I thought for this post I would build on the theme of col­lab­o­ra­tion that Lily Chiu dis­cussed in her post It Takes a Test­ing Vil­lage. As a cit­i­zen of this Test­ing Vil­lage myself, I thought it could be help­ful to put together a list of web­site test ideas that I hope will be sup­ple­mented by all my fel­low Test­ing Vil­lage cit­i­zens out there like you. Test ideas are not too hard to come by once you get started with test­ing. When those ini­tial test results arrive and the learn­ings are shared, many ideas present themselves.

The ini­tial learn­ings will allow you to run fol­low up tests on other areas of your site to recon­firm the find­ings and also allow you to fur­ther lever­age the gains. The learn­ings could also present an oppor­tu­nity to run a cham­pion chal­lenger test by try­ing new con­tent against your new win­ner. Seg­ment analy­sis of your tests is another way to get the ideas flow­ing. You will see that these dif­fer­ent seg­ments can respond dif­fer­ently to test con­tent. When this hap­pens you will be pre­sented with many oppor­tu­ni­ties to lever­age those gains and learn more about these seg­ments of traf­fic which will even lead to more wins and test­ing ideas. But if you haven’t tested before, where would you start? When you step back and real­ize that you have an entire web­site to opti­mize it can be daunt­ing to decide where to dive in first.

Many com­pa­nies that I work with like to start with opti­miz­ing the traf­fic they are pay­ing for. This includes paid search traf­fic, email traf­fic as well as any affil­i­ate traf­fic. These areas are incred­i­ble areas to start with and are rel­a­tively easy to set up using tar­get­ing. These paid seg­ments of traf­fic shouldn’t be the sole focus of your opti­miza­tion efforts though. There are many other oppor­tu­ni­ties to opti­mize traf­fic that could lead to even big­ger returns on your investment.

Some of the best ideas that I see tested often come not from Mar­keters but rather the Cre­ative, Devel­op­ment, and IT groups within an orga­ni­za­tion. These groups live and breathe the con­tent and the set up of their web­site and they often have strong opin­ions as to what and how con­tent gets placed. Test­ing allows them to val­i­date their opin­ions or encour­ages a visit back to the draw­ing board. For these groups of peo­ple, I find the best approach to get the ideas flow­ing is dur­ing or after a walk through of the tech­nol­ogy used to test.

Just three weeks ago I was doing a kick off with a client where we were review­ing land­ing page oppor­tu­ni­ties for paid traf­fic when one of their IT man­agers who was in the room asked if the test­ing plat­form can be used to solve one of their inter­nal site issues. They have a site where the con­tent and prices are deter­mined by your sta­tus after log­ging in. For quite some time they wanted a way to mer­chan­dize spe­cific con­tent to these dif­fer­ent groups of peo­ple. After a quick review of how pro­files work, they have a few tests lined up that will show spe­cific con­tent based on their vis­i­tors logged in sta­tus. Since the vast major­ity of their traf­fic is return­ing vis­i­tors the poten­tial gains here could sig­nif­i­cantly out way any gains on paid traffic.

Test­ing does not have to live in a silo, nor should it. If you want to get the biggest bang out of your test­ing buck the best approach is coor­di­nate really well and have all stake­hold­ers of the web­site present ideas and test them. The shar­ing of test results is also key to mak­ing this happen.

Each site is dif­fer­ent though. They dif­fer in terms of traf­fic and what their key suc­cess met­rics are. For some spe­cific ideas on your par­tic­u­lar web­site I invite you to share your site with me and the other cit­i­zens here and we can look at it together here or in the Web­site Opti­miza­tion Group. In the mean­time, here are some gen­eral test ideas that could apply to many of the sites out there.

Acqui­si­tion:

  • Ban­ner test­ing — opti­mize ads placed on third party sites such as affil­i­ate or media sites
  • Route test­ing — send your paid traf­fic to dif­fer­ent land­ing pages to see what works best (home page, cat­e­gory or prod­uct page, or even inter­nal search results page)
  • Ban­ner Rein­force­ment — rein­force ad or paid mes­sag­ing con­tent on the land­ing page or through­out every page the vis­i­tor can go to. (Mul­ti­page test­ing is quite inter­est­ing and has deliv­ered some pretty pow­er­ful results)
  • Find your best search ad — run a mul­ti­vari­ate test on the head­lines, copy, and links. This allows you to quan­tify the impact of each of these elements!!
  • Grow your email data­base — test loca­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion of email reg­is­tra­tion forms. Test pos­si­ble incen­tives to reg­is­ter­ing. (another cool use of pro­files is remov­ing this form all together if vis­i­tors already reg­is­tered thus free­ing up real estate for more content
  • Email test­ing I — include sub­ject lines, time sent, and day sent as mul­ti­vari­ate variables
  • Email test­ing II — test dif­fer­ent con­tent within emails or dif­fer­ent pro­mo­tional content
  • Build a story — rather then repeat ban­ner ele­ments on the land­ing page, try build­ing a nar­ra­tive from the ad through the fun­nel of your site (another exam­ple of mul­ti­page testing)
  • Incen­tive thresh­old — test dif­fer­ent incen­tive lev­els (includ­ing no incen­tive) for appli­ca­tions, reg­is­tra­tions, for order completion
  • Affil­i­ate offer rein­force­ment — rein­force the affil­i­ate pro­mo­tion on the land­ing page (there is a great case study avail­able with Musi­cians Friend that high­lights the easy wins that are avail­able here)
  • Viral Mar­ket­ing — test dif­fer­ent mar­ket­ing pro­mo­tions upon com­ple­tion of check­out (e.g. send your friends 10% off coupons)
  • Form Opti­miza­tion — test how many fields you can add before hav­ing a neg­a­tive impact or where and how the form is presented

Con­tent:

  • % Off or $$ Sav­ings — test not only what pro­mo­tion you offer, but also how you dis­play the pro­mo­tion (seg­ments are a must for this test)
  • CTA (Call To Action) — test your CTA copy (Learn More, Buy now, Start here, etc…)
  • CTA — test dif­fer­ent col­ors and SIZE. See if it holds true that red but­tons always win
  • Cus­tomer Feed­back — test adding cus­tomer tes­ti­mo­ni­als and/or rat­ings and where and how often to place them
  • Encour­age cus­tomers to act — test dif­fer­ent scarcity mes­sag­ing (e.g. “Lim­ited Time Only”, “Offer expires on…..”, or “While Sup­plies Last”). On a side note, many of my cus­tomers are using the tar­get­ing in the tool to switch out con­tent let­ting vis­i­tors know how much time is left to pur­chase in order to have their items arrive before the holidays
  • Give the copy per­son­al­ity — test dif­fer­ent mes­sag­ing approaches: infor­ma­tive, aggres­sive, funny, pro­mo­tional, brand-focused, or ben­e­fits ori­en­tated (seg­ment analy­sis here would be well worth its time)
  • Increase trust — test where and how to place con­fi­dence infor­ma­tion such as return pol­icy, ship­ping info, pay­ment details, cus­tomer ser­vice numbers
  • Secu­rity Mes­sag­ing — incor­po­rate and test place­ment of trust logos such as Verisign, TrustE, or Hack­er­Safe (I have never seen this not pro­vide lift and place­ment does mat­ter :)
  • Loca­tion, loca­tion, loca­tion — test not dif­fer­ent con­tent but rather dif­fer­ent place­ments of the same con­tent (quick to do as you don’t have to cre­ative alter­na­tive content)
  • Per­son­al­ize the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence — tar­get con­tent based on the vis­i­tors on site behav­ior (if they show a pref­er­ence for a cat­e­gory or prod­uct, use pro­files to rein­force con­tent on other areas of the site)
  • Pro­mo­tion manip­u­la­tion — test one large pro­mo­tion ver­sus sev­eral smaller promotions
  • Rich Media — test rich media vs. simple/quick con­tent (Make sure the “rich” con­tent offers addi­tional infor­ma­tion or sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence that can’t be com­mu­ni­cated in a flat format)
  • Remove Con­tent — see if remov­ing con­tent on the site affects suc­cess metrics

Mer­chan­dis­ing:

  • Bulk Shop­ping — test dif­fer­ent approaches to adding mul­ti­ple prod­ucts to your cart simultaneously
  • Cart Aban­don­ment — when a vis­i­tor returns to the site, rein­force the fact that they have pre­vi­ously aban­doned their cart (Here is a post that walks through an exam­ple)
  • Max­i­mize your profit mar­gin — Is free ship­ping or % off net of dis­count amount?
  • Pro­mo­tion Thresh­olds — test pro­mo­tional thresh­olds (e.g. 10% off $50 order ver­sus 15% off $100 order)
  • Searchan­dis­ing 1.0 — test dif­fer­ent items to appear at the top of inter­nal search result pages
  • Searchan­dis­ing 1.1 — test tar­geted promotions/promotional ban­ners based on search term
  • What prod­uct should be dis­played — (e.g. best sell­ers, hand picked vs. auto­mated, edi­tor picks, big brand vs. big seller, deal of the day, peo­ple who bought this bought that, peo­ple who viewed this bought that)

