What I’ve learned from “Making Websites Win”

Patrick Hens
August 22, 2018 ·
What I’ve learned from “Making Websites Win”

The book is pure gold: “Making Websites Win” indeed is the ultimate guide to growing any web business, and there is a lot to be learned from the book. It contains 12 years of demonstrated knowledge from the authors Dr. Karl Blanks and Ben Jesson, founders of Conversion Rate Experts. The invaluable lessons to be learned on 351 pages will teach you everything you need to know about conversion rate optimization (CRO), the tools and techniques, how far optimization can reach beyond websites, and how to grow your profits scientifically.

What I’ve learned from “Making Websites Win” is not just information on how to convert significantly better, but also excellent arguments to convince potential clients or customers.

#1: How to get more customers for free

Conversion rate optimization is powerful. There are two distinct ways to increase your sales. One is spending money on ads to get more traffic, and the other is CRO. Both ways eventually result in more sales and customers, but the latter one is free. In “Making Websites Win,” you’ll find out how to increase your conversion rate to convert your existing website traffic into more customers for your business.

The massive advantage you’ll get from an increased conversion rate is that if you spend money on ads later, it will be much more profitable. It might enable you to try new channels, like magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV to acquire even more customers. CRO is especially beneficial to companies relying on free traffic from search engines, as you can make yourself less dependent on it, by being able to use different channels simultaneously.

If your competitors succeed in conversion rate optimization, and you don’t, you are probably burning money trying to keep up, but you will never manage to overtake them. Without doing CRO, it’s impossible to win.

#2: Why most web design is done the wrong way

Unfortunately, my websites are no exception to this, but with the help of the book, I understood how to address the issues and how to do it right from the start. My web designs were based on default templates, which are often cluttered, unattractive, and admittedly not well-converting. That’s a thing of the past because there is no way I will repeat that mistake.

Websites need straight-to-the-point clarification, colors and call-to-action-buttons in the right places, generally more whitespace, better copywriting, and maybe an overall upgrade in aesthetics while not overdoing it. Solely optimizing for beauty might win you one of the many design awards that come with extra website traffic. However, untargeted traffic is unlikely to convert, and the effect is only temporary.

Customers are the bloodline for any business, that is why applying customer-centric design is so crucial. Scientific web design is functional. The form follows function; that’s why Google, eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube, and other leading websites look the way they look. By measuring and testing everything you create, you learn how to make websites ultra-effective.

#3: How to improve your website through diagnosis

Before reading the book, I was not actively listening to my audience. Of course, I read customer inquiries, took a look at who my customers are, what industry is most interested in my products and services, but that was about it. I only guessed what made customers leave, not proceeding to checkout, not sending an inquiry. Now I am confident in knowing my customers, no guesswork necessary.

Listening to your audience is how to improve your website; it pays to understand your visitors well. There may be many reasons that stop them from converting, and you need to know which ones. Diagnosing the problems is a fundamental step in improving your website’s effectiveness, and the authors tell you precisely how to discover the many conversion blockers efficiently. For example, it could be that the visitor:

  • Completely misses the point
  • Hits a sticking point
  • Is unsure what you do
  • Doesn’t trust you
  • Isn’t interested
  • Is confused
  • Doesn’t believe your product’s claims
  • Isn’t convinced you’re better than the alternatives
  • Is worried about the risk
  • Wants to think about it

Depending on the problem you’ll need to utilize one or more of the many tools for analytics, heatmaps, session recordings, live chats, and surveys, among others, which will build the foundation for your success. You will get to know your audience and know what questions to ask, and when, to receive valuable feedback. No need to tap in the dark anymore. Learn to identify and tackle the problems, to make your website win.

#4: Putting it all to the A/B test

I’ve learned the benefits of testing and how to test efficiently. Most marketing is based on mere opinions or so-called best practices. A/B testing tells the truth. A/B tests replace your gut-feeling with confidence once and for all. It is vital to measure and test all the changes made based on the feedback and data you receive. Only then can you discard the missteps and replace it with the successes.

The Conversion Rate Experts helped to grow clients in 34 countries in 11 languages. They know what works, and what doesn’t. The book includes a valuable case study that gives you exclusive insights on how they helped grow a company by 470% in a year. You will learn what they’ve tested and most importantly the reasons why. You will see many examples that will give you ideas on how to improve your online business.

A/B testing is the way to go because knowing that you’ve just permanently increased your conversion rate, and thus profits, is one of the most satisfying moments you will ever have. Convert™ is an A/B testing tool that is fast and easy to use, and highly recommended by the Conversion Rate Experts themselves.

Final thoughts

There is a lot more to be learned from the book than what I’ve mentioned in the four sections above. The bottom line is that CRO it is a game-changer for businesses and careers alike, and you can be on the winning side, too, with “Making Websites Win.”

making websites win
Originally published August 22, 2018 - Updated December 10, 2021
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Patrick Hens
Patrick Hens Patrick Hens is the CEO of OnPageLeads, a B2B shop for German street data

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