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This Guy Thinks He Has Found the Secret to Optimizing Your Website’s Conversion Rate

In You Should Test That, Chris Goward describes six factors that together contribute to a websites ability—or failure—to convert
by Sarah Moriarty | May 5 2015
Here, we tell you what they are and how to use them.

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For author Chris Goward, no design decision is complete without rigorous, significant tests. Using testing, he’s devised an easy model to help webmasters regain control over their website’s conversion rate.

Why you should care about conversion: a good conversion rate is essential for business success because it is the quotient of conversions and the number of people who visit your website for the first time. The higher the conversion rate the better!

When you get down to it, your online business is all about conversion rate. No matter if you’re actually selling things, trying to gain pageviews, or just getting people to sign up, in the end, the surest reflection of your success is in conversion rate. The LIFT model helps you to identify which 6 factors on your website and landing pages are raising or lowering your conversion rate. They are:

  • Value Proposition
  • Relevance
  • Clarity
  • Anxiety
  • Distraction
  • Urgency

Here’s how Chris Goward breaks them down:

Value Proposition is the most important factor, and the one you should spend the most time on. This is what you offer to the consumer—the full set of perceived benefits and costs in a potential customer’s mind. If they think that the benefits of your products are higher than the costs, they will take action and convert.

DIY: Before you even start optimizing your website or landing pages, it’s important to be sure that you’re actually offering something to the consumer. Try identifying what you’re offering your customer in just a sentence and then take a gander at your landing page. How well are you selling that value?

Relevance describes how easy it is for visitors to find what they’re looking for on your website. When users arrive at a website, they spend only a few seconds scanning for “signal keywords” that indicate they’ve arrived at the right place.

DIY: To optimize your relevance, check how people get to your site—usually this is as simple as checking your incoming search keywords. Then, it’s a matter of optimizing your content so that it emphasizes these keywords.

Clarity is about communicating what you mean. If your website is disorganized and your content unclear, users will often bounce before converting. If your bounce rate gets too high, your ad expenses increase and your Google rank suffers.

DIY: Make sure that you have optimized your content for readability and accessibility.

Anxiety refers to the hesitation your prospective customers have before converting. Any time someone is making a decision online—this goes double for monetary transactions—they want to be reassured that they are dealing with a reputable business. They rely on what’s known as “trust triggers,” words and images that communicate credibility. You see them in the form of newspaper and magazine logos or seals of quality assurance.

DIY: Focus on building a high level of credibility so that your visitors feel safe when they fill out a form on your page or buy your products—make it clear you won’t misuse their private information, and don’t promise them a quality you cannot deliver.

Distraction means removing distracting extra content—like irrelevant pictures—from your site that draw the attention away from your primary message. Though it can be tempting to include a lot of information, when you’re focusing on improving conversion, it’s important to use words and images judiciously. Too much content on a website distracts attention away from your goal and makes it harder for users to convert, even if they want to.

DIY: Take a good, critical look at what’s on your landing pages and consider removing any element—visual or textual—whose function you can’t immediately identify.

Urgency describes how well you convey that visitors have to take action right now. Limited-time sales, promotions, and other time-related content is a great way to communicate to your visitors that they need to make the purchase decision now instead of later.

Chris Goward’s six factors provide a clear roadmap for optimizing your website’s conversion rate. By paying attention to the factors he describes in You Should Test That, you can feel confident that your website is performing at its best. Next time you wonder about how to improve your conversion rate, consider his six LIFT factors.


Chris Goward’s You Should Test That gives webmasters a clear roadmap for optimizing their website. You can also read the book’s key insights on Blinkist – it’ll only take 16 minutes!

You’ll learn (among a bunch of other great stuff):

  • why SEO is your conversion rate’s friend, not its enemy;
  • how to make visitors stay on your website longer; and
  • how WordPress learned to prevent its users from feeling anxious.

(Read the blinks for free)

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