The process of creating websites can be as infuriating as is it is exciting. Whether you’re creating it for yourself or for a client, multiple layout and colour schemes are provided and selection process can last quite a long time. A/B testing is one way to see if all your hard work has paid off in “real” time. By setting up these tests, you can easily figure out the kinks of your site by analyzing multiple pages at time and viewing the data of those results. People use it to gain insight into visitor behavior, tabulate conversion rates or see if the email signup form is easy to use.  Many people don’t often use A/B testing because they don’t understand it as a form of Internet marketing strategies like SEO for example. Let’s take a look and see how we all can benefit from a little A/B testing 101.

What is A/B testing?

In the simplest of explanations, A/B Testing is having two versions of one element (A, B) and using a variable that you care about (sales, conversion rate, bounce rate) to determine it’s success. In order to do this, you have to subject both versions to the same test simultaneously to achieve these results. You choice of what to test is dependent on your goal. For instance, if you want to increase the number of signups on your website, you would then test out variances of the sign up form attributed by the length of the form, types of fields etc. Luckily there are tools out there that will help you measure out your successes and run your tests smoothly. Unbounce, Visual Website Optimizer and Google Website Optimizer are the three tools we’ll explore in this post.

Unbounce

Unbounce is a service that helps marketers create, publish and test out landing pages without the help of an IT department.  Having the ability to manage your own testing without getting lost in all the technical jargon gives a users a new level of independence by controlling the entire process. Unbounce supplies templates for landing pages what you can modify with their WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, without being expected to know a ton of HTML code. Each landing page template is targeted towards various tests that you may want to run such as Click through, Lead generation and Product Launch templates.

Product Launch Template – build a list of interested customers before you launch your new product.

There’s no better way to prove a point then to run an A/B Test. Unbounce enables you to copy your landing page and create a variant page with a single click. The results are then displayed for each test.

By using A/B testing on your landing pages, you can take suggestions from all your team members and try them out to see if they work or not.  Instead of multiple approaches starting and argument, you can create an environment where the best ideas will rise to the top with evidence to prove it.

Visual Website Optimizer

As flexible multivariate software, Visual Website Optimizer features point and click testing with their own WYSIWYG editor for creating page variations. Their mission is to also help you improve conversion rates and increase website sales using their A/B testing tool. Creating a test, modifying the your page as you go, selecting what goals you want to test, is all done in mere minutes.

First select your test, then you’ll have to input what URL you’re testing in the next step. From there, go right to the landing page and make edits:

Change headers, colours and type with the WYSIWYG Editor.  There is also an HTML editor enabled so if you do know a bit of code you can work your magic there. Following the design element, you will create your goals such as wanting to find out visitor engagement, or clicking on a specific link by providing the appropriate URLS

Here is a sample report from an A/B test where multiple graphs were created to represent each goal.

To run an A/B test, code is usually embedded into the HTML page so it can redirect each landing page created by the specific goal.  Embedding the code once is not only a time saver but is automatic with Visual Website Optimizer. You can create unlimited number of tests without page tagging for all multivariate or A/B tests.

Google Website Optimizer

It is no surprise that Google also has it’s own version of an optimizer which provides a multitude of services similar to those previously mentioned already. It allows you to increase the value of your existing website traffic without having to spend a cent. By running these multivariate tests you can expand the potential to get more leads to increase your site’s revenue. Google offers videos and web seminars to help you design, plan and launch your first experiment.

Creating alternate landing pages to run your A/B test on.

As stated previously, your goal can be anything from seeing which layout works best, a call to action test where you want to see if users click the “submit” button on a form or the “ BUY NOW” button to purchase a product.  As you’re setting up each test, you can specify which the conversion goal by placing that specific URL as the end page of your test.

Specify all the URLS of your original and testing pages.

This page can be your thank you page, final checkout page or email signup page, again, depending on what your goal for the test is.

Unlike the previous optimizer services, the code that needs to be embedded into all these pages is provided for you but not implemented into those pages.  If you don’t have access to your source code you can send the information to your web master or if you do, then Google Optimizer facilitates implementing the code in a simple copy and paste manner so you won’t get lost.

Getting insight on how visitors engage with your website, what specific links they click on and how many people sign up to your monthly email newsletter is invaluable.  Eliminating the guesswork and finding out which images, headlines or copy are most effective guides you along path of rewards based on hard facts and not assumption or ideas. Running A/B tests will not only target your marketing goals more efficiently but with the help of these optimizer tools, give you control to modifying the most crucial pages of your site and reap the benefits of being able to do so.