A/B Testing: Basic Technique To Improve Your Conversions

In the blogging world the word “conversion” can have several meanings but what it boils down to is this: Are your visitors doing what you want them to do? If you tell them to subscribe are they handing over their email address? If you tell them to visit your blog are they showing up at your door? If you tell them to “Click Here” do they do it? If not, you can imporve your conversion rate with a little A/B testing.

split testing

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The Importance Of A/B Testing

The Internet is littered with abandoned blogs, blogs that have failed because their owners ran their business on the basis of assumptions rather than cold, hard facts. These bloggers assumed they were doing everything right. Many also assumed that because they were running a blog they didn’t have to worry about “business practices”. Most important, they all assumed that because their blog wasn’t pulling in the money, they must be failures. Well, we all know what happens when you “assume”, don’t we?

Everything that happens on, in, around, and behind-the-scenes of your blog will affect your conversion rate. The quality of your written content and your keyword selection, the colors, the fonts, your images, your blog’s theme, the internal coding and load time, even the conversations about your blog in social networks. There are thousands of things that might be wrong with your blog but there is only one reason a blog fails: For whatever reason the owner didn’t do the necessary legwork.

Let’s be kind and assume they just didn’t know what to do, shall we? I hate finger pointing and name calling :)

What Is A/B Testing

A/B testing, or Split testing as it’s sometimes called, is really very simple. Let’s say you create a landing page to promote your newsletter and you want people to enter their email address and subscribe. Near the bottom of your landing page your have a big, blue “Subscribe NOW!” button.

Now, you use your method of choice to send traffic to that page and out of 1000 visitors you get 10 new subscribers. That’s a pretty paltry conversion rate, but what can you do? Well, you could amp up your efforts and double or triple your traffic. So you do it, and you’re still seeing that same 0.01 conversion rate. “Oh, well,” you think, “maybe they just aren’t interested in my offer. I guess I failed.

But you haven’t failed at all. You just haven’t succeeded yet. You need to split test that page.

Set up another landing page exactly the same as the first on and change one thing. Only one. In this case, since this is a simple landing page and your “Subscribe NOW!” button is likely the largest visual element on the page, change it from blue to red. Now you have two exact landing pages with one difference – one has the blue button and one has a red button.

Now, go back and send traffic to the new landing page with the red button and see if your conversion rate improves.

But don’t stop there. Use split testing to keep improving your conversion rate. It may be that the red button gets a better conversion rate. If that’s the case, get rid of the page with the blue button, duplicate the page with the red button, and change one more element on the page. Now, send traffic to the new page and test again.

Always keep split testing your landing pages and squeeze pages because unless every single person who visits that page completes the required action – if your conversion rate isn’t 100% – there’s always room for improvement.

Split Test Key Elements On Your Blog

So you really think your visitors love that black background with a white font, right? Split test it and see if your conversions improve. In this case, conversions might be measured by looking at your bounce rate or an increase in overall traffic.

Those flashing banners in the sidebar? Split test those, too, and compare click-throughs. Afraid your visitors aren’t taking your seriously enough? Split test your header or logo or your theme. Don’t assume anything with your blog and especially don’t assume you’ve failed. If you’re not get the conversions you want, do some A/B split testing and solve the problem.

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One Comment

  1. Howard Lee Harkness

    I get it — Split testing is a Good Thing.

    Some reference to a way to actually do split testing would have been nice. Is there a plugin or other product that can be used to automatically collect the needed stats?

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