Website testing is important as it helps you to get more return out of your investments. But just don’t jump into testing. There are some questions that are needed to be answered before you start your test.
To test means trying to know/discover something so that a marketing decision can be taken. There is a means to an end. Remember that both have to be right else things may go wrong.
There are some pointers before you start testing that I am trying to address in this article.
Many people want to test, but just don’t know how to plan. This article will help them a bit.
What you want from the test? What is your Goal?
The first thing that should be in your mind should be what you want to achieve with the test. Most website owners want to improve ROI. But reasons may vary. For example you would like to generate more leads or may want to decrease bounce rate or increase average time on site per visitor. You should know what you want to achieve from the test.
Why do you want to achieve this?
There has to be a reason to what you want to achieve from the test. For example if you want to decrease bounce rate then you should know why you want to do this. Is there any other factor that is more important than actually decreasing the bounce rate? It may be that increasing leads may help your business in the long run more than decreasing bounce rate.
What you want to test?
Its important to know what element of your site you want to test. For example you may want to test your headline or you may want to test the price or both.
Knowing what you want to test will help. Here is an article on what elements you may try to test.
Will this test stand good in long run?
Always think of long run. Short run outcomes may be good for the short run, but may prove ineffective in the long run. Since testing takes time and money, why should you think of short run?
By long run I mean a test that may give you results that will stand right for the next 6-7 months to a year. After this timeframe you may need to test again.
Plan your Budget
Testing is costly. You must put some money aside if you are thinking of testing your site.
Doing a research, consulting professionals, getting your creatives done, and using a testing software will cost you money.
Of course there is a free software for testing – Google Website Optimizer. Its absolutely free and I recommend using it.
Decide a time-frame to test
Your test has to begin and end within a specified time limit. If you are season seller you may want to finish the test before your selling season starts. What’s the point in testing when the results come after your selling season is over. You may have to wait for another year, and by that time a lot may change. Your test results may not be valid by then.
You may also want to test when the traffic flow is the highest / lowest. There are some business owners who fear testing may disturb their ongoing business, so they test when the traffic flow is the lowest to their site.
On the other side, some want to test when the volume of traffic is the highest to know the best possible result.
Whatever time you choose to test, its important that you get a statistically significant result. I will discuss it later.
Any technical issues?
Some elements may create a lot of software related problems, or may have website design related issues.
These problems occur mainly with dynamic websites. That is websites that generate pages on-the-fly. Before test begins ensure that there aren’t any technical glitches and the test runs smoothly.
If any of your creatives is creating a problem, you may want to change that creative.
Statically Significant Result
When the test is over, you should get statically significant result, else you may take wrong decisions. A statistically significant result is something that is unlikely to have occurred by chance.
For more on the meaning of statically significant please click here.
I am sure if you keep this in mind you will plan better your website testing.