Is it that time again? Con­grat­u­la­tions, you’ve decided to refresh your site. Maybe it’s a com­plete change in the user flow or maybe it’s largely cos­metic. Either way a site redesign is (of course) a huge oppor­tu­nity for opti­miza­tion of your most impor­tant con­ver­sion met­rics. Uti­lize Test&Target to max­i­mize your con­fi­dence and under­stand­ing of the per­for­mance impact of the new site.

There are mul­ti­ple uses of T&T with a redesign launch, all of which sup­port very dif­fer­ent goals within this process.

Influ­ence and val­i­date the new site design proposals.

Test to col­lect learn­ings to set direc­tion for the site redesign look, feel, func­tion­al­ity, and flow. If you have been test­ing for a while, read through your results for the past 12 months and com­pile a list of insights to pro­vide direc­tion to your cre­ative agency dur­ing the redesign and revi­sion process. For exam­ple, if pre­vi­ous test­ing has shown “Most Pop­u­lar” mes­sag­ing increased click–through rate on the Home­page Mod­ule, make sure to pro­vide direc­tion that the redesign must include the same promi­nent mes­sag­ing. If you are just start­ing your test­ing pro­gram, test with the new site in mind. If you are think­ing of remov­ing a promi­nent mod­ule on your Home­page, test it now and see how this will impact your KPIs. You may find you really shouldn’t remove that ele­ment which may sway you to update the look instead.

When your cre­ative agency presents mul­ti­ple design pro­pos­als for a page or mod­ule, allow your traf­fic to make the deci­sion which to invest in and ulti­mately push. Your site is too impor­tant for guess­work. Let your vis­i­tors decide! Val­i­date pieces of the redesign before push­ing the com­plete site as a whole. This allows for tweaks and whole improve­ments before final launch. Test­ing in pieces iden­ti­fies low and high per­form­ing ele­ments and its indi­vid­ual impact to vis­i­tors. Using this process, you can con­fi­dently report that updat­ing the sta­tic Home­page hero to a rotat­ing carousel had X impact to Home­page engage­ment. You are essen­tially using test­ing to put a stamp of approval on these changes.

AB test the cur­rent vs new site.

AB test the com­plete cur­rent vs new site in order to under­stand the impact to the bot­tom line and sec­ondary met­rics. Test&Target can be used to redi­rect vis­i­tors on their first touch point and then stay within the new site fun­nel. On each sub­se­quent ses­sion, the vis­i­tor will con­tinue to see the same experience.

AB test­ing will help you under­stand the new site’s impact to what’s most impor­tant. Eas­ily track in real time the impact to con­ver­sion, rev­enue, aver­age order value, and cart addi­tions. Closely mon­i­tor high-level site engage­ment such as Home­page click-through rate and App Starts, and Prod­uct Page views. Iden­tify fric­tions in the user flow and bro­ken links by track­ing page error views. In this way, you can make small adjust­ments or major cor­rec­tions before push­ing the new site to 100% of traffic.

You can also gather direc­tional learn­ings for con­tin­ued opti­miza­tion of the new site. Watch per­for­mance of sec­ondary met­rics such as inter­nal search results or FAQ page views to iden­tify areas of improve­ment for the new site. Learn­ings from this redesign test can fuel imme­di­ate follow-up tests to opti­mize lower per­form­ing areas.

Throt­tle traf­fic slowly from cur­rent to new site.

If you don’t wish to test then con­trol the flow of traf­fic slowly from cur­rent to new site to gauge. Launch your site to a small per­cent­age of traf­fic and mon­i­tor your suc­cess met­rics, drag on servers, and error page vis­its. Slowly increase traf­fic as the Busi­ness feels more com­fort­able that the new site is adjust­ing well to the traf­fic and sup­port­ing the vol­ume as expected. Cor­rect any issues to con­ver­sion while impact is still small!

Com­mon exam­ples are:

  • Ini­tial launch to 10% of traf­fic, increase to 25% after 24 hours, then to 50%, 75% and finally 100% over a week long period.
  • Ini­tial launch to 10%, increas­ing traf­fic steadily by 10% over 9 days to 100%.

After your new site launches have your­self a glass of Shi­raz and smile. Site launches are hard work and a stress­ful time. You’ve prob­a­bly ana­lyzed and shared the per­for­mance data ad nau­seam imme­di­ately fol­low­ing the launch. If the new site is still live then you’ve done good work! But don’t rest on your lau­rels for too long. Con­tinue to optimize!

Con­sider adding major influ­en­tial ele­ments from the pre­vi­ous site to the new site while you still have that momen­tum. Take advan­tage that you have your leadership’s full atten­tion and pro­pose a 6 month plan of opti­miza­tion for the new site.

Test­ing is valu­able as well as fun. Happy testing!


About the author: Christi Ter­je­sen is an Opti­miza­tion Man­ager with Adobe Dig­i­tal, a full ser­vice web opti­miza­tion team within Adobe Con­sult­ing. She helps clients in all ver­ti­cals increase con­ver­sion rate and pro­duce ROI through their test­ing pro­grams. She is a cer­tifed Adobe Test&Target expert based out of New York City.