One of the best things to have come from the current economic downturn has been a renewed interest in making sure that we’re maximizing our online results. Quite frankly every visitor is extremely important and we need to make sure that we’re doing everything possible to connect with each and every website visitors. I wish I could say this focus has always been a priority, but in all my years of online marketing and web development website traffic optimization I believe nearly every organization struggles with website optimization. I first have to clarify that I’m talking about website user optimization and not search engine optimization. Website optimization, for the sake of this article, is primarily focused around the concept of maximizing the user experience with your website content through a series of variables or restraints. In other words, you’re testing various components on your website to see what provides users with the best possible result. For example, what homepage copy get’s the best response or what graphic is best able to engage with your website visitors.
Most marketing professionals are familiar with the concepts of split testing, A/B testing and other forms of message testing, but the execution of these strategies can seem daunting. In fact, this is why many websites fail to change regularly and why many marketing communication professionals feel like their hands are tied when it comes to this vital marketing strategy. We saw the use of website user optimization really begin to aggressively push forward as organizations began to leverage landing pages as part of their search engine marketing strategy. In many cases, landing pages provided marketing professionals with a blank canvas to test messages and graphic elements to see what provided the greatest return. In some cases, this “return” translated into sales or lead generation or in some cases it might have just been a better user experience with higher visitor engagement.
As you may have heard us mention at other times we are a big proponent of user testing using a tool like UserTesting.com. However, while usertesting.com excels as providing user feedback to established designs it is typically not an ideal solution for being able to do A/B or multivariate testing. For advanced testing of different versions of your website content we have found Visual Website Optimizer to be one of the best services available. Visual Website Optimizer is designer primarily for marketers who need a tool that is easy to use and that requires little to no IT support. What makes Visual Website Optimizer such a powerful tool is that it allows you to overlay your test over top of your existing site without necessarily having to modify any of your website core programming.
Visual Website Optimizer In Action
From our experience we’d recommend starting with a simple A/B test with a very simple distinction between two options. We’d be happy to walk you through the process of setting up the core elements of your test and even show you some examples of what we’ve done for Zephoria and the results we’ve seen.
Visual Website Optimizer
Pricing: Starts at $49 per month for up to 10,000 visitors being tested per month
Pros: We found the platform extremely easy to use and very compelling. Another strong pro is that besides A/B testing you also get access to some extremely powerful multivariate testing, split URL testing and the option to establish behavioral and geo targeting variables to customize your test results.
Cons: Doing your first test is probably the most difficult thing to do, but we’d be happy to walk you through your most basic test as well as show you our access into the tool and how we have used this tool to help improve website user experience. The tool does have some usability testing features, but we have found these to be not quite as powerful as you’d find with UserTesting.com.