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Split-testing answers your unsolved questions

Saturday, November 15th, 2014 by Servage

Split_testingSplit-testing is the method of placing different ideas for the same components on a web page, to test and thereby know which one will work the best to increase conversion. Therefore, if you know your weaker links and know how to overcome them the best way using A/B testings, you definitely will have a greater chance at winning the battle of conversion optimization at first hand.

Conversion optimization is a vast subject to cover in a single post as numerous books are devoted to this subject alone. Therefore this post will focus on the split-test or A/B testing of landing pages and its role in conversion itself.

We have very complex websites today in terms of content, layout, information, navigation, UI and lots of interactions. Covering such huge numbers of elements in split-testing – and creating enough suitable variantions – is not possible during a quick A/B test. Under such conditions you should focus on the most important elements, or set aside serious time devoted to split-testing alone. Since split-testing is often all about optimizing marginals, it will be sufficient to focus on the main parts initially – and build some experience using such tests. You will learn that this gives you lots of useful insights into the minds and behaviour of your users.

Focus on your weakest links

Usually the most cost-effective way to get started with split-testing is to find the weakest links in your marketing funnel and run split-tests on them until you get acceptable conversion rates. You will have to check your ads, landing pages, product pages and checkout process while always considering a potential alternative. Every time you are just the tiniest bit in doubt about the optimal solution, you have probably encountered an element suitable for split-testing. Follow your own gut, and start testing the ones you are most unsure about first, and follow through with the rest. Over time you will essentially end up having split-tested almost everything on your site – which is good, because then you can truly say that you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, instead of just guessing.

Remember there is really no place not suitable for testing to achieve better conversions. Even “boring” pages like terms of service, contact forms, etc. are suitable for service. You’re not always just loosing a user on the product or checkout page – he may actually find your conditions unfair, or your contact form unattractive.

Decide which variations to test

Above given suggestions how to select which areas to test on are vital for most websites. Now comes a harder part: Figuring out which variations to test. Sometimes you have a clear conflict between two good solutions, where you’re unsure what is best. However, sometimes you may have many variations on your mind, or sometimes maybe none. You will get better over time when you have received feedback on your first testing rounds. It will get easier for you then, to choose suitable variations, because you generally have a better picture of what the users usually prefer. However, don’t let that stop you from being innovative and try something new. And should you find yourself in a situation where you cannot come up with new ideas, then don’t be ashamed to go looking for inspiration on other sites.

When doing good split-testing on a regular basis you will see an increase in conversions over time, and also get much better at guessing the right content, design & placement for new elements on your site in the first attempts. If you don’t have enough time for this on your own, then consider using an external resource. There are plenty of web and advertising agencies that offer such testing.

References & more reading


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