Startup Tools: Visual Website Optimizer is Like a Second Pair of Eyes

This month, as part of our Startup Tools series, we’re covering Visual Website Optimizer.

Visual Website Optimizer makes it easy to A/B test your site. Why should you care about A/B testing? A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) is comparing two versions of a web page to see which one performs best. You can compare two web pages by showing the two variants (let’s call them A and B) to visitors at the same time. Then you can measure what the visitors do on the site with heat maps and conversion goals.

We’ve been using Visual Website Optimizer to test our new service, ReadSmartly. We wanted to know if it’s better to show the price on top or on bottom, as well as the optimal placements of our buttons, videos and navigation features.

All websites have goals. News sites need users to click on their ads, ecommerce sites need users to buy products, blogs want users to read more, etc. Every website wants visitors converting from just visitors to something else. The rate at which a website is able to do this is the “conversion rate”. Measuring the performance of a variation (A or B) means measuring the rate at which it converts visitors to goal achievers.

Let’s suppose you run an online store where you sell robots. Your current conversion rate is 2%, and average monthly traffic is 100,000 visitors. This means that in a month you sell 2,000 (2% of 100,000) robots. If you want to increase sales by 10% to 2,200 robots, you’ll have to increase the number of visitors by 10% to 110,000. To increase your monthly visitors, you’ll have to run a marketing campaign. Assuming the customer acquisition cost (CAC) is $50, your total cost to acquire 200 new customers is $10,000 ($50 x 200). Instead of spending $10k, you can first try optimizing your site. After a week of running tests, you may be able to increase your conversation rate by 20%, which means you’ve just saved yourself marketing dollars.

In the highly competitive world of internet marketing, you can’t afford not to A/B test. The beauty of Visual Website Optimizer is that it makes it so simple. You type in the URL of your site, and then begin dragging and dropping elements. You can move them around the page in seconds, and then add a new variation to test. We couldn’t believe how simple it was to do this with ReadSmartly. And the data we gathered was invaluable.

Here’s what we did….

1) First, we asked ourselves what our goal was. In our case, it was to get visitors to convert to subscribers.

2) Next, we used Google Analytics to understand user behavior on our site.

3) Then we went to Visual Website Optimizer and constructed our hypothesis: we’d get a higher conversion rate with the pricing shown on the bottom, rather than the top.

4) Then we calculated the number of visitors/days we needed to run the test using VWO’s A/B Test Duration Calculator.

5) We tested our hypothesis by creating an A/B test with the price in two locations.

7) Lastly, we analyzed data and drew conclusions. VWO made this easy by presenting us with visual stats, similar to the ones shown above.

We found VWO to be a mature tool. It’s been around a while and has gone through many iterations. You can tell they care about building the best possible product and have worked to perfect this one. The documentation on the site is also exceptional. You can learn a lot just browsing the materials they make available for free.

If you haven’t started A/B testing already, it’s about time you got going!

NOTE: We received free samples of their products for this review.

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