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Testing: Where to Begin
Posted By Natalie Hart On February 21, 2011 @ 9:46 am In A/B Testing,Analytics,Improving Conversion,Planning Tools,Website Optimization,conversion optimization | 23 Comments
When you begin testing, it can be an overwhelming experience: where to test, what to test, before you even get to the how to test. If you find yourself in this situation, know that you are not alone, but also know that when done properly, testing can yield a great amount of insight and revenue, so it is worth the investment. We hear a lot of reasons why people are considering one of our OnTarget subscriptions for continuous improvement , but one of the big ones is, “We are having a hard time knowing what to test, or even where to start testing.”
Interestingly enough, you need to start at the end. What I mean by that is you want to begin looking for opportunities to improve at the end of your conversion funnel. For most sites this is the checkout. There are two primary reasons why this is where you should begin:
1. By beginning here you’re focusing on Late Stage visitors  who already are convinced you have a solution for their needs. Even though these Late Stage visitors most likely will be the smallest segment of visitors, they are the segment that have the least number of obstacles between them and converting. Unless you already have 100% conversion from your cart to your checkout, chances are there are some low-hanging fruit in your checkout. These tests can often be run to significance quickly and with minimal effort (as long as your platform allows for changes to be made in your checkout.)
2. The second reason why you should start at the end is because leading visitors to a dead-end won’t be to your benefit. By starting at the last step, and working your way backwards, you ensure that each improvement you make to your funnel, lands potential customers on a page that is ready to convert them, and you see bottom line results more quickly. If you start testing with a page at the beginning of your funnel, without having improved the pages behind it, your hard work still doesn’t yield improvements to y our bottom line: you’ve just brought visitors deeper in your funnel to abandon. You want to ensure that there is a persuasive path created where the scent of one page leads to the next, and the pages visitors are being funneled into are highly performing.
Your funnel is a key area in your initial foray into testing, and having an effective tool for capturing what’s happening in it is essential. Don’t forget, your greatest opportunities to turn a quick buck live here. If you don’t have Google Analytics (GA) yet, get it! There are many GA features I use on a daily basis when testing with my clients, but I couldn’t live without the Google Goals and Funnel Visualization (see snapshot at right). You will need to set up Goals in GA first, and that will activate the Funnel Visualization. If you’re just starting out, set up a shopping cart to checkout goal. It will provide you with a great amount of insight about where to begin testing.
Want more help? Contact us to find out how we can help  you make the most of your website.
Article printed from Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow: http://www.grokdotcom.com
URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2011/02/21/testing-where-to-begin/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/start.jpg
 our OnTarget subscriptions for continuous improvement: http://www.futurenowinc.com/ontarget_subscriptions.htm?utm_source=grokdotcom&utm_medium=blog&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=Where_to_Begin_21Feb2011
 focusing on Late Stage visitors: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2010/03/02/getting-started-with-conversion-rate-optimization/
 Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Funnel3.jpg
 Contact us to find out how we can help: http://www.futurenowinc.com/contactus.htm?utm_source=grokdotcom&utm_medium=blog&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=Where_to_Begin_21Feb2011
 Image: http://twitter.com/home/?status=Testing to improve your site? How to figure out where to start: http://bit.ly/GROK-Where2Start (via @GrokDotCom)
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