Why Web Pages of a Site Shouldn't Be Dramatically Different

One of the reasons why eyes hurt more on the computer than on TV, is that for every click we do (every page we view) we have to get acquainted with that new page. On TV the picture moves on its own, and the only interaction we do is very basic (changing channels, adjusting volume, etc.).

On the web, each part of our journey on a site needs a decision on our part, so every new page we view needs at least a couple of seconds for us to get familiar with it, and then decide which links we want to click on or whether or not we want to continue reading, or just leave the site.

If pages in a user's journey are very different from each other, then each click will require a certain amount of extra time for the user to adjust to the new page, and that consumes a good part of the visit to your site.

This becomes much more important in pages that are part of one process on the site (registration, shopping cart, uploading photos, etc). Ideally these processes should run as smoothly as possible. The only changes among these pages should be related to what the user did. If they uploaded a file for example, only an indication to the succes of failure should be given, and the only part changed on the page should be clearly showing the next step in the process.

Google Website Optimizer: The Butterfly Effect of Advertising

Butterfly EffecgtThis movie, which popularizes a concept in Chaos Theory clearly shows how making a small change in a key event in a person's life makes a huge tangible difference in the lives of other around them. It makes me think about how fragile the perception of communications by consumers can be, and how delicate changes can get you huge results (good or bad) in your advertising.
David Ogilvy,in Ogilvy on Advertising reports how a simple change as changing the background from black to whit tripled the amount of funds raised by a certain ad!
Google allows you to use several ads and they can automatically optimize them for you. That is, their system will show the better performing ads more often. This way you don't have to worry about months of research to finding the best copy. You put the different copies you have, and people tell you which ones they find appealing.
Now with their Website Optimizer, you can do the same for your website! If you have a page that is designed to convince visitors to take certain actions, this landing page has several elements in it usually. You definitely have a header, probably a picture, and text to explain what the product / service is. website optimizer
If you are not sure, which header is the most attractive and persuasive for your visitors, you can put several headers, and they will rotate, until you feel confident that there is a certain pattern that attracts people to one particular text. The same can be done for the other elements of the page. Moreover, the Optimizer also tells you which combination of text, header and picture is the best. Grokdotcom has some useful resources about this product.
The movie seemed too good to be true, especially with the new features, and many people would love to have the access to change the destiny in different ways. In the advertising world, this is not a dream, but a real wish that can now be achieved through Website Optimizer.