Thanks to one of my favourite tactics for increasing the number of leads I generate with my sites, it’s very possible to double the amount of visitors you convert into subscribers – with just 10 minutes of work – today. The process also makes the challenge of attracting new customers far easier to conquer.
It’s one of the most effective tactics used to grow internet empires yet there’s a good chance you’re not even using it. People who have been in the internet marketing world for a while now will know what I’m referring to, but for everyone else, allow me to introduce you to Split-Testing. The basis for another in-depth tutorial and exclusive ViperChill case study.
Split testing, in it’s simplest form, is testing elements of a web page against each other, to see which convince more visitors to perform a desired action. For example, you may want to see which eBook cover graphic on a free giveaway page tempts more people to give you their email address.
The reason that marketers like myself split test is pretty simple: We can make a lot more money and convert more visitors into subscribers, without having to get more traffic.
For a few years I strayed away from split testing, assuming that it was too complex for me to implement or I just wasn’t getting enough website visitors for it to matter. I was wrong. My income has increased dramatically thanks to split-testing, and it’s something you can implement on your website today with ease.
I’m going to first show you some of my own split test examples, then talk about how you can set-up split testing yourself, and finally cover which page elements I recommend that you test the most.
There is a page on this site where I give away a free eBook on how I grew ViperChill to over 10,000 subscribers in 12 months. I send visitors to the page mostly through this site, but also through purchasing Solo Ads on Warrior Forum. I talk more about Solo Ads in this video if you want to learn more about them.
For this split test all I changed was the words in the headline of the page. Here is how they compared. Note: To interpret the following figures be aware that 54.2% means, for example, 54 out of every 100 visitors would convert (give away their email address) using this headline variation.
Headline #1: “Discover How You Can Grow Your Blog to 10,000+ Subscribers in Just 12 Months” 24.2% Conversion Rate
Headline #2: “My Free PDF Reveals How to Get 10,000+ Blog Subscribers in Just 12 Months” 34.3% Conversion Rate
Headline #3: “Discover How This Very Blog Grew to 10,000+ Subscribers in Just 12 Months” 54.2% Conversion Rate
In the initial stages the figures were actually the total opposite to what they are now. The bottom headline converted the best for warm and cold traffic (people who had never been to ViperChill before) in the end.
I also tested a version of this page with no white bar in the header, leaving no way for a visitor to click off the page. Even after hundreds of conversions, there was no statistically significant difference between having the header and not having it.
When I launched CloudBlogging I also shared an interesting statistic about people who were visiting my sales page and actually purchasing the product. Even though there were over 4,000 words on the sales page, changing just the ‘Add to Cart’ button that people had to click on to purchase the product made a dramatic difference.
Making the button stand out more and changing the wording above it improved the conversion rate by 39%. The button style with the dashes around it is known as a “Belcher Button” as it was made popular by the marketer Perry Belcher.
Not only do I test the pages that convert visitors into subscribers or customers, I also perform ‘split test broadcasts’ when sending out emails with Aweber. This allows me to see which variations of a message get the most opens and entice people to click on links.
I could then use that headline again in the future for new subscribers, or even just keep it in mind for use in a future blog post.
Negativity in subject lines always seems to help me get more opens due to its emotional impact. If you’re going to use this though, I recommend you do so sparingly.
The reason I split test is simply because I can make more money and convert more visitors into subscribers with the same amount of traffic. Though in the later stages of your testing it’s usually easier to double the traffic you send to the page than it is to double your conversion rate, you can make a big impact in the early days.
I said at the end of CloudBlueprint that the people who split-test and optimize their whole marketing strategy the most are generally the people I know who make the most money. If I was personally starting from scratch when it comes to making money online I would follow the Blueprint strategy and do nothing but conversion rate optimisation.
If you can optimise your squeeze and/or pitch pages to get great conversion rates, and then do the same with your sales pages, you put yourself in a much better position than your competitors in your niche. Most people simply don’t do any split-testing on their pages, and they’re really missing out.
There is no reason not to be optimising the conversion rate of your website. After all, you can create tests in minutes, for free, and test virtually anything on your pages. Things like clicks on certain links, people purchasing products, or people filling in sections of a form can be tracked with ease.
There are two tools that I personally recommend when it comes to split-testing. They are Google’s own Google Website Optimizer which is a free tool, and Visual Website Optimizer which is a paid tool.
The different between the two is a little like the difference between Google Analytics and GetClicky. Many of us are moving over to Clicky for the real-time analytics side of things, which enables us to react to traffic spikes as they happen (and convert more visitors).
If I’m totally honest, the real time aspect of VWO was not actually enough to tempt me to pay for their service. Though, I am more than happy to since it’s a great solution overall. Whenever I try to use Google Website Optimizer it just never seems to work for me. Granted, I haven’t tried in a couple of weeks, but I could only ever get it to track a few conversions before it would stop updating (even when I knew there were hundreds).
I looked for help with the service online and found people in a similar situation, but no resolution in sight. It was then that I signed up for the free (for 30 days) version of VWO and have used it ever since. If Google Website Optimizer works for you then that should be more than enough for your needs.
There are multiple ways to test variations of a page design. Multivariante testing, for example, changes multiple elements of your page on the fly, to find the combination which converts the most visitors. A/B split testing, which is what I mostly use, sends traffic between two different URL’s where you can test varying designs.
When I launched Cloud Blogging, some people were taken to CloudBloggingHQ.com while others were taken to CloudBloggingHQ.com/hq/ and similar URL’s. Each page included variations of certain elements like the headline I used. This is so I could test which version of the sales page convinced more people to purchase the product. I ended up changing 8 elements from the original page very early on and made more money for doing so. I still have more things I want to test.
When split testing, it’s important to test as few elements as you can at a time. Ideally, you should only ever be testing one change against another. I prefer to take my time with the whole process so I can get a high-converting page which will benefit me over the long-term.
When you sign up to either of the two tools above, you’ll need to go through their own wizards which help you create your first test. If this is your first time, then I would set-up a split URL test / A/B Test, and then create another page on your site, slightly different to the one you want to improve.
A small guide to split testing using WordPress as your CMS, can be found below…
Add all of your code just before the closing < / head > tag and save the file.
If you want to perform big changes in terms of variations then it’s not always easy to do so with the typical WordPress WYSIWYG page editor. I highly recommend OptimizePress to anyone who wants to be able to style squeeze page and sales pages easily so they can vary different elements.
Shown above, OptimizePress is a popular theme for WordPress which I’ve mentioned a few times on this site. It really does take the pain out of creating sales and squeeze pages.
Another alternative is to create static HTML files on your site. For the 10,000 Subscribers eBook page, that’s exactly what I did. All you have to do is go to the blog post / page that will be the original page alongside your variation and view its source code. You can do this on any browser by going to the necessary variation of View > Page Source. Then, copy all of that code into a text editor (I use TextWrangler, for Mac) and save the file.
If you need some ideas on what to split test, then keep reading…
The three most common elements things I like to split test are…
The best thing about split-testing is that you really can test as many things as you want. You can see which sidebar variation convinces people to opt-in to your blog or just get more people signing up for your freebies on your about page. The only limit to this is your imagination.
If you have any questions about this, please feel free to ask me in the comments below. If you understand everything then you’re now in a position to get a lot more out of the traffic your sites currently receive.