When it comes to conversions, the devil is in the details. And even the smallest details can have a significant impact on conversions.

Unfortunately, many web-based businesses don't sweat the details, and their conversions suffer as a result. But the experience of one web startup highlights just how meaningful paying attention can be.

George Saines, the CEO of an internet startup called Skritter, published an interesting blog post detailing how a single checkbox on his company's signup page decreased conversions by 17%.

The checkbox, which allowed new registrants to opt in to receiving "5 tip emails on how to use Skritter", was not expected to have much of an impact on conversions. But because Skritter was wisely applying multivariate testing to its signup page, it quickly discovered that the checkbox was hurting signups.

The lesson: "never, under any circumstances, modify the appearance or function of a mission-critical part of your website without testing. That simple test helped us avoid a 17% decline in sign ups every month."

Skritter's experience is the perfect example of why multivariate testing is so valuable: assumption is the best way to mess up a good thing. Unless you're testing how changes to your most important pages impact conversions, there's a good chance that you're losing money or leaving money on the table.

To get the most from your multivariate tests of a signup or payment form, it's advisable to make sure that your tests cover differences in a number of key components. In my experience, here are some worth considering.

Potential Conversion Boosters

  • Graphic buttons.
  • Your company name and contact information, including phone numbers.
  • Clear, brief explanations of key terms and conditions.
  • Progress indicators.

Potential Conversion Impediments

  • Content area links that take the user/customer to other pages.
  • Client-side or server-side validation that empties fields that have been properly populated. 
  • Anything that indicates your user/customer will be contacted via phone or email.
  • Advertisements.
Patricio Robles

Published 7 December, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2641 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (2)


Nikhil Narayan

This is a very good analysis on signup forms. The tips provided in this blog post is very-much true and they help the businesses a lot. Things can go a bit out of hand and can trigger spam flow to your account, if the form is not tested. You may even loose a premier client, because some of the sections in the form are not working on some of the web browsers or all of them. Website may get you traffic, but signup or contact forms will get you the leads. So, you need to be bit cautious while dealing with them.

over 7 years ago


Michael Webster

If you read the comments in the article, you will see that those people who were turned off by the inclusion of the check box turned out to be people who were 50% less likely to purchase the product!

over 7 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.