Web Page Testing, Easy & Free

Written: 3-Nov-2007 | Last modified: 01-March-2008 | Filed under: Conversions & Sales,Online Marketing

If you’ve spent any time over at GrokDotCom, Marketing Profs, or especially Marketing Experiments (all of which are highly recommended), you probably know you need to test your landing pages.

You might have even figured out that every page in your site is potentially a landing page (that is, a page through which a new visitor could first enter your site). Which means — work with me here, folks — you should be testing and tuning the performance of every page of your site.

The “why” of testing is pretty obvious if you think about it. Changes to the page layout, the copy, even the images used, can have a tremendous difference on the conversion rate. Even something as subtle as changing the color of a button or adjusting the wording on a call to action link can make a difference.

Getting more traffic can be hard, expensive and time consuming. By testing your pages, you can over time optimize each and every page for maximum performance. If you increase your conversion rate, you can make more money without any increase in traffic. It’s a real no brainer.

Well, at least, it is now.

Used to be it was hard to test effectively. There weren’t many tools to help you, and the ones available either required you to have a degree in advanced math or were terribly expensive (or both).

Not anymore, though. Our good friends at Google have come up with Website Optimizer. It’s easy, it’s powerful, and it’s free. A trifecta!

But seriously, I attended two webinars about it this past week, and it looks like a great tool. You can watch and listen to the first webinar (with the second to be available soon, I’m told), view an introductory demo, look at sample reports and sign up at the Google Website Optimizer page.

Now, don’t freak out when you see AdWords being mentioned — the tool is part of Google AdWords, so you’ll have to set up an AdWords account if you don’t have one already… but you don’t have to spend any money with AdWords to use this tool. It’s completely free.

Plus it works with any (or all) pages on your site, not just AdWords landing pages.

Don’t be fooled by the price. This is a powerful testing tool that supports a number of sophisticated testing methodologies, including multivariate and split path testing (don’t worry if you don’t know what those are yet — they explain all about what they are and how to use them). It seems pretty easy, too. Once you’ve decided what you want to test, you can have a basic A/B test set up and running in a matter of minutes.

The way I see it, Google wants higher quality pages in their search results. That’s what will make searchers happy and keep them coming back to Google. So it’s to their benefit to help you make your pages better. And, of course, you benefit if your pages do a better job of making the sale, too. It’s a classic win-win situation. Check it out!

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