If you really want to tap into which elements on your WordPress website influences visitor behavior, you should start A/B testing today.

Testing the design and content of your website is a great solution to finding out what is effective on your website so that you can incorporate those elements throughout your entire site. Test results can be used to increase web traffic, gather more leads, and even convert more monthly sales.

However, A/B testing is not as simple as comparing basic elements on your website to see which one is more popular. If done incorrectly, you may find yourself out a lot of time and possibly a lot money with close to nothing to show for it.

Today we will take a look at some of the biggest A/B testing mistakes all businesses make as well as some helpful tools to get you on the right track to properly A/B testing on your WordPress website.

What is A/B Testing?

A/B Testing, in a nutshell, is the comparison of two separate versions of your WordPress website that have been displayed to your site visitors over an extended period of time. Half of your website visitors are shown one website version while the other half are shown the other version. With A/B testing, the goal is to see which version of your website performs better amongst your visitors, and more importantly, why.

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In an A/B test, half of your visitors will see Version A, the other half will see Version B.

This form of testing is used to compare website design, marketing campaigns, and conversion rates in order to build a company’s success.

The most useful reason for implementing A/B testing on your website is so that you can see which elements on your website encourage your site visitors to perform a specific action such as opting into an email list, clicking a call to action button, purchasing a particular product or service, or even visiting other pages on your website.

Here are some popular elements that website owners might be interested in testing amongst their site visitors:

  • Theme design
  • Logos and headers
  • Sidebar positioning
  • Image size and related click rates
  • Button styles, colors, text, and positioning
  • Text link colors, underlines, and hover effects
  • Call to action customizations
  • Optin form customizations

Common A/B Testing Mistakes

All too often website owners start out with great intentions when it comes to A/B testing on their websites. Unfortunately, a lack of direction, knowledge, and know-how can dramatically affect the results they may receive during their testing.

Not Enough Participants

The sample size of your A/B testing is crucial if you want to get true results. If the traffic that participates in your testing pales in comparison to your average daily web traffic, you will not get any conclusions worth taking seriously. Try this nifty tool to get a general idea as to how many people you need participating in your A/B test before conclusive results can be analyzed.

Insufficient Testing Time

Also important in gathering true results from your A/B testing is the length of time you let the test run. Typically speaking, you should let a test run at least one full week before looking at the results and applying them to your website. This will take into account the days you garner more or less traffic due to the natural ebb and flow of web traffic. Check out this Test Duration Calculator to get a good idea of how long you should run your test before looking at results.

It is also widely suggested that you continue testing without making any changes until you receive a statistical significance of 95%. Use this handy calculator to check your test’s statistical significance.

Too Many Variables

It is not wise to include more than 1 variable in your A/B testing. If you include multiple variables, such as a different color and different copy, it will be difficult to determine which element actually had the most profound effect on your visitors’ behavior.

Aim to have one specific variable change with everything else on your web page remaining exactly the same. This way you will know with certainty at the end of the test which version did the best.

Not Having a Clear Goal

You should never test random ideas on your website just to see what your visitors enjoy the most. The goal of A/B testing is to find out what encourages your visitors to perform a specific action and why they may be more inclined to do so.

Don’t be like Google and test 41 shades of blue in an effort to understand your visitors. While testing a call-to-action button color may yield some results and actually turn out to be useful in your website’s design, being frivolous with what you are testing is a waste of time and money.

Giving Up After One Test

So you didn’t get the results you were hoping for. Join the club. Many A/B tests fail to yield anything positive after their first trial run. This doesn’t mean you should move onto another test right away.

Tweak your original test to zero-in on the possible variables that are affecting your tests. You might have missed something that’s inconsistent with the hypothesis you were trying to test.

No matter what results your testing returns, you can always learn something. Eventually something will produce a high statistical significance and trust me, your website will profit from your hard work and determination in the end.

Plugins for A/B Testing

With all the ways you can go about A/B testing on your WordPress website, it is easy to get overwhelmed with options. Here is a starter list of great plugins, both free and premium, that will get you on your way to A/B testing in no time:

Optimizely

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This premium service, paired with the free WordPress plugin, offers website owners a way to A/B test site-wide customization changes, call-to-action buttons, checkout processes, lead generation forms, and much more. It has an easy to use interface and requires zero coding knowledge making it great for site owners of all levels.

Simple Page Tester

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This free WordPress plugin provides a simple way to set up A/B testing on your WordPress website. SEO friendly, compatible with Google Analytics Goals, and cache compatible, this testing solution is touted as being super simple; just make you changes and check the results.

WordPress Landing Pages

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Another free WordPress plugin often used for setting up A/B testing is WordPress Landing Pages. Designed with inbound marketing in mind, this multipurpose solution allows you to monitor and track conversion rates, clone pages and run tests on variations, and even custom design a beautiful landing page while you’re at it.

Other Popular Contenders

Here is a list of some other popular A/B Testing solutions:

Final Thoughts

When conducted properly, A/B testing your design, marketing strategies, and conversion efforts can be very helpful. Gaining insight into what your customers enjoy most on your website, whether it be specific layout designs, colors, opt-in form structure, or imagery types can really help you direct your efforts towards increased traffic and sales conversions.

A little bit of extra work is always required to become successful. Take advantage of the knowledge you have gained so you can avoid the above-mentioned mistakes, utilize the suggested tools, and make a change on your website to see how your visitors react. You never know, that one tiny change might be enough for your website to become one of the most competitive out there.

Have you ever conducted A/B testing on your website? What mistakes did you learn along the way that you want to share with the rest of us? Are there any additional tools or plugins you would like to have seen mentioned? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

Author:

Devesh Sharma is a WordPress fanatic and editor of FancyThemes, a WordPress theme shop & resource site where you will find in-depth guides and Free WordPress themes.