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Instead of Guessing, Try User Testing

By Erin Meyer

Written by Michael Hostiuck & Erin Meyer

One of the best advantages website marketing has to offer is the flexibility to make changes.  If something isn’t working, you can change tack and try a new strategy. The problem is knowing whether or not your new strategy will work any better than the previous one. User testing solves that problem by giving you feedback on your site, so you don’t have to base decisions on your best guess.  A/B testing is a tool you can use to better understand what works best for your website.

ABtestingTo be effective, your site needs to motivate the desired actions that will give you the best chance of earning a sale. You need to approach your website design the way you would the layout of a brick and mortar store. What is the best placement for new products? Where should the check-out counter be located? User testing lets you answer these types of questions by actually seeing what works best, and A/B testing is your trowel to lay the mortar!

A/B or split testing is a method of comparing the performance of two versions of a landing page to see which does a better job of converting your visitor to a lead. You can compare factors like element placement, button color, wording of a teaser line and a host of other variables. The testing process involves setting up the two page versions, and then using a testing tool to alternately display each, so you can compare the results they produce.

A popular tool used by many, and one we use here at Upright, is VWO (Visual Website Optimizer).  We wrote about VWO in a previous post on the importance of site usability.  VWO is a powerful A/B user testing tool that simplifies the entire process.  VWO does all the math for you.  It automatically re-directs and serves the “A” or “B” variations to your viewers by a percentage of traffic that you define.  It can even simplify the process by making simple changes to your page for you.  For instance, instead of creating an entire duplicated page just to change a button color from red to blue, VWO can do this for you using JavaScript.  Simple changes are made inside VWO’s configuration editor, allowing you to test quickly and easily.  VWO then tracks visits and clicks to give you a real-time depiction of which variation performs the best.

There are other user testing software out there also such as Optimizely, CrazyEgg, and ClickTale.  We have our eye on a brand new start-up called Hotjar.  Hotjar is a powerful all-in-one alternative to other programs.  Hotjar provides multiple services at an incredibly affordable rate compared to otherwise expensive services, opening up the ability for everyone to user test!

Want to talk about how A/B testing can improve your website? Give us a call!


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