All you ever wanted to know about performing website due diligence and how to not doo due diligence when buying sites.

I’m at the Ungagged Conference and enjoyed sitting in on a presentation by Bryan O’Neil of Flippa.com.

Are you looking for a Website, or a Web Business?

— Bryan O’neil, Flippa.com

Website Due Diligence Issues to Consider

When considering investing in a web business, consider the following.

  • Traffic source: Is it dependent on free search?
  • Proft
  • On-going development: Does it require additional investment?
  • Dependence on Third-party API’s: Facebook, Twitter and others can change access to data at any time.

There are other considerations for website due diligence as well.

Calculate Revenue per Visit

The Revenue per Visit (RPV) is the revenue generated by a site divided by the number of visitors. If this number is small, you may have trouble building traffic, because the cost of the traffic is higher than the revenue.

For a better analysis, consider measuring Profit per Visit.

Avoid Traffic Arbitrage

If the site is not something you would use, you might have a business built on traffic arbitrage. Arbitrage is acquiring traffic, and then sending it advertisers or affiliates for more than you paid.

This is not a web business.

Does the Website have a Future?

Sites with a limited future are not a good long-term investment. When performing website due diligence, be careful of sites that are at the mercy of time or other businesses.

Websites that focus on a single event have a built in expiration date.

Sites that fix something in someone else’s product can be eliminated by upgrades to that product.

Sites tat provide a product that is simply “better” than the competition can be marketed out of existence

Websites that depend on loopholes should be avoided, as loopholes can be closed.

Avoid trying to figure things out after you buy.

— Bryan O’neil, Flippa.com

Website Due Diligence: 7 Business Buying Myths

O’Neil offer seven myths about buying a business that you should avoid.

Myth #1: The site’s backlink profile is important

Dependence on organic traffic is dangerous.

Myth #2: Financial verification is most important

Businesses with good financial verification can fail if they don’t have a future.

Myth #3: Escrow can save you from a bad decision.

Escrow is where you give money to a third party during a period of inspection and verification.

Do your due diligence before you enter escrow. Don’t make yourself a target for scammers.

Entering escrow also tie up your capital, limiting your options.

Myth #4: Website due diligence is just too expensive.

Due diligence is expensive, especially if done by a third party.

But, when you compare it to the purchase price, it can be quite affordable.

Calculate your Website Due Diligence Percent:

DDP = Cost of Due Diligence / Purchase Price of Website.

Myth #5: Screen shots are viable proof of financial performance.

Business owners can forge screen shots showing success. This is a sign of a scammer.

Make the seller jump through hoops.

— Bryan O’neil, Flippa.com

Myth #6: Your broker can do due diligence.

Avoid any broker that claims they have done due diligence for you.

Brokers work for the SELLER.

Myth #7: You can rely on apps to do your website due diligence.

Nope. You need the human element in the process.

Due Diligence when Buying Websites by Bryan O’neil of Flippa.com

Here is my instagraph infographic of his presentation on due diligence mistakes when buying Websites.

Avoid Doo Due Diligence When Buying Websites - All About Website Due Diligence: Advice from Flippa.com

Due Diligence when Buying Websites by Bryan O’Niel


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

 

If your website has a glorious design and drives huge traffic but you’re still not getting enough leads, you need to get serious about conversion rate optimization and these 46 conversion rate optimization hacks will help you get there.
Conversion rate optimization is a systematic process of increasing the percentage of your website’s visitors that take the desired action on a certain page. This includes optimizing the landing pages and the website overall, using real-time analytics, tested design, and psychological elements, in order to turn your website visitors into customers.
Don’t make a rookie mistake! Not every one of these “hacks” will work for your website.

How to  Apply Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

There is a very defined process for applying conversion optimization hacks. It goes something like this.

List Relevant Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

List all of the hacks below that apply to your website. I recommend downloading the Conversion Sciences Hypothesis List Spreadsheet.
Toss out the ones that you’ve already tried or tested (delete them from your spreadsheet).

