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4 clear benefits of an A/B tested website

By Aaron Gray Posted Aug. 18, 2016 Reading time: 5 minutes

A/B testing (also known as split testing) is generally used to test different elements of a website where improvement of a measurable goal can be seen. Unfortunately, A/B testing is too often overlooked by designers as a way to improve the overall design and development of a website.

A/B testing is a powerful way to really increase your conversion rate when done right. It’s important when you A/B test you take your time, have a hypothesis in place, and analyse results over a 7 to 10-day period for the best possible data collection and conclusion to which website design version is best and which one drives in more conversions.

So what are the top ways this testing method can improve your conversion rate?

 

1) A/B testing measures your website’s performance

While A/B testing, you’ll have the ability to analyze key metrics which give you an overall view of how your website design is currently performing, versus how it may perform with any new planned and improved potential changes. When using tools such as Google Analytics, you’ll typically have the ability to access three different basic metrics to measure the overall performance of your website design:

Basic metrics

  • Unique page views: measured by the number of page-views that are completed by a single individual visitor during their session on the overall website.
  • Page views: the number of times a single page has been viewed. This can be any page including but not limited to product pages, blog posts, contact pages etc.
  • Users: refers to the number of unique visitors to the website or a certain webpage.
  • Mobile: records the number of mobile users who are visiting the website through different mobile devices. This shows you whether you need to target the design to your mobile audience more than desktop users.
  • Medium/Source: shows which channels have helped in directing visitors to your website or webpages.
  • Location: refers to where your visitors are coming from so you can create more targeted content or advertisements.

Engaging metrics

  • Average time on page: shows you how engaging the website design is by giving you an average time a visitor is staying on a webpage.
  • Pages/Session: shows you how many pages a single user visits while they’re on the website.
  • New vs returning: shows you how many new or returning visitors you have, giving you indication on whether your site is engaging enough to bring visitors back.
  • Referral traffic: shows the amount of websites that link and share content that’s on your site.

Conversion metrics

Lead generation

  • Goal conversion rate: gives you the overall total of individual goal conversion rates. This is calculated by dividing both the total amount of completed goals by the number of sessions.
  • Goal completions: tells you how fast you’re reaching your goals and whether you need to adjust your marketing and A/B testing efforts accordingly.

Sales

  • Transactions: shows the percentage of revenue and how many transactions your website design is achieving.
  • Time to purchase: gives you an idea of the time it takes a single user to purchase from the newly designed website. This can lead over days or weeks.
  • Assisted conversions: gives you an indication on what was involved in assisting the final decision for the user to make a purchase.

 

2) A/B testing helps you spot problems on your site

A/B testing has an uncanny way of showing you which areas of your website design may be lacking or need improvement to boost overall sales. In addressing these areas, you have the ability to really improve the website design greatly while increasing conversion rates. Upon A/B testing your website design, you may find one or more of these areas lacking:

  • Images: unfortunately, many designers don’t use high quality images. This can really impact sales and the overall reputation of the business you’re developing for.
  • Calls to action (CTA): another area where many designers struggle. The idea of a call to action is to encourage people to connect through different portals and networks. Whether the conversion is a sale, subscription, or a download, you need to have an enticing and well-designed call to action to really connect and motivate visitors. Examples of good and bad calls to actions include:
    – Bad/Average: “Call Now”, “Sign Up Here”, “Call Today”.
    – Good/Great: “Join The Pride”, “Join An Exclusive Club”, “Be A Part Of The Future”.
  • Contact details: many designers tend to create an ordinary and sometimes sloppy contact page. Instead look into creating a contact page which features links to social media, opt-ins, inquiry forms, and the company’s phone number and address.
  • Navigation: website navigation can also be lacking depending on your layout and design. A/B testing the navigation will enable you to see whether you can improve your visitors onsite experience. Website navigation should be easy to navigate without confusing your visitors, provide minimal click through pages, be clearly labelled so visitors know what they’re clicking into to find what they’re looking for.

Website navigation can make a big difference whether you have a high or low bounce rate, so don’t disregard A/B testing in this area because you may just be pleasantly surprised with your ROI.

 

3) A/B testing allows you to experiment

A/B testing opens up an abundance of opportunities to change and analyze areas of your website design to see what people like and don’t like. Some areas testers can try include (but isn’t limited to):

  • Visitor flow: how your visitors reach point B from point A.
  • Layout: the layout of menus, button sizes, forms etc.
  • Text: headlines, descriptions, call to actions, and content itself.
  • Visual Elements: images, colors, videos, brand logo etc.

Some best practices to implement when A/B testing to increase conversion rates through a more favorable site includes:

  • Eliminating distractions which may be distracting visitors from reaching the end goal of a conversion. This may be navigation areas throughout the checkout process.
  • Focus on call to actions as some text has the ability to resonate with certain people differently over other audience members.
  • Be consistent when A/B testing and do one element change at a time.
  • A/B test with the aim to enhance the overall website’s popularity and not just individual page goals alone.

In creating a website that the audience likes, you have a higher chance of increasing the overall conversion rate. Pushing your website design changes through data analyzed from A/B testing can really help to drive home a wider audience margin.

 

4) It increases the marketing potential of your site

A/B testing is a great way to be able to hone in and redefine your website design into a powerful and more profitable marketing tool. With careful analysis of the data collected from split testing you can change key areas or elements of the design that can drive home the conversions you’re looking to achieve. The best ways to improve conversions is to leverage all you can from split testing, and here are some ways you can achieve this:

  • Target metrics: before A/B testing it’s a good idea to setup the target metrics you wish to achieve when you split test to determine the success of the test.
  • Feedback: try and ask your visitors for feedback through surveys and other forms. This will help you to decide on key areas of your website design that need addressing.
  • Choose high traffic pages: before testing random pages, to create a powerful marketing tool out of your website design you need to work on the high traffic pages first. High traffic pages are being seen by more people and tend to bring in more visitors. Generally landing pages are key pages which should be A/B tested for better data collection and analysis. Split testing landing pages enables you to: convert more sales and revenue; lower your bounce rate; unveil any pitfalls that your landing page has; increase the conversion rate; eliminate guesswork and assumptions; gain better leverage over your competition.
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