#21/25: Copy Hackers: Book 1 to 4

Initially, I bought copy hackers at its released. Sometimes I looked into it and thought how cool it was but never worked through it. Now its finally time!

Book 1: Where Stellar Messages Come From

  • You need a clear gasp of your message before you begin writing
  • General principles
  • Some visitors want to read a lot, others don’t
  • Provide social proof
  • Support concepts with videos
  • Try to prove your claims
  • Clarity above cleverness
  • Your strategy don’t have to be set in stone. Update it if you get new useful information about your customers.

Your massage can be divided into

  • What you say
  • How you say it

It’s not about crafting beautiful sentences, it’s about writing copy that sells.

Every message needs to be a message your ideal visitors want to see, i.e. you have to do research first.

  1. What’s your target market?
    • Ask your email subscribers
    • Ask people in the streets
    • Get involved in forums
    • If you got tons of money – buy reports
    • Use CI tools like compete
    • Get demographic details
    • Learn about their behavior + language
  2. Create actionable segments – high likelihood of visits + compensation
  3. What are your customer’s pain points?
    • Check your competitors’ sites
    • What phrases are your audience searching?
    • Check your own traffic: PPC, organic, etc.
    • Monitor social media for your customer segment
    • Ask your customer
  4. What is your customer’s primary motivation?
  5. Why are people coming to your site?
    • Remind the visitors that you solve their problem
    • Get them to nodding along with what you’re saying
    • Confirm their intent
    • CTA

If you try to appeal to every visitor, you will end up appeal to nobody.


Product positioning document

  • Features: all features you have
  • Unique to us: check this if you are the only one that offers that feature, otherwise write competitors name here
  • Customer Pain solved: see previous customer research
  • Benefits: write at least one benefit (see below) per feature, if you have none – erase the line
  • Priority


Benefit – value your customer derives from your product

Benefits don’t have to be liked to features; things like design and corporate values can also play a role

  • You don’t have to write everything – use images and video!
  • Positive or negative benefits?
  • Keyword research
  • Brainstorm and collect keywords
  • Use Adwords to refine your keywords
  • Use them in your copy
  • Do a small content audit with your keywords
  • Content Audit
  • Understanding existing messages
  • Value proposition / headline
  • Top message
  • CTA – language, design, position
  • Additional elements, like social proof
  • Stuff that wows you
  • Build a logical ranking for your messages.


  • Start with writing a lot and then cut it back
  • You don’t need to explain every statement you write
  • Keep your offers simple
  • Write believable copy
  • People want solutions that work
  • Use news to your advantage
  • Positioning is important
  • Writing is hard but hang on

Book 2: Formatting & the Essential of Web Writing

Format your copy to be scanned


  • Capitalize Important Words
  • Trade periods and commas for dashes in long sentences
  • Use 1, 2, 3 instead of one, two, three
  • Replace and with &
  • Make the font large enough
  • Use periods. More often than normal.
  • Group text chunks together
  • Bold – only bold stuff that matters
  • Bullet list – use it for things that are strongly related; put the 2nd/3th important point at the bottom (people think it’s your least important one)
  • Buttons – don’t limit yourself to traditional buttons; use individual images; two lines of text, etc.
  • Coloring – use it sparkly
  • Arrows – use them to point to important things, e.g. CTAs
  • Font size – use large enough font size, it’s easier to read
  • Highlighting – special attention
  • Icons & Images – special attention
  • Line Spacing – more for smaller font sizes
  • Paragraphs – should be under 4 lines
  • Links – should look like links
  • Typography – cool types get noticed
  • Web-Writing details
  • Write copy with substance otherwise don’t write it at all
  • Use 3 groups to describe things
  • Get rid of intro words, e.g. “Little did they know
  • Start with a verb
  • Keep your sentences / lists short
  • Address one idea per chunk
  • Write meaningful headlines
  • Use elements with strong colors
  • Expose critical information
  • Provide proof
  • Use customer feedback as copy
  • Ask questions
  • Use keywords
  • Be concrete
  • Write in your attitude – if you’re funny, write funny
  • Copy kids’ books – big font, clear language, small chunks of text


  • Keep quiet about what you are doing
  • Focus on you instead your customer
  • Overuse one type of formatting
  • “Welcome to X”
  • Write generally
  • Use big words
  • Making it hard for the user
  • Providing too many different things / widgets
  • Using generic stock photos
  • Relying on best practices
  • Don’t test
  • Don’t proofread
  • Don’t put unnecessary limitations on yourself


