test your website design with google optimize

Testing the efficacy of your content and UX design starts with research!  If you’ve already gotten feedback and analyzed your user statistics, it’s time to test your new designs.  Google has been providing for some testing in Analytics Experiments for a while now but they’ve upped their testing chops now with Optimize (free!). Whether it’s a custom-tailored message at checkout or a completely revamped homepage, Optimize will show you which version, button text or color change is changing user behaviour.

You should do this whether you are testing new copy writing, small changes to CTA placements or larger scale redesigns.

I’ve used it with a couple projects now and, while it’s not perfect, it is very easy to set up and doesn’t require a developer.  I have noticed that it takes a pretty decent amount of traffic to see reasonable results and that sometimes the version you set to run 50% doesn’t quite get it’s share.  I guess that’s why Google has Optimize 360 which is the enterprise paid version which they say is more detailed, and it ought to be at a widely romoured USD150,000 a year;)  It has its limitations by being tied to Google Analytics and a few other things you can read about but, by and large, it’s a good starting place for SMEs.

For me the best part is the visual editor and the results laid out nicely (don’t worry, you can see them all in Analytics too).

What You Can Do

  • Three types of test:
    • A/B test – Tests two or more variants of a page. Also called an A/B/n test
    • Multivariate test (BETA) – Tests variants with two or more different sections
    • Redirect test – Tests separate web pages identified by different URLs or paths
  • Define what percentage of your users are included in the experiment and the weight of each variant
  • Choose when your experiment will appear (on a particular page, when the referrer is a certain website, etc)
  • Choose which success objective you’d like to test
    • Bounce rate
    • Time spent
    • Page views
    • Your own goal such as sales conversion, email signup
  • Must be from same domain (e.g. http://digitaldevotee.com/homev1, http://digitaldevotee.com/homev2)
  • Use a visual editor to change text / color / font etc without recoding the page
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