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Getting started with A/B testing on WordPress

Squaring up to HiPPOs requires empirical information to club them into belief. Harsh, but true. Some of the Highest Paid Person’s Opinions are so wrong as to be criminally liable but fighting the boss is not a the classic way to climb the career ladder. Testing is, then, sweet-spot as no-one needs to argue you just all need to agree that the outcome of the test is going to be valid and “may the best idea win”.

In the real world, delivering testing is pretty straightforward and is one of the best ways to optimise the design choices and content of a site. This type of testing allows you to see which elements are the most effective at encouraging visitors to perform a certain action. This action could be anything from having them fill out an opt-in form to sign-up to an email list, clicking a buy now button or visiting other pages on your site.

This is where A/B testing comes in: Don’t be fooled into before/after testing, there are too many external variables to attribute the result to what’s being tested. With A/B testing two differing versions of your website are displayed to visitors over a certain period of time. The versions could (and should) be similar but with marked differences – small differences give small gains and also can take a long time to verify the validity.

But what to test? Where to start? If this is your first foray then here’s a list to get your started:

  • Position of forms on pages
  • Colour of action buttons
  • Amount of copy on a page
  • Page titles
  • Number of fields in a form
  • Tone of language (business, formal, casual etc)
  • Colour palettes
  • Images, sizes, content
  • Erroring conditions

A/B Testing is baked into our VNX 4 Digital Framework, but it’s not the only way to add testing to a WordPress-based site. A number of good options exist that easily plugin to WP and give you decent A/B Testing functionality, worth a quick look is:

The first two are pretty self explanatory; Optimizely, however, is our weapon of choice and provides very sophisticated testing across multiple pages and visitor segmentation. It also adheres to our NoCode philosophy of “taking marketing tools away from programmers and IT and putting them into the hands of marketers.

If you’re not testing now, regardless of what platform you’re running on, then you’re missing a trick. Talk to us, and we’ll get your started.