Website optimization and usability testing is a must these days if you are concerned with conversion rates.

Seth Godin, marketer, author, and blogger, has a great post about basic web usability.

"If you approve or create online forms or deal with consumer interactions, I hope you'll think about the following:

1. If you have more than seven items in a pull down list, you have failed."

Read about it over on Seth's blog - The magic rule of seven (and the banality of alphabetical order)."

website usability and optimization testing
The last thing any website marketer wants is a bad conversion rate on the first page a visitor comes to. What's a bad conversion rate? "I came, I puked, I left.".

I don't know if Seth is using his intuition, but let's say he is, about web usability or user interfaces to support his hypothesis. It has been my experience as a web developer, web optimizer/tester that intuition in most cases is usually wrong. A better approach is to take a data-driven one and use web analytics.

To fix usability problems and conversion rates - the best game in town is Google Analytics. You can do all of the a/b and multivariant testing you want. You can test any element on a page including the whole page. FREE.

Here are some more ideas about website optimization.

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