How to Conduct A/B Tests for WordPress Blogs

“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”
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“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” – Lord Kelvin

Ever wondered how many visitors are interested in knowing about you? How many of them click ‘About’ page on your site?

Qn: What’s the right copy – ‘Signup’ or ‘Register’? Which one is the right text to increase registration to your site?

Qn: Which one will drive maximum subscription to your newsletter?Receive Posts in Inbox’ or ‘Receive Posts in Inbox for Free’ –

While you and I can debate on the correct message, nothing is more valid than data spitting the truth.

As your blog grows beyond those regular posts and you enter a ‘content platform’ game,  you would need to optimize your site design and content for maximum conversion.

If your blog is running on WordPress, this article will help you do conduct A/B testing on your blog and find the right elements that can take your site to the next level.

But before that, let me warn you that the most important prerequisite of any A/B testing is to

  • Clearly define the outcome – What exactly do you wanna track?
  • Have a critical mass of users so that sampling is more meaningful.

If your blog receives less than, say 1,000 visitors a day – the sample size is probably too small for you to conduct A/B testing.

So ensure that there is a critical mass and do come up with a clear and precise conversion  statement.

The easiest (and cheapest, i.e. free) way to get started with A/B testing is Google Website Optimizer.

Google Website Optimizer(GWO) is a free tool that lets you conduct A/B tests and optimize the site content/design based on user actions.

We recommend that you use GWO to conduct the A/B testing for simple reasons that a) it is free, and b)integrated with Google Analytics enabling you to track conversions. There are a few other paid services like VisualWebsiteOptimizer which offer a lot more than GWO, but for getting started, lets go ahead with Google.

Here is a step-by-step guide for WordPress users

  • First you need to create an experiment in Google Website Optimizer site.
  • Create a Multivariate Testing [avoid A/B as it mandates that you create different version of the same post/page].
  • Download/Activate this plugin.
  • Wherever you want to track the conversion, add the necessary code (from Google Optimizer site experiment page) to the post section (look at the screenshot below)

Ensure that Google is able to track the test and once verified, you will be able to track the results on the analytics page itself.

We did a few tests in the last week that mainly catered to the groups section as well as header links and have quite a few interesting observations to share (more on that later, once we have conducted more tests).

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