Testing to Redesign Your Website in Real-Time

Posted on by Ivana S. Taylor

Ready for a redesign? If you’re ranking high in search engine results and are getting traffic to your website then testing should be part of your strategy; it can dramatically improve your website’s usability and profitability while gaining powerful insights into your visitor’s behavior and actions.

So what is testing? It’s like redesigning webpages in real-time: you can create different variations of your pages by changing elements like headlines, images, calls to action, the color of buttons, forms, and anything else you can think of.  Best of all, testing tools are WYSIWYG so you can create variations with a few mouseclicks – no need to mess with the code behind it!

You can use this web redesign checklist or this idea generator as a guide. If you’re improving your landing page, use this landing page analyzer or follow these steps. Also try to create variations geared towards simplifying your website as this can dramatically increase conversions. For example, this test brought a product’s price and the add to cart button closer together and improved click-throughs by 10%! This case study shows how split-testing a form improved sign-ups by 103% by simply removing social proof. This proves that best practices don’t always work and that user behavior is unpredicable, so don’t be afraid to test against your intuition.

For ideas on which pages of your website to test, look no further than your analytics data. Find the pages with high bounce rates because that’s where you are losing potential customers. Study the keywords visitors have used to find your site and optimize your site with those search keywords in mind. For e-commerce sites, where are your customers abandoning their shopping carts? Work on that step of the purchase process. If you’re not tracking analytics data yet, read this article and get started.

Once you’ve created variations of your pages you need to set conversion goals, which are metrics that define success for your website. If you’re running an e-commerce website then your conversion goals would relate to revenue. If you’re using your website to generate leads, then you would track sign-ups. Other goals might be decreasing bounce rate, clicking on a link or visiting a certain page. Different pages on your website likely have different goals, so you can create different sets of goals to track and create variations with these in mind.

Your testing experiments can start after setting your conversion goals. Visitors to your website will be presented with all the variations in random distribution and their actions will be tracked to determine each variation’s performance. The analytics data is tracked in real-time so you can see the results of your test and how each variation performs compared to the control version. Note that you should test until you have conclusive results; use this split test duration calculator to determine how many days to run your test.

After your tests have run to completion, then you can study the results and implement them on your website. Because you did the heavy lifting while testing, you will have proof that your changes will yield results so you can be proactive with your redesign and coordinate your redesign with  your web designer and copywriter. Your new website will benefit from offering your customer a superior experience and your time, money, and effort investments will pay off when your website converts visitors into paying customers.

About the Author Anish Kothari is associated with Wingify, the company behind the world’s easiest A/B testing tool: Visual Website Optimizer. Thousands of business worldwide (including Fortune 500 companies and SMBs) use it daily to increase their online sales and conversion rates. For interesting tips on conversion rate optimization follow us on Twitter @Wingify.

Name: Ivana S. Taylor

Email: ivana@diymarketers.com

Website: http://diymarketers.com

About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.

  • http://www.innerid.com Motion Master

    Hello,
    Yeah redesigning is sometimes really a messy work, when one has to deal with codes again. Thanks to the available software s , one can do it with a few mouse clicks. I enjoyed reading your article.

  • http://twitter.com/searchmuse Paul Morris

    Ivana – another great post on testing so thanks! I have put my own post together on the topic of A/B and multi variate testing hence possibly worth a read – http://www.searchmuse.com/blog/2011/7/23/advice-for-a-b-and-multivariate-testing.html