Conversion Optimization – Part Two: How To Create An A/B Split Test

A/B Split Testing For Conversion Rate OptimizationOnce you know what it is you want to improve on your website, it's time to build your test. In this post, I'll walk you through the process for creating a simple A/B split test you can use to isolate elements you want to improve. The simplest way to improve conversion rates is to focus on one item at a time -- tweaking, testing, fixing, and improving each part as you go along. Here's how to get started...

NOTE: This post is part of a complete series on Conversion Optimization. This series is intended for the beginner -- we'll start from ground zero and move our way through all of the aspects of a basic conversion rate optimization project.

Here's an overview of the posts in this series:

Part 1 = How To Choose What To Optimize
Part 2 = How To Create An A/B Split Test
Part 3 = How To Review The Results
Part 4 = How To Decide What To Test Next
Part 5 = How To Build An Optimization Plan

Why A/B Split Testing Works

If you've been around the web marketing world long enough, you've come across this "A/B Split Testing" concept many times already. It's nothing new, and it really is as simple as the name suggests -- you're just testing "version A" against "version B" to figure out which version is best.

A/B split testing works because it's objective and clear. But in order for it to work well, you have to be careful not to test more than one element at a time. For a landing page, for example, you cannot test the headline AND the opt-in button at the same time. Well… you can but your results will be unclear. How will you ever know if it was your headline change or your opt-in button change that made the difference, positive or negative? You won't know if you changed both at the same time.

What Exactly Should You A/B Split Test?

In the previous article in this series, I walked you through the process of deciding what to optimize. Whatever you chose (or whatever you're going to choose) is likely going to have several elements that need A/B split testing before you arrive at a final version that you can reliably say is "the best" or "the optimized" version of what you're trying to improve.

Here are some items that you might need to A/B split test:

  • Headline
  • Body Copy
  • The Offer
  • Opt-In Button Color
  • Opt-In Button Size
  • Pricing
  • Multimedia
  • Font size and color
  • Page layout
  • Graphics
  • Ecover Images

And so on.

This is a general list of items that usually appear on a typical Landing Page. But not all landing pages are made equal. You'll want to make a list of items specific to your website, your landing pages, and your business so you know what to split test.

How To Run Your Split Test

Once you generate your list of things to test, you should try to prioritize them for testing one at a time. Each test is going to require at least a few weeks (if not months) of data to generate fruitful results. Choosing what to test first has a lot to do with your own personal experience running tests in your business. That's why the more Conversion Optimization work you do, the better you'll get at trusting your intuition. Just never make the mistake of thinking your gut is smarter than your tests. 🙂

To run effective A/B split tests, you will need to create duplicate versions of your landing page (or the thing your trying to improve) and then create an "A version" (the control in your experiment which does not change) and a "B version" (the version with the isolated element changed -- the headline, for example).

There are 2 tools I can recommend for WordPress A/B split testing -- Visual Website Optimizer and Nelio A/B Testing. Both of these tools make WordPress split testing easy to implement. Nelio tends to add a little more advanced tools whereas VWO tends to be easier to use and understand for the newbie.

How To Know When You're Done Testing

The answer to this question is simple: You're never done testing. Nev-er. Things are constantly changing, especially online. The idea behind split testing is NOT to create a "perfect" landing page or opt-in page but rather "to perfect" your landing pages and your conversion process. In other words, the better you get at this, the better you get at it. It's truly never-ending.

Of course, you can't constantly optimize so you have to schedule these things out and make your own decisions about what matters most in your business today.

Obviously, if you're starting from ground zero, literally ANY testing you implement will result in massive improvements and massive results. From there, you'll just be tweaking and making improvements to get slight gains.

Next, we'll talk about how to review the results of your A/B split tests. Have a question about any of this? Please leave your comment below.

Jason Clegg

Jason Clegg is the CEO & Founder of Convert With Content. He's on a MISSION to help small businesses convert tire-kickers into lifetime customers & raving fans with #ConvertWithContent marketing systems that work! His secret weapon is Infusionsoft.