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Friday, Dec. 8, 2006 at 6:23 am

Four Steps to More Effective Web Site Testing

By Bryan Eisenberg
December 8th, 2006

We’re thrilled that Google’s getting into the testing game with a new service called Website Optimizer. The service will be gratis to all Google advertisers. Just as Google Analytics had a major effect on how e-tailers viewed analytics, so this service will open the world of testing to a much broader audience. Testing is more action-oriented (and should therefore appeal to even more people) than straight analysis. However, some level of analysis is still required.

This is long overdue. We were fortunate to be an early beta tester of the system and are impressed with several features.

Making a decision to test is simple. But making that decision alone won’t deliver better online results.

In over 10 years of optimizing sites for our clients, we’ve identified over 1,100 factors that contribute to a customer’s ability to successfully complete a single conversion funnel.

Multiply that by the number of campaigns, offers, products, keywords, visitor motivations, visitor types, and several other elements and the number of contributing factors becomes astronomical. When you consider most of these factors as potential variants to test and optimize for, you must conclude determining what and how to test campaigns for maximum return takes plenty of thought, planning, and effort.

Fortunately, not all factors are equal in their ability to drive success. There are many things you can do to stack these factors in your favor.

If you’re new to testing, begin with A/B testing rather than multivariate. Although it may feel limiting and takes more time, you’re likely to get more sound scientific data with which to determine your optimization efforts. It also allows you to gain experience testing with proper methods.

Continue reading my column at ClickZ…

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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