Before you can truly understand A/B testing and how to best use it for your website, you need to look at your website in a different light. Now I know that may sound stupid, but like many things in life, sometimes there is more to the story than meets the eye. Your website is no different.
Most companies see their website as nothing more than an online billboard. And most of those sites are static websites that never get updated. And this “online billboard,” is often created to;
- Get your name out to more potential customers
- Increase leads, sales, etc.
Often the problem is your company’s mindset. A website isn’t an electronic billboard. A website is a marketing tool. And this tool comes with some awesome metrics that you can use to increase its productivity. The primary metric you hear touted by “SEO experts,” is analytics. But just as useful is A/B testing.
So what is A/B test?
A/B testing is the process of splitting up your web traffic, and sending them to two different destinations. And these destinations could be any number of things. It could be different landing pages, email newsletters, contact forms, etc. And these destinations differ in small ways.
So why do we do this? The goal of A/B testing is to see if different pieces of content, convert better or worse than other pieces of content. So let’s see an example of a Contact Form.
So let’s say we have a contact form created asking people to request information about your services. You look at your analytics and you see that a lot of people visit your contact form page, but only 25% of them complete the form.
So we decide to do some A/B testing to try and increase the number of sign-ups. And we decide to create a simpler form that has one less field for the visitor to have to fill out. With both forms in place, we starting splitting our traffic up and testing both options simultaneously.
After a set period of time, we view the results. In this example, let’s say we find that our original form still converted 25%, and the new form converted 30%. With that information, you would decide to run the new form full-time. But you’re not done, right? 30% is still not that good. So we go back to the drawing board and continue testing ideas until we find a winning combination.
So without writing a book, that is A/B testing in a nutshell. Its the process of making small changes, (headlines, colors, fonts, etc.) to increase a certain outcome. It is a scientific method that uses analytics to provide quantitative and qualitative results. But this starts with understanding that your company website is a tool.
How to do A/B Testing?
How do we implement this concept? Well, to integrate A/B testing into your website you need a program designed to run the tests. Below are a few options to check out.
Once optimizely is set up on your website, it offers a WYSIWYG interface that allows you to A/B test and Multivariate test, just about anything your heart desires. Plans for this program start at $17/mo.
Unbounce allows you to create, publish, and test landing pages. It features a drag and drop interface to create landing pages, and the pages are live as soon as you hit publish. Plans start at $49/mo.
Visual Website Optimizer
Visual Website Optimizer allows you to conduct A/B testing, multivariate testing, behavioral testing, heat maps, usability testing, and revenue tracking. Plans start at $49/mo.
So there you have it. If you only take one thing from this article it’s this; your company’s website is a tool that can be used to increase revenue, and there are programs designed to increase the impact your website can have on your overall success.