If You Are Split Testing Your Site, Read This First.

Split testing is a great way to learn more about how people will behave on your site, how your current customers react and interact with it and how you can increase conversions as well as your average order value (AOV).  When you finally find a design, copy, images, colors, calls to action, etc… that give you a huge boost in revenue, you could get so excited and want to apply it to your site that you may forget a few things.  Before you go live on your main site with the new designs from a split test, remember these things first.

1.  Measure your channels separately.

Just like Google vs. Bing, certain keywords can perform differently.  Every site, although similar, can have different traffic, different demographics and different buying patterns.  When you split test you want to make sure you are accurately measuring each of the paid and unpaid channels to see how each one reacts to your new site design.  What many people do is split test a media buy or PPC campaign because you can send large amounts of traffic fast.  What happens when you apply that to your main site is that you could end up doing some damage to other channels or having less of a growth because you didn’t properly prepare your other channels.

2.  Prepare each channel.

Before your new site design goes live, make sure to prepare each channel you have running.  Change out Affiliate, Media and PPC banners to match your new branding.  Make sure all active campaigns and remarketing campaigns have your new messaging.  If you have reach back or abandonment emails, double check to make sure they have been updated as well and your visitors will land on the new pages as well.  It is important to create a checklist of all marketing channels and to make sure they are all in sync with the new site from the split test.

3.  SEO.

SEO is something that can be damaged easily.  Remember that when you change your design, your copy, etc… you are changing the way that Google sees you as well.  Try to ensure that your copy can still rank for the terms those pages were made for, and that you name the images the same or better as well as keep all urls in tact or use proper 301 redirects on them.  Your new design may convert well, but with no traffic, does it matter?

4.  Let your customers know.

When you are about to launch your new site, set up a couple of email campaigns with your new branding, etc… to let your customers know about it.  This way they will not be confused when they come back and find something completely different.  You may also want to offer a deal for a week or two to not only generate some sales, but also to see how your customers will react to the new site.

5.  Make sure tracking is in place and that you can switch back to your old design.

Although a new design may work in testing, when you combine all channels together and combine with your current customer base, sometimes you end up with a completely different result.  It is important to be able to have your tracking in place, test your new design for a period of time to get an accurate measurement of if it is working.  If it isn’t working, make sure that you can switch back to your old site and copy quickly.  Just because the main site didn’t work out doesn’t mean you cannot use the better converting or higher AOV landing pages for your paid channels.

Just because a split test shows that you could potentially earn more off of each sale or increase your conversion rate, that doesn’t mean that it will work across every channel.  It is important to measure every channel possible in the split test before you apply it to your main site, and to also have a backup plan in case the new site does not work out.  If it doesn’t work out, but the split test still works on some channels, then you can always run the new pages on those channels and still come out ahead.

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