Our Top 15 Posts for 2015 - and the Skills You Need to Pick Up for 2016

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top 15 posts for 2015

2015 is a big year for changes in online marketing.

So the online marketing space is both growing and changing rapidly.

Marketers are also changing.

The specializations are no longer as defined. Search specialists, conversion professionals, UX practitioners, and web analytics gurus are all playing in the same arena. All these fields now connect to, and affect, one another.

So it’s not really surprising that the most read posts in 2015 are a mix of conversion, search, and analytics posts, though it is gratifying to see the field grow.

Here are the 15 posts that you viewed most this year:

15. Mobile: 7 Deadly Sins of Mobile Web Design

Mobile is tough to get right, though there are some known best practices, and common mistakes. This post helps you avoid being in the “worst offenders” list.

14. Usability: 404 Error Basics - How to Design the Perfect 404 Page

The best 404 error pages are the ones you never see.

But sometimes, these things are not within your control, and you’ll need to throw an error page out there - people mistype things, and other sites can link to you incorrectly. When you do, you can still make the user experience good.

This post shows you how.

13. Testing: New(er) Low-Cost Website Testing Tools

Testing used to be in the realm of just Fortune 500 companies, but there’s been a proliferation of free and low-cost tools that make testing affordable.

The thing is, you need to know where to look. This post helps with that.

12. Conversion Design: Simplifying Choices for the Brain to Improve Conversions

Technologies change quickly, brains do not. That’s why neuromarketing works regardless of the fast-paced shifts in the industry.

This post tackles conversion-related techniques taking into account how lazy brains actually are.

11. Testing: Don't Test That - 3 Ideas to Avoid When Split Testing Your Pages

Even experienced conversion professionals running multiple projects know that you shouldn’t test everything. You should test ideas efficiently.

This post takes users through common things that you shouldn’t test, so you actually spend time optimizing what matters.

10. Mobile: 3 Practical Tips to Improve Your Mobile Navigation

Mobile is a big deal, and there are a ton of new considerations, like the chrome-to-content ratio.

If you’ve been meaning to clean up your mobile experience, this post is for you.

9. Conversion Design: Catering to Early Stage Visitors to Improve Conversions

Sales are at the bottom of the sales funnel, and that gets a ton of attention. There’s a reason for that, and for the most part, we get that, too.

The problem is that a ton of marketers tend to focus on just the bottom of the funnel - leaving early stage visitors scratching their heads.

This post takes readers through techniques that help with early stage visitors without hurting actual sales.

8. Testing/ Analytics: Which Web Optimization Tools Should You Be Using?

The tools you use should cater to how specialized your online marketing practices are.

This post takes you through a framework, naming which tools and Key Performance Indicators you should use from when you are just starting out to when you are an experienced testing professional.

7. Analytics: Use These 4 Google Analytics Tricks for Better Conversions

The line between web analytics professionals and conversion professionals has never been less visible. This year, it may as well not be there. That’s showing up in the industry, and it’s showing up in our readership. Posts about web analytics have become a bigger part of this blog this year.

This one is a Google Analytics primer for conversions, and it’s a must-read for those using GA to track eCommerce performance.

6. Analytics: 4 Google Analytics Improvements to Kick Off the Year

If you’ve been keeping track, that’s 3 analytics posts in a row in the top 10. Web analytics has been big for our readers this year.

This one, posted at the start of 2015, takes you through the analytics model, and the stats you should be looking at for each stage of the user journey. (HINT: they are not just page views and visits)

5. Conversion Design: What You Need to Know About Visual Attention on Your Page

Irregular shapes. Borders. Contrast. These are all things that you need to carefully control to direct user attention where you need it to go. A lot of web marketers use those elements as design elements, when they should really be treated as usability and conversion elements.

This post explains how you can use those elements to control the visual hierarchy and get users to pay attention.

4. Analytics: 1 Hour with Google Analytics - Getting the Basics Down in Just 60 Minutes

For those new to Google Analytics, this is our “don’t wander around aimlessly” post.

It takes you from “novice” to “targeted learner” in the space of about an hour, going through the most common reports you’ll need when you’re just starting out, as well as segmentation and customization basics.

3. Conversion Design: Pricing Secrets - Display Price Points to Irrational Brains, and Win Big

Here we go, top three.

All three posts from here have been more widely read than any post from 2014. If this were posted last year and it got this many views, it would have been the number one post of the year by a mile.

If the “simplifying choices” post was about dealing with brains that are short-cut obsessed and lazy, this post is about dealing with brains that are inconsistent and irrational. (SIDE NOTE: We do not hate brains. We heart brains. We’re just pretty honest about their limitations)

2. Usability: 6 Common User Experience Design Fails that Make UX Experts Cringe

We’d all like to think that we’re above making common web usability mistakes. That said, UX mistakes are pretty common, even the really bad ones.

We asked around about things that make UX pros shake their heads, and a lot of the examples they’ve given are surprisingly easy to avoid. Read this post to find out what those mistakes are, and how you can avoid them.

If you’ve been keeping track so far, that’s 2 posts about mobile user experience, 2 posts about general web usability, 3 posts about testing, 4 posts about conversion design, and 4 posts about web analytics, with one post double-tagged.

That’s very different mix compared to the last few years - web analytics is clearly something our core readership is getting more interested in.

Which brings us to our most-read post this year …

1. Analytics: Using the Hidden Google Analytics Feature to Find Pages You Need to Fix

This isn’t just the most viewed post this year; it’s the most viewed post on this blog … ever.

It surprised us at the time, but in retrospect, it makes sense. Google Analytics is the most used online marketing tool out there, and this post just saves so much time for anyone looking to prioritize tasks.

Go ahead and check it out if you haven't yet, and for those who have read it, we hope you found it useful.

Happy holidays, everyone!

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