Time to Test Your Custom Post Types with Nelio A/B Testing!

Do you want to drive more traffic to your web? So do I! That's why we created Nelio Content, a new plugin that automates content promotion in social networks. Want to know more?

It’s been a long road since we first launched the first beta of Nelio A/B Testing on 2013, but here we are! During the past months, our plugin and service has been evolving a lot, offering new functionalities, becoming more robust and stable, and improving its overall performance with each release. Last week we hit version 4.1 and, with it, the last step to have the most powerful A/B Testing tool on WordPress is completed! Finally, you’ll be able to test Custom Post Types!

What Custom Post Types Are

In order to answer this question, let’s take a look at the Codex and see how it defines them:

WordPress can hold and display many different types of content. A single item of such a content is generally called a post, although post is also a specific post type. Internally, all the post types are stored in the same place, in the wp_posts database table, but are differentiated by a column called post_type.

WordPress 3.0 gives you the capability to add your own custom post types and to use them in different ways.

So, essentially, custom post types are content types like posts and pages. Originally, WordPress was designed as a (simple) blogging platform. During the past years, however, it evolved to a robust CMS, but the term “post” stucks to it.

A couple of (common) examples of custom post types are:

  • If you use WooCommerce (and e-commerce plugin), you’ll have Products. A Product is a special type of post with some information, such as a price, stockoffers, and so on.
  • If you use a plugin for adding and managing the members of your staff (such as, for instance, Simple Staff List), you’ll have a new Post Type called Staff Members.
WooCommerce Products
Example of a list of Custom Posts. In particular, a list of Products created by the WooCommerce plugin

As you can see/imagine, any kind of information you want to display in your WordPress site can be stored in its own post type.

Nelio’s Support for Custom Post Types

Nelio A/B Testing follows an extremely simple approach, yet very powerful, for testing Pages and Posts:

  1. You create a new Page (or Post, or Custom Post Types experiment).
  2. You select the Page you want to test.
  3. You add one or more alternatives to that original page. How? Either you create the page from scratch, or you duplicate the current page.
  4. You edit each alternative, adding the changes you want to test.
  5. You define the set of conversion actions and conversion goals relevant to that experiment.
  6. Finally, once the experiment has been set up completely, you start it and wait for our plugin to get some data from your visitors!

As you can see, in step 3 Nelio creates new pages or posts when you add alternative content in your site. Thus, for instance, if your installation has just three pages (a Landing Page, a Who We Are page, and a Contact Us page), and you create an experiment for the Landing Page and add an alternative, your WordPress installation will have a fourth page: the Alternative Landing Page. You don’t see it, but it’s there!

Creating a Custom Post Type experiment
The creation of a Custom Post Type experiment follows exactly the same approach we’ve used so far: set a name, select the custom post type you want to focus on, and choose your original post!

With Nelio A/B Testing 4.1, the same approach is now applied to Custom Post Types. When you create a Custom Post Type experiment, you’ll be able to select which Custom Post Type you want to test, select an original Custom Post, and start creating alternatives. Each alternative will be, as always, stored in your own WordPress server, ready to be served to your visitors when required.

Alternative Creation of a Custom Post
Creating alternatives is as easy as it’s always been. Click on New Alternative, name it… and you’re done!

What about e-commerce platforms?

WordPress can be converted into an e-commerce system by using plugins such as WooCommerce. One of the most common custom post types that appear when using an e-commerce system is Products. Using Nelio A/B Testing 4.1, you can certainly test those products and create alternative versions. However, you should know that support for WooCommerce and other e-commerce plugins is far from completed, and right now it’s experimental.

If we focus on testing WooCommerce Products (which some of you, guys, asked for), there are a few things you have to be aware of:

  • Nelio A/B Testing can test WooCommerce Products: simply create alternative versions of your Products as we just described.
  • Alternative content will be loaded properly (as expected) when the Product Page is accessed. That means you’ll be able to see alternative product names, featured images, prices, and so on.
  • WooCommerce shortcodes do not work properly (they are not reliable).
    For instance, if you add a product in a page using the [product] shortcode, only the name and the featured image of that product will be replaced. If a user then adds the product to the cart, she’ll see the original product (not the alternative). This doesn’t occur if the product was purchased from the Product Page.

And probably other things we haven’t been able to test thoroughly (such as issues with stock control or offers, for instance). WooCommerce is a huge platform, and we plan to add explicit support for it in future releases of Nelio. Version 4.1 is the first step towards this support, so stay tuned!

We Value Your Time

One of the things we claim is that we want to make your life easier. That is, we want to offer an A/B testing tool that’s easy to use and that maximizes your productivity. So we asked ourselves: what’s the most tedious task our users have when creating A/B tests? Well, that’s easy: creating A/B tests!

Most of you test the same pages and monitor the same goals over and over again and, yet, you have to define each experiment from scratch each time. In order to ease that, we’ve made Experiment Duplication available to everybody! From now on, if you want to start a new test that’s (almost) identical to a previously run test, you’ll be able to duplicate that and create a new one that will inherit all your setup. This way, you’ll only need to edit the alternative content of your alternatives and you’ll be ready to go!

Duplicate an Experiment and Save Time
From now on, all our plans come with experiment duplication. Creating new experiments is super fast, now.

Improved User Interface

We love WordPress. And we love how it looks and feels. That’s why we take so much care when designing the interface of our product; we want it to be perfectly integrated into your Dashboard. In this version, we’ve tuned a few details, making Nelio more beautiful and pleasant to use. Thus, for instance, you now have visual clues such as subtle shadows, flatter icons, revisited color-blind assets, and more! Why? Because not only we want our product to work properly, we want you to like it!

Comparison between Nelio 4.0 and Nelio 4.1
Nelio A/B Testing 4.1 uses flatter icons, shadows, subtle animations… it’s more beautiful than ever!

And that’s everything! As you can see, we’re working very hard to offer you the best A/B Testing tool and service available for WordPress. And if you wondering what’s next, here are a few things we’re working on right now:

  1. We are polishing our User Interface and redesigning a few screens to make them more beautiful, intuitive, and easy to use.
  2. We want to redesign our plugin from scratch, to make it more extensible than ever and include…
  3. …support for WooCommerce! We want to design specific tests for WooCommerce as an extension of our base plugin and take your e-commerce to the next level!

Are we missing something crucial? Let us know!

Featured image by Jayson Leow.


He obtained his PhD in Computer Science at UPC. David leads the analysis and design of our services and the user support area. He's interested in a variety of areas, including conceptual modeling, virtual reality, and 3D digital printing. He contributes to the WordPress community by participating in meetups, seminars, and the WCEU.

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