This is the first in a new on going series on conversion optimization and testing. If you would like to make more money with your website I suggest you subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss out on these future updates.

Testing and optimizing websites is crucial and something that most website owners overlook; however, this is something I focus on with every single website in my portfolio. Ever since this blog relaunched in early January 2010 I’ve shared numerous stories where I’ve tested different ways to make money online, the impact on search engine traffic after moving a blog, how to drastically reduce the load time on a blog and lesser known traffic generation techniques just to name a few. Today I’m going to show you how color choice effects a person’s decision to sign up for a newsletter or not.

What did I test?

I specifically tested the newsletter sign up box in the upper right hand corner of the blog’s homepage. Or to be more specific, I only tested out the color of the arrow that pointed at my newsletter sign up box in green, red and black. Here are the three different boxes I tried:

(Images have been sized down to fit)

Why did I test just the color of the arrows?

Some people may be quick to point out things like “Why didn’t you change the color of the ‘$5,000’ from green to red or black?” or “Why didn’t you change the color of the “Get Your Guide” button to match the color of the arrow?” etc. Well, the reason why I kept this test simple is because the more variables that are added into a test scenario the longer it takes to get enough data to determine with reasonable confidence whether or not one option is truly better or not. I specifically choose to test only the color of the arrow in this test because quite frankly I noticed that EVERYONE uses a red arrow to point at their newsletter sign up box and I wanted to find out if there is any proven reason for that or if people just think that red is best.

Interpreting the results:

As the title of this post has already indicated yes green performed the best out of the three colors; however, the difference is very small and could almost be discounted due to insufficient data. See below:

I use Aweber to easily create these forms and highly recommend them as a newsletter service.

There are a few different reasons why green out performed the other colors that must be considered in future tests:

1. The $5,000 text was green. So with the green option both the arrow and $5,000 were green. By not matching $5,000 with the other colors it could have clashed and resulted in less people clicking through than had the colors matched.
2. Green could have been the best color to pair with the yellow submit button.
3. There could always be more data. Even with nearly 2,500 impressions for each option more data always helps.
4. Not enough data to draw conclusive results between the three colors (green got lucky)

There are several other reasons I could list off, but every time I run a test I analyze factors to address how the data could have been influenced. But what is better than coming up with a list of ways the data could have been influenced? More testing! I can run tests to address the two concerns I have listed above without even addressing word choice yet.

Closing Thoughts:

If you aren’t testing elements on your websites than you need to start today! Once you think you’re done – you’re not. There is always something more to test.

The fact that I even got to the point of testing just the color of the arrow is because I have already tested more of the obvious elements in a newsletter sign up box. For example, when I first set up newsletter code on one of my other blogs I did so without any incentive for visitors to sign up to my newsletter. The results? No one signed up. I added an incentive, more people signed up. I added an image of the incentive (even though it’s a digital good) and even more people sign up. Now I know that if I just remove the black and red arrow versions from the site than I’d get about a 15% increase in newsletter sign ups from that section of my blog; however, I am going to keep testing other variables and eventually get even better results. If you look now, you’ll see the box is already different.

Upcoming: I will be sharing other examples of testing I’ve done on this blog to improve my newsletter sign ups as well as the effect guest posting has had on my readership. It will be very exciting and I hope stick around to see the results.

Update: Some of my more mathematically minded readers have pointed out via standard deviation formula’s I need more data to draw the conclusion that one color has outperformed one or the other more. So in future blog posts I’ll be sure to highlight examples with more data. Stay tuned…