11 Şubat 2010 Perşembe

Designing your experiment

Before you use the Website Optimizer tool, you'll need to spend some time designing the scope of your experiment. These are the critical decisions you and your team will need to make:

Choose your test page. This is the page that you'll be optimizing by making changes with Website Optimizer. Your test page needs to offer an action that your visitor can take, like a purchase, download, or sign-up. This action can often be in the form of a link to another page on your site.

For your first experiment, we suggest you choose a test page that receives a high volume of traffic, such as your landing page, so you can see meaningful results quickly. You might wish to pick a page that you drive traffic to using AdWords, or a page that has a low conversion rate which you'd like to increase.

Choose your conversion page. This is the page that represents business results for you - whether it's the page where a user makes a purchase, fills out an interest form, or downloads a white paper. Learn more.

If you chose a test page with a link to another page on your site, choosing your conversion page is easy: it's the page a visitor sees when they click on the test page link. If the test page has more than one link, pick the one likely to get the most traffic. As with the test page, you will need to enter the URL for this page later.

For this first experiment, it's not quite so important what the link does -- whether it takes the visitor to a sign-up page, a product specification, runs some script, or some other action. In future experiments, though, the conversion you choose to track should define how you measure the success of your test page.

Choose what type of test is right for you. Website Optimizer offers two types of tests: A/B and multivariate. A/B tests compare the performance of two entirely different pages, so you can try out different layouts, move around sections of the page, or change the overall look and feel of a page. These tests are simpler and take less time to obtain results. Multivariate tests, on the other hand, are more flexible and robust. A multivariate test allows you to test content variations in different sections of your page simultaneously. For example, you could try out two different headlines, three different images, and two different product descriptions.

Select which content you want to test. Throughout this guide, we'll be working with a multivariate example experiment using a test page headline and an image as our page sections. Pinpoint those sections on your test page; you'll need to identify them specifically later in the experiment set-up process. You can find some suggestions on what to test in our FAQ or Best Practices. If you're doing an A/B test, you won't need to choose specific content.

Create the content variations you want to test. If you're doing a multivariate test, once you've identified the headline and image you'll be testing, you need to come up with at least one variation for each. During the experiment, visitors will see either the original content or the new variation. This is so the experiment can determine which variation of the content leads to more people taking the desired action and reaching your conversion page.

Try to come up with variations that are significantly different from the original content -- experiments where the variation and original are very similar tend to get inconclusive results. For example:

Original headline: Welcome!
Variation headline: You are entering...the Red Zone

Original graphic:
Variation graphic:

Notice that the originals are unassuming, generic. The variations are more intriguing, even provocative. Visitors will likely have very different reactions to each. The goal of the experiment is to find out which reaction is most advantageous to you.

If you're performing an A/B test, you'll need to create the alternate versions of your test page. Because you create the alternate versions, you have complete flexibility when it comes to what you'd like to try out. During the experiment, visitors will see either your original test page or one of the alternate variations you've created. Website Optimizer will measure the performance of each version of the page to determine which variation leads to more people taking the desired action and reaching your conversion page.

Decide how much of your traffic you want to include in your experiment. When the experiment goes live, visitors to your website will see either the original content or the new variations. You can choose to limit the percentage of visitors who will see the new variations. Keep in mind, however, that by limiting the percentage of visitors participating in the experiment, you are also lengthening the amount of time it will take for the experiment to give you meaningful results. So if your test page and conversion page get limited traffic, you will likely want to include 100% of your visitors.

Now that you've made the crucial decisions for your experiment, you can access the Website Optimizer tool and start creating it.

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