If you ask me what the most effective method of boosting the performance of a website is, I’ll give you an instant reply – ‘split testing’. And I really hope you wouldn’t like to differ with me on this point, would you? Since I stepped into the internet marketing industry, I have met very few (can count them on my fingers) webmasters or web property owners who bothered to utilize split testing to find out what worked best and improve the rate of conversion.

Why do most of the internet marketers ignore split testing, while investing plenty of time on just guess-optimizing their websites over and over again? Optimizing your sites on the basis of gut instinct or guesswork may bring you better results. But it won’t ever tell you what really works and what doesn’t. Split testing is the single most effective technique to ensure the best ROI possible.

Split or A/B testing is a proven technique to discover what makes the most impact on visitors, thus helping you to tweak your sites appropriately and improve the rate of conversion. Though conducting a split test consumes time, the result will be much more than the effort that you invest.

So, are you ready to conduct your first split test ever? Don’t worry. Given below is a very simple 5-step plan that you can use to get started.

#1. Choose a Web Page
Find those pages on your site that help you fulfill some important goals. Select a web page that focuses on a specific goal and have one call to action. If you think improving a web page can increase the number of sign-ups, boost online sales or assist you in achieving other significant conversion goals, you can conduct a split test for that specific page.

#2. Create Another Version of The Selected Page
After you’ve picked an important page that you would really want to split test, it’s time to create a new version of the same. To create the new version, you’ll need to list out all the important elements (that you think can increase the conversion rate) the original page contains.

You should decide to test these –

Headings and subheadings
Introductory paragraph
Call to action
Placement of elements
Offer (bonuses)
Related Products

You may focus on other important elements that your selected web page contains and make the necessary changes to create the new version. So, you’ve two different versions – Page A (original) and Page B (new).

#3. Set Up the Test
Now, you’ll need a software or tool to set up the test. If you have adequate expertise, you can make use of Google’s Website Optimizer. Otherwise, you can hire the services of an internet marketing firm that’s known for conducting split tests. There are also several paid split testing tools that you can use. No matter which split testing tools you use, you should make sure that it’s easy to set up, easy to understand and accurate (in terms of tracking results).

#4. Experiment
The two versions of the page (original and new) will either be shown randomly or simultaneously to visitors. The tool that you use will track the number of visitors, the rate of click-throughs and the rate of conversion for both the pages. Make sure you run the test for an adequate time span and that your sample size is big enough to track accurate results.

#5. Use the Version That Works Best
Analyze the results of the split test and go with the variant that makes the most impact on your site’s visitors.

Have you ever conducted a split or A/B test for your website? Please feel free to share your experiences and opinions.