasible thing to do or are we really just misusing our time? I mean this isn’t meant to fish out any particular answer. I’m just curious what you think. Is this a DIY-able thing or are we better outsourcing?

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

So with Hotjar and stuff what’s great about it is they have like a free plan and it does give you quantitative data, so you can kind of see like where people are leaving like with the heat maps and what people are doing. 

But you have to be able to analyze that information and a lot of times you could understand like okay there’s a problem here, but you don’t understand really why it’s a problem, right. 

And so with Hotjar and stuff like that, it kind of takes someone that’s kind of knows how to read that data, has the experience and intuitiveness to understand what that problem might be or why people are having that problem. 

And that’s actually why I kind of love Conversion Crimes is not to kind of bring this in but it’s like with usability testing it’s literally someone recording their screen while they’re going to your website for the first time and talking you through what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. 

So where on Hotjar you can see like oh this person was going here. Why are they going here? With usability testing you can see they’ll be like oh I’m going over here because I’m looking for this thing. 

Oh, it’s not there. Where would it be? Okay. I’m going to go look over here. Okay. It’s not there either. Okay. Now this confuses me. So you can understand exactly their experience rather than just kind of seeing the GPS coordinates, right.

Greg Heilers

Greg

And creating our own narrative for why they did what they did.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Exactly. A key difference between like Hotjar and analytics or whatever, usability testing is that anybody can watch a video and see their experience, but I don’t think everybody can understand how to read the analytical stuff and tools like Hotjar and stuff. 

So it speaks more about what’s accessible and easy.

Greg Heilers

Greg

It makes a ton of sense. I could easily see it being another tool that we sign up for, we click run test, and then we’re like what the fuck do we do with this? I don’t know what we do. 

That’s really cool, and I appreciate that. And to put you on the spot, this is the main event of our talk I think. I’m just really excited and appreciate you. If you would, can you tear apart our own – or tell us what’s amazing about it – our own service page? I mean if you want I can share – okay. You got it.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

So this one, right?

Greg Heilers

Greg

Yes.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yes. So kind of the first impression here is I guess the design looks a little bit dated. I know that it’s meant to kind of have this piraty feel and stuff, but it’s not super legible against this kind of background that’s busy.

Greg Heilers

Greg

It was even worse before we had like really out there font, and everyone was like, guys, I know the piraty theme but you need to stop it. Nobody can read it.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Like with modern design it’s kind of like you have to keep things simple but then have touches of pirate without going full on pirate. And you know what. This comes from someone that is a pirate. I love pirates. I had a pirate flag on my house for like years.

Greg Heilers

Greg

What? No, I did not know that. Well I love your branding too, so you’re obviously not saying, look, don’t have a brand. You’re just saying, if I’m interpreting this right, be careful where and when you try to deploy that branding. It’s not that maybe the text needs it to be branded necessarily.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yeah. You want to find places where you can hint at it and add that embellishment but not go full throttle on it. You know what I mean, like accessorize.

Greg Heilers

Greg

This is cool. I appreciate this. Yeah. We have a ton of clients who give us positive feedback on the brand, but we’ve got to have a lot of people who are like you who are like why is this so hard to read?

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

It’s hard to read and then also like your CTA here doesn’t really stand out because of it, right. You want people to click here, but it’s like almost missable. It’s not even a different color and then –

Greg Heilers

Greg

Almost missable or very missable, one or the other. Yeah. Okay. Two points. This is awesome.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yeah. And then I do like this little chart here that’s kind of going through –

Greg Heilers

Greg

This was such a hit at least for services that do what we do at a lower quality level have knocked off this exact design and they of course – it’s not the same idea as no filter because we really don’t filter these. 

They literally just pump it full of the highest quality wins. I don’t know if they’re really their wins. 

But yeah, this thing was such a hit. It was like within a month of me putting this up here all of the competitors put up the exact same thing. It was really cool.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

That’s interesting. So I didn’t really have that context looking at this. So now I see it.

Greg Heilers

Greg

And isn’t it like disjointed, like out of place?

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

It’s something that’s out of place. There’s just not context for it. So there’s no filter, ten latest DFY HARO wins.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Yeah. What is that? That’s what people ask.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

I’m just seeing like oh okay. You’re going to get links like this or whatever. I didn’t realize that this was your ten latest wins, like live client things that we’re landing. 

I think you need like some kind of contextual intro to this chart because I think it’s cool to see like, look, these are the things we’re pumping out for clients. Like you want these same links. 

You want to get the same SEO juice. Boom, no filters. Because I think without the filter it shows people that these are real results. 

You have no cherry-picking. It’s real results.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Exactly. I mean we cherry-pick in the sales messaging obviously.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yeah of like the stuff around, like the testimonials and things like that, right? You kind of cherry-pick that. But this is super cool that you haven’t cherry-picked this. These are real results and really good results at that, so.

