Friday, 15 March 2013

A/B Testing: What it is and Why you Need it



There’s a lot more to the world of web optimization than SEO and one of the more important areas that’s often overlooked and left in the wake optimization of Google’s search results, is conversion optimization. 

Conversion optimization is essentially the structure and design of a site and how well it caters for and motivates users to convert, sign up or purchase a product. So, how can you improve conversion rates – well A/B testing plays a large part.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is a lot simpler than it sounds. Essentially, testing involves showing users two versions of the site – one the original and one a variant with a tweak. These variations are each displayed to a set number of people and the responses in terms of conversions, bounce rates and other on-site actions will be logged and evaluated. These actions or metrics will be set pre-test, with specific ones used and compared to allow a solid conclusion to be made. 

If one conclusion is deemed as offering a more positive outcome than the other and seems to perform to a better level, generally a change is made and an implementation takes place. 

Customer Needs

A/B testing allows you to quickly get to grips with the preferences of your niche and allow you to offer the best line up possible of products or services in the most attractive way conceivable. Though using specific metrics it’s easier for you to discern what you customer wants, limiting the incidence of trial and error.

Bounce Rates

If bounce rates are high your conversions are generally in trouble. If users come to your page and leave just as quickly, it’s generally a sign that something is wrong and you are not giving the information leads want. This will of course make for fewer conversions and sales and so a less successful website. Good A/B testing can lower bounce rates and encourage people to spend more time on site and convert to leads more often.

Time

One of the most important things with A/B testing is to give it enough time. Like any sort of experiment you need a large enough test to get an accurate result. Testing overnight and garnering information from only a few results may not provide accurate results. The more time you run the test the lower the chance of a skewed result. 

With A/B testing it’s also possible to test more than one thing at once. For instance, if you have more than two variations, then you can perform three separate tests at once – so, A v B, B vs C and C vs A testing. This may take a slightly longer period of time and is a little more complex, but can offer better results If you wish to test a number of variables – this is known as multivariate testing as there is more than an A and B factor involved.

A/B testing can really make a significant difference to your bottom line and be of significant benefit to your site and online work.

Friday, 8 March 2013

UX and Conversions: Hand in Hand



At its most basic understanding, functionality should come before design and this is as true for web development and design, as it is for furniture and clothing.
We’ve often experienced beautiful looking sites with a very much flawed user experience – something that greatly detracts from a site’s use. A site or tool is no use unless it is useful, functional and offers a good UX.

Of course, for site owners, the UX matters so much and the smallest increments can be the main cause of you making a conversion or not. Conversion rate is a dynamic and interesting thing; however there are some constants that will help improve your success rates. 

Saying that, all of the details below should be A/B tested and there should be no guess work in the area of conversions and UX. Work, attention to detail and innovation provide rewards here. 

Visibility

The shopping basket is all powerful here and by showing whether an item has been processed and placed in the basket or not, you will improve conversion rates. All sites should have a cart area, offering the user a view of the relevant information at all times and allowing them to see what’s in their basket. The pop-down cart is one of the best examples of this and makes for an easy and fast offering. Adding carts in contrasting colours also benefits here – so take this into account too. 

Calls to Action

A positive call to action is something that can create the power for conversion and some phrases or calls to action are far more successful than others. For instance, the likes of ‘see more details’ is renowned to be far less effective than ‘add to cart’ or ‘buy now’. It seems that more forward calls to action tend to create a more positive response. Colours also make a difference and once again this all depends on your specific site and though contrasting colours tend to work well, A/B testing is the best determinate of success.

Customisable Search

The more customisable the search, the better the user experience and also the more likely the consumer will find what they require. This adds to the UX and makes the user more comfortable, less stressed and will get the consumer to the point they require faster. In turn, this means they are more likely to complete the sale and make the conversion.

Search Box

One of the increasingly popular functions that can really aid user experience is the auto complete search function. One of the trickiest parts of search at its most basic is spelling. Older search engines tended to show ‘no results’ pages if a spelling was off. However, modern auto complete allows for ghost suggestions before the search is completed and ensures users don’t make a mistake.
Auto-suggest for wrong spellings are also a good idea and helps guide people towards the service or item they are looking for via an alternative. These two aids are renowned for aiding the UX and also significantly increasing conversions and leads,

Overviews

Short and concise overviews of a product speed up the user experience and can also make it far better. Finding out information via hovering over it rather than having to click through a page makes the process a lot easier and lowers bounce rates substantially. 

There are so many other factors to consider when trying improving UX and what works for one does not necessarily work for another and this is why A/B testing is a must. 

So, why not get some help with your experience and consult a professional development company.