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The downside of "just fixing it"


Yesterday, we kicked off optimization with a new site, and decided to add a sticky footer with a “sign up for our email list” message on mobile. We’re not testing it (gasp!)

Why we’re not testing it

For now, the mobile email capture box is a case of “just fix it.” It’s almost impossible to find the email signup on the existing mobile site. The email signup conversion rate is < 0.001%.

Mobile purchases are also low. So there’s not much risk that a small footer widget will hurt email signups, or decrease overall conversions. Based on experience and common sense, it seems likely that any form of asking people to sign up will get better results than not asking at all.

Finally, we’re focusing our testing efforts on what we believe to be higher impact elements on the site. So the decision was along the lines of “Let’s go ahead and start asking for emails on mobile, because why not? We’ll optimize it later.”

The downside of not testing

Adding this footer widget isn’t going to ruin the Internet, and it’ll probably increase email signups. But there’s no free real estate.

If we make a habit of adding elements to the site, because “they can’t hurt” and “surely adding this is better than nothing,” we’re on a slippery slope to Widgetsville.

You know those sites that have popups on top of their popups, two top banners, a chat widget and a Hotjar poll all on the same page? “It can’t hurt” is exactly how they got there.

We can test the sticky footer now, or we can test it later, but if we’re going to optimize this site we have to test it eventually. We can’t afford to have valuable real estate taken up by an element that we’re just pretty sure is helping conversions.

Early into an optimization program, feel free to be aggressive, fix things without testing them, try stuff out, take on some testing debt while you focus on the biggest potential wins. Just know that sooner or later, those widgets have to pay their rent.


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© 2022 Brian David Hall