Greg Heilers

Greg

It depends on the day. It looks good today thank goodness.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yes. So we kind of went over the typeface not being super user friendly. They don’t really kind of go together, and I don’t really know how to explain that. It’s off in the background images. 

I think that’s what kind of makes it look dated. And kind of what we talked about earlier. You’ve got like all the pirate references in the background. 

This would look so much cleaner if you just took out that background image and then it’s like here’s the pirate theme, right?

Greg Heilers

Greg

So you can keep stuff like that. Interesting.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Like here it’s like the gold coins here, right. So you’ve got all these different images that are saying pirate. It’s like what’s your favorite one? Pick one. Here like the anchor, I don’t know, it doesn’t really make sense.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Yeah. No, I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, but I can see it when you’re saying it.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Now like if there is a solid color here, then the pirate embellishment is going to come out because right now all of this kind of just gets lost. You don’t even see that.

I mean not that you really need to anyways, but this little skeleton and stuff is going to bring the pirate. If you leave this kind of fancier font for main headlines, that kind of brings that pirate feel. 

And then you can have something like where it’s here in these one backgrounds. It’s going to bring that branding out and then the rest of it is just too much. It kind of just ends up cluttering everything. So it’s like kind of pick and choose. 

There is a link here where it said like learn about HARO. Yeah, here. And this leads to a Facebook group where you have to join to learn more and that’s not really what I expected when I clicked on that. I expected to like get a page on your website that was like here’s what HARO is and why you should care.

Greg Heilers

Greg

It was a little too fast of trying to convert someone so to speak. Even though it’s to a free group, it’s like we should have at least had an info page and then said if you want to learn more, you could join our group.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yes, because it’s learn about HARO I think I’m going here to learn about HARO. I expected to go to a page on your website which is actually a common mistake that people make. 

They link to something but you don’t give people – like my expectations are mismatched because I’m expecting to get a page that’s learning about HARO and now I’m going to a Facebook group. 

So I’m surprised, one, and confused the other one, and so I’m not likely to really sign up because I clicked on that because I wanted to learn more about HARO. I didn’t click it to join a Facebook group.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Yes. That makes so much sense. Thank you for that.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

So yeah, I would just change that to where it’s an actual page on the website, and then it’s like, hey, want to join other entrepreneurs, whatever, using HARO, join our Facebook group. And then you kind of give them the context so when they click on it they know they’re going to a Facebook group.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Got it. Wow. I mean I’m sure you could keep going and you’re welcome to. This has already been a lot for me, a lot of good things I mean.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yeah. Those are kind of the core things that come out. And like here it’s about visual hierarchy. 

So visual hierarchy is just organizing information where immediately I know like what the most important thing for me to look at here is. 

This is the second most important thing to look at here. And I kind of think –

Greg Heilers

Greg

I struggled with that forever.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yeah. So a way to think about it is everything is like a volume knob, right. So this right here, this, and this, they all have the same visual weight, right. So it’s like which one is more important. 

You want to bring the volume up and you want to bring back the volume of the others. 

So how would you do that? Make the headings larger, make the text here smaller, right. You want to make this more obvious. 

That’s a heading. You want to make this kind of go back a little bit. It’s information. And then you kind of want your CTA to stand out here so you’ve done the red, but it’s also competing with the red here and kind of this up here a little bit. 

So it’s like when I look at this my eye is going all over the place because I’m being pulled by the red. It’s the most attention-grabbing. And then I have no idea where to start with this text. I mean in general, I can see like the three headings, but it’s too much.

Greg Heilers

Greg

This is because I’m a content writer by nature. This is how I came up. You did freelance design. 

I did freelance editing and writing but not a copywriter, and they are two different skillsets. And my problem with our page copy has always been too many words. 

And then to your point I have zero design skills so I didn’t even think about that like volume analogy. It’s really a nice framework. 

So it’s too many words and you don’t know where to start so it’s just like that’s a lot of words to read to really know everything I’m supposed to know.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yes. A good framework to kind of think about this is to be like, okay, what is the number one thing I want people to know when they’re at this section of the website? Like what is it? 

Okay. Let’s put a headline, boom, super big, goes across all three things. That’s the most important thing. 

Okay. What’s the second most important thing? Maybe it’s that we do done-for-you HARO, what backlinks are, and you pay for live links only, right. So this is kind of the thing. 

Okay. We’re going to put those and like icons, make them whatever. We’re going to make them not as big as the headline but smaller but still attention grabbing. 

And then everything else it’s like you want to just tone down the volume and move it back. 

So you just think about the order priority. What are the top three things people need to know, focus on making those the hierarchy, and then push back everything else because people are going to be able to skim the information. They’re going to know one, two, three. 

Okay. I know those three things. Now here’s like the CTA. Here’s the action that I want to take or they’re going to be like oh I want to learn more information here, so then they’re guided to go do that if they want. 

