When visitors arrive on your company’s website, you want them to take action. Depending on your business, that “action” may be many different things, from filling out a contact form to making a purchase.
Regardless, you should improve your site to make converting as easy as possible for your visitors. The best way to do this is with conversion rate optimization.
One of the simplest ways to optimize a site is with A/B testing, or by creating two versions of the same element and showing them to real visitors to see which performs better. As you run these tests on different parts of your site, you’ll be able to optimize each page for a higher conversion rate.
Before you get started, though, you’ll need to select a tool to help you set up, monitor, and review your tests. There are many available online, but the following four are our top picks at WebFX.
1. Google Content Experiments
If you’re just starting with A/B tests, Google Content Experiments are perfect for you. They’re entirely free to run and integrate directly with Google Analytics.
For a standard A/B test, you create two versions of a page, determine how long you want the test to run, and set a percentage of your site traffic to experiment with. However, if you have multiple versions of a page, the platform will allow you to test up to 10.
After your test has run for the set amount of time, you’ll be able to see which version got the most conversions and each page’s probability of outperforming the original one.
Based on this information, you can implement the winning page permanently.
Cost: $49 – $999/month
Unlike Google Content Experiments, which require you to create your own pages, Visual Website Optimizer allows you to create variations of your pages within the platform using a WYSIWYG interface. After you copy and paste a “smart code” into the head of your website, there’s no HTML knowledge required.
You can use simple drag-and-drop style tools to alter buttons, text, colors, photos, and other elements. Then, VWO will run the tests without altering the actual code on your site.
You can monitor your tests as often as you like to see which variations are performing best. You can also use additional tools like personalized content (based on a visitor’s location or device) and heatmap testing.
Although running tests with VWO does not require HTML knowledge, implementing the winning variation does. Once you’ve determine a winner, you’ll need to alter the original page manually.
It’s certainly easier to just let the VWO version run permanently, but stopping the test and changing the original page instead will prevent your site from experiencing any slow load times.
Cost: Free – “Custom”
Much like VWO, Optimizely allows you to run tests without altering your site manually. Instead, you can use the platform to create “overlays” of the original page. Just place their “snippet” in the head of your site, and you can run tests on any page.
Optimizely’s tools make it easy to create and test different versions of your pages, and their free version offers everything you need to run basic A/B tests. They also create custom plans for professional users who want more features, like multi-page testing, visitor segmentation, and custom reports.
Cost: $49 – $199/month
Although Unbounce is technically a landing page creation tool, it also allows users to run A/B tests. Because of this, it’s a good choice to optimize your landing pages.
You can alter your calls to action, copy, images, and video on your page. If you have a contact form or other type of form, you can vary the number of fields, as well as the number of steps required to complete it.
Once you’ve created your pages, you’ll see the results in the form of their conversion rates.
If the landing pages are for specific campaigns or offers, you may not even need to make the changes permanent on your site. Let Unbounce run the optimized page as long as you need, then simply remove it from your site when you no longer need it.
Which tool is right for you?
All four of the tools above are great options for running A/B tests, but the one that’s best for your company depends on your needs.
If you’re looking to run a simple test and have the HTML ability to create pages yourself, Google Content Experiments are all you need.
If you’d rather use an editor to cut down on time, Optimizely is a solid choice. And if you’re looking for advanced reporting tools or landing-page-specific features, you can’t go wrong with VWO or Unbounce.
Now that you’ve selected the right tool, it’s time to start testing! Need a little more guidance? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing.