Temporary DA web page increases opt-in conversion by 700 percent

A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted about an extremely minimalist website for an Australian web development and design company (which I think I picked up from Seth Godin) . My first impression was, “Wow! That’s quite ballsy.”

They chose not to showcase all the bells and whistles they could provide prospective clients; but, rather, to provide a one page resumé with a single call-to-action – “Please contact us.”

Little did I know how prescient my tweet would be.

Three days later, we decided to take the DA website down. We’d been battling with a hacker’s SQL injection for some time, with multiple pages going missing from our archives and rogue outward links being inserted, and it got to the stage where it just wasn’t worthwhile to keep the site up any longer.

We had already commissioned an exciting new website, but that’s a major project, and it’s only going to be ready in October. So we’re setting up a mini-site on a WordPress template to make our latest news available until then.

In the mean time, we’ve also put up a temporary holding page informing people about the site being compromised. And that’s where the minimalist website with a single call to action comes in.

One of the key conversion measures for our website is Opt-in newsletter subscriptions, and I didn’t want to lose those subscriptions while the site was down. So I quickly set up a Google Docs Form for people to subscribe to our newsletters, and we embedded that on the temporary page.

The interesting thing is that our conversion rate increased by more than 700 percent from one week to the next. The previous week, we had a conversion rate of 0.89 percent – not particularly good. In the week since the temporary page went up, we’ve had a conversion rate of 6.23 percent – I’d be pretty happy with that rate on our new site.

Of course, we are only giving visitors one option to get information, but it does suggest that there was lots of room for conversion optimisation on the site we took down. We now have a much better benchmark for the new site.

Analytical Oddities

A couple of oddities I picked up analysing our website traffic:

  1. The number of visits to the site actually increased from the previous week. Maybe some people were checking back frequently to see if the site was back up; but otherwise, I would have expected a drop-off; and
  2. Despite the fact that there is only one page to view, visitors averaged 3.68 page views per visit. Anyone got a theory on that one?
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3 Responses to “Temporary DA web page increases opt-in conversion by 700 percent”


  1. 1 Wogan May 18 August 2008 at 1:54 pm

    WordPress puts you on the spam map. Every post is pinged outward to maybe 10 aggregation services. Spam bots crawl these feeds, looking for new targets, and eventually they’ll find a post on your WordPress blog. And that’s where spam comes from in the 21st century. That’ll account for the unexpected traffic to a WordPress blog, but not the signups.

    A 700% increase in legit email signups? Maybe the simplicity of the landing page, and those street-pole ads are beginning to pay off 😉

    ~ Wogan

  2. 2 Jayx 18 August 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Wogan

    The WP site is not up yet, so that will not account for the amount of page views per visit as per your explanation. I’d venture a guess and say that it might have something to do with incomplete form submissions, depending on how the script handles the page when you hit the submit button (although the page does not reload if you haven’t filled out all the required fields), but (even so) over 3 page views per visit seems somewhat unrealistic.

    What are you currently using to track statistics Anthony?

  3. 3 ahazell 19 August 2008 at 9:22 am

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

    Wogan, your light-hearted remark about street-pole ads does have an element of truth to it. 🙂 The more visible the DA is in the media or in communities, the more people are likely to want to find out more about our campaign. That could have contributed to the visits not dropping off and the higher conversion rate.

    Jayx, stats are according to Advanced Web Statistics 6.6 (Build 1.889). You could be on to something there. The form is a google docs embed – could that be counted as a separate page? Nevertheless, as you say, over 3 is a lot. Even if it was seen as a second page by AWS, with a 6 percent conversion rate, you’d still only expect a little over 2 pages per visit.


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