This big mistake dropped our email opt-in rate by 50%

Here’s our email opt-ins for AppPresser in October and November of 2014:
optins-drop-50percent
Obviously I did something genius in between October and November to make this amazing feat take place. This happened a while ago, so I had to dig through the internet archives to figure out what happened. Here are a couple screenshots from those months.

October homepage

This is when our opt-in rate was really good.
Homepage

November homepage

This is after I made a change and the opt-ins dropped.
Homepage
See the difference? You guessed it, I removed that big huge opt-in box. Big surprise that our opt-in rate decreased.
I added that box back, and our opt-in rate doubled immediately. The trouble was that I didn’t realize the affect this change had until 6 months later.
We lost out on hundreds of email subscribers, and who knows how many of those would have converted to sales. Don’t do what I did!
Here’s what we can all learn from my mistake:
Don’t make changes on a whim, without tracking.
The reason I removed that opt-in box was because we were launching a new product and I felt it was distracting. That’s not a horrible reason, but I should at least have realized the impact it would have on our business, and weighed the consequences.
Also, track everything, and pay attention to your analytics.
I knew that my opt-in rate was dropping, but I was just too busy with other things to care. I didn’t do a good job of tracking analytics until recently, and now I pay close attention.
Don’t ignore the data surrounding your business. It’s easy to get distracted, especially if you don’t have a large team. To get started tracking data, there are some easy things you can do, which I wrote about in this post on basic growth hacking.