Or they can just skim over it and move onto the next thing. You kind of want to move them like a map from step to step to step, if that helps.

Greg Heilers

Greg

I mean we could turn this into a consulting call, but to keep this relevant to other people too. I’m going back to my question now of earlier. 

I can’t see these things that you see, and obviously we know you’re Conversion Crimes. 

I’m not trying to turn this into a straight pitch for you. I mean I’m happy to talk about your service. But what’s the next step for someone like me? 

Let’s say it’s a service page like this or let’s say a lot of our audience, a lot of our clients are affiliate marketers so they have info sites. So they’re not necessarily specific sales pages, but they’re trying to direct traffic to specific links. 

What’s the next step if they are not a CRO pro themselves? Is it in your opinion I would guess outsource this to someone like you or do you think there’s like a chance someone like me can come in and look at my site and correct this somehow? I don’t see the path personally, but is there a chance?

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yeah. It’s hard because you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s a big reason why I built Conversion Crimes because the options out there is like A/B testing which takes time and resources and development. 

You have to know like what to test, and you have to have enough traffic and all that. You can hire agencies to do it, but it’s like they’re too expensive. Consultants are also quite expensive for the most part. 

And so with usability testing it’s like literally you’re just watching a video and you can see like oh a person is struggling here. 

Okay. Well what could I do to make it easier for them to understand that? And then you can kind of tinker around. And it doesn’t even have to be like a service like what I’m doing at Conversion Crimes. 

You can literally go up to anybody and bring – go to a coffee shop, bring your laptop, and be like, hey, can I buy you a coffee to answer a couple questions for me? 

And it’s like okay. Open your website. What do you think this is? What do you think it’s about? And watch them use it. And then you’re able to see like oh they’re struggling there, oh they misinterpreted, oh tell me more about that. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a tool. You can do it with anyone, right.

Greg Heilers

Greg

This is cool. Those are good ideas. I always strayed from the ask your mom or friend for their thoughts because I thought what if they mislead us. But probably asking somebody –

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

They do. A lot of times like mothers, friends, and stuff like that they’ll just be like oh everything looks great. 

That’s why I kind of go to a coffee shop and ask like a random person and buy them a drink and it’s like look I just want to – I made this thing. 

I want to know if you understand what it is and get feedback and understand where you’re confused or whatever and kind of give them that context, and then they’re able to say oh yeah this is confusing here. 

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do there. You’ll be like, okay, now I want you to find a backpack on the store that can fit a 15-inch laptop. 

Can you do that? And then watch them try to do it and figure it out and that’s what’s going to give you the insights. 

If you ask feedback from your mom, she’s going to be like oh it looks great. Your website is amazing.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Okay. Well that’s really practical. I appreciate that. That’s something anybody can do.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It can cost nothing.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Well that coffee.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yeah, yeah.

Greg Heilers

Greg

But that aside, the reason I was attracted to what you were doing is because you found the middle ground. You used to do full service, and I had so many more questions for you about what you were sharing about our site which goes into the full service consultation I think, our positioning. 

I wanted to ask you how do we separate our two brands? We have the other link at the top. But there’s so many other things. That’s why I like what you’re doing at Conversion Crimes because the entry point with a productized service it’s such a more relaxing way to get into UX. 

I could see a smaller company like us approaching you and thinking oh we’re going to get some good insights here without managing the testing ourselves. So I really appreciate everything you shared right now. 

There’s probably something I forgot to ask or even talk about. Like you said, don’t know what you don’t know. Is there anything you think I might have – would have been good if I brought up or asked you about?

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

I can’t think of anything.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Well that’s okay. That’s okay. I want to point people to conversioncrimes.com. And Quinn, is there anywhere else they could look for you if they have a follow-up question? I’m going to link to it in here obviously.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Yeah. If you Google my name, I’ll come up everywhere. But yeah, Twitter, I like Twitter, @quinnzeda. You can email me at quinn@conversioncrimes.com. Our LinkedIn as well. But I’ve got an easy name, so everybody finds me.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Yeah. For better or worse, you’ve got a great name for remembering.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Actually I was just complaining the other day because I placed like a job ad on We Work Remotely and it had my name in it. So I got like a million phone calls, like hit up on Skype, everyplace you can contact me I got annoyed by agencies and stuff.

Greg Heilers

Greg

So if you’re watching this and looking for a gig, don’t use this as your opportunity. But okay. Cool. Quinn, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it. I’m looking forward to staying in touch. 

We met in Traffic Think Tank. Highly recommend it for anyone that’s not there yet. But I appreciate it, and I know we’re going to be looking at Conversion Crimes. So thank you.

Quinn Zeda

Quinn

Awesome, awesome. Thanks for having me.

Greg Heilers

Greg

Absolutely.

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