Split Testing Posts in WordPress
The A/B tests of posts in WordPress are a type of test in which one or more variants of a post of your blog are defined with the intention of improving your website.
Nelio A/B Testing allows you to perform test of post in WordPress in a very simple way, offering the necessary tools to create alternative content (or use already-existing posts as such), perform the test and track visitors and achieve goals such as increasing revenue or subscriptions to your Newsletter. Install, activate, and configure Nelio and get the most out of your website.
Table of Contents
- Instructions for Split Testing Posts
- How to Create the Variants to 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
Instructions for Split Testing Posts
Once you have installed, activated, and configured Nelio A/B Testing, follow these instructions to create split tests of your posts.
Create a New Split Test of WordPress Posts
- 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 Post.
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. In addition, 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 posts, you can activate Global Consistency.
How to Create the Variants to Test
A post A/B test consists of testing different variants of a post and measuring which one works best to achieve your goals. For example, you can analyze in your post which changes in design or content generate more interest or provide more subscriptions to your newsletter.
Select the Post to Test
First, select the post (called “Control Version” or commonly “Version A”) that you want to test in the 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 Posts
As mentioned before, in a post test you can test your previously selected post against (a) new variants specifically designed for this test or (b) already-existing posts.
(a) Create New Variants
Then create a “Variant B” (or more than one variant, if you wish) of the previously selected post:
- Name your variant in the field next to the letter indicating the variant you are creating (for example, “Variant 1”, “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 posts as variants
Alternatively, if you want to test the previously selected post against an already existing post (or more, if you wish):
- Check the box, “Test against an already existing posts” below the Control Version.
- Select the post 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 post (note that this is not a copy of the selected post, so any modification is directly made in that post).
- 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 post as you like so that it looks different from “Version A”. When you’re done, click Save draft. Remember that alternative posts 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 post 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 post published on your website.
(b) Editing a selected existing post
When you edit a selected existing post, WordPress will open your default content editor of that post. There is no difference between editing the post from here or having accessed the editor after selecting it from the dashboard posts. 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 some goals in mind, such as “increase subscribers to Newsletter” or “showing interest in your products.” The goals are met when the visitor performs certain actions. For example, you “increase subscribers to Newsletter” when a visitor completes a certain form on your website.
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 that helps you remember what you were interested in improving in your test. For example, your goals could be “Increase subscribers to Newsletter” or “Show interest in my products.”
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 send a contact form.
- Click the Action Button that interests you. For example, if you want them to complete a form, click Complete form icon.
- Each type of conversion action has its owns settings. In the case of Complete form, for example, you must specify which form the user must complete (following our example, “Subscribe to Newsletter”).
- 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 posts
- 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 post 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 post will be replaced with the contents of the winning variant.