What Your Business Can (And Should) A/B Test

Post written by Aruna Gnanasekaran
On Monday, October 27th, 2014

A/B testing is a high-impact, cost effective method of optimization for websites, CTAs, forms, and much more. The information you gather from A/B testing can help justify data-backed changes that will optimize your website and increase conversions.

Before you begin A/B testing, definitely read these A/B testing best practices. You’ll discover that it is important to write a solid plan. It’s best to systematically test your website (or webpage) elements starting with those that have the highest potential impact, like the main page headline. Of course, your priorities will depend on your business model, the layout of your current website, and your goals.

To give you some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of the modifiable attributes you can change for each variation of your A/B test (List 1) and the elements of the page you could test (List 2). Choosing what to A/B test is a matter of mixing and matching the items from these lists. You can (for example) test the color (List 1) of your submit button in a CTA (List 2).

List 1: Modifiable Attributes For Your A/B Tests

  • Color
  • Phrasing/Wording
  • Font & style
  • Placement (on the page or in an area)
  • Size
  • Clutter (try removing unnecessary stuff)
  • Presence (should it be there, or be removed?)

List 2: Page Elements You Can (And Should) A/B Test

Main Headlines

Headlines can appear on any page on your site, but the headline on your main page is probably one of the first website elements you should test. After all, it’s likely to be first thing your website visitors see.

Submit Buttons

Read about the psychology of color and about words that convert to become a submit button wiz! Then, test away.

Include Videos

Including a video (especially on your main page) can have a huge impact on your website and your conversion rate. It’s worth exploring.

Number of Form Fields

In addition to the items mentioned in List 1, you can test forms in another way: number of form fields.

In general people have very little tolerance for excessive form fields. How much is too much? Five? Ten? The onus is on you to discover where the threshold is – and that depends on the value of your offer (among other factors). The below form is on our Request Premium Support page.

Number of Required Form Fields

In the above form, not all the fields are required. There are two required fields with red asterisks and a required Captcha to deter spam bots.

Instead of making all of your form fields required, you can simply require the few you absolutely need to follow up with your lead. Those with less time or patience can fill out the bare minimum. Others will elect to fill out additional fields. Choosing required form fields carefully can help you capture leads that fall into both categories.

Page Layout

You could test the layout of your entire page or the layout of a specific section. You could, for example, see how social media button placement affects engagement. Currently we have social media buttons in our footer. One test could compare the button placement in the footer vs the header (or both).

Main Body Text

The main body text is designed to convince inquisitive website visitors to convert. A/B test the text size, phrasing, font, etc. to see if those changes affect your conversion rates.

Using Trust Signals

Trust signals can instill a sense of confidence in your consumers. Trust signals include Better Business Bureau (BBB) badges, other accreditation, industry awards, or company guarantees.

Navigation

It’s important to test the items from List 1 on your navigation bar. But definitely be sure to experiment with its placement on the page, or even whether or not to display it on select pages.

Using Client Testimonials

You can dedicate a page to client testimonials, include a quote from a former client in your sidebar, or place video testimonials on related pages. A/B test to see which (if any) work best.

Modules in Sidebar

Below is our blog’s main page sidebar. Once again, there is a lot you can test. For example, should the social media buttons on your sidebar be closer to the top, or the bottom? What if you introduced a “Latest Products” CTA? The possibilities are endless. Pick the small changes you think will have the most impact and test them.

A/B testing is flexible. It’s scalable to any sized website or budget and only as time intensive as you want it to be. And it’s an iterative process, so you can improve the color of a CTA button, and then improve the wording of the text on the button (and so on) to progressively boost your conversion rate time and again.

Next Steps

Use the two lists to create a solid A/B testing road map. Great planning will ensure that you improve your website conversion and make your user experience better. Also be sure to document KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for each test. Using KPIs you can measure your A/B tests’ effectiveness.

If you have anything to add to these lists, include them in the comments below!

About the Author:
Aruna is a West Coast transplant currently living in Boston. She is an Inbound Marketer, content creator, and tea enthusiast who believes in the potential of inbound marketing to level the playing field for startups and small businesses.

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