Why are the first 30 seconds at Mint.com better than the first 30 seconds at your website? (And my website, too.)

by Editweapon on April 28, 2008

Watch the video and I’ll explain:


In summer 2006, I heard Bryan Eisenberg say at Search Engine Stragtegies conference in San Jose:

"Traffic is NOT your problem. Conversion is your problem!"

This statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I grabbed four copies of their newly released book, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark, and read most of it on the hop back to PHX.

In December 2006, I went to Wizard Academy outside of Austin to take a class called Wizards of Web, taught by Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg. The biggest takeaway for me was realizing that in every buying situation (web or in person), there are ALWAYS four modes in which people buy.

  1. Fast + Logical = "Competitive"
  2. Fast + Emotional = "Spontaneous"
  3. Slow + Emotional = "Humanistic"
  4. Slow + Logical = "Methodical"

Recognizing this, the way in which you organize content and copy on your website is the difference between a website conversion rate of 2% and 10%.

So I hired them…and Google did a Case Study!

At the Wizards of Web class, I talked to Bryan and Jeffrey about hiring their team to do some work for Jigsaw Health, my other company. They had a "hush-hush", insider opportunity to Beta test Google Web Optimizer on some clients, and we agreed to go forward. We eventually became a Google case study, which was pretty cool. :)

Want More?

I’ll admit, it was sort of a PITA to do this website review. I’m not a professional presenter or public speaker. And I tend to let perfect become the enemy of good enough too often.

So please give me some feedback. Would you like more website design reviews and "Before & After" type videos. Is it useful to you? Would you subscribe to my feed?

What's going on with the major conversion variation?

View Results

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Update: I learned from What Winning TechCruch40 Did for Mint.com that they have 10,000 new user sign-ups per week. Having a great website isn’t the only reason for that, but Mint.com optimizes traffic conversion el big time. I estimate a 17% conversion rate.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Massey May 2, 2008 at 7:57 am

I can’t see the screencast (and I desparately want to).

IE7 and Firefox report this, even after updating Flash:
“The Camtasia-ish Studio video content presented here requires JavaScript to be enabled and the latest version of the Macromedia Flash Player. If you are you using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.”



Barbra Sundquist, HowToWriteBio.com May 5, 2008 at 10:27 am

I agree that making screencast videos is time consuming. But please keep it up! I watched your video from beginning to end and took notes. Thank you!


Barbra Sundquist, HowToWriteBio.com May 5, 2008 at 10:34 am

p.s. are the spelling and grammatical errors in your short bio intentional? Call me old fashioned but they leave a decidedly un- “proffesional” impression.


Keller May 5, 2008 at 10:38 am

I clicked through to your screen cast from a Grokdotcom email. I liked your screen cast and your site and I’d subscribe to your feed but you are more vulgar than I wish to read.

Perhaps you’ve heard this before and perhaps you don’t care because I’m sure you have a following but I didn’t expect your copy coming from grokdotcom.


Editweapon May 5, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Barabara, glad you liked them. I’ll make more. Btw, I drip in sarcasm, irony, and satire from the hours of 11pm to 3am, so I misspelled “proffesional” for fun. Should I change it?

Keller, I curse in real life too…Not enough soap around the house growing up I guess. (Or maybe it was too much?)


Barbra Sundquist, HowToWriteBio.com May 5, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Well, I’m probably not the best person to ask because I am notorious for missing the joke. But my 2 cents is “err on the side of earnest when writing online”. There’s just so much room for people like me not to get it :)
Have you read Brian Clark’s cautionary tale on http://www.Copyblogger.com about the perils of using humor in blogging?


Editweapon May 5, 2008 at 9:46 pm

{seesmic_video:{“url_thumbnail”:{“value”:”http://t.seesmic.com/thumbnail/vz3f3gfA0b_th1.jpg”}”title”:{“value”:” ”}”videoUri”:{“value”:”http://www.seesmic.com/video/YTYfpxYvAQ”}}}


tyson crosbie June 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Awesome screen cast, lots to think about… Only bad thing is now its time for another site redesign for myself.


Editweapon June 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Redesign for tysoncrosbie.com? Methinks your site does a good job for the personas, including the two “fast” personas (competitive and spontaneous).

1. The “What” is clearly stated and backed up: I’m the best photographer in Phoenix bc I obsess over every detail.

2. Pricing is clearly stated and defended.

3. Contacting you is simple and easy.

Why do you think you need to redesign?


Jason M. Putorti June 3, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Wow. Patrick thank you for this breakdown of Mint.com. I’m probably a bit biased saying how insightful it was given that I designed the site, but there you have it. Very impressive. Any feedback you have is most appreciated.

