Split Testing Pages in WordPress
Nelio A/B Testing allows you to test your WordPress pages in a very simple way, offering the necessary tools to create alternative content (or use already-existing pages as such), perform the test, and track visitors and achieve goals such as increasing revenue or subscriptions. Install, activate, and configure Nelio A/B Testing and get the most out of your website.
Instructions for Split Testing Pages
Once you have installed, activated, and configured Nelio A/B Testing, follow these instructions to create split tests of WordPress pages.
Table of Contents
- Instructions for Split Testing Pages
- How to Add Variants to Your Test
- How to Define Your Conversion Goals and Actions
- How to Start the Test
- How to See the Progress of a Test and Its Results
Create a New Split Test of WordPress Pages
- Under the Nelio A/B Testing menu, click on Tests to view and manage your tests.
- Click the Add Test button at the top of the screen.
- A pop-up window will open with all the types of tests you can create. Each of them has a name and an icon.
- Click on Page.
Name and Define Your Test
First of all, give a descriptive Name to the test you want to create to help you identify it in the future. Also, on the right sidebar, you’ll find three additional tabs:
- Status & Management, where you see the status your test is currently in (Draft, Ready, Scheduled or Paused) and options on when it should start and end,
- Description of the test, where you can indicate what you are testing and what you intend to achieve with it,
- Test Scope, where you specify which pages of your website are affected by this test. For an A/B test of pages, you can activate Global Consistency.
How to Add Variants to Your Test
An A/B test of WordPress pages consists of testing different variants of a page and measuring which one works best to achieve your goals. For example, you can analyze on your homepage what changes in design or content generate more interest or provide more sales.
Select The Page to Test
First, select the page (called “Control Version” or commonly “Version A”) that you want to test. To do this, you either choose it from the list of options that appears by default, or you search for it by typing its title, its URL, or its identifier.
Create New Variants or Test Against Existing Pages
As mentioned before, in a page test you can test your previously selected page against (a) new variants specifically designed for this test or (b) already-existing pages.
(a) Create New Variants
To create a “Variant B” (or more than one variant, if you wish) of the previously selected page:
- Name your variant in the field next to the letter indicating the variant you are creating (for example, “First Variant,” “Change in the order of the products,” or “Image with blue background”).
- By default, each variant created will be an exact copy of the control page you selected before. Click the Edit link for a variant to modify it.
- If you want to create more than one variant, click on the New Variant button at the end of the section.
(b) Select already-existing pages as variants
Alternatively, if you want to test the previously selected page against an already existing page (or more, if you wish):
- Check the box, “Test against an already existing page” below the Control Version.
- Select the page in the field next to the letter as the variant to test against the Control Version. To do this, you either choose it from the list of options that appears by default, or you search for it by typing its title, its URL, or its identifier.
- Click the Edit link, if you wish, to modify the selected page (note that this is not a copy of the selected page, so any modification is directly made in that page).
- If you want to select more than one variant, click on the New Variant button at the end of the section.
Editing a Variant
When you edit a variant, WordPress will open your default content editor. This can be the official WordPress block editor or any other editor that your theme or plugins have set up.
(a) Editing a new created variant
From the editor, modify the page as you like so that it looks different from “Version A.” When you’re done, click Save Draft. Remember that alternative variants cannot be published (since they are only shown as part of an A/B Test and are controlled by Nelio A/B Testing).
Additionally, when you are editing a variant that belongs to a test, the Nelio A/B Testing section appears on the right sidebar allowing you to:
- Return to the test to which the variant belongs,
- Go directly to edit the control version or any other variant,
- Overwrite the current content by importing the content from any other page published on your website.
(b) Editing a selected existing page
When you edit a selected existing page, WordPress will open your default content editor of that page. There is no difference between editing the page from here or having accessed the editor after selecting it from the dashboard pages. You will need to click the backwards button to return to the test.
How to Define Your Conversion Goals and Actions
A/B tests are usually performed with one or more goals in mind, such as “show interest in your products” or “increase visits to posts.” The goals are met when the visitor performs certain actions. For example, a visitor may be “increase visits to posts” when he visits any of your blog posts. Moreover, a visitor may “show interest in your products” when they visit your pricing page or when they complete a certain form of requesting information.
Let’s see how to define conversion goals and actions in Nelio A/B Testing in order to track the activity of your visitors.