Do Your First Ranking of Conversion Optimization Hypotheses

Rate each of the remaining ones by level of effort (LOE), expected impact, and traffic affected. Our spreadsheet will calculate a weight for each idea.
Those that lie at the top of your list are ready to be researched.

Fix the Conversion Optimization Hacks that are Broken

Is it clear that some of these conversion rate optimization hacks needs immediate attention?
For example Hack 1: Increase Your Page Speed may be near the top of the list. It can have a high impact (based on other studies), and it affects all traffic.
To collect more data, you could look at your bounce rate. A high bounce rate may indicate a slow website, especially on mobile. You could also visit WebPageTest.org and get a grade on your page speed.
If the data says your site is slow, this would be a hack worth fixing. It will have a high value for “proof” in the spreadsheet.
If the data says your site is loading quickly, then you have low evidence and this idea may drop to the bottom of the ranking. Move on.
Other candidates for “just fix it” include

  • Technical problems on any page
  • Bad layouts due to responsive web design
  • #8 Remove CAPTCHA from forms. Don’t has your customers to manage your spam problem.
  • #16 Let Customers Checkout as Guests
  • #21 and #24 Reduce Form Fields

Research Your Top Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

Find ways to research each of the hacks that are at the top of your list.
For example, if hack #16: Let Customers Checkout as Guests is high on your list, you could look at analytics to see if the “Login or Create an Account” page is a big source of abandonment. If it is, it gets more proof points.  If not, maybe it isn’t a problem.
You would also implement an exit-intent popup for this “Login or Create an Account” that asked, “What kept you from buying today?” If lots of visitors admit that they didn’t want to create an account, this idea would get more proof points.

AB Test the Most Promising Ones

The most promising ideas that don’t fall into the “fix it” category get an AB test. This will tell you which conversion rate optimization hacks will improve the site and by how much. It is the best data you can collect.
Have a look at Website Builder’s  “46 Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks” infographic below and for a list of effective hacks for increasing your conversion rates.

46 Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

About the Author

Josh Wardini - 46 Conversion Rate Optimization Hacks

Josh Wardini, Editorial Contributor and Community Manager at websitebuilder.org. With a preliminary background in communication and expertise in community development, Josh works day-to-day to reshape the human resource management of digitally based companies.

Here are 3 conversion optimization examples of how to kill the “slider”.

This is not a post about how carousels kill conversions.  They can, but it’s not about that.

This post is about doing what’s best for the people who want to buy from you on your site.

Every CRO and savvy eCommerce manager I have ever met hates carousels.  In fact, we’ve never actually blogged about it because EVERYONE ELSE already did.  Bringing up carousel flaws would be akin to bringing up the Hindenburg’s.

What we at Inflow will do, however, is document the death of the carousel. But before we do, let’s talk about its birth.

Blame Yahoo! if you want

It seems like the carousel has been around forever, at least in Internet terms. Broad adoption started in the summer of 2009 after Yahoo introduced it on its homepage.

Blame Yahoo if you want

If your site still has a rotating carousel, perhaps you still have a Nokia phone?  You can check your email on it, you know!

From that point on, every website felt free to:

  • Whisk away copy while it was still being read
  • Randomly change calls to actions
  • Remove control from the user actions
  • Create “banner-blindness”
  • Periodically attract attention no matter how irrelevant to the viewer.
  • Slow page load time with multiple big images

So, for some, it might not be a surprise that there is a better way to structure an eCommerce homepage.

The death of the (unnecessary) carousel

In our 2018 Best in Class Comparative Matrix for eCommerce, we saw only 6 out of 10 sites still used the homepage hero carousel.  That number is less than half of what it was 2 years earlier.

The reason why is simple: it was never the best option for most of the sites that did it, and that statement is still pretty much true.

Optimization Away from Carousels

So, how does a site transform its homepage from having a carousel? Here are three conversion optimization examples for removing carousels.

