Your landing pages are where you convert visitors into leads or customers, depending on your goals. Split testing is the way you change a decent landing page into a great landing page. It is with split testing that you tweak all the small details of a landing page until it is performing optimally. Conducting split testing will show you what changes you need to make so you are optimizing based on data and not just guessing.
How Split Testing Works
Split testing is pretty simple. You make a new landing page with a single change in its design. Then you launch both versions and send half of your traffic to one site and half to the other. If the new site does significantly better than the original, then you know you need to make that change to the final version of the page. Most tools we use to design landing pages offer this feature.
You may wonder why you shouldn’t make multiple changes and test them all at once. While this would save some time, it would render the test almost valueless. You would have no idea which changes were the ones responsible for the change in conversions. A single, highly effective new element might be hiding a number of ineffective elements that you would do better without, or vice versa.
Split Testing Procedure
Start with the call to action button. It is one of the most important elements on the page. Take a look at the button you use and ask yourself if it might work better if it were a different color, bigger, or in a different location. Ask yourself if different text in the button might work better. Then test these changes, one at a time.
Images are a major factor in driving sales, so spend some time thoroughly testing the images you use. Try different subjects, different sizes, different color schemes, and different placements. Ask yourself questions like, “Would different expressions on people’s faces work better?” and “Would more vibrant colors or more muted colors do better?”
Next, come your headings and subheadings. These will be what catch your visitors’ attention first, so each one needs to be as effective as possible. Experiment with different wordings, always trying to get the most impact out of the fewest words. Each header and subheader should make your visitors want to read more. Also, try different fonts and different sizes.
As part of your header testing, you should look at analytics that shows how long visitors spend on the page. Longer times might mean they are reading more, which could be a clue that the new headers are working well. To find your avg time on page metrics go to Behavior > All Content > All Pages. To add your landing pages to the report, click above the first column in the secondary dimension box and do a search for the landing page.
Average Time on Page
Keep in mind that avg. time on page is only calculated when Google has an entrance page and an exit page to compare. Average time spent on page is calculated by taking the difference between timestamps. Each time you click on a new page Google Analytics timestamps it. So for example, if a user clicks on only two pages before leaving the site it can only measure the first page.
This is because the first page received a timestamp upon opening and the second page then receives a timestamp when opened giving Google Analytics the ability to take the time difference between those two pages. But if the third click was to close the browser or go to another website, Google will not have a timestamp on a new page to calculate the time spent on the second page.
So while this doesn’t count everyone who spends time on your page it does give you some indication.
Setting up event tracking, using tools such as Google Tag Manager, will give you more accurate information for page interactions. Setting up events such as scroll depth, clicks on buttons, or an event that fires every 20 seconds if they are still on the page, will improve your time on page accuracy. These settings are more advanced and additional learning is needed to set them up. If you would like to learn what numbers are actually important to measure, how to measure and understand them, and then how to pull it all together in a way that tells a story check out Measure & Maximize.
Don’t forget to check out your checkout process, if you have one. If the process is too long or confusing, you’re probably losing customers who just quit in frustration before completing their purchases. If you accept coupon codes, make sure there is a highly visible option for entering them. Change the placement of the different buttons. Try different menu options. Vary everything you can think of.
Running Your Split Tests
If you are not a computer programmer, this part may seem mystifying. (If you are, it should seem pretty obvious.) Fortunately, there are online tools that can help. Google Analytics has a split test feature. There are also several website optimizer services that offer the same feature. We also have a crash course in Google Analytics to get your account optimized so you can start using insights confidently today.
Running split tests is time-consuming if you do it right. You must painstakingly test a great number of small details. However, your reward will be a superior landing page that has been optimized to appeal to your target demographic, making the time spent testing, time very well spent indeed!