A/B Testing via WordPress: What You Need to Know
Ah A/B testing, the digital age’s comparison of apples to oranges. You’ve spent your time, effort, and money creating a WordPress site for your business. While you maintain this site, you want to know what is working and what isn’t. You have no idea if your theme is driving conversions, maybe you would get more sales with a muted color scheme? There are so many possibilities out there, how do you know? This is where A/B testing comes into play, and the sooner you can get started the sooner you can start putting strategies into place that actually work for you and your business.
What is A/B Testing?
You set up two versions of a specific aspect of your website, Version A and Version B, and you pit them against one another allowing visitors to use both and see which one performs the best. Now there are many things you might want to test, and truly every business and WordPress site is different, so this is where it gets tricky. Luckily for all you non-developers out there, there are a variety of A/B testing tools that will guide you through the process.
A/B Testing Tools
Choosing an A/B testing tool can seem daunting. Do you want to try a free or paid tool? How do you know what to spend? Most importantly is the juice worth the squeeze? Will your dollars equate to conversions? Below you will find a sample of 4 different A/B Testing tools and how they work so you can find the right tool for you.
VWO is a very user friendly and visually pleasing site. It’s great if you aren’t super HTML-savvy. There isn’t a lot of coding involved and they have neat drag and drop features when making changes to your site. This tool allows you to easily create campaigns with specific goals, test them with different versions of your site, and quickly see results. Easy-to-read reports include heat maps to help you understand site visitor’s behavior and habits.
Price: $49-$155/month. Also has $999 Custom Enterprise Plan, 30 Day Free Trial available
Maxymiser by Oracle is an in-depth service that focuses specifically on your business to help you build and understand campaigns and then put A/B testing into place. Their customized consulting services evaluate your business and then guide you in the right direction. While they do offer multiple levels of A/B testing from ‘simple to sophisticated’ this service is definitely more of a commitment than others.
Price: Available Upon Request
If you are already using Google Analytics then you can use this with your account. You can either use this tool signing in to your Analytics account or there are some WordPress plug-ins you can download as well. Content Experiments is slightly different than straight A/B Testing. Google refers to it as “A/B/n testing” because you aren’t testing two variations, but 10. You try 10 different pages and users are directed to each. You are able to view how each page performed and then chose a version to be live.
Content Experiments does require you to have different URLs for all the 10 test sites. You also need to either insert code into your site’s header and theme, or you can use the plug-in to do this. This option, like other tools, does allow you to define your goals. It is also beneficial to see 10 variations rather than just 2, but it might not be the best option if you aren’t very technical.
Price: Free if you have an Analytics account
Unbounce allows you to create landing pages that match your current site and test them out on customers. You use a drag and drop builder that is very user-friendly, no HTML knowledge required. All templates have built in A/B testing that you can view. You can either work within your Unbounce account or there is also a fully functional WordPress plug-in.
Unbounce has unique collaboration tools that allow multiple team members to work on different aspects of your site. This is a great and inexpensive option for the non-developer type looking for a quick and easy way to A/B Test. Tests aren’t as customizable as some of the more in-depth services.
Price: $49-$499/month. Offers Free 30-day trial
More A/B Testing Tool Companies
There are a lot of options for A/B testing than just the above profiled tools, so here is a quick run-down on some other popular services if the ones above aren’t quite what you’re looking for when testing:
- Optimizely- They are a big name in the digital testing world, their plans range from $49/month and up depending on the business. Basic packages offer all the essentials you need for A/B testing and are very simple to use, or you can choose full-service packages. Optimizely boasts some very big-name clients such as Disney, Netflix, and Microsoft.
- Nelio- This company is unique in that it is specific to WordPress sites. Plans range from $29-$259/month. The basic package can only be used on 1 site, however they offer everything you need for A/B testing- heatmaps, goal setting, and a plug-in. Their results are based off Google Analytics.
- A/B Tasty- An international company with plans starting at $34/month, AB tasty has a very user-friendly dashboard and offers a variety of campaigns depending on your goals. Their visual editor is very non-technical and you do not need to use code.
Biggest Factors for Deciding on A/B Testing
What is your budget for web design and maintenance? No matter the size of your business you need to know what time, effort, and capital you are willing to put in to A/B testing. Are you a developer or tech savvy? How technical are you willing to get? Are you comfortable working with plugins? These are all questions that will help you determine how you want to start A/B testing your site. I would recommend using no more than two tools just to keep things simple, but one tool should suffice (at least for your first go-around).
The Takeaway: Why Does A/B Testing Matter?
Similar to the real estate motto of “Location Location Location” your website motto needs to be “Conversion Conversion Conversion!” You want to convert your site visitors into sales, reservations, donations, social follows, email signs-ups, etc. No matter what type of tool you use, or your level of technical skill, A/B testing is going to give you empirical data that you cannot get anywhere else. There are so many factors that go into your WordPress site; theme, headings, plug-ins, design, images, copy, and more. These items are the make or break on whether a visitor stays on your site or leaves, and A/B testing will educate you on how to make the best decisions.
What tools have you used for A/B testing your WordPress site in the past? Is there anything we should add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.