A/B testing - First step before you think of redesigning your website

Posted on 08th Jan 2015 12:00 AM

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What is A/B Testing

If you want to redesign you website and due to any SEO issues you are restricting yourself to do so.. then dont hesitate to do so. Because as per webmaster guidelines - if we redesign our website, it means we are trying to approach the visitor (audience) more precisely to facilitate our visitor to find the things more appropriately. A/B testing is the first step you can think of before redesigning your website.

When to do A/B testing:

So, before redesigning and making major changes on your site or webpage, why not try implying A/B testing. It is a method to validate that change to your webpage or any new design or any element change in your site is improving your conversion rate or not: before you make that change to your site code.

A/B testing involves testing two versions of web pages, say version A and version B. It is a simple way to test your pages against current design and drive a conclusion of to which one produce more effective outcomes.

It is a test conducted to check your site performance (audience flow) if you redesign any part of your web page. Here by doing A/B testing you compare two versions of webpages to see which one performs better and give better conversion rate.

Set your goal before doing A/B testing:

By using A/B testing tool you can create a new version webpage and compare it with your older version. For that you need to set a goal, like what is the last action you expect your visitors to perform on your site. For example: online shopping stores expect their customers to buy the product , so their goal will be "add to cart" or "complete transaction", some site wants their visitors to register with them so their goal will be "Signup"

Process of A/B testing:

For the process to be carried forward effectively, the traffic is divided ( for ex: 50-50 ) and 50% of visitors are send to older version (call version A) and rest 50% are directed towards new version (call version B) and check the result. This is the test they perform to see in which version their goal conversion rate is more. And comparing both the versions they can drive at conclusion of whether to redesign that part of page or not.

First we need to figure out which element to test. And we cant test one variation today and other one tomorrow, because one thing - you will not find the same type of traffic flow two different days and other reason is you cant factor any variables that might have changed between today and tomorrow. For that you need to split the traffic seeing your variations at same time.

A/B testing is not an overnight project. Depending on the amount of traffic we get, we might want to run the tests for few days to a couple of weeks. And you may even wish to run one test at a time for the most accurate results.

A/B testing - try before redesigning your website

A/B testing allows you make more out of your existing traffic. The amount of time required for a reliable test will vary depending on factors like your conversion rates, and how much traffic your website gets

If you're running an A/B test that redirects users from the original URL to a variation URL, use a 302 (temporary) redirect, not a 301 (permanent) redirect. This tells search engines that this redirect is temporary - it will only be in place as long as you're running the experiment.

Once you've concluded the test, you should update your site with the desired content variation(s) and remove alternate URLs or testing scripts. Remember the experiment can be conducted with as many pages as possible.