Lately, a number of customers have asked us for tips on how to make their websites more successful. Of course, search engine optimisation is key, but A/B testing can also be extremely beneficial. In order for your website to succeed, it needs to change and evolve. However, certain site updates may actually be more harmful than helpful.
Thankfully, you can perform A/B testing to help you determine with a fair amount of certainty whether or not you should make a particular change to your website.
A/B testing allows you to test new ideas, such as updates to your site’s layout, copy, images, and colours, to determine if these changes have the desired effect. If you’re considering changing the look of the button visitors click to sign up to your newsletter, then you can use A/B testing to display the old button to some visitors and the new button to others.
In order for you to determine if the new button is getting you the results you want, you need to use a tool or application of some sort to track which button is getting you the most sign ups.
One of the best free tools for A/B testing is Google’s Website Optimizer. This application enables you to create experiments by inserting HTML script tags in the original, variation, and conversion pages to track which version provides you with your desired result. If you were to use Google Website Optimizer to test whether or not a new sign up button would yield a higher rate of subscribers to your newsletter, then your original page would have the old button, the variation page would have the new button, and the conversion page would be the page you display to visitors who have signed up to your newsletter.
Once you’ve launched your experiment, you can view a report which will tell you how each page is performing. With this information, you should be able to decide which button to use on your website.
Overall, this is a great tool for A/B testing, but you do need to have some knowledge of HTML in order to use Google Website Optimizer. To help you create your first experiment, check out Google’s written step-by-step tutorial, as well as an excellent video tutorial on creating A/B experiments.
When conducting A/B testing on your site, you should consider the following:
If you use a content management system like Joomla, WordPress or Drupal, there are free A/B testing extensions, plugins and modules specifically designed for these applications. These tools will be covered in future posts, so be sure to check back soon!