Written By: Mark Rocket & Katie O’Neill
Published by: Avatar Ltd
Greetings All!Are you flying blind? Most of us make improvements to our websites going on gut instinct, but if you want to definitively measure the exact result then split testing is the way to fly. That’s our main topic this month, plus we have our usual serving of tidbits, useful statistic and sites of interest. Enjoy!
Using A/B Split Testing To Improve Website Results
Creating a great website consistently comes down to incremental improvement. Anything that is designed to be used by people needs to be tested and tweaked to get it just right. A/B split testing is one of the best methods to accurately measure if a website change is having a positive effect.
Put simply, A/B split testing on websites involves creating a copy of the page you want to improve, then making a tweak to your new page. When visitors come to your website, they’ll be randomly presented with one of the versions. This way you can track the data and user behaviour that comes from each of the variations, and use it to figure out which one is more effective.
There are a range of tools available to help you do this and track the results. Popular choices include Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer and Google’s free Content Experiments which is built into Google Analytics. Most websites already use Google Analytics for overall data tracking and management, so this is usually the easiest method of getting started with split testing.
Found under the Content section of the left hand side menu, Experiments uses a guided creation wizard to get your experiment set up. All you need to do is enter the URLs of the variation pages that you want to test, name and describe your experiment. It will automatically give you code to add to your main control page, and then will automatically compare the results of the variation pages that you specify. This traffic will then be tracked like regular Analytics data, and most importantly you can set up a goal in order to see which changes are making the most conversions.
Some ideas for split testing include:
Changing call to action buttons
Different lengths of signup forms
Different content and text order
More or less information
Rearranging navigation items
Best practice in split testing technique is to make a variation on only one area at a time. This way you’ll understand exactly which changes have made the difference. Don’t try to contrast apples and oranges – if there are multiple areas on your website that you want to experiment with, then keep them for separate tests to ensure your results don’t become muddled and confused.
Usually we just follow our gut feel on what looks best, but it’s not always the case. There can often be surprising results. Split testing is an excellent way to narrow down your design choices and get actual practical feedback about which decisions are actually the correct ones. Get in touch with Avatar if you’d like help setup a split test for you website.
Statistic Of The Month
400 Billion Pages. Wow. The Wayback Machine is the most comprehensive internet archive on earth, providing a snapshot of the internet spanning from now to the time it began in 1996. As a result of this comprehensive archiving system, 400 billion total pages have now been recorded and saved, allowing anyone to visit a webpage as it once was at any point since its creation. It’s an amazing tool that allows you to relive your past memories of the early days of Netscape Navigator and dial up tones.
Webmaster Tools Overview. If you aren’t sure what Google Webmasters can do for your website, it may be time to check out a nifty overview.
The Knowledge Graph. Take a look behind the scenes to find out how Google’s search can be so accurate and intuitive.
Eyes on Earth. The International Space Station now carries several cameras that are constantly rolling, providing a live feed of the planet below.
Solar Roads. An American business is seeking funding to develop and install technology that would turn normal roads into solar energy harvesters.
Wingsuit Flight Over New York City. Now this would be super cool – how about flying over New York like a caped crusader from a comic book?
A winery estate located in the Wairarapa, producing a range of top quality wines.
Cartoon Of The Month
Reprinted With Permission
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