De-risk big changes

Anytime you make a big change, you run the risk of breaking things.

Switch your Shopify theme? You risk your conversion rates, SEO, and can cause customer confusion.

Redesign your product? You risk defects, upset old customers, and bad reviews.

A few months ago I started to redo my product pages for Repeat Customer Insights (starting here). Originally it was a classic long product page with a lot of information that buyers will want.

Based on my data, it wasn't converting as well so I decided to change it to the more typical multiple page software pages that are common.

But that meant changing one of the major pages that drives sales for me. A big change.

Instead of taking on a lot of risk by just rewriting it, I tried to take a long path that reduced the risk.

I built the new version in pieces, pulling section by section out into their own pages (e.g. features, pricing, reviews). Then finally last week I swapped out the main page.

This incremental process definitely took longer to build, both actual time and calendar time. But that let me pre-release parts early on and be confident they worked.

I still have more to do. There's at least one major thing to change and a bucketful of tweaks to get it up to my standards. Those are all things I can work on later though.

Big changes are scary and carry risk. Your job is to do your best to avoid those risks, even if you can't avoid them all.

Eric Davis

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