Website testing, or optimization testing, is a great way to improve your website over time based on real-life user feedback. A/B testing, favored by most marketers as the best way to improve landing page effectiveness, makes it easy to find out which changes work and which don’t.
A/B testing using a tool like Optimizely (which I myself use and recommend) is simple and straightforward. It allows you to change a piece of content on your site, show some subset of your visitors the new version, and the others the original, and measure which one performs best.
For those out there thinking about testing on your website, here are five changes I recommend testing to start:
- Simpler Checkout Experience. When it’s easier for someone to buy from your site, sales should go up. Go through the checkout experience as a customer and write down every single action you take. When you’re done, come up with a way to get rid of half those actions. Then test it side by side and measure the percentage of people who complete the process.
- Buttons. The buttons on your site are calls to action. They take people from one page to the next and get them to perform desired actions, such as signing up, subscribing, or checking out. Sometimes, the simplest of changes to your buttons can get them a lot more clicks. Test different colors, different designs, and different wording on the buttons themselves until you find the right combination.
- Navigation Titles. The navigation of your site is there to orient people, to tell them where to go next, and make it simple for them to maneuver your website. Perhaps the navigation makes sense to you, but that’s because you know your site inside-out. What about new customers? Is it as easy for them? Test simplifying the navigation, being more clear about what pages are and where to do next. A better navigation can lead to more engagement on your site, which often leads to more conversions.
- Page Headings. Beyond the navigation, each page on your site likely has one big headline. It’s either the name of the page or product they’re looking at, a category heading, the headline of an article or blog post, etc. The heading’s job is to get someone to continue down the page. By testing different headings, you may find that people are staying on your site longer.
- Product Photos. Whether they’re photos of your products or images used on the site to help illustrate who you are and what you sell, they can have a major impact on how users engage with your site. Testing different photos that better tell your story, or give your prospective customers more information on your products, can provide a major lift to sales, especially if what your currently using is classic stock photography.
The bottom line is, your website should not be static. It can always be improved. And testing can help you determine what improvements to make next.