I need your help - seeking successful landing pages

July 1, 2010

One of the most challenging aspects of web-based marketing is creating a landing page that converts well. Most web-oriented entrepreneurs find themselves intensely interested in learning what works and what doesn't because a good landing page often tips the scales toward success or failure. 

Of course one solution won't work for all applications, but there are principles we can apply, and examples we can learn from. I'm going to touch on some principles in an upcoming post, but I'd like to share some of your proven examples too.

If you have a successful landing page, and are willing to share how you created it, why it's successful, and share some stats to back it up - please drop me a note (email link over in my sidebar, or find me on Twitter.) I'll select some of those and share their story here on WorkHappy.net so we can all learn together.

Don't be shy.

-Carson

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Founder of Threadless keepin’ it real

June 7, 2010 in An interview

This interview with Jake Nickell is a joy to watch. And an inspiration. He’s the founder (and subsequent millionaire) of the ingenious threadless.com. Tune in to hear great marketing ideas and other inside scoop. It should get your wheels turning. After watching the below intro, click through to view the various parts, it’s about an hour.


Watch live video from Inc. Magazine on Justin.tv

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Shopify featured (briefly) on 37signal's "profitable and proud" series

June 3, 2010 in A blog post, An interview

Over on the 37signals blog they've started a "Profitable and Proud" series where they highlight companies who've bootstrapped to profitability with revenues over $1mil. They started last week with a WH favoriteCampaign Monitor, then today (before revoking the "P&P" status) they profiled Shopify (another fav). 

Here are the gems I found from today's interview:

This comment surprised and intrigued me:

Our hiring is based on the assumption that there are fundamentally two groups of people in the tech industry: there are left brained science type programmers who can write amazing amounts of complicated code with ease; and then there are the right brained creative types. While left brained programmers may be 2-3x as fast when writing code, the right brained programmers can use their creativity to come up with elegant solutions that only require 1/5th of the work. Based on this understanding, we hire the creative types.

And this struck me as a great litmus test for new offerings/features:

When you build your product ask yourself “What do most of your customers need most of the time?” We test any idea we have against this simple sentence and if it doesn’t check out we don’t add it to Shopify.

I really look forward to more from this series.

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Happy Quote (on being unbeatable)

March 15, 2010 in Happy Quotes

Long ago we abandoned the idea of having a life’s work, a calling; those that still do their work from that sense of calling or vocation, will be unbeatable.

- David duChemin, world & humanitarian photographer, best-selling author

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Happy Quote (on pricing and service)

July 12, 2009

Poor quality is remembered long after low prices are forgotten.
(via @jasonfried)

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Clicky Web Analytics (GetClicky.com)

June 8, 2009 in 5 out of 5 stars, Analytics

What is it?


Clicky Web Analytics: A web analytics system (i.e. a web stats program).

clicky

Who makes it?

Roxr Software Ltd.

Why is it the killerest?

I remember when Google Analytics (GA) came on the scene, and for free, I thought "there goes every single web analytics company, it's over." And to a degree, I was right. I don't think there are any web analytics offerings that existed before GA came out that haven't lost crippling market share to GA.

But in an instructive (and inspiring) move – the Roxr folks found a way to create something that is more in touch, more contemporary, more interesting, and ultimately (yes I’m going to say it) better than Google Analytics.

Of course you can always use both. I’m doing that – but I virtually never look at my GA reports anymore, like an addict I return at my Clicky reports.

I won’t go into detail on all the juicy Clicky features here – you can see those on their site. But I will outline why I think they’re succeeding, and why I’m such an enthusiastic fan.

Clicky gives you a raw, intimate, personal connection to your web traffic (including a fantastic “spy” feature letting you know who is currently on the site, where they came from, what they’re viewing, and more) and they “get” the things that matter, and that we care about in today’s online market place (take their Twitter tracking features, for example).

But it’s not all stat candy, it’s useful stuff. Like GA they’ve got goals, and campaign tracking so you can use it with your serious online marketing efforts.

