The function of just about any blog or website is to inform, entertain or earn revenue so why should you want to split test your blog or website? Well if we consider any of the functions doing any single one of them better should be a good thing. You can inform more people, entertain more people or possibly earn more revenue with your site as a direct result of your online website testing.
But How Does AB Split Testing Your Site or Blog Help in This Process and What is Split Testing?
Consider a website which is perhaps poorly designed or badly laid out; without anyone considering a website test plan the site will never improve to attain its full potential; this is what split testing your blog or site sets out to achieve. The major consideration when conducting an AB split test is to ensure that you have a record of the current state or condition of the blog or website in order to measure a variation. Going back to your school science days this would be known as your control sample which we will experiment against. In order to measure a variation you will then also need to have some form of tracking or statistical tool in place which will measure the variation. The variation may be positive or negative but the Google split testing process aims to change one condition at a time hence the AB split test terminology; with an aim in order to increase the performance of a given condition over time. The condition may be an increase in user engagement measured by Facebook likes, Tweets, Goggle+ shares, comments, mail list opt-ins, time spent or conversion of the site measured by increased revenue from ad clicks or products purchased.
Items which you can consider split testing are as follows
- Title fonts
- Title color
- Title font size
- Title text
- Sub Headings within the Article
- Article Length
- Article content
- Default body font
- Video Content
- Different Images
- Video placement
- Image placement
- Site Theme
- Ad Types
- Ad Placement
- Calls to Action
If you are using WordPress you might want to consider testing your Widget placements, the items within your Widgets and the number of Widgets.
First Things First – Decide What to Split Test
So before we begin the process to split test your blog or website we will need to decide what we are going to change and how we are going to measure this within our website testing plan. Depending on the metric we are looking to improve within the Google split test may define the way that we are going to measure this. Time on site may be measured by Google Analytics; mail list op-tins via Aweber stats; ad clicks by Google Ad-sense or other paid traffic statistics. It is worth documenting the desired outcome of the website split testing or email split testing so that it can be reviewed later against the outcome. An important consideration of the split test is that you have enough traffic or visitors to the site to measure a reliable result. This is usually considered at least 100 views, the split test condition can then be measured for an increase or decrease. As our aim is to continuously improve an area one piece at a time it is inevitable that the data might not provide the data that we were expecting i.e. the split tests might show a decrease but even this data is valuable as it shows we were going in the wrong direction so we can reverse it. Eventually you may reach the point where the 2 variables cannot be optimized further as the output of a test shows a balanced output with the same data resulting in either version. Another point to note is that the split test negative or positive picture may not be what we had anticipated before running the test but it is important that we utilize this data and not ignore the outcome. Much like a focus group this us the customers opinion which we ignore at our peril.
WordPress Split Testing Plugins
WordPress split testing can be carried out by using a specialized WordPress split testing plugin, there are a few of these available for free if you search for split test within your plugins page or within Google. The ones I prefer are WordPress Landing Pages and Max A/B. These 2 WordPress plugins make testing a variation on your site such as landing page split testing or variations in headers very easy, they do not work for posts though only pages. But hey ho they are FREE. The MAX A/B plugin allows you to test a page against another 3 variations, this can be set and forget as you can run the test until a condition is reached then come back and review your results. The plugin will automatically rotate the different variations until the test condition is reached or you stop the test.