How to do A/B Split Testing with Google’s Website Optimizer

If you double the amount of people who come into your subscriber base, everything else being consistent (in terms of the conversion rates of your auto-responder series and your other marketing efforts), if you had twice as many subscribers, or you had half as many subscribers, think about what that would do to your bank balance? Google Website Optimizer is an amazing functionality to utilize and it’s completely free.

This article will give you a bit of an idea about the power of split testing and what it can do to your conversion rates online. Rather than worry about getting new traffic or working out how to do AdWords, or anything like that, if you simply worked on conversions, you can double your business.

Follow the step by step process on how to get one of these A/B experiments up and running inside Google Website Optimizer.

There are four steps we have to go through to get a successful test up and working.

1. Ensure “variation” + “confirmation” pages are live

The first thing is to ensure the variation and confirmation pages are live on the web. These are the different variations of the page you want to test, plus the confirmation page, which is going to trigger a successful test to Google.

2. Set-up the A/B experiment inside Optimizer

The second thing to do is set up the A/B experiment inside Optimizer – pretty obvious.

3. Insert the javascript into your web pages

Then insert some really simple javascript code into your web pages.

4. Start the test and relax

Start the test, sit back and relax, let Google do the grunt work, and monitor the best results.

First is be familiar inside Google Optimizer and go through the 3-step process of setting up the campaign, putting in the javascript and getting the site live.

Go to the Website Optimizer login page – if you don’t have an account you can sign up for one at: http://www.google.com/websiteoptimizer

And you can use any of your Google accounts, so if you’ve got a GMail account or a WebMaster account or an AdWords account, quite possibly it’s the same login. Just use that login, go through a couple of steps and you’ll be taken to a landing page.

Setting up the Experiment

Assuming you haven’t got any experiments running, you can click Create a New Experiment in the top left-hand corner. Just simply click on A/B Experiment and walk through the steps. The first thing to do is just make sure you’ve got all those conversion pages and variation pages live on the web.

As complex as it may seem, you can type in the name of your test. Let’s say yourbusinessname.com.au.

Then go down and identify the pages that you want to test. If you have the original page, or the control, then we want to put in the variations.

The original page is just ourbusinessname.com.au. And then put in the other variations. These are the other two variations of that opt-in page you want to split-test. So, you may want to have yourbusinessname.com.au/free-videos-2. Click add in another page variation, and that one would be diffrent, say for example yourbusinessname.com.au/free-videos-3.

Now you can continue to add as many variations as you want into the test, so it becomes an A/B/C/D/E/F test. This suggestion is on an A/B test, don’t test more than three or 4 different pages at the same time unless you’re getting significant traffic to your website, because obviously, the more pages you are testing at once, the more traffic each of them needs to get before it becomes a statistically valid test, so only two or 3 variations.

And then what we need to do is put in the actual URL of the conversion page, which is the horribly designed landing page you have probably seen and that’s the URL of it just there.

Once you’ve got all that entered into the fields, all you’ve got to do is click Continue and you have set the test up.

Adding Javascript Code to Web Pages

Now it will give you options more so, in the way you want to insert the javascript tags. There are two options: if you outsource your website development to someone overseas or someone locally or you have a team member who does that for you. The best way to do it is just select Your webmaster will install and validate the JavaScript tags. Click that bullet and it will give you a unique URL that you can copy and paste and send to that developer or webmaster, because that link is a link specifically for you that will tell that webmaster of the 3 or 4 different variations of javascript tags they need to insert into your web pages.

But if you’re going to do it yourself, all you have to do is click that second button and click continue. And then you’re taken to the next step, which is installing and validating the JavaScript Tags page.

First and foremost we want to put in the control script. Paste that immediately after the openingtag of your original pages source code. Now the original page is at yourbusinessname.com.au. Also add in the tracking script at the end of the original page’s source code. Just copy all of that, right click Copy and jump over to DreamWeaver (or similar tools) where you can just scroll to the top of the document and find the start of thetag. Put in some spaces and paste that code in which is the control script.

You can go through that process to cut and paste the bottom tracking code to the end of your control page. You can then go into the variation pages, which are the two different test pages you’re running. Copy the tracking code into the end of that, just before the tag and then also onto the conversion page, you want to put the conversion script. Once you’ve done that, click Validate Pages. Remember that you’ll need to update your changed HTML files onto your server before trying to validate.

Adding Javascript on WordPress

If you’re using WordPress as the platform for your website there’s a really cool plugin that you can use that will take care of all the insertion in a much easier manner. And it’s a plugin called, funnily enough: Google Website Optimizer For WordPress. Here’s how you install that plugin and make that work on your WordPress site.

Go to the Dashboard of your WordPress account. Select the plugins option from the main menu on the left, then click Add a New One and just search for website optimizer. It’ll go off and search the WordPress Database for all the plugins with tags relating to Optimizer.

Install Google Website Optimizer For WordPress. Just click Install Now, it will ask if you’re sure, click OK and it’s installing the plugin. As soon as it’s installed activate that plugin by just simply clicking the Activate Plugin button.

Now that’s done and itís added a new tab at the bottom of all your posts and pages inside your WordPress theme. So if you go now over to pages and scroll down to say, for example, Free Videos 1 and edit that post, you can now see that there’s the Website Optimizer plugin enabled.

Simply click Enable the Google Website Optimizer support for this page and copy and paste the respective codes indicated.

Now go back to the Google Website Optimizer site, to your original page, grab the control script, copy that and paste the control script into the correct section of your WordPress Optimizer plugin options.

Just insert the control script on the control page, obviously. Also copy and paste the tracking script, and you’re done! Now you can hit Update on that blog post to save the changes. After that, go back to your list of Pages and add in the tracking script to the two other variations.

Go back to Website Optimizer, grab that tracking script again, copy and paste it. Now paste the tracking script on the other pages, but make sure you’ve enabled the plugin options. Click Update to save the changes, go across to the third variation of that opt-in page, insert the tracking script, enable the plugin, and click update again.

Now the final thing to do is just add the conversion script onto the conversion page. Go back to your list of Pages, and open the conversion page (the terribly designed conversion page), click Edit, enable the script and add the conversion page script in there and Update that page.

If you go back to Website Optimizer and click Validate Pages. Ensure that code is enabled on all those pages and signal the green ticks.

So that’s basically the process of getting a Website Optimizer test up and running.

As you monitor the results later on, the numbers can get very, very confusing. But if you break it down and look at it, it is a heck of a lot more conversions than you’d have otherwise had. It’s a much more profitable campaign because you’ve used Website Optimizer, and the very basic functionality, the A/B split test option.