Plus the interface is a pleasure to use, and is very well considered. These folks entered what any sane person would call an impenetrable market, and they’ve made their mark. I’ve been using them for over a month now, and I can’t imagine living without them now.

What could be improved?

I have only one complaint - it's impossible to find pricing on their site. It's ridiculous.

How much does it cost?

From free to $50/mo if you really try.

Rating?

Reviewed by Carson McComas

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Using Google Docs to make a survey

May 18, 2009 in Hosted "Office", Tips

google-docs-survey-exampleDid you know you can make a free, and rich survey or poll using Google Docs? It’s simple to set up, and as a bonus it drops all your results into a spreadsheet where you can slice/dice/analyze/chart/graph or whatever.

To create a survey, inside Google Docs go to New then click on Form as shown at right.

Go through and create your questions, set the response type (multiple choice, checkbox, text, drop down, etc.) where you’ll enter in the possible answers and if the question is required or not.

When you’re done, select a theme (the look of your survey) and save it and a link to your survey will appear at the bottom of your screen. You can then copy/paste that link into your website, Twitter or whatever to publicize your survey. You can also embed the survey right on your site if you wish.

The results are then fed into a spreadsheet that you’ll find in your Google Docs document area.

Here’s an example I whipped up for this post. Enjoy!

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Balsamiq

May 8, 2009 in 4 out of 5 stars, A piece of software, Productivity, Software Development

What is it?


Balsamiq: It's a tool that anyone can use for making web page mockups.

In the early stages of creating a web site, or specifically a web application, there's a period of time when you need to wireframe, or sketch out rough ideas for page construction and layout, without necessarily worrying about the precise design of the pages (i.e. colors, fonts, exact shapes, etc).

Balsamiq is a tool designed to help you do that. It has various "elements" or building blocks that you can drop on your page to construct your mockup.

mockups_fpa

Who makes it?

Balsamiq Studios LLC

Why is it the killerest?

In mocking up the screens for my current hair-brained idea, I decided to take Balsamiq for a spin. What I found was a tool that was delightfully easy to use, and rich enough to make me feel like I didn't have to compromise on what I wanted to do in order to use the tool. The unexpected bonus was that in perusing some of the element options it sparked some creative ideas for approaching my user interface.

Tip: on the free web version, when you’re done with a layout, you can export it as an image (PNG) and you can also export some code which you can paste into a text editor, then re-import next time you return to the site and resume working. It’s a poor-man’s “save.”

What could be improved?

I assume this is just a limitation of the free web-based version that I used, but I’d like to be able to have multiple pages I can work on at the same time - and a generic template I can use as the starting point for subsequent pages. There are workaround for this (export/import and delete elements you don’t want) but it’s a bit clumsy.

Also, on the free web-hosted version, you get a nag screen every 5 minutes. If you are moving an element at the exact moment the nag screen pops up, the element becomes stuck, and you can't select, edit, or move it. (Note: to work around this, I found refreshing the page to work - but do that with caution, you could lose everything, so do an export first).

How much does it cost?

Free for web version, $79 for desktop version

Rating?

Reviewed by Carson McComas

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Happy Quote – the starting point

April 19, 2009 in Happy Quotes

“...now it's when the client says she's happy that I really start to work hard. That's the starting point.” (more)

- Chase Jarvis, profession (inspiring!) photographer

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Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Corner

March 13, 2009 in 5 out of 5 stars, A podcast, Expert Advice

What is it?


ecorner Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Corner: A collection of short, potent videos and podcasts by very well-known successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerburg, Larry Page and Michael Dell, as well as some less well-known, but still inspiring and successful entrepreneurs. They've been doing this for a few years, and new additions are added regularly.

Who makes it?

Stanford University

Why is it the killerest?

Well, because it’s bite-sized nuggets of inspirational goodness and expertise that we all need.

I like as well how it’s broken out by topic, by speaker, or by date.

How much does it cost?

Free

Rating?

Reviewed by Carson McComas

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