Jason M. Putorti
Lead Designer, mint.com


Jonathan June 4, 2008 at 3:54 pm

“Btw, I drip in sarcasm, irony, and satire from the hours of 11pm to 3am, so I misspelled “proffesional” for fun. Should I change it?”

Haha god damn you are so full of shit. You probably won’t even post this comment, but in the future at least have the balls to admit your mistakes, no matter how stupid they are.

Many thanks for the (unintentional) chuckle.


Editweapon June 4, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Jonathan — LOL! Guilty as charged homey, but keep that between you and mee. ;-)

Jason — was wondering when someone from Mint would notice my love affair for your website, but it seemed amateur for me to be the first to reach out. :)

Btw, how is my conversion rate math in this post? http://editweapon.com/mint-10000-users/


Jonathan June 4, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Oh… I thought you were going to deny it and/or lash out angrily, and then we could have a heated back-and-forth for a few hours. *Sigh* That really took the wind out of my sails.

Thanks for nothing!

P.S: Your post was actually pretty insightful, especially since I’m developing an app not dissimilar to mint, but I call BS on “Why you’ll Love Mint” being just above the fold. I’m on 1024*768 here and I can’t see it without scrolling…


Editweapon June 4, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Jonathan, like the world’s most interesting man, “I’m a lover not a fighter. But I’m also a fighter, so be careful.”

So let’s fight over “the fold”…

How many toolbars do you have on your browser? ? Is your Windoz Taskbar 1 or 2 bars high. (It’s not called bars, but I can’t think of what it is…) Post a screenshot?


Jonathan June 4, 2008 at 8:29 pm

It’s on my POS mac laptop, and I’m using FF. Possibly because I have the Google and SU toolbars installed? By the way, they’ve changed the header to “Best Free Finance Software – PC Magazine”.


Editweapon June 4, 2008 at 8:48 pm

That’s probably it.

I sort of like the new headline — it’s a strong 3rd party endorsement (and the “refreshing money management” tagline right next to the logo) — but I still like the placement and pop of putting “We are refreshing money management” in pole position. Wonder if they are doing any multivariant testing?


tyson crosbie June 6, 2008 at 12:41 pm


I believe you may have caught it after I already redesigned it. :) Thanks to your screen cast I think I got it pretty close to right.


Editweapon June 6, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Tyson, how long did it take you to redesign, 18 minutes?

PS – are we using twitter conventions now for comment?

PPS – Twitter is down, just thought you might be bummed about it like I am because I sure am.

“What’s your biggest failure? Well we’re working on it right now.” ~Jim Coudal, who is a hilarious speaker here at Seed Conference. http://coudal.com

(That’s what I would have tweeted.)


tyson crosbie June 10, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Yeah I did it right away.. Changed a lot of the design around and shored up some of the copy. Paired down some extraneous pages and simplified the focus of each page.
I fiddled with it for a few days (so we might be referring to different sites) it is currently in a good spot for design and content. But still struggling with SEO because I am using the bane of all web standards iWeb to design.
Thanks to your post I changed the way I thought about a web page now I feel more confident about the content on tysoncrosbie.com

Am I not on twitter always? lol


Editweapon June 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Thanks to your post I changed the way I thought about a web page now I feel more confident about the content on tysoncrosbie.com

If I can help just one person…

Struggling with SEO? There’s a million point five experts out there that can help.

I’m not one of them.

Chances are tho that Twitter and Facebook are likely to help you find better clients than Google. Hey, I’ve got you in my rolodex when I’m ready for headshots! ;-)


James June 13, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Well, not directly but I found you while doing a Google search for archetypical examples of competitive modalities. The ones directly from the book “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark” are a bit soft and since I dont keep up on popular culture I was hoping someone had named a few others in the blogosphere.

Its a great video, hell you even used the word “esoteric” which was very impressive. Though I have to know, how long did that take you to put together? Knowing what a perfectionist you are I have to wonder how many times you rerecorded the audio and fiddled with the video.

By the way, did you create that using Flypaper?

Here is the link I found this link at:


Editweapon June 14, 2008 at 9:19 am

Reply to James (and banana farts) {seesmic_video:{“url_thumbnail”:{“value”:”http://t.seesmic.com/thumbnail/f79AU08VKJ_th1.jpg”}”title”:{“value”:”Reply to James (and banana farts) ”}”videoUri”:{“value”:”http://www.seesmic.com/video/ejC0N4poPK”}}}


James June 14, 2008 at 9:38 pm

In my haste to post that last message I mistook the “Web site” field for “subject” field and wrote in it…

I found you on Google!

Thats a UID issue. ;)

I actually didnt find you on Google. I found you on another site that I found on Google. I didnt see the Grok link, its cool that they are giving you some love. Like everyone else I am overwhelmed with too much to read so I haven’t made it to their site in a while.

Keep up the good work!


Sequoia August 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm

You’re on top of the game. Thanks for shirgna.


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