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.