Monday, May 3, 2010

Boosting Conversion with Google Website Optimizer

For the last few months I've known with conviction that I needed to start doing more formal split testing. I've been hacking it by running a test, manually counting up my results, changing a variable, running it again, and comparing the results. Doing this takes WAY too much time and requires more organization than I have available :)

So today I finally figured out how to use Google Website Optimizer. Eventually I am sure I'll be doing multi-variate testing. But for now I'm just doing simple A/B testing.

What caused me to hesitate was that I didn't know how to implement it in WordPress, so I just had that learning curve to get over. Turns out it was pretty easy.

First, I took a squeeze page I already had and I copied it into another page in wordpress. I then changed the headline so it only had one difference from my control page.

Then I told Google Website optimizer that these two pages were my "control" and "variation" URLs. Google then gave me some code to paste on each page. Here is where there was some slight problem because the "control" page requires some code in the header of the page. In WordPress, usually the header is the same on all pages, so if I pasted the code into the header for the control page it would be present for ALL pages (including the variation page).

So ... I used the "templates" feature in WordPress. I simply made a copy of my main template, added the code to that page, and assigned that new template to my control page. Problem solved. The rest of the code could go in the body of the page, so it was unique for every page (not shared among pages like the header).

So now I've got an A/B test running and I'm thrilled with how easy this is. Google will tell me the winner in a few days after I have statistically valid levels of traffic on which to base a conclusion. I'm sending all my PPC traffic to these test pages so that I don't mess around with affiliate traffic. When I have a winner, I'll just set that as my new control and run another test.

Outsourcing will also help here ... I just realized I can add a member to my Adwords account, so I'll simply get one of my outsourcers to handle the testing and I'll throw in my test ideas. I already got him to do the Google Website Optimizer tutorials, so we're making progress here.

Here's what I recommend to people in terms of outsourcing.

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