Split Testing Go From Pennies to Dollars
Split testing gives you leverage that enables you to improve your web content based on your visitors actions when they find your content.
There are two major types of split testing methods: the A/B split test, where you only test two versions of one element, and the Multi-Variate split test, where you can test multiple versions of multiple elements.
Advantages of Split Testing
Split testing doesnt have to be dreaded; it takes very little effort compared to the effort it takes to create new content and it can help you make considerable improvements to your website.
By testing, you can improve your conversions. Not every test will give you positive results. For example, you may think that by changing your website background to dark purple and your headline to dripping blood-red that you may have better conversions for your opt in page, but when you do the test you may realize that your conversions actually go down. Of course, the result could be exactly the opposite.
When you test, you are allowing your visitors to decide what it is that they want and expect to find on your site. Once you know what that is and can provide it for them, then you will see your profits skyrocket and will also see a smile wrapping around your face.
Setting Up the Test
Once you decide to conduct a test, you first have to analyze your page and decide what is the most important element you need to test. All websites and audiences are different, what worked for someone else may not work for you; conduct your own tests.
Once you have decided on one element, you then create multiple version of the page changing only the element that you are testing. If you are testing a headline, then could can create several versions of the headline and test them two at a time.
Drive enough traffic to the page to make an accurate prediction. Pay attention to any factors that may affect your results. Are you conducting and email test on the day of the Super Ball when few people may be likely to open your email?
Analyze the results. See if you have a clear winner or if you need to send more traffic. You are looking for better conversions.
Once you have a clear winner, it is time to keep testing. Did you create additional versions of the headline? Then test another pair and keep on testing the various element of your page until you are satisfied. You dont need to conduct exhaustive tests on every page of your website, after all, you have other things to do; but, you will begin to know your audience and your website better and know how to present your content.
What to Test
You always want to test the elements that can produce the biggest difference in conversions. Of course, until you start testing, youll never really know what one element may have the biggest impact on your conversions. However, here is a list of items you may want to test:
The Headline: Like the title of a book, this may have the biggest impact on whether or not someone actually gets to read your content.
The Offer: You can test price points depending on whether you want to increase the number of buyers or increase your total revenue or just increase conversions. Increasing the number of buyers may be better in the long run, while increasing the immediate revenue may be better when dealing with affiliates.
The Colors: The color of headlines is known to have an impact on conversions. Sometimes red or blue headlines have produced improved results, but if your website has a particular color scheme, you better test. Remember, even a small improvement in conversions could make a difference in your yearly income.
Graphics and Photos: Some tests have revealed that adding Better Business Bureau certifications, or money-back guarantees, or other graphics that make the buyers feel safe, can improve conversions. Photos of you and even stock photos of a telephone operator can improve conversions.
Long vs. Short Copy: Landing pages may do better as minimalist pages, while sales letters may do better as long copy. You dont know unless you test them.
How to Test
If you are just getting started testing, dont overwhelm yourself. Keep it simple and do A/B tests. They are fast and easy to setup. Wait until you get hooked on testing, and you probably will, and then you can start doing multi-variate testing when you feel the need for it.
Depending on how you setup you test, you may need to use software. Of course, you could setup two pages and create two ads, one to send traffic to one page and another to send traffic to the second page, but that is not very practical. A better option is to use a script that splits or alternates the visitors to one or the other page.
Keep in mind that unless you drive enough traffic to a page, you may not have statistically significant results. Having 15 visitors to each page may not be enough. Having 700 visitors to each page may be too much if you are paying for traffic.
Since you want to optimize your landing pages quickly by testing various elements, you should consider paying for traffic to get faster results. Use your intuition, but make sure you have enough visits to make an informed decision. Having 60 visits to each page and seeing a conversion ratio of 1 to 6 could be more significant than having 100 visitors and a conversion ratio of 4.8 to 5.2.
Keep on testing. The next element you test may be the one that has the most impact on conversions and fills your pocket with cash.
When to Test
If you just started blogging, you are probably more interested in creating enough content to start seeing traffic arriving at your website. You may be more interested in SEO or social media than in testing and tracking. All of that is understandable and it is not the time to start testing.
When I went to my second Internet marketing conference, we spent a day split testing our websites. My problem was that I had just created a week or two before the conference and my mind was as far from testing as anything. Still, I was able to see the results other people got and learned to split test.
Anytime you create a sales page, you should immediately begin thinking about element to test, even before you start driving traffic to the page or bring it online. Sales pages are the most direct offers you make to your visitors, and you can have no conversions without having offers to make.
Another type of offer you should test is an opt in or subscription form, where you offer something for free in exchange for a lead.
Also, get in the habit of visiting your cpanel and looking at your visitor stats. They tell you what pages of your website are visited more often than other. If you are seeing results in any of your landing pages, you may consider testing those pages to see if you can improve on them. If you have pages that few people are visiting, perhaps you should test those pages to see how to improve them.
If you are creating online ads to drive traffic, you should also test the ads. Ads are offers. Services like Google Adwords have split testing capabilities build in and, since you are actually paying for every click to your ad, I would recommend that you always be testing. You can actually reduce your cost-per-click by testing and improving your ads.
Remember, the time to test is when you can drive enough traffic to see results in a reasonable amount of time. It doesnt make sense to test anything if you are only getting 30 visitors a month and you dont have $50 to spend on Google ads to send traffic to your website. Ive been there too!
LeadPages Split Testing Demo - A/B Testing
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