How to A/B Test Your Website

Zach Wills / February 3, 2019

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Web developers count on A/B testing (also known as split testing) to compare page elements in a bid to see which graphic, color, headline, font, or call to action users respond to better. It’s all in the name of creating a more effective, user-friendly website.

Whether you operate an advertising company or run a modest cooking blog, learning how to A/B test your website can help you extract valuable data on which themes, site elements, and even content formats are drawing in more readers, subscribers, leads, and customers. Here’s how you can obtain that information to get the most out of your website.

What can you A/B test on your WordPress.com website?

Any element on your website that can be changed can also be split tested. For example, you may want to test which theme works best for your business — an absolutely essential element, since you want to use the most visually pleasing, effective theme possible. To ensure the accuracy of the test, try to keep the rest of your content identical. This way, you’re only testing the one element you’ve decided to isolate. You can also A/B test colors, headline text, buttons, sidebars, and font sizes or styles.

After you test the general theme and design elements, you can also split test other elements like graphics, pictures, opt-in forms, content, calls to action, and even individual page layouts. The point of this is to pick two versions of the same element and compare how they impact page views, conversions, time spent on pages, and other relevant metrics.

Tools for A/B testing

If you have a WordPress.com Business plan, you have access to beginner-friendly plugins that you can install to start A/B testing right away. Here are some options for your consideration:

  • Optimizely: According to its website, big names like IBM and eBay rely on Optimizely for A/B testing. With its free starter plan, you can create and run an experiment within minutes of installing the plugin.
  • Title Experiments: Titles are often the first elements that people see on your site. So, you’ll want to know if the way you’re writing your titles yields the best results. Title Experiments helps you figure that out by split testing your headlines and titles.
  • Nelio AB Testing: Nelio distinguishes itself with a beautiful interface and compatibility with WooCommerce. You can use it to analyze and improve your landing pages and to write better posts.

Another way to A/B test your website without a plugin is to build two identical pages with one element changed and funnel people through each page via an email or targeted ad link. It may take a little more time and effort, but this method might be more suitable for those who want total control over the experiment, or don’t want to add more plugins to their websites.

You’ve worked hard to create the perfect blog or business website, so it’s important to test out every element to make sure that you’re getting the most for your efforts — especially if you plan on investing in paid ads in the future.

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