I know you probably think you know everything you need to know about website split testing basics. However, the sad truth is that most website owners completely waste their time with split testing and tend to give up within a few weeks after they see little to no results from their efforts. Of those that do stick with the web split testing, they tend to get stuck in ruts that can last for weeks or even months as they keep testing different components but never really moving the needle on overall conversions. Well, don’t worry: Today, I’m going to share 3 website split testing basics that will not only save you loads of time and effort, they will actually help you “move the needle” and dramatically boost conversions. Let’s get straight to it:
3 Conversion-Boosting Website Split Testing Basics
Website Split Testing Basics #1: Isolate the Under-Performing Sales Tools Using Heat Mapping Analysis
A sales page is deceptively complex. In fact, just look at all of the components that are often included in one form or another on most sales pages:
- State Problem
- Identify Solution
- Credibility Tools (like testimonials, media mentions, endorsements, logos, etc.)
- Primary Value Proposition
- Secondary/Tertiary CTA’s
- Scarcity Element
- Value Build
- Overcoming Primary Objections
Now you don’t want to spend weeks or months split testing these sales tools one at a time? Even if you have a very modest sample size of 200 visitors per test (for both the control and test version), you are looking at investing the better part of an entire quarter conducting tests, uploading new versions, verifying tracking, etc. Who the hell has time for that mess?
So in terms of website split testing basics, nothing is more important and will save you more time than to first find the sales tools that are suppressing your online conversions. Now how do we do this?
Heat Mapping Analysis
As you can see from the screenshot at the top of this post, some portions of this sales page are red and yellow while others are blue and green. Basically, heat maps measure visitor engagement and scan time over your main sales tools. So rather than endlessly split testing different sales tools and “hoping” for improved conversions, the heat mapping analysis allows you to quickly find the weak sales tools which appear as blue or green. The other tools, those that appear as yellow or red, are at least generating enough interest to allow you to first focus on the weak tools.
The use of heat mapping is probably one of the most important of the website split testing basics because it can save loads of time and help you quickly find the weak tools on any sales page, landing page, or product description. However, please note: Conversion problems are not always isolated to a single sales or landing page so even heat mapping has its limits and should be used in conjunction with other website optimization strategies to maximize website conversions.
Website Split Testing Basics #2: Forget About the Headline
Let me clear so there is no misunderstanding: Headlines are important and do help engage visitors and force them to read further down on any given sales or landing page, but they don’t directly convert prospects. In other words, the best headline in the world won’t increase conversions by itself but it will help get a higher percentage of visitors to read further down the page. So unless you have an offensive headline or something that truly alienates visitors, you’ll never see any noticeable increase in overall conversions by split-testing the headline.
The simple truth is that you are simply looking to get 90% or more of visitors to read past the headline. If you are doing that (and heat mapping analysis can show you how many visitors are reading past the headline), then the headline is fine and you need move on to other sales tools. Far too many website owners start split testing headlines and quickly give up when they don’t see any noticeable improvement in conversions. Well, the problem isn’t the idea of split testing–it’s that your wasting time testing a non-converting sales tool that is only designed to engage visitors, not directly convert them.
Website Split Testing Basics #3: Choose the Right Software For Your Needs
We absolutely love Google Analytics and love the traffic analysis it provides to help us optimize websites. Unfortunately, using Google Analytics for split-testing can be problematic because either people don’t set it up properly or can’t correctly interpret the data. Don’t worry, there are other options, including:
Visual Website Optimizer
Frankly, we strongly recommend Visual Website Optimizer to most sites because it very easy to use, set-up, and includes a limited but highly effective heat mapping tool. In addition, VWO allows you to edit the test version directly and avoid time-consuming recoding/upload which keeps testing costs to a minimum.
Optimizely is actually the superior platform and has far greater functionality than VWO. However, for heat mapping, you have to integrate other platforms into Optimizely which can cause reliability issues and complicate everything. So unless you have a very complex site or a lot of experience with split testing software, we strongly recommend you go with Visual Website Optimizer.
Concluding Thoughts About Website Split Testing
When based upon sound website traffic analysis (including heat mapping software), split testing can help you quickly boost online sales and conversions at minimal investment of time and testing traffic. And if you follow the website split testing basics in this post, you will maximize your chances for website optimization success.