  • Your headline is the most important copy – if you test copy, test your headline
  • Images can be better than text
  • Copy is important on the web
  • Write for a sixth-grader
  • Use active voice

Book 3: Headlines, Subheads & Value Propositions

The purpose of your headline is to keep the visitor on the site

Headlines have to

  • Match visitor expectations
  • Intrigue the customer
  • Communicate the page goal
  • Appeal to the customer

The subhead should hold their attention, expand on the headline and attract them to continue down the page

You should write unique headlines for each page and follow the characteristics above. For example, “How it Works” page’s headline shouldn’t just be “How it Works”.

Tips for great headlines

  • Make an almost(!) unbelievable promise – which you can prove
  • Use time limit in which your claim will be realized
  • Reject the most common objection
  • Use unexpected elements, e.g. analogies, references, questions, words
  • Appeal to visceral human motivations – greed, lust, pride, power, revenge
  • Use trigger words, like secret, worth, instantly, feel, #1


How to choose one? Imagine three prospects reading the headlines – which one will make them completely excited?

Formulas for headlines

  • Desirable thing + time limit + consequence if not delivered, e.g. “Your dream house blueprints in 7 days or they’re free”
  • “Now” + desirable thing + “even if”
  • Use numbers as social proof, e.g. “59,000 people already …”
  • Use numbers in list, e.g. “X ways to … “
  • Use “why”, “when” or “how”
  • The + adj, adj + “way to …”

Don’t overdo headlines – always answer: What can a person do and what will be their benefit from doing that?


Possible tasks of the supporting line

  • Expand on benefit / feature
  • Introduce a new benefit
  • Clarify the claim on your headline
  • Subheads in the text
  • Transition from one point to another
  • build credibility and prove claims
  • short, clear and benefit-focused


  • Test every headline
  • Target pain
  • Try to be bold
  • Avoid . and ! at the end
  • Be realistic


Value Proposition / Unique benefit statement

What is unique and important about your solution?

For startup / small business put the VP / UBS on your homepage and blog respectively the page that get the most traffic.


  • Highlights the benefits for your best prospects
  • Is Unique
  • Is a single clear statement
  • Is memorable

Also remember: your message must be honest and believable

The VP helps your team also focus on the most important things

Book 4: Buttons & Click-Worthy Calls to Action

Every page should have at least one clear CTA.

Primary CTA should be a button

Secondary CTA button or text link


  • Imperative
  • Use articles or prepositions
  • Be specific
  • Show benefits if useful

Make it easy to do the CTA, i.e. position it on the top, bottom and somewhere between (if the text is long).

What will be the headline on the following site to the CTA?

Things to put in multilines buttons

  • Discounts
  • End-dates
  • Length of time to complete action
  • Shipping info

Sales Objections

I don’t really need this

I don’t have the authority

I don’t want to be sold to

I have more important things to do

My existing solution is good enough

Your company isn’t capable / credible

Your price is too high

I can’t convince others of my decision

Consumer Anxiety

Appearance should match your visitor’s visual biases – “This site looks like a site for X”

Loss aversion

Click Triggers

convince people to click the nearest button

simple ones like “free returns”, “save $60”, “top-rated”, etc.

aggressive ones like “Absolutely Zero Risk”, “We always ship via FedEx overnight”, etc.


Make them explicit and with instructions

CTA can be videos / demos

Also inform your visitors, what to do next

There’s a new book released called Writing Long-Firm Sales Pages with about 250 pages it is longer as all the previous books together but also quite expensive (about $50).

Originally, I bought the first 4 books at launch for about $20 and I think that’s a good price. At the moment, all 5 books cost about $60 together – and because I haven’t read the 5th one, I can’t say if it’s a good deal. However, if you see one of the sales of this series for maybe $20-30, go get it. It’s an excellent series, lots of examples and no fluff, which I love. Recommendation

#20/25: Web Analytics Action Hero


The original value proposition of web analytics was to help companies achieve their online business goals and maximize the return on their digital marketing investments. Web analytics achieved these objectives by helping companies to measure, analyze, and optimize online performance. In other words, CMOs invested in web analytics to improve their online marketing initiatives through insights found in the online data.

The human touch—creativity, domain knowledge, common sense reasoning—are still needed to realize a greater potential with our data.

Too many companies have shiny, analytics sports cars sitting in the driveways, but no drivers.

You don’t begin your data-driven journey by cherry picking key performance indicators (KPIs) from a list; instead, you start by concentrating on your key marketing goals and objectives

The main goal of any respectable web analyst is to change their organization for the better. How do they do this? They identify strategic, actionable insights and translate them into high-value recommendations, which the business in turn acts on to generate higher revenue, profits, and cost savings.

The difference between a successful and unsuccessful analyst comes down to action that leads to business value. Action is the lynchpin between analysis and value. You may be an excellent analyst, but if your organization takes no action based on your insights and recommendations, you won’t ever be truly successful.

Action heroes are web analysts who are able to get their companies to act on their recommendations and whose analysis work leads to significant returns for their firms. Like the successful actors portraying the popular action heroes, they can command much higher salaries than analysts who may be smarter, better edu- cated, and more experienced but who are not able to translate their abilities into tangible business value.


  • Alignment stage: gather business objectives and create measurement strategy
  • Collection stage: Tagging, data validation and collection
  • Reporting stage: Create and distribute tailored reports

Analysts are caught in a vicious cycle of endless reporting, both maintaining current reports and building new reports. Unfortunately, too many organizations misinterpret reporting as the main destination of implementing an analytics solution and mistakenly view reporting as though it were a part of Actionland. Reports display information, not insights. Information is useful, but insights are invaluable. Insights from analysis can drive actions or optimizations, which can transform a good business into a great one.

Analysis is the isolating of meaningful and actionable insights in data and reports that when acted upon by your organization can drive business value. That’s right: Analysis is the ticket to Actionland.

The deployment of analytics solutions is an ongoing process, not a project you complete once every couple of years.

Whenever sharp analytical minds are spending most or all of their time on report- ing, talent is being wasted. Technology should be doing more of the heavy lifting with reporting through automated reports and dashboards.

Where Do Reporting Robots Come From?

  • Capability mismatch: People don’t have the ability to do WA
  • Wrong structure: owners of WA don’t appreciate value and strategic importance
  • Insufficient training
  • Not enough power: too few people
  • Conflicting priorities: too little time for analysis

The recommendations component is an important differentiator between analysis and reporting as it provides specific guidance on what actions to take based on the key insights found in the data.

In their book Competing on Analytics (Harvard Business School Press, 2007), Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris emphasize the importance of trust and credibility between the analyst and decision maker. Decision makers typically don’t have the time or ability to perform analyses themselves.

  • relentlessly and systematically automate as much reporting as possible.

The next step in the two-step rehabilitation process is to inject more insights into your reporting.

Question reporting requirements:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • What’s your business question?
  • What actions will you take?
  • How often will you use the data?
  • Who are the key stakeholders that care?
  • Be prepared
  • Ask questions
  • Key pain points?
  • Business challenges?
  • Expected outcome?
  • What is success?
  • Helps to build trust and rapport
  • Ability + Environment + Approach


Business acumen

  • Big picture thinking [Augmentable]
  • Customer-centric [Learnable]
  • Marketing acumen [Learnable]
  • Analytical skills
  • Intelligent [Core]
  • Curious [Core]
  • Attention to detail [Augmentable]
  • Open-minded [Augmentable]
  • Objective [Augmentable]
  • Problem-solving skills [Augmentable]
  • Understand their tools [Learnable]

People skills

  • Communication skills [Augmentable]
  • Interpersonal skills [Augmentable]

Web savviness

  • Online marketing / SEO [Learnable]
  • Online business models [Learnable]
  • Web design [Learnable]
  • Online technology [Learnable]
  • Online trends [Learnable]

HERO factor

  • Passionate [Core]
  • Proactive [Core]
  • Confident [Augmentable]
  • Relentless [Core]
  • Innovative [Core]


  • Corporate goals, e.g. Increase sales, expand product line
  • Department goals, e.g. Increase sales, promote new product line
  • Online goals, e.g. Increase online sales, enhance online customer experience
  • Online initiatives, e.g. Improve site search, reduce shopping cart abandonment
  • Online tactics, e.g. test new landing page concepts, add more editorial content to product pages

By improving your self-awareness, empathy, and social skills, you’ll help clear a path for your high-value analysis.

In order to establish trust-based relationships, you’ll want to gain a deep understanding of their business challenges, manage expectations effectively (under promise, over deliver), keep your commit- ments, communicate regularly, be proactive, and anticipate their business questions and needs.

Your last resort is to pursue a really strong but doomed analysis with the hopes of drawing management attention to the issue. One good opportunity (or more) may need to die so that others can live.

By focusing on your key business objectives and what you’re able to influence, your list of possible targets may be more manageable, but you might still be facing several options.

Starting with the spending side, where has your company made significant investments? The bigger the expenditure, the more attention it should receive.

Individually, the impact of insights gleaned from one particular campaign or microsite might not be a big deal, but if your company is constantly launching new campaigns and microsites then the insights become more valuable.

Companies often neglect older initiatives when internal attention shifts to more exciting, newer projects. […] don’t assume the long-standing areas have been fully optimized.

Conversion funnel:

  • Marketing Campaigns: which are successful?
  • Landing Pages
  • Micro-Conversions: Which conversions are valuable?
  • Checkout/Form Pages:
  • Loyalty Programs

Context matters as it can dramatically impact your credibility, relevance, and efficiency in terms of how you prioritize analysis and invest your time.

  • Change of business goals
  • Ability to Influence – budget surplus
  • Potential Impact – CMO finds out about a new thing
  • Level of Effort – Changes in the tool

Context Wheel

  • Company – strategy, online initiatives, marketing campaigns, website updates, testing efforts, server status, staffing, leadership team, key partnerships, business practices, processes, etc.
  • Industry – Trends in the economy, marketing, consumer, society, industry, etc.
  • Competitors – What are they doing and how are they doing?
  • Tools – How do your tools work and what are their features?

Tribal Knowledge

By plugging into the tribal knowledge (company context), not only can you sharpen your analysis and save time, but you can also better target and prioritize your analysis.

if your analyses seem to be slightly off target and potentially frustrating your audience, verify whether there’s something you just don’t know (maybe they assume you know). You need to shift from “not knowing that you don’t know” to “knowing that you don’t know” and then figuring out what that missing piece of context is.

Try to become the center for online business

  1. Make Observations – are their any trends or irregularities?
  2. Formulate Hypothesis – e.g. broken landing page causes a 80% bounce rate
  3. Gather evidence – e.g. run a test
  4. Draw conclusions

How to avoid human error in analysis?

  • Understand the business challenge / question
  • Do your analysis as uninterrupted as possible
  • If you’re stressed or tired, take a break or continue on the next day
  • Document what you did, so that you can reproduce your analysis
  • Share your analysis with colleagues to catch errors

Sacred cows often make great burgers for analysts and are an excellent source of optimization nutrients. Any time you identify something in the data that contradicts or is inconsistent with established beliefs, you should start questioning the related assumptions and look for high-impact optimizations to unlock.

HEROIC Approach

What happened?

Why did it happen?

So what if it happened?

  • Have a hit list – Which Metrics, reports, segments can you investigate?
  • Evaluate data and its context – Is everything you need collected and usable? Get context by asking customers, experiencing the site yourself and learning about business changes, CI, social media, etc.
  • Recognize opportunities – Do explorative data analysis
  • Obtain deeper insights – What could lead to to your observations? List possible factors for further analysis; ask “why?” five times
  • Inspect monetary value
  • Choose the best options

Segmentation tips

  • Build best and worst segments
  • What are the majority and minority segments?
  • Which are below and above site average?
  • How do they behave before and after an event?

Web design heuristics

  • Put important CTA above the fold
  • First impressions are important – you have less than 10s
  • Keep it simple and focused
  • Have a consistent navigation
  • Communicate trustworthiness

If you fund an insight, asks what its monetary value is.

Change requires action. Action is dependent upon your company recognizing that a significant gap exists between the current state and the ideal state.

Top six reasons for manager resistance to change

  • Loss of power and control
  • Overload of current tasks, pressure, resources
  • Lack of skills and experience
  • Fear of job loss
  • Disagreement with the new way
  • Skepticism about the need for change

Resistance points in WA

  • I don’t get it
  • I don’t like it
  • I don’t trust it
  • I don’t trust you

1. Know the Audience

First of all, you want to make sure your insights and ideas are being shared with the right audience, the people who care about the topic you’ve analyzed and who have the authority or influence to pull the trigger on your recommendations.

Even if you don’t know everyone who will be joining your meeting, you should be able to obtain intelligence on their positions, backgrounds, pain points, and so on from other attendees or contacts.

As part of that discovery process, you need to determine which members of your audience are the decision makers and influencers for your recommendations. Within the group of influencers, try to determine beforehand who your allies and adversaries will be;



  • Responsible for achieving various business goals
  • Want to know, how they can achieve their goals
  • Want to know the consequences of your recommendation
  • Support: solutions to key business problems, new opportunities, better customer insight
  • Resist: Reduction in power, risky endeavors


  • Focused on hitting targets to increase their budget
  • Data-driven marketers can provide very valuable insights
  • Start using small wins to help to show the pros of the data-driven approach
  • Support: Marketing optimization, insights, improving marketing efficiency
  • Resist: Reduction of budgets, shift of resources, increased workload

IT Professionals

  • Lots of workload, have to prioritize
  • Often rigid processes and cautious
  • Support: low effort projects, have enough time, don’t require IT support
  • Resist: Unfamiliar technology, redundant technologies, problems with security/privacy

UX Designers

  • Often open but need to understand the advantages of data
  • Support: better UX, insights, streamline design process
  • Resist: Deviance of usability best practice, restrictions on creativity & flexibility
  • Product/Content Owner
  • Cares about how their product/content is performing
  • Support: insights, better performance
  • Resist: Creation/modification of content, decrease perceived content effectiveness

Decisions are influenced by

  • Assumptions: Try to make clear statements, so that people to fall back on their assumptions
  • Information: Get as much as information as feasible, esp. customer surveys, etc.
  • Emotion: There are two kinds of emotions, one kind are relevant, the other are irrelevant, e.g. car broke down => doesn’t like recommended action
  • Motivation: Self-interest is often the most powerful factor
  • Cognitive biases: e.g. bandwagon effect (we’re doing it because all are doing it), confirmation bias, recency effect, sunk cost fallacy, wishful thinking, etc.
  • Social Dynamics: Peer pression, groupthink and group polarization

2. Nail the Message

Your audience hasn’t spent hours upon hours in the analytics data like you have. They may not be aware of all the upward and downward trends affecting the online KPIs, they might not fully grasp the meaning of all the different web analytics reports or terms, they might not remember all of the insights that you’ve gleaned from past analyses, and their knowledge of statistics might be a little rusty.

Make your ideas stick:

  • Simple – one to four key ideas
  • Unexpected – Surprising facts
  • Concrete – Make your ideas clear
  • Credible – show details to make your idea seem more real
  • Emotional – why should they care about your insights?
  • Stories – anecdotes work often very well; compare “what is” with “what could be”
  • Always have a backup which includes your analysis
  • Data visualization matters
  • Use personas and tell the story of one persona
  • You can use a villain aka. benchmark

Great analytical insights that are not communicated effectively are as good as wasted. Just as much effort needs to be put into communicating your insights and ideas as formulating them. By monetizing your recommendations, simplifying your message to its core, leveraging best practices in data visualization, and crafting a compelling story around your data, you’re giving your message a fighting chance to resonate with your audience.

3. Stay the Course

In many cases, the discussion is the most important part of your whole presentation. This is where your decision makers and key influencers determine the fate of your analysis work and discuss the course of action.

You’ll learn about strengths and weaknesses

You’ll better learn about positions of the stakeholders

Support can get stronger

Retention will be stronger if your audience is not just listening

You’ll get more domain knowledge

Before the decision is finalized, you’ll want to stay involved in the following ways:

Be amiable to answer questions

Performance quick follow-up analysis

Mediate disagreements between stakeholders

Follow up key stakeholders

Testing isn’t necessary for every optimization, but it can provide that extra push needed to propel hesitant decision makers forward when the road isn’t entirely clear.

The real goal of testing is to build upon the insights you’ve gained from your analysis and to approach testing in an iterative, efficient, and disciplined manner.

Know what your primary success metric will be for each test and use it con- sistently through all of your tests.

In the initial stages, you’ll want to focus on the safer, smaller quick wins in order to build your confidence and momentum. Once you’ve gotten some successes under your belt, begin focusing on bigger opportunities that have more upside but also more risk.

Whenever you receive a thumbs down to your recommendations, seek to under- stand the reasoning behind the final decision.

Although you may not be able to completely control the execution of your recommendations, you’re still in a strong position to contribute to their success.

Verify that the teams understand the objectives, requirements and estimated value

Follow up on the progress

Be available to answer questions

Ensure proper tagging

4. Close the Loop

Do a final analysis that isolates the actual impact of your recommendations.

