You’ve found yourself at the helm of a testing and optimization program, but the journey ahead seems daunting. Where do you begin? How do clear the hurdles? There are five essential stages in a testing program, and five challenges that every team must face. This guide can help you through it.
1) You don’t have a clear picture of how customers currently interact with your site.
No matter where you are in your testing journey, if you don’t understand how visitors interact with your digital channels then you cannot effectively optimize. Key first steps include collecting and organizing existing data, taking an inventory of your websites and mobile apps, and learning how users move through your digital experience.
2) You know what you need to improve, but you don’t know what you need to improve first.
There are a few schools of thought on how to choose the right first test. All of these methods include assessing the effort required and the potential impact. It’s usually a smart move to begin with an easy to implement test with a moderate potential impact rather than a difficult to implement test with a very high potential impact. The effects of optimization will snowball as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t on your particular site.
3) You have a great plan, but dev resources are tied up elsewhere and you don’t have the resources for deeper web design.
It’s a myth that you need dev expertise to create variation pages and run tests. Any member of your testing team can design pages, experiment with variants, and run tests through a visual editor with no code. If you can drag and drop and you have a plan, you don’t need to work through cross-departmental resources to get going. While your dev team will likely be involved in your testing program down the line, you shouldn’t depend on them to design your optimization tests.
4) You’re on a roll, but your data is unclear.
Monitoring must be part of your testing program from the beginning. Check the data regularly, and set up alerts for poor performing variations. It’s crucial that your data is accurate, complete, and immediately actionable. If you get this under control, you can move forward with ease.
5) You have data, you know the winner, but now what?
Once you’ve set up a smooth testing process, you have to make sure that you’re ready to keep it running. What do you do when you discover a winning variation? Immediately direct all traffic to your winning page and plan for your next test. Your optimization consultants should help you detail a report which enables you to understand each test in a larger context.
Sally Hall is a Web Optimization Consultant at SiteSpect.