The split testing campaign I am going to talk about in today’s case study was named the “crazy minimal homepage” campaign. The change was no less crazy; the company decided to wipe off their entire homepage and show just the sign-up form.
TheHOTH is a white label SEO service company. They provide link building services for agencies and SEO re-sellers. On their website’s original homepage, they have a video & a sign-up form (above the fold), customer logos, testimonials as well as other necessary and good-to-have elements.
Here is how their original homepage looks:
TheHOTH was getting a decent amount of traffic on their homepage but their conversions were pretty low. They tested their headline and added / removed some page elements among other changes. But nothing brought them significant results.
They decided to dig some data to understand about the people who were signing up for an account. The analysis showed them that most of their sign-ups were coming from referrals, word-of-mouth and direct search.
The test hypothesis was that eliminating everything from the homepage and keeping just the sign-up form on the page would increase conversion of visitors to account sign-ups. They wanted to test this, as a substantial portion of visitors coming to their website were already familiar with the brand.
The company setup a split test with VWO and the traffic was split between 2 versions of the homepage: the original and the minimal homepage with only the sign-up form. The test ran for 30 days and close to 3000 visitors became a part of the test.
Here is how the variation page looks:
The minimal homepage increased account signups for TheHOTH from 1.39% to 13.13%. Needless to say, this was a home run for them.
Why The Minimal Homepage Worked
- Broadly traffic coming to a website can be divided into 5 mediums: direct, search, social, referral and paid.
Majority of visitors coming on TheHOTH website were from the direct and referral category. Hence, they had some background knowledge of the company already. This was also true for the social traffic. A very large portion of their search traffic also came from branded keywords (see data from Alexa below). Hence, visitors of the website had a certain level of trust in the brand already. Probably to learn more about the offering the visitors signed up for an account since no information about the service was present on the landing page.
- The clutter free-design focused solely on one thing and that was signing up for an account.
- The original homepage had 2 CTAs above the fold. If we go by the F-shape reading pattern of web visitors, the video was very likely to steal attention from the form. It has also been proven in an eye-tracking study by Moz that visual media attracts attention instantly.
You can read this excellent post by Smriti where she talks about how you can guide visitors’ eye path to the conversion goal.
- The sign-up form on the original page is in a dark shade of red and is on top of a red background which prevents it from getting much attention. The second CTA to sign-up for an account at the end of the page also doesn’t have any contrast compared to the red tile in the background.
You can read more about how color psychology affects conversions here.
Challenges with a Minimal Homepage
1) Quality of Leads
A major challenge with having such a design is that many people will enter in to understand the product or service and may later realize that it is not a good fit for them.
Alternatively, this would give the company a lot of leads to educate and convince about the product / service.
Clayton at TheHOTH (who setup this test) explained that they are also concerned about the quality of leads that would enter the system unaware or less aware of the service. They’re solving this by adding more information after signup, reaching out to customers via phone & email, and implementing an educational auto-responder to deliver value to their signups.
2) Additional Pressure on Sales
More number of less quality leads would put an additional level of pressure on the sales department. They would have a hard time differentiating between the already motivated leads and those who entered just to understand the offering.
3) Low Trust
Since there is nothing except the sign-up form on the variation page, users have no way of finding out more about the company. This could lead to low trust.
It would be interesting to see the results of the test with a third variation that has the sign-up form on the left and a testimonial on the right hand side. (something like below)
This was one interesting usage of VWO that came our way. I would really be interested in knowing your thoughts on why the crazy minimal homepage worked. And what do you think about it in general? Looking forward to hear from you in the comments section!