15 Elements Every Website Owner Must A/B Test
If you are considering any major change on your site – or want to work to improve your current conversion rates – conducting A/B testing can help you better assess how changes affect your visitors’ behavior. Some sites continually run A/B tests, always trying to one-up their previous success!
The key is to test one element at a time to ensure that you understand why you got the results you are seeing – and aren’t changing something that already works.
So where do you start? Here are 15 of the most important elements to adjust.
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- Calls to Action – On most websites, your goal is to direct your visitors to a specific activity or activities, such as contacting you, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase. The wording you use to suggest what your visitors do next is called a “call to action,” and even small changes can result in a big difference in your business’s success. For example, blogger Dustin Curtis learned that “You should follow me on Twitter here” worked 173% better than the control text, “I’m on Twitter.”
- Images – Sure, the images on your website look good – but are they effective at achieving your goals? You may want to consider adding photos of humans instead of fancy graphics. One study found that they increased – in some cases, even doubled – conversion rates. But don’t just swap them out, also look at image placement and sizing.
- Color – What if you could increase sign-ups by 34% just by changing a button color from green to red? That’s exactly that the website CareLogger accomplished through A/B testing. With color, it’s often about contrast. How can you make something stick out from the rest of the design so people’s attention is drawn to it?
- Logo – Measure the effect of your logo’s presence on a page. You can also test different sizing and placements, and even assess how changing your logo entirely affects how people feel about your brand.
- Layout – The configuration of your page elements can be more important than the content of each individual element. Where are your visitors’ eyes drawn first? What are they more likely to miss?
- eCommerce Elements – Not everyone who starts the purchase process makes it all the way to completing checkout, and A/B testing can reveal some of the reasons why. Some tests have found that a single page checkout works better than a multiple-page checkout process. The presence of security logos can also help customers to feel safer to hit that final “Place Your Order” button.
- Headlines – These are the first things that people read when reaching a website page. Particularly for landing pages, they can make a big difference in whether people stick around or head on to another site.
- Subheadings – Most web visitors don’t read every word on a website; instead, they skim to find the most relevant or interesting information. Check to see if your subheadings are helping to direct and focus visitors’ attention where you want it.
- Page Copy – Short or long? Funny or professional? Salesy or subtle? There are many decisions you make when deciding on the tone of your web copy, and A/B testing can help you assess whether you’re headed in the right direction.
- Pricing and Promotional Offers – This is one of the most valuable types of A/B testing but also the most sensitive. You can tell if lowering a product’s price or providing a special offer will actually result in increased revenue, but the danger comes in if the visitors find out about the price difference. Make sure the system you are using for A/B testing keeps track of the pages individual users landed on previously, so that it displays the same information for them if they come back.
- Sign-Up Requirement – Many websites require people to provide basic information to perform all types of tasks from accessing a part of the website to leaving a comment. It’s important to understand how it’s affecting your visitors’ behavior. In some cases, you may learn that it’s actually preventing people from taking these actions, and what you can do to get over that hurdle. One site added the words “It’s free” next to a sign-up button, resulting in a 28% conversion increase.
- Product Photos – Online stores have one significant disadvantage over brick and mortar locations: the ability to see and touch products in person. Photos play a crucial role in convincing e-shoppers that the product will meet their expectations, so testing different angles, layouts, backgrounds, sizes, and more for product photos can help you to improve revenue.
- Product Descriptions – The second most important aspect of selling a product online is the description copy. It fills in the blanks that the photos missed, so why not test how persuasive and informative your descriptions are?
- Form Length and Types of Fields – Are your visitors overwhelmed by the information you are asking them to submit? Is there a particular field that they don’t feel comfortable filling? Or are you able to convince more of them to participate by getting a little funny or creative in the way you ask for information? One site found that using a “Mad Libs” style form increased conversion by as much as 25 to 40%.
- Shopping Cart Button – For eCommerce sites, the number one goal is getting your visitors to that cart, so everything about the shopping cart button is important: its color, sizing, placement, wording, etc.
When conducting A/B testing, it’s important to look at how it affected all aspects of your visitors’ behavior, such as e-commerce conversion rates, pages per visit, average time spent per page, and average order value. Don’t rush to judgment. Most A/B testing tools provide you with statistical confidence. It will take time to get accurate results, but it’s important that you stick it out.
Sometimes you may find that, no matter how long you wait, the results are inconclusive. In these cases, neither version is “better,” so pick your favorite and move on to the next test to improve your site!