While A/B testing is one of the most important jobs of any website designer, it's safe to say it's not everyone's favourite thing to do. Why? Mostly because it's not a quick fix for higher performance; it's a long, complex process that takes perseverance and experience to master. But once you do, well, the results will speak for themselves.
If A/B testing isn't your forté, and you're not sure what kind of A/B tests are the most important, then you're in the right place. In this A/B testing guide, we're dishing out what we deem the most essential A/B tests of them all. So even if you're not a seasoned A/B tester, you and your clients will rest peacefully knowing you're covering the most vital ones.
Now, before we get into our top most essential A/B tests to run on your clients' website, let's give you a little refresher on why we A/B test and some of the basics you need to know before you get started. (You might already know these, so feel free to skip down to our essential A/B tests.)
So, why A/B test at all? Is it really that important?
Is A/B testing important? Only if you want to deliver the best results for your clients, keep them happy (and off your back,) and continuously improve your website's performance. If you're reading this blog, we assume you want those things - so yeah, it's preeetty important.
Here are some of the other vital reasons for A/B testing:
Better ROI: By constantly testing your landing pages and website to see what works and what doesn't, you're removing more and more roadblocks to conversion - meaning more sales and return on investment.
Identify issues: Perhaps in your A/B test, you'll realise you have too many CTAs or internal links, which confuse your website visitors, or your image sizing is too big for mobile. Testing helps web designers find conversion roadblocks or errors we didn't notice before.
Reduce cart abandonment: If you have eCommerce clients, you'll know how important it is to figure out why people are adding to the cart but not buying anything. A/B testing is how you find that out!
Increase retention: The more A/B tests you run, the more engaging, conversion-driven, and user-friendly your client's websites will be - all factors that greatly contribute to higher customer retention rates.
A/B testing - the basic stuff you need to know
Okay, so let's begin with a very top-level definition of what A/B testing actually is: A/B testing is a way to compare two versions of a single variable, typically by testing a website user's response to variant A against variant B.
A/B test example: You design two versions of the same landing page. One has a blue call to action button, and the other has a red one. Everything else is the same. You send half of your traffic to the blue button page and the other half to the red button. Then you see what button got the most action.
Here's a healthy reminder of some A/B testing best practices:
Run your tests for over a week
Don't pick a winner prematurely
Bigger changes have more impact
Never test without a hypothesis
Run tests for comparable periods
Test one element at a time
Choose data over gut feelings
Never stop A/B testing
You get the gist, so let's move on to the reason you're here: our top 6 essential A/B tests.
Essential A/B tests you can't not run for your clients
If we were to list every A/B test you could carry out to increase performance, you'd be reading this blog for days - even months. So to narrow your focus, we're honing in on the 6 A/B testing essentials out of an infinite list of possibilities - prioritise these A/B testing subjects, and we know you'll see great results.
P.S: If you haven't read our "How to choose an A/B testing strategy that works for any WordPress website" blog, now's your chance!
1. Navigation A/B tests
Ease of navigation is a vital part of user-friendliness, so make sure you test as many navigation components as possible to remove conversion roadblocks and make your client's websites as smooth as possible to flick through.
For example, you could A/B test:
Top menu vs a side menu
Floating menu vs fixed menu
More product categories vs less
2. CTA A/B Tests
If you don't test your CTA's, you're missing out on one of the best opportunities to increase conversions for your clients. So, what kind of things can you test regarding CTAs? You'd be surprised by how much impact your CTA size, colour, shape, placement, frequency, and the copy can have on visitor behaviour - so play around with these elements.
Some more CTA A/B test ideas:
CTA placed above vs below the fold
A bright colour vs a more muted one
Round shape vs square shape
3. Headline A/B Tests
With website users turning into a mass of digital "skimmers" (i.e. they never read every word but scan through page content for important points), your headlines are super important to get right and grab people's attention.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Short vs long headline
Positive vs negative headline
Client benefit vs USP-based
4. Popup A/B tests
Popup banners for email sign-ups, special discounts, or even competitions can go a long way in securing more conversions. But they can also have the opposite effect and annoy your audience when you don't "pop" them up the right way.
Some popup A/B tests to try:
60-second delay vs 2-minute delay
50% discount vs £10 off
Small popup vs large popup
5. Image and video A/B tests
The images and videos you choose for a client's website can make a massive difference in user engagement and conversion rates, which is precisely why they made our essentials list. Maybe your audience reacts better to a shorter, snappier explanatory video, whereas others might like more detail. You won't know until you A/B test, of course!
Visual A/B testing ideas:
Female vs male in the image
Object vs person-based image
Video with music 1 vs music 2
6. Checkout page A/B test
For your eCommerce clients, A/B testing the checkout page can be the difference between average profits and sky-high revenue. This is where many people drop off, change their minds, or get frustrated with the checkout process and leave, so testing as many elements as possible here should be a top priority.
Some checkout A/B test ideas:
Show progress vs don't show progress
Upsell at checkout vs no upsells
Add customer reviews vs hide them
Too busy for A/B testing? Wish there was an easier way to do them?
A/B testing can easily fall to the bottom of your priority list, especially when you're super busy with new projects incoming and a long list of demanding clients! So we hope this A/B testing guide has at least helped you to focus on the essential A/B tests and go from there.
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