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Website Optimisation: What is A/B Testing?

Posted by in Conversion Optimisation

A more appropriate title for this post could be: ‘How do I conclusively determine the behaviour of my website users and use that knowledge to increase my conversion rate?’ because that is what A/B testing is all about.

A/B, also called split testing, is designed to determine what visual aspects of a website lead to the most conversions. If used correctly, A/B testing can give you invaluable insights. It’s not the easiest topic to wrap your head around so I will endeavour to demystify this incredibly powerful tool in order that you can harness it for the benefit of your online activities.

A/B Testing – In a Nutshell

Version A (the control/existing design) is tested against version B (hypothesis/new design) and whichever one performs better we keep and discard the lesser performing version. Rinse and repeat.

What can we test?

  • The calls to action (wording, size, colour and placement)
  • Headline or product description
  • Enquiry form length and type/number of fields
  • Layout and style of website
  • Product pricing and promotional offers
  • Images on landing and product pages
  • Amount of text on the page (short vs. long)

How does it work?

An experiment is when you run two versions of the particular element you wish to test. During the running of an A/B experiment, roughly half website traffic will be channelled to one version, and half will be directed to the other. Your chosen performance metrics (conversion rate, sales, bounce rate etc) are then compared. The length of time you need to run an experiment will be determined by the amount of traffic your site receives.

I want it! Now what do I do now?

There are many solutions out there that will help you with your A/B testing activities and each has their own pros and cons which I will examine in later posts. If you are deadly keen to test these unchartered waters then a good start is Website Optimiser, a free and quality service offered by Google.

In conclusion, what are you waiting for?! Eliminate the guesswork and find out what exactly you need to change to improve your website’s performance today.

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