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Shireen Qudosi

How to Conduct A/B Testing on Your Website

Sep 10 2012, 09:42 AM by

You’ve probably heard of A/B testing before. You’ve probably secretly Googled it in a desperate search when it was brought up in a company meeting.

A/B testing is the adult web version of your childhood science project that had a constant and maybe one or two variables. The point of a variable was to show a difference, and possibly to educate you on which option is best. The same rule applies to the web.

Web A/B testing is absolutely critical to business success simply because the web (and user patterns) are changing so frequently that it’s an imperative to test out the best routes to your desired action. Not doing so is as ridiculous as still taking road A to get to work when the new and improved Road B is getting others there faster.

Testing applies to more than just your website; it also factors in social media, email campaigns, landing pages and more. Maybe you’re just getting your feet wet with A/B testing, or maybe you’re part of a team that’s already familiar with the idea. Either way, these tips will help you cut the fat when it comes to A/B.
1. Social Sharing Overload
Can anyone even remember how many social sharing options there are now, let alone which ones have been bought out, gone under, consolidated or been replaced by a competitor? Is your website platform even up to speed on the newest social sharing buttons?

Make sure to check your social sharing with varied testing to see which ones are working for you and which aren’t. Then go in and trim the fat by cutting sharing links for sites no one’s really using. Having a cluster of social shares on your site is an eye-sore and an outdated practice. Maybe having two to three identifiable shares gets your page more traffic than having visitors trickle through half a dozen or more share links.
2. Mobile Equipped
Having a mobile-optimized site is more important than the original site itself. When it comes to mobile, think more than just a cell phone; mobile devices also include tablets like iPads, Kindle, etc.

Studies show that mobile is the future, already knocking at our door. It’s here and it’s big, being the prime force behind soaring e-commerce sales, viral hits, as well as the larger percentage for high traffic ratings.

To test your site, try having a portion of recent/upcoming content primed for mobile users, while leaving the other half as is. You’ll see the results for yourself in Google analytics.
3. Navigate Users
Aside from having a clear site structure and breadcrumbs, try offering readers convenience and flexibility by having a “return to top” button beginning half way down a page. This applies to pages with longer content or images, such as you may have seen on Pinterest. The point of this is to help users save time, stay on your site longer and traffic across more pages. Try this by testing some pages with this feature while others can remain as is.

Other quick tips to consider include having larger, more varied font usage than the traditional Arial size 12. Also consider giving away freebies to attract conversion, and then test which freebies are most successful. If possible, try having well-archived and categorized dropdown boxes so users aren’t hunting for information; here, you can also test out dropdowns with images versus those without.

The ultimate goal is to get users to visit your site more often, stay on longer, share and convert as you desire. If possible, reach out to your users and ask them what they’d like to see and what they feel is currently lacking.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Social Media, Growing Your Business

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