I'm frequently asked about the best way to start testing on a corporate Web site. The options are endless, but until you get started and get all the powers that be within your company aligned with the ideas of constant testing, it can be hard to get started.
There's no right or wrong way to get started, as long as you run tests correctly and that will improve site performance. Let's start with a few key tips, then get into a few great test types to start with.
Where to Start Testing
While we want to focus on what drives your business, there are a lot of ways of doing so. Testing of landing pages from campaigns, partners, and paid search can be a great place to start testing and can return a high ROI (define). Often this traffic is just dumped on a generic landing page, product page, or -- worst of all -- the home page. Take a look at that traffic's bounce rate. You spend all sorts of money on that traffic, then watch it land, turn around, and immediately leave. Test different versions of landing pages that tie specifically to what they clicked on to get them to the site. Try testing different messages based on the creative, type of site they came from, time of day, and day of week. Even doing a few small things to make the page more relevant to visitors can have a big impact.
In my next column, we will dig into another great place to start testing: tuning the message based on whether the user has been to your site before.
Now is the time to test: we're into fall and the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. If your business focuses on consumers, the fourth quarter most likely makes the year for you. Even if you are business-to-business, you know things slow down greatly after mid-November; you want to finish the year strong between now and mid-November. The next few months are key. Get in and make some changes and improve your site. Just a few small changes can have a significant impact.
Be sure to check back to read part two of this series that focuses on tuning your message to first time or returning visitors.
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As the Chief Performance Marketing Officer for POSSIBLE, Jason supports the agency's global Marketing Sciences and Media Services programs.
His primary role is to help POSSIBLE teams and clients use data to craft digital strategies that attract, convert, and retain customers - maximizing ongoing ROI across paid, earned, and owned channels. He believes that brands can better serve their customers by understanding audience behavior, and that messaging should be targeted to individual customers through the use of testing, behavioral targeting, and CRM initiatives.
Jason has written extensively about digital analytics, optimization and digital strategy, including an ongoing column at ClickZ.com. He is the co-author of "Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions," which is one of the leading texts in the field of digital analytics. His client roster includes Microsoft, Nike, Nokia, Dell, Ford, Sony, PayPal/eBay, P&G, Alcoa, Expedia, Mazda, Intel, and Motorola, and more. Jason is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world ranging from the Cannes Lions, Adobe Omniture Summits, eMetrics, SES, ad:tech, BazaarVoice, and many other WPP events.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.
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