If the difference is significant between your original estimate and how the optimization is trending toward that target, you’re going to want to understand why.

Regardless of the results, the team that approved the optimization will appreciate your diligence in reporting back on its progress.

By showing executives the impact of their decisions, you’ll be able to build further credibility with them, credibility that can pay dividends on future projects.

In order to win greater recognition within your company, you’ll want to evangelize the successes of each team that works with you. By promoting their success, you’re not only cementing your relationship with the team, but you’re indirectly promoting yourself.

Analysis in Action

  • Acquisition: Marketing campaigns, referrals, organic, difrect, etc.
  • Site Interactions: What are they doing? Which content? What Microconversions?
  • Conversion Process: Funnel & order process
  • Visitor Value: Which customers are most valuable?
  • As a web analyst, your job in the Acquisition zone is to analyze which approaches are working and which aren’t.

Create a daily or weekly “movers and shakers” report to capture significant changes in traffic levels to different pages or site sections.

■ Objective-based. How can my company get visitors to do more of what the company wants them to do?

■ Customer-centric. How can my company help visitors to achieve what they want to do?

And yet, being data-driven as an organization is only half the equation. Very few organizations pay much attention to the other half: being action-agile

Then when I thought it could get no worse, the last manager we interviewed shared how a broken payment option in one of the company’s online stores was actually causing all of the items in the visitor’s shopping cart to be removed. Even with the severity of this problem, the web development team took nine months to fix it.

The full benefit of being data-driven won’t be realized if an organization can’t act or respond quickly to the insights found within the data

Organizations need to ensure they’re willing, capable, and ready to optimize their online initiatives.

Empirical evidence shows that being data-driven isn’t merely a good idea but actually distinguishes high-performing firms from their competitors. For example, research in 2011 by MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson and others revealed that data- driven decision making led to a 5–6% increase in productivity and profitability.2

In fact, becoming more data-driven is a cultural change for many organizations that will take to time to nurture. If your organization’s leaders aren’t onboard, you’ve identified a key obstacle that needs to be addressed.


  • Clarify your company’s online strategy and priorities first,
  • Be strategic in which areas and KPIs you focus on.
  • Use your cross-functional knowledge to bridge teams and gaps.
  • Start building momentum with small wins that can lead to bigger successes.
  • Lead the data-driven change at your organization, and inspire your organiza- tion with your insights, ideas, and actions.

#19/25: Web Analytics: An Hour A Day

The lack of real-world practitioners influencing strategy and direction has had a detrimental effect. Standard techniques such as customer-driven innovation have never taken deep roots in the world of web analytics. Most progress has been driven by possibility-driven innovation — as in, “What else is possible for us to do with the data we capture? Let’s innovate based on that.”

Visiting a website is a radically different proposition if you look from the lens of data collection. […] The website knows every “aisle” you walked down, everything you touched, how long you stayed reading each “label”, everything you put in your cart and then discarded, and lots and lots more.

We have clicks, we have pages, we have time on site, we have paths, we have promotions, we have abandonment rates, and more. It is important to realize that we are missing a critical facet to all these pieces of data […] is the why.

Combining the what with the why can be exponentially powerful

Methods to collect customer qualitative data

  • Lab usability testing
  • Follow-me-homes
  • Testing
  • Unstructured remote conversations
  • Surveying

Trinity strategy – get actionable insights

  • Behavior analysis – infer customer intent
  • Outcome analysis – What happened, what was the outcome?
  • Experience analysis – Why does this all happen?

Why does your website exist?

After you have an answer to Why does your website exist?, it is imperative to investigate how your decision-making platform will capture the data that will help you understand the outcomes and whether your website is successful beyond simply attracting traffic and serving up pages.

My recommendation is to have a web research team and to have the team members, researchers, sit with and work alongside the web analysis team.

I recommend that you have at least one continuous listening program in place. Usually the most effective mechanism for continuous listening, benchmarking, and trending is surveying.

User research

From the most high-level perspective, user research is the science of observing adnd monitoring how we (and our customers) interact with everday things such as websites or software or hardware, and to then draw conclusions about how to improve those customer experiences.

