5 Key Rules in Split-Testing Websites

27th December 2015

A/B or split-testing multiple versions of a website against itself is the most obvious way to boost conversion rates of your online property. This means more money per visitor, more actions per user and improved KPIs, whatever your metric is. In this article we reveal five basic key concepts to keep in mind when split-testing.

Key #1 – Test big things all the time.

Test huge changes out. Test a text-version of your sales page against a video version. Test a 20-page salesletter against a 2-page salesletter. Test an all-red website against an all-blue one. Test your headline copy, not your footer copy. Test your order buttons and call to actions, not your about page text.

The reality is this: testing bigger things yields bigger results. The sooner you get to the right answers, the better – and the more powerful those moves in the right direction are, the greater your overall conversions. Every positive test that helps you refine your message and page just that little bit further means a lifetime of benefits and a new control site to test against.

Testing pays for itself, and then some. It’s true, micro-changes can have macro-effects – and you should seek to optimise everything. Lots of little incremental changes really help raise baseline conversions. But macro changes when successful multiply your baseline results. So test everything, but focus on the most prominent and important parts of your site – whilst spending a little longer gathering data on everything else, over time, ideally through multivariate testing.

Key #2 – Test at every point in your marketing and delivery funnel.

Advertising material, sales people, home pages, landing pages, product pages, checkout pages, thank you pages, cross-sells, upsells, down-sells, download or despatch pages, your on-boarding process, support staff scripts, product packaging and product delivery… are just the start.

Key #3 – Always be testing.

Always. Everywhere. Everything. Go. This one is not complicated in the slightest.

Key #4 – Don’t forget the backend: email and on boarding.

A lot of good marketers fall prey to the trap of über optimising their core funnels whilst forgetting what is on the backend of that. Even if you’re tested the backend of your website to oblivion and back again, what about your marketing emails? It’s not all about the website. The messages you broadcast and your email autoresponders can play a big role in generating sales, and also in helping you figure out winning lines to use in person and via social media.

Don’t forget your on-boarding process. The followup to a purchase is important, because done right you’ll see less cancellations and refunds, and done right, you can continue the upselling and cross-selling process to visitors who haven’t quite gotten all they need yet.

Key #5 – Conversion optimisation is an organic, evolving, lifetime process.

You don’t just “conversion optimise” once and have a great website. Customers become blind to certain things, competitors catch up, and before you know it, you need to be on your feet again, changing, tweaking, to stand apart from the crowd in a way that’s attractive to your consumer-base and prospects.

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