Let’s not waste any time. The one simple way to increase profits that most business owners miss is . . .
To build a second website.
Yes, that’s right.
With just one website, you can only guess what’s working and what isn’t. You can only make changes and hope for the best.
How can you ever know if your website is optimized if you have nothing to compare it to?
You need to build your website some competition. You need to compare 2 different designs and see which one performs better, constantly optimizing your site to help more clients easily reach you.
But don’t worry. Take a breath. You don’t need to create – or pay for – an entirely new website to reap the benefits of such competition.
You just need to bring A/B Testing into your process.
It is the only foolproof method to guarantee your website is optimized for your target market. And that’s because it allows you to back your decisions with data.
Best practices of design and copy are a great starting point. But they don’t take into account the most unpredictable of factors: your unique clients.
What style of copy will most inspire them to take action? What font will be the most appealing for them to read? Where can you place call-to-actions so they’ll be more likely to click? You get the idea.
And you can only know these answers for sure through proper testing and data analysis of variations of your website.
A/B testing allows you to easily test such variations against each other, sending 50% of traffic to 1 version of your website and 50% to the other. Then, you can gather data and see which one performs better over time.
Sounds great, right? Here’s how you get started.
A Good Tool to Get Started With A/B Testing
Optimizely is a high-quality tool that allows you to easily get started with A/B testing. We use it for ourselves and our clients. Here’s a screenshot of the results of one of our campaigns:
You can see it allowed us to compare our “original” page to “variation #1”. And, it allowed us to define different actions that we could monitor. Engagement lets us know if the visitor engaged with the page at all. The next 2 columns allowed us to compare clicks of two different Call-to-Actions on the page.
The variation we designed resulted in a small increase in clicks for the “Single Device” action but resulted in a large increase in the “Family Pack” option. This data allowed us to make informed design decisions based on data. Depending on our business goals, we may have decided to take the small hit in order to have the big increase (and then try another variation). Or, we may have chosen to try another variation immediately to see if we could get an uptick for both actions.
How to Know What Design Elements to Change
With an infinite amount of possible variations of your page (font colors, font styles, design element placement, images, etc.), how do you know what variations to try first?
The first step is to come up with a hypothesis to test. Don’t just change font colors for the sake of it. You’ll waste time testing changes that may be insignificant. Put some thought into it using this template:
“By changing ____ to ____, more prospects will ____ which will increase ______.”
Then test to see if your hypothesis is true or not.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you don’t have a lot of traffic yet, it’s better to make bigger sweeping changes at first to find an overall design that works better before moving into the smaller variations. This will save you time because you’ll need at least 1,000 visitors to make a test statistically valid. More on that in the next section . . .
Important Metrics to Consider
There are a couple metrics you need to consider when running your A/B tests to make sure your results are “statistically significant” before making any rash changes.
2 of the metrics you need to consider are:
- Number of visitors
- Number of days the A/B test will be running
Both of these are highlighted in the Optimizely screenshot below:
- You should run your A/B Tests until a minimum of 1,000 visitors have reached each of the two variations.
- You should run your A/B Tests for at least 1 week so your test takes into account the natural variations that happen over the course of a week (e.g. the difference between a weekday and a Sunday). That means that, even if you have 1,000 visitors to each variation in the first 3 days, you need to keep testing for the full week.
In the example above, we allowed the test to run for 1,600+ visitors to each variation over a period of 3 weeks. Don’t get impatient. If you make a change too quickly, it may backfire on you. A lot can change between visitor 100 and visitor 1000.
100 visitors just isn’t statistically significant enough to extrapolate and assume the same percentage of conversions will occur over 1000 visitors that did over 100 visitors.
So, again, be patient.
You’ll be thankful when, what was once a -10% change after 100 visitors turns into a +35% change after 1000 visitors.
How A/B Testing Can Help Your Business
More than anything else, it will help you gain a sense of certainty about website and landing page decisions you need to make.
But it will also allow you to grow your business efficiently both in the long term and in the short term.
In the Long Term
A/B testing will let you maximize the amount of people who sign up for your email list and join your online community. You can create variations of your landing pages to test different Call-to-Action placements, fonts, images, etc. and determine which design will result in the most sign-ups.
In the Short Term
It will also let you maximize the amount of customers physically calling you for products and services in the short term. You can use a service like CallRail to generate two different phone numbers that will point to your main phone number. You can then assign each number to one of the two variations of your website for tracking purposes.
Then, you’ll be able to see which number was called more often during the testing period and therefore, which design drove more prospects to pick up the phone and call you.
How A/B Testing Can Get More Clients to Your Website
Not only can A/B testing result in more of your clients converting on your website, it can result in more clients reaching your website primed to buy in the first place.
If you’re using Google Adwords to drive traffic to your website, you can create 2 ads that are slightly different and run an A/B test with them, showing 50% of people one ad and the other 50% the other ad. Google Adwords has its own A/B Testing tool that makes it easy to do just that.
And there are several A/B tests you can perform through Google Adwords:
- You can test small variations of the same ad.
- You can test one ad with 2 variations of a landing page.
- You can test one keyword with 2 variations of an ad.
By testing your entire process from keyword to advertisement to landing page, you can truly optimize your conversion rate.
There is really nothing more important than A/B testing. Once your SEO is optimized so that the maximum number of visitors are reaching your website, don’t waste those visitors. Use A/B testing to to maximize how many of them call you directly or join your online community.