Your Guide to Website AB Testing

Website AB Testing is no longer a new term. Today, many well adept marketers are making use of it to get full insight of online visitors and increase their conversion rate. Although, A/B testing is the common trend in online marketing, people are still not aware of it like other internet marketing subjects such as usability, SEO and Web analytic. They simple don’t understand how it works or how they can benefit from it.

Your Guide to Website AB Testing

What is Website AB Testing?

Website A/B Testing is self explanatory just as it sounds. It includes 2 versions of an element: A and B that are subjected to numerical test. To get best version of the two versions, they are both subjected to experimentation simultaneously, then you measure which version that is more successful which will be used in the real world.

You have to design two different versions of websites, typically A and B. A is considered as a control design and B is the new design. Then you split your traffic between the two versions and measure how they perform using metrics like sale, conversion rate and bounce rate etc. after which you select the best performing version.

Why use A/B Testing?

A/B testing allows marketers to make more out of their existing website traffic. While the cost acquiring new paid traffic can be very high, marketers who make use of A/B testing increase their rate of conversion at a relatively low cost.

For example; a small business plan for website optimizers begins at $49 , which only covers the cost of between 5 to 50 Adwords clicks, but with A/B testing, the return on investment is significantly high and a small changes on your website traffic usually result to huge increase in generated leads, revenue and sales.

What to Test in A/B Testing?

What you want to test on A/B test mainly depends on your specific goals. For instance, if your aim is to increase the amount of sign ups on your website, you will be required to test the following; types of fields in the form, length of the form, type of privacy display and social proof, etc. The goal will be to find out what prevents visitors from signing up, is it the form length, social proof, privacy display or number of field on the from? All these questions will be answered respectively by testing each website element using A/B testing.

Although, A/B testing is meant to be unique, the following are essential elements that need to be tested when you employ A/B testing:

  • Headline description
  • Call of action’s, size, color and wording
  • Website style and layout
  • Images of landing products
  • Amount of text used on the website etc.

Advance tests can include sales promotion, pricing structures, navigation, free deliveries, UX experiences, free trial structures and more.

Website A/B Testing Process

Now that you know what website AB testing entails, the next thing to understand is the correct way to run successful A/B testing experiments. Just like any other scientific experiments, A/B experiments should be conducted. The following are clear procedures on how A/B testing should be conducted:

1. Ask a question

You must first identify the problem which could be that your bounce rate on your website is significantly high compared to the standard set by the industry, then ask a question why this is so. This is the first and most important step in the A/B testing.

2. Carry out a background research

Do an extensive research on behaviors of your website visitors using different analytics tools such as Google analytics that are running on your website. Make sure you have a clear picture of their behaviors before moving to the next step.

3. Come up with a hypothesis

Construct a good hypothesis depending on what you want to test. For example, add more links at footer of your website to ensure that can significantly reduce the bounce rate on your site.

4. Calculate the number of visitors per day that you will need to run A/B test

Make sure that you calculate the number of visitors that you need for a successful testing before you begin the test. You can always use an A/B test duration calculator available online.

5. Test the hypothesis

Come up with a website that meets your hypothesis- the version B that will be compared against the original version A. For instance, our version B website will contain more links at the bottom of the website and will be compared against website with few links at the bottom of the footer.

6. Analyze the results and draw your conclusion

If the website with increased number of links significantly reduces the bounce rate then number of links is one of the factors for increased bounce rate, if that is not the case then you have to go back to the drawing board and start from step 3; come up with new hypothesis.

7. Reporting of the results

Once you have made your conclusion, let people in the IT, marketing and UX departments know the results of test so that they can make adjustments to reduce the bounce rate on the website.

A/B Testing for Beginners

If you want to start A/B testing on your site, it is very easy when you are using Visual Site Optimizers. It only involves the following 4 simple steps:

1. Incorporate a Visual Site Optimizer Snippet in your site

Incorporating a Visual Site Optimizer Snippet in your site means that you ready to run tests on your site. These code snippets may include Drupal, Joomla or WordPress etc.

2. Create the variations you want using Visual Editor

Load the website onto Visual Editors and make changes using the simplified point to click interface. Experienced users can use JS and CSS code to make changes on their websites.

3. Come up with specific objectives

Although, the main goal is usually to increase the number of conversation rate on your site you can come up with more specific goal such as increase page visits or increase clicks on links etc.

4. Start the test and measure its results

Analyze and report the results from the website AB testing for necessary adjustment to be made on the website.

Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.