Follow us on
Tim Ash

Designed to Convert

By Tim Ash

About Tim

Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
Connect with Tim on Google+

Catalog Doctor

Susan J. McIntyre
Benefit + Unique Sells
Apr 23, 2015

Are your catalog and products unique? Are they loaded with customer benefits? If "yes" to both, are you also telling...

Return on Intelligence

Jim Gilbert
How to Beat the 140-Character Limit on Twitter
Apr 21, 2015

A few weeks ago, Twitter made a major change to its user interface allowing marketers to break the barrier of the 140-character...

The Art of Delivering Style

Maria Haggerty
Become Part of the Problem-Solving Business
Apr 17, 2015

A great fulfillment partner is one that can help business owners accomplish their goals by providing trust, excitement and new...


Stephen Lett
50 Best Tips for 2015
Feb 9, 2015

It's a new year and the Lett Direct team has put together "50 Best Tips for 2015" that will help you increase...

Shipping Insights

Rob Martinez
FedEx SmartPost to Raise Rates Again?
Mar 30, 2015

While FedEx SmartPost hasn't made any public announcements as of this publication, select customers have received written notifications of a...

Return on Inventory

Joe Palzkill
Get Returns on Your Returns
Mar 5, 2015

With the advent of omnichannel retailing, the subject of customer returns has become a hot topic for retailers. The financial...

Retail Rants & Raves

Joe Keenan
Retail Jobs Not so Bad After All?
Oct 15, 2014

The National Retail Federation (NRF) today released a study authored by a University of Georgia economist who found that retail jobs...

Retail Revelations

Melissa Campanelli
When Email Snafus Happen to Good Companies
Nov 12, 2014

Say it ain't so! I was actually sad when I read in MarketWatch this week that Seattle-based online retailer Zulily’s...

Email Marketing Bites

Liz Ryan
The Email Hierarchy of Needs: Deliverability is the Foundation
Jun 18, 2014

If you're not getting the most of your email messaging, you might not be asking the right questions. How many...

Email Applied

Reggie  Brady
Subject Lines That Work
Jul 18, 2014

Standing out in the inbox isn't easy. A lot of promotional emails I receive have subject lines that aren't special....

ThinkAbout: Inspirational Verve for Your Product Line!

Andrea Syverson
Springboard From Your Brand Filter
Jun 26, 2014

One of the most important ways I strengthen my clients’ brands and product lines is by collaborating with their leaders...

B-to-B Insights

George Hague
2 Must-Have B-to-B Metrics
Apr 9, 2014

Smart CEOs know two essential B-to-B metrics to successfully grow their businesses: contribution per order (CPO) for new customers and...

If You Need More Darned Clutter on Your Site ...

You've probably heard this one before: When you're trying to get a visitor to your site, you should be screaming for attention. While they're on your site, you should quietly let them shop. The shouting stops at the entrance. Nobody wants a bazaar while browsing. At least, in theory, nobody wants a bazaar.


Companies Mentioned:


Avoid 3 Common Technology Traps and Boost Conversions

Technology is your friend. That's what marketers say after they employ a largely tech-driven tactic that provides some lift. Unfortunately, that's rarely the end of the story. Often, things that look simple — e.g., implementing pop-ups to capture email addresses for remarketing or enabling promo codes — can have unintended consequences. If you don't think through the usability impact or downstream conversion effect, technology-driven improvements will often cause tough-to-diagnose pains down...  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Are Tablets Hurting Your Site’s Usability?

Tablets are, in many ways, a nightmare for a lot of retailers. Don't get me wrong, smartphones ultimately made the expectations tougher for everyone. However, optimizing for a four-inch screen is ultimately very different from optimizing for 19 inches and up. Say what you will about how difficult it is to create a good smartphone experience, but the tasks for mobile phones are often different enough from desktops that the changes you'll often need to make are obvious.


