It happens countless times each day: Visitors land on your website by clicking a search ad or Facebook post. When they arrive, what image or headline do they notice? What do they ignore? A/B testing allows you to optimize your site traffic by better understanding how users respond to various site details. Even minor alterations in a landing page or website can dramatically improve the user experience, lead generation, and conversion.
Last month, I presented at the OmniUpdate User Training Conference and demonstrated how to build forms and test different page variations. Their OU Campus CMS (content management system) is designed specifically for higher education, which means your team can focus on creating content and connecting with your audience, instead of writing code. Together with Google Optimize, testing different fields, images, and layout is a simple task that can quickly resolve debates with your creative team. Here are five important tips to consider when starting with A/B testing.
- Empower your team to use your website as a marketing tool. Your institutional website is a 24/7 marketing powerhouse; make sure you’re tapping into its full potential. Encourage your team to use data to guide site experiments, rather than dictating them. As part of learning, don’t punish failure—use it to innovate and to refine future testing. Finally, coordinate landing pages with social media and online ads to reinforce your messaging.
- Experiment with design features and headlines carefully.Use the scientific method to test what works best on your site. Start by modifying a single variable such as a header, a call to action, or the color and shape of a button. Embrace (and share!) what works and apply additional modifications only when warranted.
- Collect data strategically. There’s an endless variety of data points you can track. Avoid “analysis paralysis” by tracking only those metrics that will directly influence content and design decisions. Focus on the audiences you want to engage and get specific about demographic variables, device, interests, etc.
- Define success. If you don’t understand what constitutes success, you’ll never know when you achieve it. Frame your tests using if-thenstatements. For example, “If the bounce rate decreases by 5%, then the red button is better.” Also, define the minimum amount of site traffic acceptable for your teams to consider a test valid and determine the maximum length of time for your experiment. Coordinate test length with your audiences’ preferences and perceptions of your brand.
Finally, compare apples to apples. To glean the most information from your testing, position all data relative to your site’s overall performance.
- Repeat.Remember, testing should be an informed, but dynamic process. Though it’s easy to get bogged down by a single experiment, iterate often. Remember, A/B testing shines a light on highly subjective design and messaging details. Know when you have enough data to optimize engagement and be willing to implement changes site-wide.
From site strategy and conception to design and implementation, Stamats’ website services can help you engage your most valuable audiences, improve organic search results, capture new leads, and convert existing leads. Listen to the OmniUpdate webinar, A/B Testing: Optimizing Your Site Efforts, featuring Muzel Chen as their special guest.