The Need for Web Analytics Part 3

Part 3 – No Matter How Good You Are, You Can Be Better.

As soon as you progress in your internet marketing efforts to the point of being able to attract even the most modest amount of traffic to the web sites you need to become familiar with a concept that you simply can not afford to ignore, split testing.

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you view it split testing is one of the most ignored concepts today. There are many successful marketers who could be a lot more successful with split-testing if you are a feel-good type that wants everyone to be successful I think you would call this unfortunate.

If however, you are like me and you are most concerned with winning in your own specific niches they this is very fortunate. Why? Well, because it means if you do it and your competitors don’t you gain yet another advantage in rising to the top in your space.

So exactly what does spilled testing mean? Most people can answer that question quite well as it simply means to test two pieces of content and measure their results to determine what is most effective. The real question is why should you split test if your content is already successful? The answer is right up there in the subtitle because you can be better.

The bigger issue is that the content of your site is the single piece of your marketing that you have the most control over, which has the largest effect on your overall success. In short, no matter how much traffic you have, better conversion will equal more money and while the search engines or your budget can have an impact on your traffic that is somewhat beyond your control you have 100% control of the content on your site so optimizing your conversion is far easier than optimizing your ranking.

Recently I was chatting with Ben Fits (who posts here as part of the Com-Tech News Team) via Instant Message told me he was about to buy some split testing software to test a “squeeze page” he was using for attracting opt-ins to one of his programs. He was very happy with his upselling results for all the people that opted into his system but was wondering if he was getting the maximum number of opt-ins in the first place.

See Ben is a smart guy and he knows that if he has really optimized his upsell pages to do well then the “gravy” is in the opt-in the page itself. Consider that a simple 3-5% increase in the initial opt-ins can triple his overall revenue. So Ben was going to purchase some split testing software. In many cases software that is specific for split testing is a good idea, like when you are tracking several dozen campaigns at one time but for this simple test Google Analytics was the answer.

Here is what we did.

Google Analytics lets you set up 4 “process funnels” per domain profile. A process funnel simply lets you track users through steps on your site like step one – step two – step three – step four, etc. Doing this will let you see at which point in your sales process a prospect abandons the process and fails to complete the funnel.

What I advised Ben to do was simply set up two separate funnels. One that started with “test page A” and the other starting with “test page B”. He then simply edited his main advertising page we can call it “test page” and put a simple javascript on it that automatically redirects all traffic to “test page A” and “test page B” at a 50-50 ratio.

Ben had never set up this type of test with Analytics before but was able to completely set it up (including setting up a brand new Analytics Account) in about 15 minutes. So as you can see it is not a very time-consuming process.

Now in just a few days of running traffic on this setup, Ben will know which version produces better conversion. Note that I said he will know the one that produces better, not think, feel or estimate but actually know.

You see online it does not matter what you, I or any “guru” or “expert”, thinks, feels or believes is best. Reality is a reality and we can all look at “Page A” and at “Page B” and we can even agree that we love A and we hate B period. Yet if A produces a conversion rate of 3.5% and B produces a conversion rate of 7.2% all of the sudden what we think does not matter and we learn to love “Page B” because it makes us more money.

So even if your processes are fairly simple and you only have a few steps and choices on your sites you need to have a defined goal and you need to be split testing various ways of leading your visitors toward that goal. This does not have to be complicated but if you are not doing it at all trust me what you don’t know is hurting your efforts.

So what ways can you think of to creatively spit test results without getting overly complicated or burdening your server with even more software and coding? To me with Google Analytics and a bit creative thinking most small to mid-sized site owners can split test to their heart’s content and improve their results just a little bit every day. It is those tiny improvements that over time help you turn your site into a conversion machine.

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