Want your website to be successful? Then it is best to test the effectiveness of different messaging. Post varying promotions and track  orders. Create several color palettes and register click rates. A great way to combine these efforts is to perform A/B testing.

Taking its cues from the scientific method , A/B testing starts with a control (an existing site) and a variable (the new site). It might be something as simple as changing the color of a button from green to red. When Carelogger.com ran an A/B test for this, there was an increase of 34% in conversions. Imagine the possibilities.

The Official Vancouver 2010 Olympic Store used this testing method to determine the best way to present their checkout process. An experiment was performed in which 50% of traffic was directed towards their existing multi-page checkout structure and 50% was diverted to a new, single page checkout.  It was determined that the single page layout had outperformed the multi page by 21.8%.

Can Your Website be Better Today?

Think about it. Would new subject headers increase sales? Is a confusing layout holding you back? Would a different colored button draw more attention? There is always room for improvement. Though every case is unique, standard A/B testing usually includes experimenting with:

  • Images
  • Page copy (increasing or decreasing the length)
  • Forms (adjusting length and required fields)
  • Pricing
  • Promotional offers
  • Calls to action (buttons, colors, wording, placement and size)

Numbers Don’t Lie

The answers you receive by performing A/B testing may surprise you. Just remember, the most optimal site design may not necessarily be the most intuitive. Obnoxious green buttons that scream “BUY, BUY, BUY!†may not be the most attractive, but if it drives sales then they may be a winner. This isn’t about what your gut tells you, it’s about the numbers.

Tools of the Trade

The following is a list of A/B Testing tools you may find useful; they vary by price, and features offered: http://www.adobe.com/products/testandtarget.html


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