Define Your Conversion Goals
You can add as many goals as you want by clicking on the + New link. If you create more than one goal, Nelio A/B Testing will show you information on how effective each variant is for each of the defined goals.
Optionally, you can give your goal a name to help you remember what you were interested in improving in your test. For example, your goals could be “Show interest in my products” or “Increase visits to posts.”
Add Conversion Actions to Your Goals
Different types of conversion actions are available to track your visitors. For example, you can control when they access a certain page, when they click on a certain element of your website, or when they submit a contact form.
- Click on the Action Button that interests you. For example, if you want them to visit a product’s pricing page or a post, click Page View icon.
- Each type of conversion action has its own settings. In the case of a Page View, for example, you must specify what type of content the user has to visit (a page, a post, etc.) and what is the specific content to visit for a conversion to be counted.
- Repeat the process for all the actions you want to add.
Remember that you can delete any action by clicking on the Delete link below the action.
Segment Test Traffic (Optional)
Visitors to your website are not all the same. They come from different countries, speak different languages, use different browsers, access the site from different websites, use different devices, and a host of other subtle and big differences.
If you want all the traffic coming to your website to be part of the created test, ignore this point and go directly to the next one. But depending on the type of website and traffic you have, you may want to refine the audience you want to reach.
Nelio A/B testing allows you to create segments, that is, define by means of rules the set of visitors with a series of common characteristics that you want to participate in your test. Here you will find more detailed information on how to create segments in a test.
How to Start the Test
Once you have fully defined your test, you will see that the status of the test will have passed from Draft to Ready. At that point, you can Start it so that your website visitors can see the different variants that you have created and Nelio A/B Testing will start tracking their actions.
Start your test
To start a test, check that it is Ready and, if it is, click on the Start… button in the upper right corner. If it was not ready, you can hover the mouse over the information icon that appears next to the Status to see why your test is still a Draft.
If you do not want to start the test directly, but want to leave it scheduled for a specific date, specify it using the Start field in the Status & Management section.
Once the test has started, the plugin will show you its results page and you will see that the status changes to Running.
Important: tests cannot be edited once they are active, but you can pause, modify them and restart them so they continue to run. Of course, depending on the modifications you make, your partial results may be invalid after restarting the test. If that is the case, it is best to start a new test, duplicating the previous one.
When do you want to end your test
You can also define when you want the execution to end, indicating the End Mode of the test:
- Manual: the test will stop when you click the Stop button, in the list of tests or on its results page.
- Duration: the test will stop automatically after the indicated time.
- Page views: the test will stop automatically after reaching the total number of visits you have specified.
- Confidence: The test will stop automatically when a winner is found in the first goal with the specified confidence level.
How to See the Progress of a Test and Its Results
In the menu option Tests you can see the list of the tests created, the status they are in and the date of their last update. At any time you can see the results of a test that is started or that has already ended by clicking on the View Results link below its name.
Summary of the results
In the right sidebar of the results page you will find the Summary of your test with the following information:
- Status icon. This icon helps you quickly identify the progress of your tests. It is initially in yellow, indicating that there are not enough visits to determine a winner. If the icon changes showing a clock with a heart, there is a possible winner, but statistical confidence is low, so things can still change. Finally if a green icon is shown (with a medal), we have a clear winner. If the icon is red, no alternative is better than the original.
- Some metadata about your test. Specifically, you can see the status of the test, how long it has been running, when it started and how it ends.
- The description and scope of the test are also included, if applicable.
The results page shows, in turn, the following information on the progress of a test:
- Test Name
- Evolution with the conversion rate of the control version and all variants, as well as the total number of conversions and visits to the tested pages.
- Two additional graphs showing the conversion rates of each alternative and its degree of improvement over the original, respectively.
- For each of the variants of the test we will see a thumbnail image, if available, of the page under test, the number of visits it has received, its number of conversions, the resulting conversion rate and, for all variants other than the original, the degree of improvement that they have with respect to the control version.
- We also found a button to display the heatmap of that variant.
- Finally, a summary of the conversion goals and actions of the test is shown.
Improve Your Web Conversion
You can end a test manually at any time by clicking on the Stop button found in the top right corner of the results page. Remember that a test can also end automatically if the condition indicated in its end mode is met.
After completing a test, and to improve the conversion of your website, click on the Apply button of the winning variant (if it exists) and the content of the original page will be replaced with the content of the winning variant.