Lab usability testing

  • Best for optimizing UI design and work flows, understanding the voice of customer, and understanding what customers really do

Preparing the test

  1. Identify critical taks
  2. Create scenarios for each task
  3. For each scenario, establish a goal
  4. Identify the desired user group
  5. Create a compensation structure for the participants
  6. Hire the right people
  7. Do pre-tests internally

Conducting the Test

  1. Brief the participants
  2. Start with a “thinking aloud” exercise
  3. Have participants read the tasks aloud to ensure that they read the whole thing
  4. Carefully observe their verbal and nonverbal clues
  5. The moderator can ask the participant follow-up questions
  6. Thank the participants and pay them directly

Analyzing the data

  1. Hold a debriefing session
  2. Note the trends and patterns
  3. Do a deep dive analysis to identify the root causes of failures based on actual observations
  4. Make recommendations to fix the problems and prioritize them

Don’t forget to measure success post-implementation. So we spent all the money on testing; what was the outcome? Did we make more money? Are customers satisfied? Do we have lower abandonment rates? The only way to keep funding going is to show a consistent track record of success that affects either the bottom line or customer satisfaction.

Heuristic evaluation

Heuristic evaluations follow a set of well-established rules in web design and in how website visitors experience websites and interact with them.

Heuristic evaluations can also be done in groups; peopel with key skills all attempt to mimic the customer experience under the stewardship of the user researcher. The goal is to attempt to complete tasks on the website as a customer would.

Heuristic evaluations are at their best wehen used to identify what parts of the customer experience are most broken on your website.


1. Understand the core tasks

2. Establish success benchmarks

3. Walk through each task and make notes of key findings

4. Make nots of best-practice rule violations

5. Create reports

6. Categorize recommendations & prioritize


Follow-Me-Home studies

perhaps the best way to get as close to the customer’s “native” environment as possible


1. Set customer expectation clearly

2. Assign proper roles up front (moderator, note taker, video person, etc.)


1. Spend 80% observing

2. Let them do the tasks like the would normally do

3. Don’t teach them

4. The moderator can ask clarifying questions


  • optimal method for collecting feedback from a very large number of customers relatively cheap and quickly.
  • Website surveys
  • Site-level surveys
  • Usually about the experience of the site and get more context about the customer’s visit
  • Page-level survey
  • Performance of individual pages
  • Shorter than site-level surveys
  • Collect satisfaction rates or task-completion rates
  • Post-visit survey
  • Rating of the ordering process, delivery, etc.

Preparing a survey:

  • Understand the core tasks
  • Analyze clickstream to understand main holes you want to answer
  • Learn about questionnaire design


  • Implement the survey correctly
  • Incoperate cookie data, e.g. only show people who haven’t answered the survey
  • Walk through he customer experience yurself
  • Check response rates daily or weekly to pick up problems


  • Calculate correlations between answers -> helps you to understand which actions can be implemented successfully
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Critical components of success
  • Focus on customer centricity
  • include customer and look beyond click-stream
  • How is the website doing in terms of delivering for the customer?
  • Solving for the customer means solving for long-term success


  • Primary purpose: Why are you here?
  • Task completion rate: Were you able to complete your task?
  • Content and structural gaps: How can we improve your experience?
  • Customer satisfaction: Did we wow you today?
  • Answer business questions
  • They are open-ended & on a higher level
  • Look outside your WA tool
  • Follow the 90/10 rule
  • Right organizational structure


#18/25: Statistics for technology

I love reading great books about statistics and Christoper Chatfield is probably one of the greatest educators in statistics. Statistics for technology is a great introduction in statistics which isn’t too theoretical. I won’t provide a summary because these topics are rather rudimentary. However, I found some interesting things in this book, e.g.

A scientific experiment has some or all of the following characteristics.

  1. The physical laws governing the experiment are not entirely understood
  2. The experiment may not have been done before, at least successfully
  3. There are strong incentives to run the smallest number of the cheapest tests as quickly as possible
  4. The experimenter may not be objective, as for example when an investor tests his own invention or when a company tests competitive products
  5. Experimental results are unexpected or disappointing
  6. Although experimental uncertainty may be present, many industrial situations require decisions to be made without additional testing or theoretical study


It is often equally important to know how spread out the data is. For example suppose that a study of people affected by a certain disease revealed that most people affected were under two years old or over seventy years old; then it would be very misleading to summarize the data by saying ‘average age of persons affected is thirty-five years’.

There are some great examples in this book which make statistics for students more interesting in my opinion. The examples are rather technical which is obvious reading the title.

All in all, I can recommend this book if you are want to learn a bit about (technical) statistics. Great book!!