These ideas are just a start to what I hope will be an exten­sive and dynamic list that may help peo­ple out there start opti­miz­ing or even expand their cur­rent test­ing efforts to new areas. So my fel­low cit­i­zens, I ask you to please share any ideas you have and I will be sure to add them to a Mas­ter List that will be avail­able at the Web­site Opti­miza­tion Group. Here are some strate­gies to focus some of your ideas:

  • Focus your test­ing objec­tives — Under­stand if your pri­or­ity is con­ver­sion, aver­age order value, or rev­enue per vis­i­tor. The more focused you are, the clearer your results will be. I per­son­ally rec­om­mend incor­po­rat­ing as many suc­cess met­rics as pos­si­ble into any test that you run. You may find that while your test pos­i­tively affects one met­ric, it may neg­a­tively affect another
  • Make the most impact — look to pos­si­bly start at the bot­tom of a con­ver­sion fun­nel — not at the top. Improv­ing the reg­is­tra­tion or shop­ping cart gen­er­ally pro­vides greater impact on the bot­tom line
  • What now? — If a par­tic­u­lar recipe or branch of your cam­paign wins, what are the learn­ings and how can they be used in the future
  • Test plan — Plan test­ing “themes” instead of jump­ing from page to page, ele­ment to ele­ment, or cam­paign to cam­paign. Some good themes are reg­is­tra­tion drop off improve­ment, copy style and length, and PPC con­tent targeting
  • Test what mat­ters — Small changes to small ele­ments always yield small results. For big impact, focus on prod­uct shown, pric­ing, pri­mary copy, images, offers and the ever impor­tant call to action
  • Who should get into my test? — Start off test­ing by allow­ing many chan­nels or seg­ments of traf­fic into your test so as to get a sense of how they respond to dif­fer­ent con­tent. The more traf­fic that gets into your test, the quicker you will have sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant results

Addi­tion­ally, if you are a Test and Tar­get cus­tomer and would like to know how any of these cam­paigns are set up please let me know. I can pos­si­bly even add them to my demo account on www​.Tes​tand​Tar​get​ing​.com/​?​s​i​d​=​p​o​st3 so you could see them live and in action and view the set up for your­self in the Tool

17 comments
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horlama aparatı
horlama aparatı

There is evidently a lot to know about this. I believe you made some nice points also.

Futai
Futai

Congrats for releasing such a nice post, great tut for newbies...thanks

Piramit Güvenlik
Piramit Güvenlik

Wow, so many different ideas for testing listed here it’s hard to really picture it all as only a “beginning” to testing.

hairstyles
hairstyles

i really must think again and improve myself great post Brian a lot of great ideas

güvenlik sistemleri
güvenlik sistemleri

you guys are on point. Marketing and testing are synonyms any more. If you are not testing everything you are losing ground and will probably get eaten by the guy who is. :)

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kamera sistemleri

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ucuz
ucuz

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kapıda ödeme

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BUNANE
BUNANE

Thank you for your comprehensive post - very useful.

Bill
Bill

Thank you! I'm taking away several thoughts for improvement!

John
John

You guys are on point. Marketing and testing are synonyms any more. If you are not testing everything you are losing ground and will probably get eaten by the guy who is. :)

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how to lose belly fat in 1 week

Some of the best ideas that I see tested often come not from Marketers but rather the Creative, Development, and IT groups within an organization. These groups live and breathe the content and the set up of their website and they often have strong opinions as to what and how content gets placed.

Malcolm Bastien
Malcolm Bastien

Wow, so many different ideas for testing listed here it's hard to really picture it all as only a "beginning" to testing. Though the one thing I did learn from this post more than anything else is to simply begin testing closest to the bottom of the funnel. I makes a lot of sense that having a great checkout process could act as a multiplier for other testing you do later on.

adam
adam

Some of the best ideas that I see tested often come not from Marketers but rather the Creative, Development, and IT groups within an organization. These groups live and breathe the content and the set up of their website and they often have strong opinions as to what and how content gets placed.

John Hossack
John Hossack

Great post Brian. You have provided plenty of ideas to help testers (both the novice and the experienced) come up with new tests that may offer radically different versions than the original. I hope people will have the courage to get out of their comfort zones and test as radically as possible.