How to Prepare Your Website for Split Testing

31 August 2016

How to Prepare Your Website for Split Testing

Everybody who knows what they’re doing in the web development space talks about the importance of split testing when building a website. After all, it makes sense to go with the design, UX, content and promotions that people respond to most enthusiastically.

But, especially with new websites or those with small audiences, it’s not as simple as just setting up one A/B test after another; those with less traffic could be caught in a trap of ongoing testing for months at a time before they get any meaningful results.

So what should webmasters do to prepare their websites for split testing experimentation? Start with these tips:

1. Prepare options to test

If you want to test blog post headlines against each other, or different special offers for your customers, prepare these comparisons and come up with any copy and images you need. If you want to test one design against another, make sure both are ready to go.

2. Decide on your priorities

If you don’t know what you want to achieve with your split testing, there is no point making a start. Identify some goals and what indications you would consider sufficient to know when you’ve achieved them successfully. Do you want to increase sales? Conversions? Social shares?

3. Fix any usability issues

If your website renders poorly on mobile devices or runs slowly during peak times, fix these problems before you start to measure and compare user behaviour. With these issues still outstanding, it will be difficult to establish whether customers leave your site because of poor product offerings or because of page-load times and loading errors, for instance.

4. Start to build your traffic

The higher the number of visitors your website gets, the more data you will be able to gather from the stats that result from testing. Multivariate testing can be more effective (and quicker) than A/B testing for sites with less traffic, so consider starting there by using dedicated software or a service that specialises in this testing.

5. Become best friends with Google Analytics

If you want to carry out split testing, you will need to get up close and personal with data. Google Analytics is a good place to start, so make sure you understand every piece of its functionality so that you will be familiar with the numbers that arise during the analysis of your split testing results. If you’re not quite ready for a full split testing service yet, use Analytics to compare the results you get from different products or pieces of content and start to get a feel for what is effective for your target audience.