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You might not know it, but you’ve probably already used a site that employs A/B testing. You might have also unknowingly participated in an A/B test yourself and contributed to that site’s design optimization in the process.
A/B testing is nothing new in the Internet marketing scene. In fact, it has already been around and in use for the past couple of years. Many people prefer it versus the other methods of testing because of its relative convenience and its simplicity.
What is A/B Testing?
Defined, A/B testing is a method that allows webmasters, web designers, and email marketers to test out two versions of their website or email copy in order to optimize it, increase sales, and improve conversion rates. It is recommended that only one element is varied per test. This is so that the cause for the varied results obtained can be attributed to that single, varied element.
However, some people vary a number of elements at a time in order to decrease the number of A/B tests to be conducted. This is advantageous because it lets webmasters deploy an optimized website design in a shorter span of time. The downside is that the reason for the varied responses can no longer be pinpointed to a single element.
How to Conduct an A/B Test
Step 1: Make a list of the elements you can test.
Take your website apart and list down all of its elements. From this list, focus on the elements that can be varied or improved. It might be helpful to have more than one person create this list to make sure that no elements are left out.
Step 2: Choose an element to test.
Rank the elements listed in Step One according to priority. This will serve as your guide to determine what elements to test and which one should be tested first. The elements you should prioritize should be the ones that will have the biggest impact on your site based on sales or whatever is your gauge for measuring success on your site.
Step 3: Create two versions of the element.
It is in this step where you design your A/B test. Once you’ve decided which element to test, create two versions of it. For example, if you’re choosing to test out the type of “submit” button for your forms, create two buttons that are different and clearly distinct from the other.
Step 4: Carry out the A/B test.
You can use tools like the ones listed at the end of this article, or do it yourself by installing a script and using an analytics tool on your server that will monitor the results from the test.
Step 5: Gather data and interpret test results.
Using the data gathered from your test, determine which variation was able to give you the best results. For example, you can choose to gauge success based on the number of clicks a campaign got or the number of sales that each version of the site made.
Tools to Use for A/B Testing
There a number of tools that you can use to conduct A/B tests. Some of these are the following:
Google Webmaster Tools. This is a free tool provided by Google that can be accessed online. It allows webmasters to perform a number of scans and tests on their site to optimize site design and increase conversion rates in the process.
Visual Website Optimizer. An affordable and intuitive tool that allows you to conduct A/B and multivariant tests.
Guest Author – Ruben Corbo is a freelance writer and writes for a number of online marketing websites including those that help online businesses improve A/B testing techniques to increase sales conversions. When Ruben is not writing he’s producing or composing music for short films or other visual arts.