Joomla Split Testing

Split testing is probably one of the best tools that website owners/marketing managers can use to improve conversion rates from their sites. In this post, we will explain what split testing is (while highlighting its benefits) and how to use it on your Joomla website.

What is split testing?

Split testing (also called A/B testing) is a technique used to see which setup leads to more conversions – it can be applied in all industries and it dates back to even before the Internet era (contrary to popular belief). An example of split testing that we see constantly is when a nearby supermarket shuffles its products from one aisle to another or from one shelf to another to see which setup leads to more sales.

Split testing, in the Internet world, is when a website displays a different version of the website for different users. For example, if a website has about 1,000 visitors a day, 500 visitors will see one version of the website, and another 500 will see another version of the website. If there are 4 versions of the website, then 250 visitors will see version A, another 250 visitors will see version B, another 250 visitors will see version C, etc…

So, how do these versions differ from each other?

In most cases, the difference between the versions is the look & feel. So, a flower shop owner, for example, might want to know which design leads to more sales – a white and simple design or a red and artistic design. So, he creates (or asks someone to create) two templates for his website – one that is white and simple and one that is red and artistic. He will then run the versions in parallel – where some visitors will see the white version and others will see the red version. He will then use some tools to know which version converts more.

While changing the look & feel is the most common form of split testing, another form, which is also used a lot, is changing the content. For example, a consultancy website might want to display different about us pages to see which page converts best. In this case, the look & feel is not changed for different versions, just the content of one or several pages.

The last example is the pricing. For example, a business offering online services, such a web hosting business, wants to increase its prices, so its runs two versions of its website, one with the old pricing structure and one with the new one (most likely each pricing structure is associated with a different hosting plan). After several days of testing, the business will be able to conclude whether the increase in price was absorbed by its new users or not. (if the conversion rate for the new pricing model is much lower than the conversion rate for the old pricing model, then most likely the business will not increase its prices). You can think of pricing as just another change in content, but when the different pricing is tied to e-commerce, then the complexity of running the other version(s) is exponentially higher.

Now, let’s get to the main topic of this post: how to do split testing on a Joomla website?.

From our experience, split testing on Joomla is a two part process:

  1. Creating a different version of your website: Usually, the different version has a different template and/or different content and/or different pricing, so the way to do it is to pass a special variable in the URL of your website telling it to use another version, and then, based on that version, Joomla’s core needs to be modified to use a different theme, display different content, or use a different product pricing. (modifying Joomla’s core is a very delicate job and if you don’t have the programming expertise to do it then it’s certainly wiser to call some Joomla experts to do this job for you).
  2. Using Google’s website optimizer: The easiest way to manage split testing (or A/B testing) is by using Google’s website optimizer which can be found here. Google’s website optimizer allows you to implement split testing simply by filling in some forms (on Google’s website) and adding a JavaScript snippet on your website (the snippet will do all the work for you, it will display different versions of your website for different visitors, it will ensure that the same visitor always sees the same version, and it will track data about conversions). Google’s website optimizer also allows you to specify, to track, and to monitor conversions (we’re not advertising for Google, but it really is a very nice, and free tool that very few people know about).

As you can see from the above, there’s some very delicate work to be done on your website and on your Google account. Fear not though, we are happy to say that we have the necessary expertise to do this so we can definitely help you implement split testing on your Joomla website. Just contact us and we’ll take it from there. By the way, Our fees are reasonable and the rewards for doing split will far outweigh your costs!

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