I’ve read Joanna Wiebe’s “Headlines, Subheads, and Value Propositions” and I’m ready to start testing headlines.

The current version of the Kanbanery.com landing page is the result of an A/B test between the old page, with its traditional screenshots and benefits lists, and a simple testimonial page.

Surely there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

This week’s test is to determine if people even read headlines. To do that, I first added a headline. It was quick and dirty, with inline CSS, just to get something in there to test.

Then I fired up Optimizely and started creating headline variations. The first test will have four variations:

  1. No headline (as it has been for several months)
  2. A conventional headline (the same thing most of the competitor’s use)
  3. A benefit headline, as recommended by Weibe’s book
  4. A nonsense headline, just to see if people read anything

The conventional headline is the typical SEO-based “Visual Project Management Software.” I’d stick with this one if no one reads, because it’s an <h1> tag full of keywords, so at least Google will read it.

The benefit headline is “Projects become painless, quickly and easily” which is not so far from the original Basecamp headline “Projects Manage Themselves with Basecamp.” If this one wins, then I’ll invest more time in creating more benefits headlines to test.

Finally, just to see if anyone really reads the headline, the fourth variation I’m testing is nonsense. It’s “Sunshine makes me happy.” No one can take offense at that, but it’s no reason to click on the call to action button. If this one wins, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.