Companies Mentioned:

If You Must Tweak Your Way to E-Commerce Success, Then Pay Attention to These Two Steps

Some websites are so broken that tweaks really aren't the best approach. Yes, you can split test your way into some minor gains, but if most of your users can't GET to your product page, or at least not the right one, then boosting conversions on product pages by single-digit percentages isn't going to make anyone very happy.  Read More >>

Local Optimization Drives Conversions, But Your Local Page Won’t

Local was already in play before the iPhone changed the online marketing game in 2007, but the mobile shift has raised business capabilities and, more importantly, visitor expectations. Some of the things you need to learn to cope will be brutal, especially if you have limited resources, but it's time to start allocating some of that budget to local optimization now.  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

4 Neuroscience Insights That Can Increase Conversions

In marketing, we often get so caught up with technology that we fail to focus on the insights we can get from learning more about decision making and psychology. We forget that the human brain hasn't really evolved in the last 50,000 years. So while technology changes, what we're mapping it on does not. Below are four things about the brain and how it works that retailers can apply to increase marketing effectiveness:  Read More >>

3 Things Every Retailer Should Know About Mobile Visitors

Even as smartphones, tablets and wearables become ubiquitous aspects of consumers’ daily lives, digital marketers continue to struggle to figure mobile out. Doubtless, you've probably already heard a lot of advice around mobile and the best ways to approach and utilize it. So this post won't list "it's harder to type on mobile devices" or "apps are better for mobile marketing." You already know the former, and the latter isn't always true (but you'll find these ideas on tons of marketing...  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Are Smartphones Bad at Conversions?

Tablets are winning. At least that's what it looks like if you've been keeping score. Adobe and Monetate generally agree on about a 1 percent conversion rate on smartphones, and an over 2 percent conversion rate on tablets. The idea is that smartphones, with their slower connections, more restrictive screen size and (currently) underpowered hardware, are at a distinct disadvantage compared to desktops and laptops, or even to their cousins, tablets.

Companies Mentioned:

Responsive Web Design vs. Mobile Website Version: Which One is Right for You?

Since smartphones became one of the dominant devices for surfing the web, marketers have typically had two ways of dealing with websites for phones (well, three if you include a still prevalent strategy — do nothing — but that doesn't count):  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

The First Conversions: What Script Writers Can Teach Online Marketers

Product pages get a lot of love. Testing budgets go there, analysts’ reviews focus there and even AdWords campaigns deep link there (sometimes). And why not? You'd be hard-pressed to find a page that ties to return on investment as tightly as the page that directly sells the product. Tiny conversion improvements there add up. If you compare a website to a movie, the product page is the third act. It's where the tension reaches heights and the audience gets the...  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

5 Survey Questions Smart Marketers Ask

Surveys can be double-edged swords. On the one hand, the tools required come with obvious, glaring setbacks. Many of the tools required to conduct surveys properly don't come cheap. Cost (and cost justification) is just one of your headaches, however. The other ones can be decidedly more fatal. Implemented incorrectly, they can hurt the user experience. Even when they're implemented correctly, the surveys themselves sometimes serve too many masters.


Companies Mentioned:

How to Deal With Web Visitors Who Do Not Read

Unless you have a content-first website like The New York Times or a juggernaut of a blog like TechCrunch, people don't come to your site for content. Don't misread that: some of your visitors may well consume some of your content, but most of them don't visit your website with the intention of reading. Nielsen indicates that users have time for about 20 percent of the content on your page, which affirms that the majority of users don't read. Rather, they scan.  Read More >>


4 Ways to Fail at Conversion Rate Optimization

Up until a few years ago, conversion rate optimization (CRO) was a niche skill set. By and large, designers were worried about a website's aesthetics; search experts were concerned about information architecture and keyword targeting; IT was preoccupied with site speed and availability; and chief marketing officers were concerned about the overall brand experience. And then this happened:  Read More >>


Make it Boring: The Psychology of the Mobile Product Page

It's not for a tablet. That's what you should be thinking about when you're designing your tiny little product page, with its tiny real estate to work with on the tiny screen. "Tiny" is relevant here because you have an important internal decision to make, one that many other companies are dealing with right now with budgets, short-term tactical implementation and long-term strategy. Should you have different product pages for smartphones and tablets?



What Users Want: Using Internal Site Search for Prioritization

No matter what you do with your visitor data — no matter how good your analyst is, no matter how advanced your segments are, no matter how customized your reports end up being — it can't tell you what users want. Oh, the data can show you patterns that come close — funnel drop-offs for this type of intent, groups of pages accessed most for that other thing — but you still have to infer rather than analyze, and you're inferring against data with a lot of noise.  Read More >>