Google Website OptimizerA BEGINNER’S GUIDE & Cameron Chapman
If you want to make real progress in increasing the conversion rates onyour website, randomly trying di erent headlines, images, and other ele-ments on your pages and crossing your ngers isn’t going to get you veryfar. You need something that can give you real data about what’s workingand what’s not.Even better is, it’s a free tool that can manage your conversion testing.Leave it to Google to provide just such a tool: Website Optimizer. What is Google Website Optimizer? Google Website Optimizer is a free tool for creating experiments for conversion rate testing. You set up experiments for various elements on your pages and then Google randomly serves the di erent versions of your pages to real visitors who come to your website. ere are huge advantages to this method of testing over other sites that test your pages with people who may or may not fall into your target market. With Google Website Optimizer, you know that the people who are participating in these tests are your target market (or at least your target visitor).
A/B Testing vs. Multivariate TestingWebsite Optimizer allows for both A/B testing and multivariate testing. With an A/Btest, you test two versions of the same page. is is a great option if you want to testtwo completely di erent designs or layouts.Multivariate tests can test multiple elements on your pages simultaneously. is isthe way to go if you want to test multiple headlines, calls-to-action, images, or otherelements (or all of the above). It saves time to take this route if you have a lot ofelements to test, rather than doing them one-at-a-time in A/B tests.
What Should My Conversion Rate Be?So you’ve gured out what kind of test to run, but I’m sure a you’re wondering whatyour conversion rate should be. Some of you probably have an idea already, as youknow you need a certain conversion rate to take the next step in your business. Forthose who don’t have a clue, though, I o er this simple rule: Your conversion rate should be double your current conversion rate or 10%, whichever is higher. So if you’re only converting 1% of your current visitors, you should be converting 10%. If you’re already converting 10%, you should be converting 20%.If you’re already converting a lot higher than 20% of your visitors, you may not beable to double your conversion rate, though it’s still a good goal to have. And if you’realready converting over 50% of your visitors, then what are you doing reading thisarticle?Don’t forget that KISSmetrics has powerful tools for tracking your sales funnel and guring out just where visitors are getting hung up.
What Do I TestNow that you’ve got your conversion rate goal in hand, it’s time to start guring outwhat you should test. e answer is both simple and complicated. ere are a lot ofpossible things you can test: The size and The size, The overall position, and Headlines position of color scheme and call to your logo color of your of your page headline actions The body copy (including both The length the copy itself The layout The call(s) and field labels and the size and to action of any forms font used) on the page Images used and Related products how many to use (how many to (this is especially show, where to important for show them, how product pages) to show them)I’m sure you could come up with more than that if you look at your pages. It’s goingto be di erent for each site, but deciding what to test is an integral part of running asuccessful test. If you’re still not sure or want more ideas, check out these twoarticles:Top 50 Google Website Optimizer Tips on What to Test64 Tips for Getting Started with Google Website Optimizer
Shouldn’t I Just Start Somewhere? Anywhere?You hear this all the time: just dive in and start testing! It doesn’t matter what youtest, just start testing!Sorry, but that’s wrong. at’s like getting hungry, walking into a grocery store and grabbing the rst thingyou see. Sure, it might be something you like, something that will give your body theenergy it needs, or it might be those plastic corn cob holder things. And what are yougoing to do with those in December? ink through what you want to test in terms of where you can have an impact.Make sure you’re testing the right pages (most likely your landing page, homepage,or product page, at least initially). Make sure you’re testing the right elements onthose pages (your footer likely has little impact on whether someone makes apurchase, so why spend time optimizing that rst?). e point here is to increaseconversions. To do that you need to test things that actually have an impact on your
Deciding Where to Start e best way to gure out what to start testing rst is to look at your current conver-sion funnel. You likely have a homepage or landing page, some sort of product page,and a shopping cart page(s). So which page is bleeding visitors the worst? If 70% ofpeople aren’t making it past your homepage, start there. If you’re losing half yourvisitors at the shopping cart, then test and optimize that rst.It only makes sense to optimize the worst areas rst, as that’s where you stand togain the most.BrainstormOnce you know what pages to test, and possibly what elements, it’s time tobrainstorm the possible variables. Come up with half a dozen alternate headlines orcalls-to-action. en pick the best ones and test those (or test all the ones you cameup with). Look for di erent images to use on the page and add those to the test.
