A/B testing is a powerful tool for website optimization. By comparing two versions of a website or web page, A/B testing allows you to see which version performs better in terms of conversions, engagement, and other key metrics.
One of the main advantages of A/B testing is that it allows you to make small, incremental changes to your website and see the impact of those changes in real time. This is important because it allows you to continuously improve the performance of your website, rather than making big drastic changes that may or may not work.
Examples of A/B tests
You can test two versions of the first fold of your online store home page with different offer messages. Version A could be “Get the best deals from the best brands”, while version B could be something like “Shop the latest trends at unbeatable prices”. You can also choose to change the image that is displayed next to the message.
By running this A/B test and comparing the effect of these two headlines, you’ll be able to see which one is more effective and generates more conversions, and use this information to further improve your store’s performance.
Another example would be testing different call-to-action (CTA) buttons. One version of your website may have a “Start Now” button, while the other version may have a “Learn More” button. By running an A/B test, you can see which CTA button is most effective at driving conversions, and then use this information to improve your website’s performance.
A/B testing can also be used to test different themes and design elements on your website. For example, you can test a website with a full-width background image vs. a version with a smaller background image, or a website with a three-column layout vs. a version with a two-column layout. By running an A/B test, you can see which design and layout elements are most effective at driving conversions and engagement, and use that information to improve the website’s performance.
The Process of Conducting A/B Tests
It’s important to keep in mind that A/B testing is not a one-time process. It is an iterative process that requires testing different elements of the website constantly and making small changes based on the data and information gathered. That’s why it’s important to have a clear understanding of the goals you want to achieve with your website, and to have a plan for how you will use the data and insights you get from A/B testing to improve your website.
Start by identifying your website’s purpose, conversion goals, key performance indicators (or KPIs), and the target conversion metrics. For example, the objective of a restaurant website may be to increase online bookings. The KPI will be the number of reservations made through the website’s contact form and the target metric, for example, to receive 100 requests per month.
From here you can start the testing process. This, in brief, consists of repeatedly performing the following steps:
- Find out what’s happening on your website,
- Formulate hypotheses for improvement and prioritize them,
- Experiment through A/B testing,
- Analyze, learn, apply changes, and repeat.
Find out What’s Happening on Your Website
To optimize your site, you must know what your users are doing on it and why. To do this, based on your conversion goals, KPIs, and target metrics, analyze the results you are getting and the difference with respect to the target metrics that you have previously defined.
Finally, perform mouse tracking analysis on your website with heatmaps, scrollmaps, and clickmaps to better understand the behavior of your users and how they interact on your website.
Formulate Improvement Hypotheses and Prioritize Them
For each problem you have identified, generate a hypothesis for improvement. For example, if you’ve found that users are ignoring your post banners, perhaps it is better to switch banners to popups to improve conversion.
After obtaining a list of improvement hypotheses, order them pragmatically, prioritizing those that may have more impact. For example, prioritize those related to the most visited pages and/or those whose changes are easier to implement.
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Experiment with A/B Tests
Now comes the easy part. Creating A/B tests is very easy if you use the right tool. In particular, if you use a WordPress plugin like Nelio A/B Testing, its advantages include:
- You can create tests of any element of your website: pages, posts, headlines, WooCommerce products, menus, widgets, themes, templates, custom post types and CSS.
- The tests, variants, and conversion objectives are defined using the same WordPress predefined editors.
- You can define a wide variety of conversion goals and actions.
- You can segment which visitors participate in the tests.
- Once a test is created, Nelio A/B Testing is in charge of splitting the traffic and showing you the results in real time.
- It is compatible with the main hosting providers and common cache plugins.
- It does not generate flickering on the pages that are under test.
- You can see the heat map, scroll and click of the pages that are under test.
With Nelio A/B Testing, you only have to select the type of test you want to create, add the variants to test to compare them with the original version you have, define the conversion goals, and click on start the test. Nelio A/B testing will ensure that any user coming to your website will see only one of the variants of the test you just created.
Analyze and Apply Changes
In A/B testing, you can see in real time the visits that each test variant has had, its conversions, and what improvement of each alternative compared to the control variant..
One of the most common misconceptions about A/B testing is that it is only relevant for high-traffic websites. In reality, A/B testing can be used by websites of all sizes, regardless of the amount of traffic they receive. The key is to make sure that the sample size is large enough to provide statistically significant results. This information, which you have available at all times in your A/B testing tool, is usually achieved by running the tests over a longer period of time.
Once you have found a winning variant of a test, make sure that it is applied as final on your website. With Nelio A/B testing, you can apply the winning variant using a single click.
Once the improvement has been made, you can restart the process of creating another A/B test from the ones you had listed in your improvement hypotheses.
By repeatedly performing this process, by testing small changes, you will be able to boost conversions by improve your website’s performance with proven data.
Increasing the conversion rate on your website is the basis for high sales volume. Experimentation through A/B testing is the best way to mitigate risk when making decisions about what changes to make to a website, leaving room for innovation and exploring new opportunities.
What’s more, A/B testing can also be used in combination with other optimization techniques, such as heatmaps, which can help you understand where visitors click on your website and identify areas that get less interaction. Using this information along with your A/B test results, you can make informed decisions about how to optimize your website and improve user experience.