I talk a whole lot about split testing in all walks of optimization whether that’s on your website, off your website, in your design, when email marketing, etc. I figured so it was time I finally addressed what is split testing and more to the point how exactly to split test.
First thing’s first, what is split testing? Split testing on its most basic level describes taking multiple versions of something and alternating the 2 to see which performs better.
Webmasters use split testing a whole lot since they always want the greatest possible conversion on their goals whether that goal is to offer something, get someone to register for his or her email list thus generating a lead, or even just keeping their traffic on their site for longer.
Common subjects of split testing range from the copy or design/layout that you simply use on your site.
You will get as macro in split testing as changing the entire layout of your website or as micro as changing one word in your call to action.
Now that we’ve covered the what, let’s cover the how in how exactly to split test.
Split testing can be as simple as taking two or more versions of whatever it’s that you wish to test and interchanging them with each other with the idea being of tracking analytics while doing so.
As an example, if you have a sales page for your product you may test from the header graphic, including and excluding testimonials, the placement of these testimonials, your “buy now” button (call to action, color, size, shape, placement, etc.)
When it comes to tracking, typically you’ll want to see which version of what it’s you’re testing converts better towards your preconceived goals.
If it’s a sales page, likely every change which you’re making on that page is always to encourage visitors to click through to the purchase page. In cases like this you are able to track your results simply using Google Analytics and tracking how many views you get to each page.
Any changes that you simply make while split testing are in an effort to obtain the 2 numbers as close together as you can as this suggests that everyone who visits the sales page ultimately clicks through to your purchase page.
There typically is never an “end” in regards to testing; you need to continue to accomplish it as you always wish to be improving your conversion rate. You can even go ahead and test the copy on your purchase page if you have control over that page, as well.
As you’re probably gathering, in regards to this type of testing, being anal may be the name of the game.
With email marketing, split testing is really cro a major area of the process and lots of the better email marketing companies make split testing as simple as possible. I personally use AWeber, for instance, and they’ve an alternative to check everything you are able to imagine.
Your web form, for instance, or the form on your website which people use to register for your email list obviously plays a role in how many visitors to your website go ahead and register for your list. You can make as much versions of your online form as you want, varying it in terms of text and shape, color, etc., then choose how often you want each of these web forms to seem on your site.
In this manner you’ve multiple versions of the exact same form appearing randomly and interchangeably on your website and never having to swap them out yourself, and AWeber tracks the register rates for each one.
Then, after a period of time, you are able to check back in to see which performed the most effective, then take that version and create a few copies (also quite simple to accomplish in AWeber) of that web form which you may tweak to split test against your original one, starting the process anew.
When it comes to exactly how long to give before choosing the winner during each split test session, I don’t recommend a certain span of time such as a week or a month so much as I suggest that you allow the full time so that the significant number of traffic can visit your site.
This makes it in order that you may get a far more realistic idea which version performed the most effective so you can discount randomness or anomalies which tend to be more prevalent with smaller levels of traffic.