Use the ABCs of A/B Testing to Elevate Your Website
  • By Brent Younger
  • November 15, 2017

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You've spent tireless hours designing, building and running your website. This is already a major step. Congratulations! But, there is still more work to be done with optimization.

Website Testing

Websites aren't just a one-time, "let it run and see what happens" event. Your digital presence is dynamic and your website must reflect this mix of creativity with analytics. After all, marketers are scientists. And scientists are constantly carrying out experiments.

A/B testing is a popular way for web development teams and marketers alike to achieve website optimization. The term itself is easy to understand: it uses different versions of a target web page to test which version performs better. Based on these tests, a team can make incremental improvements to each feature of their site.

Website testing can get technical pretty quickly, so we'll just introduce you to the basics--the ABCs--of the importance of A/B testing. By the end, you may even start looking deeper into your own website's testing process!

A for "Arrangement"

Website Designer
The first way that this testing strategy can improve your website is through arrangement. This means how you layout content on your website. Let's take the example of a simple landing page with four main elements: 1) a headline, 2) a short description, 3) a text-based call-to-action, and 4) a contact form.

Let's assume that this page has fewer conversions than the page owner's expectation, but the page owner doesn't know which of the four areas (or combination) is responsible for the poor performance. By focusing on layout, the page owner can rearrange the content on the landing page.

Perhaps, the call-to-action is too low on the page for users to see. In this case, the page owner could simply move the call-to-action higher up on the page by swapping it with the description. Or, the contact form may need to come earlier on the page, after the headline.

The page owner would then test the page's performance for a given period of time and compare the results to the benchmark of the original page layout. This is just one example and there are MANY more options to use arrangement for website optimization.

B for "Bounce Rate"

Upset Customer

People may be coming to your page in droves, but it doesn't mean much if they leave without taking some desired action. You may want your users to download an ebook, share an infographic, fill out a contact form, or schedule a consultation. These are all actions that you can measure using the advantage of A/B testing.

Looking at your website's bounce rate--the percentage of users who view your website and leave without taking the desired action--can give you insight into your potential customers' needs. Take the example of a blog post, 2000 words, which contains a call-to-action button to download a relevant ebook.

In this example, let's say that the author of the post has a goal of a 50% bounce rate. However, their current numbers show that the bounce rate is currently 75%. This means that 3 out of 4 users aren't clicking on the button to download the relevant ebook.

Using this number as a hunch, the author may consider making the post shorter or adding more visual elements to make it easier for a person to read it. Also, the writer may even consider moving the call-to-action earlier in the post to emphasize its importance. Bounce rates offer insights into areas that your website can most grow. 

C for "Copy"

Writer with Website Copy
Last, but not least, are the words on your website. Your copy has to persuade people to feel something. It must make a strong connection to their emotions. Emotions play a big role in purchasing decisions.

For conversions, this means that your copy has to be tight and punchy. At the same time, it has to be a natural extension of your brand guidelines. The balance, as you already know, is delicate. However, there are many ways that copy can be improved from a baseline level by using this website testing strategy.

The first is active versus passive voice. Is your website using copy that is too passive? If so, you may not be evoking much emotion from your users. Use active language with relatable metaphors or descriptions.

It may seem cool to sound "high-brow" in your explanations, but this can easily make your customers lose interest in your brand. We've seen time and again that companies have to connect with their audience in a relatable way in order to succeed.

In addition, you may need to use clearer, more concise language. Perhaps, your users are confused about what the copy on your website means or what action they are supposed to take. By creating and testing web pages with slightly altered copy, you can track what people are doing on your website based on your words. 


How to Find Your Website Testing Advantage


When you think about your website testing phase, remember how A/B testing can improve the layout, copy, and bounce rate of your website. Stay curious and you'll soon see the benefits of website experimentation. Know that a bunch of small improvements end up making a huge difference on your website!

If you want to carry out the most thorough A/B testing possible, partner with our web development team. We have built and stress-tested websites for Fortune 500 companies to small businesses for nearly a decade. Trust us to find the gaps and use analytics to test and optimize your website. A better website is truly worth the cost!


Click to Download Our Guide  "How Much Does a Website Cost"


How else do you think A/B testing can optimize websites? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!


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Brent Younger
Brent Younger
Brent joined in late 2016. He loves to share content to help educate our community about digital marketing. In his free time, Brent is an avid power-walker and writer of stories. He tries (but fails) to teach his old cat new tricks.