The Surefire Way to Increase Your Online Conversion Rates

A few days ago Paul Smithson from Intellimon together with the University of Bradford published a report titled "The Traffic Survey 2010".

This report shows that more than 70% of the Internet Markets surveyed rarely conduct any form of split testing to optimize their online offers.

If you’re part of that 70% then there are some things you should know about split testing that may encourage you to get on the band wagon and start testing your offers.

You can grab your copy of "The Traffic Survey 2010" report from Paul Smithson’s web page

Split testing is good for your bottom line

By testing and modifying your offers you increase your conversion rate. This is good because you are able to turn more of your traffic into leads and customers, rather than spending increasing amounts of time and money on getting more traffic (which lets face it is getting more expensive and just a bit trickier right now that Google is making so many changes to PageRank and SRPs).

Doing both, getting more traffic and split testing is the ultimate victory which is why people like Frank Kern, Jeff Walker, Ryan Deiss, Brett McFall, James Schramko et al. all talk about it and more importantly also do it.

If you’ve never done any testing before you may feel a little daunted by the prospect or it could sound like a lot to learn. So rather than just continue telling you how great split testing is and why you should be doing it, you’ll be relieved to see that there are just 8 steps you need to take to get your first test set-up and running.

Eight Steps of A/B Split Testing

To keep this as simple as possible, these eight steps focus on A/B Split testing a headline on a web page in a WordPress managed website/blog using Google Website Optimizer to control and manage the testing experiment.

With A/B Split testing it’s really important to test just one thing at a time, which is why in this example we’re only testing a headline. If you’re in a hurry and want to test multiple things at the same time, like the chrome around your video, the headline and the label on your subscribe button you’d want to investigate Multivariate Split Testing (or Taguchi Split testing).

Just to recap, here we’re focusing on A/B Split testing so you can gain the experience and confidence.

Step 1: Decide What to Test

Your first step is to work out what exactly you’re going to test. You need to decide which web page needs to be tested and what exactly on the page is to be tested.

In our example we’re testing part of a lead generation process – it works like this, people visit a squeeze page where they can watch a video and opt-in to receive an eBook and software. When they submit the form they’re sent an email to confirm opt-in. Clicking the confirmation link takes them to the download page. A pretty standard lead gen process.

For this process we’ll test the squeeze page (where they watch the video and opt-in) and the one thing that will get tested on the page is the headline. This is the original page.

Step 2: Create the Alternate to Test

In WordPress we create a copy of the page we’re going to test, change the headline and publish it. This is the Make Money Online page.

Step 3: Create the Goal Page

In WordPress we create the hidden download page that is accessible after opt-in and where the free eBook and software can be downloaded. This is the Congratulations page.

Step 4: Note the URLs

Make a note of the URLs for the two pages that are being tested and the download page so that we can quickly enter them when setting up the testing experiment in Google Website Optimiser.

Step 5: Install the WordPress Plug-in

Now we install and activate the Google Website Optimizer Plug-in for the WordPress website/blog.

This plug-in works together with Google Website Optimizer to control the random displaying of the two test pages to visitors to your squeeze page, as well as adding the necessary scripts needed to collect the data on what your visitors do.

In WordPress we select our Original page to edit and you’ll see that a new form section has been added, this makes it easier to insert the Google Website Optimizer code.

Step 6: Set-up Google Website Optimizer

Using a new web browser window, we now go to the Google Website Optimizer website and using our Google Account (the one you use to login to Google Analytics, Gmail or any of the other Google apps) login.

The type of testing experiment we’re doing here is an A/B Experiment. Click on A/B Experiment and on the bottom of the next page we’re going to check “I’ve completed the steps above” and click on "Create" to continue.

For this first set-up step we’ll name the experiment and enter the three URLs for the pages we created. Google will do a dynamic check to make sure that the URLs are live pages that can be accessed.

When we get the verification from Google we click the "Continue" button to go to the next step.

Step 7: Insert Optimizer Code into Pages

The next page will have the JavaScript tags that need to put into the administration screen of the Google Website Optimizer Plug-in for our WordPress website/blog.

We now have our two web browser windows open so we can toggle between them – the WordPress one for editing our Original page and the other with the Google Website Optimizer JavaScript tags showing.

In the WordPress window, we scroll down to the area of the form where the Optimizer code needs to be added and check "Enable the Google Website Optimizer support for this page/post".

Next we go to the Google window and copy the JavaScript tags for the Control Script and paste it into the Original page in the yellow Control Script area. We do the same thing with the Tracking Script, copy it from the Google JavaScripts tag area into the green Tracking Scripts area in our Original page. Then we save/publish the page/post.

We edit the Make Money Online page and this time only add the Tracking Script from the Google JavaScripts tag area into the green Tracking Scripts area and publish the page/post.

The final Google JavaScript tag – Conversion script goes into the Congratulations page. We copy the JavaScript tags from the Google window and paste the code into the red Conversion Script area in the Congratulations page in WordPress. When we’ve done this we click publish.

Step 8: Review the Results

With all our WordPress pages containing their scripts and published, the experiment is now running.

Login to the Google Website Optimizer account to check on the test results and see what’s happening. We let our experiments run for 100 or more conversions so that it’s really easy to see which is the clear winner.

When next year rolls around and "The Traffic Survey 2011" is published perhaps you’ll be on the other side of that 70% of Internet Marketers who rarely test and be enjoying a more profitable year.

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