Remember, Website Optimizer will handle the serving of all these things, so onceyour experiment is set up, you don’t need to manage dozens of di erent page ver-sions. It’s easier to set them all up in one test than it is to run additional tests overthe course of weeks or months.One thing to keep in mind is that very similar test variables tend to provideinconclusive results. You’re better o trying out radically di erent variables insteadof variables where only a word or two is changed.How to Set Up Your TestsAs already mentioned, Website Optimizer has two di erent testing methods:multivariate testing and A/B testing. ey have technical guides for setting up eachkind of test, and either you’ll need some basic knowledge of HTML (and access toyour site’s code) or you’ll have to get help from someone who does. You can nd theA/B testing technical details here, and the multivariate ones here.
But setting aside the technical details, how do you run a test with WebsiteOptimizer? e rst step is to decide what you’re going to test and the alternatives you’re goingto use. You should have already completed these steps based on the informationabove. Select your test page and your conversion page (what the nal destinationshould be, such as a receipt page or a con rmation page).Next you’ll want to set up the content to test. Remember that trying radicallydi erent variables is likely going to give you more conclusive results than slightvariations. So your original call-to-action might be something like, “How can weimprove?” and your new one might be “Tell us your ideas”. E ectively, you’re sayingthe same thing, but in two completely di erent ways.Website Optimizer gives you the option to limit the test group to a certainpercentage of your website’s visitors. is isn’t recommended, though, as it not onlytakes longer for the test to run and can give you less meaningful results. is isespecially true for pages with lower tra c numbers.When your test is set up in Website Optimizer, you’ll have to insert the code it givesyou into your test pages before the tests can run. After that, all you have to do is waitfor the results!
10 Tips for Making the Most of Website Optimizer 1 Small gains can equal big wins 6 Run simultaneous tests Don’t just focus on completed sales or It saves time, which in turn means you can sign-ups. Focus on getting visitors from get your optimized page up and running for one page of your conversion funnel to the all your visitors much faster. next. Making small gains at each step along the way can result in big gains in the end. 2 Improve your usability 7 Test big changes Don’t overlook site wide tests, too. Try We’ve already talked about testing radically testing things like your header, navigation, different versions of elements on your page. or search feature to see if they make But why not test radically different page all noticeable gains to your conversion rates. together? You might be pleasantly Improving overall usability almost always surprised with radically improved has a positive effect on visitor satisfaction. conversion rates! 3 Segment, target and personalize 8 Don’t run your test for too long Consider segmenting your visitors to serve Website Optimizer will let you run tests for different tests for different kinds of users. as long as you want. But there’s really no You can do this based on things like the point in running a test for longer than a traffic source, the country or location the couple of weeks, at most. All you’re doing user is coming from, and more. with longer tests is opening up your results to normal fluctuations. 4 Dont debate, just test it 9 Start with your goals Can’t decide between two different Make sure you have your goals clarified headline options? Is your company split before you start. This goes beyond just your over which image to use? End arguments conversion rate. What are your company’s with coworkers and others by testing out long-term marketing and positioning goals? different ideas in the real world. Make sure your tests are reinforcing those things, and not deviating from them. 5 Get inspired by your competitors 10 Test regularly Try what your competitors are doing. If your Tastes change. New products emerge. competition is trying out a new website Make it a point to test new ideas and design or sales style, why not try improvements on a regular basis. And something similar and see if it actually especially test out new ideas if you see a works better? sudden drop (or even a steady decline) in your conversion rates.
PEOPLE PAY YOU, NOT PAGEVIEWS.Unlike other analytics packages, KISSmetrics measures people, not pageviews. We don’t rely oncookies alone, we consolidate all of a customer’s behaviors whether they’re browsing on their homelaptop, their work desktop, or even their mobile device. KISSmetrics gets you answers to questions that will help you make better decisions: Where are your highest-converting, Are your visitors progressing towards highest-revenue customers coming from? revenue-generating activity? Where should you focus your development Are your visitors able to use and benefit attention next? from your offering?We’ve helped a variety of businesses optimize their funnel and increase revenues - from those whoare just starting out to those who are bringing in millions in revenue each month. Learn more at