Landing Page Optimization, by Tim Ash (Softcover, 2008)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This book is two starkly different books back to back under one
cover. It consists of three Parts, with Part 1 being the first book.
Part 1 consists of four chapters. The first two Chapters are
Conversion 101, information that anyone in e-commerce should already
know. Chapter 3 is some marketing info that is not especially useful and
is a detour in the book. It should be in an Appendix, if it's included
Chapter 4 is good. This is information my company has been focusing
on for the past year, with great results from that effort.
The next four chapters comprise Part II. Chapters 5 through 8 exist,
it seems, to convince you of how difficult it is to assess and tune your
conversion issues so you really need an expert.
In Part II, Mr. Ash describes and prescribes methods that are
suitable only for very high traffic Web properties. Almost none of what
he talks about applies to the kind of people who would buy a book on
this subject. Almost all of what he talks about does apply to the
C-level person who has a big budget for hiring a conversion consultant.
Guess what Mr. Ash does for a living.
For further evidence of the goal of Part II, we need only to turn to
Part III. The audience of this chapter is a large company with many
departments. Again, we're talking about the C-level person with a big
budget for hiring a consultant. The general message I read between the
lines here is, "Here's how to sell our services inside your company."
Had I bought this book when it first came out, I would have found it
useful because of what's in Chapter 4. For many e-commerce site
operators, it would still be useful. Very useful.
If you haven't spent much time and energy on optimization, you need
the information in Chapter 4.
What's missing from this Chapter, though, is any discussion of
the techniques being used (e.g., sliders, content tabbers, etc.), a
discussion of graphics (a huge area for conversion), or much else beyond
the basics. He does make some key points about eliminating things that
don't need to be there (especially in checkout), and more discussion on
that would have been good. In short, he gives a surface discussion of
the key issues.
I still see sites that could double their revenues simply by applying
what Mr. Ash discusses in Chapter 4. If your conversion rates are less
than 2% or not even known, then buy this book for Chapter 4 alone.
The other 10 Chapters don't seem useful to me.