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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When doing business online, every little bit helps - especially when it comes to conversions. Google website optimizer is a free marketing tool that that I've used to help me test like webpages, determining which page can produce a more effective result.

Google optimizer allows you to perform two types of split tests on your website:

1. A/B split testing - Choose 2 pages on your website to split test. 50% of your visitors will see page A. The other 50% will see page B.

2. Multivariate testing - Allows you to break your web page up into blocks and show different content (in different combinations) for each block.

For most marketing professionals and website owners, A/B split testing is easy to understand. For example, you might keep your current home page, page A, and create a new version of it with different introductory text and colors. Google website optimizer will show page A or page B randomly to website browsers. When they buy from your webpage a conversion will be recorded and show you which page the customer saw, A or B.

Multivariate testing seems to confuse a lot of people but is really just a way to test different combinations of content on a page. The end result shows you which combination of content generates the most conversions.

One way to think about multivariate testing by considering that your page is divided into multiple blocks of content. You would us multivariate testing to randomly show different combinations of content for each block and, based on conversions, determine which combination of blocks drove more sales on my website.

After using multivariate testing, Google website optimizer provides you with the "winning combination" of content with actual behavioral data. Once you find the winning campaign, you go live with that page format and content. Then, you start your next test, continually trying to improve conversion rates.

This type of testing, either A/B or multivariate can help you succeed online. The key is to keep testing.


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