Zappos.com

Before

A year ago, Zappos was sporting a left category nav, hero carousel and a couple of static promo areas to the right.  That made it jam-packed with options.

Zappos

After

Zappos simplified things by ditching the carousel, the left nav on the homepage and instead focusing the homepage on the things customers want most.  They are still testing this bad boy with over 5 major variants identified, so check back in February to see the winning combination. ;)

So apparently, Zappos.com never needed a slider. Note that they kept the slides, but moved 2 of them to the bottom of the site in favor of stuff users most want (a lot of which was not even on the homepage of this eCommerce behemoth just a year ago).

There’s a big lesson here for those willing to learn it and kill their carousel.

Zappos

UnderArmour.com

Before

Under Armour had a carousel last year, alternating between two and three slides.

Under Armour

After

Over the past year, they have MADE ONLY ONE CHANGE on their homepage.  That was to ditch the carousel.


Underarmour

Williams Sonoma

Before

Williams Sonoma made some minor navigation changes over the past year and added lazy-load to the homepage, which widened it a bit.

Williams Sonoma

After

For the most part, the only significant change to the homepage was REMOVING THE CAROUSEL.

Williams Sonoma

Take-Away

If you were to take the lead from these 3 best in class sites, you would blindly get rid of your eCommerce site’s carousel.  But wait!!!

You can see below that there are still 6 out of 20 Best-in-Class eCommerce sites that are standing by their carousel. You bet they have tested their homepage over the past year.

eCommerce sites carousel use

eCommerce sites carousel use

So Why?

The answer is that the carousel, as they have it, is right for them and their audience.  For now, at least, until something tests better.

This is why we test.

keith-haganAbout the author: Keith Hagan is an award-winning conversion optimization expert and Director of Conversion Services at Inflow. Keith’s insights have been featured in well-known publications, such as Moz, HuffPo, Forbes and more.

How do you decide which elements of your site to test? This question is at the heart of website optimization.
A better question is, “How do you determine what NOT to test?”
It’s relatively easy to come up with ideas that might increase your conversion rate. We typically come up with 50, 75, 100 or more ideas for each of our client sites. Filtering through this list is the hard part.
Here’s the approach we take at Conversion Sciences (my employer).

Step One: Look For Evidence

You should never test anything if you don’t have some evidence that it is a problem. These ideas are called hypotheses for a reason. A hypothesis is an educated guess, an informed fabrication, a data-based brain fart.
So you need to educate, inform and find data on your ideas, or they don’t qualify as hypotheses. They’re just happy thoughts.
The first benefit of looking for evidence is that you might be able to eliminate a hypothesis. You might find evidence that it’s NOT a problem.
Here’s an example hypothesis for the product page of an e-commerce site: “If we put an ‘Add to Cart’ button at the bottom of the  page, more visitors will add an item to their cart.”
Sounds reasonable. Yet, if few people are scrolling down the page, this hypothesis won’t hold water.
We can look at attention data, or “heat map” data generated by click-tracking and scroll-tracking software such as CrazyEgg. This will tell us how far visitors are scrolling on the product pages of the site.
If they aren’t scrolling far, then we may save this hypothesis for another time.
When we’re identifying what to test, we give each hypothesis a rating from 1 to 5 for how much evidence there is.
A rating of “1” means there’s no evidence, that the hypothesis is just an idea. A rating of “5” tells us that there is overwhelming evidence that there is a problem this hypothesis could address.
I’ve written and talked about the sources of data that are available to help you with this.

Step Two: Rate The Traffic

We want to avoid optimizing the wrong parts of the site. Our hypothesis list should have ideas for site-wide improvement, as well as page-specific enhancements.
Changing the order of the site’s navigation, for example, is a site-wide change. Adding trust symbols to the checkout page is page-specific. If we were to rate the value of the traffic on a scale of 1 to 5 again, what would we give these two scenarios? They both might get a 5.
A site-wide change, such as adjusting the navigation, has an impact on 100% of the visitors. That’s a 5 in my book. Accordingly, changing a page that is only seen by 20% of visitors or less gets a 1.
Visitors to the checkout page often account for a small percentage of viewers. Why give them a 5? Because what this traffic lacks in volume it makes up for in opportunity.
Visitors who are checking out have demonstrated significant buying intent. These visitors are very valuable to us.
Other pages may not get much attention. The “About Us” and “FAQ” pages may not be so interesting to us. They might get a 2 or 3.
Favor hypotheses that have an impact on the most, or most interesting, visitors.

Step Three: How Hard Is It To Test?

For each of our hypotheses, we want to understand what the level of effort might be. It’s easy to change the text of a guarantee or offer. It’s much more difficult to add live chat to a site.
If we use our 1-to-5 scale again, we might give the change in the copy a 1 or a 2. Adding live chat requires hiring a live chat vendor, doing integration and staffing for our chatty visitors. This is a 5 in my book.
You don’t want to favor simple tests for simplicity’s sake. Don’t rush off and test button color just because it’s a 1 on your level-of-effort scale.
Likewise, hold off on swinging for the fences until the low-hanging fruit has been found. Leave your 5s for another time.

Step Four: What Does Experience Tell You?

Finally, gauge the impact you think this hypothesis will have. This is based on your knowledge of your prospects. It is based on what you’ve learned from previous tests you’ve done.
It is based on your experience as an online marketing team. It is based on research you’ve done, such as reading this column.
How about a scale from 1 to 5 again? If you rate a hypothesis as a 1, you’re saying that this is an arbitrary idea. If it has a big impact, that will be a surprise.
If you rate your hypothesis as a 5, you’re saying you believe this change will have a significant impact on the visitors and the site. You’re expecting a big win.
Our intuition can often lead us astray. You will find yourself rating hypotheses higher on this impact scale, not because of your experience, but because you want to try them. Or you might favor one because you like the idea.
These kinds of sentiments don’t belong in a scientific environment like the one we create. However, we cannot ignore the intuition of experienced business people.
This is only one of the four factors we weigh, the others being proof, traffic value, and level of effort. A high impact score may tip a hypothesis into the top 10, but only if it has good ratings in other categories.
Once a hypothesis has been proven or disproved, there is no more role for intuition. When the data is there, we favor the data. However, when deciding what to test, we like to mix in a little gut.

Step Five: Bucket The Winners

Once we have ratings for each of the five areas, we can weight a hypothesis. We simply add together the values for Proof, Impact and Visits/Buyer Affected. Then subtract the level of effort (LOE). Here’s what part of a hypothesis list may look like:

The top ten hypotheses reveal an interesting pattern when you bucket them.

The top 10 hypotheses reveal an interesting pattern when you bucket them.

We take one more step and put each of our top hypotheses into one of five buckets:

  1. User Experience: For hypotheses that would alter the layout, design or other user interface and user experience issues.
  2. Credibility and Authority: For hypotheses that address trust and credibility issues of the business and the site.
  3. Social Proof: For hypotheses that build trust by showing others’ experiences.
  4. Value Proposition: For hypotheses that address the overall messaging and value proposition. Quality, availability, pricing, shipping, business experience, etc.
  5. Risk Reversal: For hypotheses involving warranties, guarantees and other assurances of safety.

It’s important to have these buckets because when we look at the top ten hypotheses shown in the figure, we see that six out of the ten are “User Experience” issues. This gives us a hint about the overall challenge with the site. It’s not well-designed for conversion.
We may spend our initial efforts finding out what kind of user experience these visitors want since our analysis says that the site doesn’t seem to be giving them what they want.
This is a simplified version of our process. If you’d like a copy of the “ROI Prioritized Hypothesis List” spreadsheet we use daily, send me an email at TheLab@ConversionSciences.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Massey is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences and author of Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Website Formulas of The Conversion Scientist. Conversion Sciences specializes in A/B Testing of websites. Follow Brian on Twitter @bmassey