In one of my recent posts, I talked about conducting your first A/B test. Split or A/B testing is undoubtedly one of the most effective techniques to improve your website for better performance. Though there are several testing tools (free and paid) that you can use, Google Website Optimizer (GWO) has always done a great job to help you accomplish this task.

Now, you can test the performance of your website right from within Google Analytics. Yes, Google recently announced this feature (called ‘Content Experiments’) on its official analytics blog. It’s one more effort by Google to make Google Analytics the best measurement tool for tracking a site’s performance.

The ‘Content Experiments’ feature helps you create different versions of a web page, track the effectiveness of each version and determine the version that works best for your audience.

The best part is that you can now fulfill your goals of tracking, testing and optimizing your website all in one place i.e. Google Analytics. The advanced statistical engine added to the analytics tool makes it more powerful and more useful than ever. In addition, the website experimentation process becomes easier with ‘Content Experiments’.

Testing with ‘Content Experiments’ is easier because it –

Teaches you how to set up experiments
Helps you launch new tests instantly
Allows you to choose from goals you would like to test
Comes along with easier tagging options
Makes it easy to understand the performance of different versions
Identifies the version that makes the most impact quickly
Sends you regular email updates about the experiment (to be available soon)

At a time, you can test five different versions of a web page using the Content Experiments feature in Google Analytics. If you have set up a couple of goals in your account already, you can come up with different versions of the original page and find out which one brings a higher goal conversion.

How to Set Up an ‘Experiment’
Before you create an experiment in Google Analytics, you need to do your homework. This includes identifying the goals you plan to test, selecting your conversion page and creating the variants of the original page.

Once you’re done with the preparation part, you can follow these steps –

#1. Log in to your analytics account.
#2. Go to the profile you want to create experiment in.
#3. Move to the ‘content’ section and click ‘Experiments’.
#4. Now, click ‘Start Experimenting’.
#5. Give a name to your experiment and select the versions.
#6. Choose experiment options (select goals or add new goals).
#7. Add the experiment code to the original version.
#8. Get the experiment code verified.
#9. Preview the pages and click ‘Run Experiment Now’.

After you’ve set up a new experiment, you can also save the settings for using it later. Since every experiment has a specific name given by you, you can click the name and do what you want. Content Experiments also provides you with easy modification options, if you haven’t run the test yet.

So, is it time to say goodbye to GWO?
Actually, yes! After August 1, 2012, you won’t be able to use GWO (a standalone tool) anymore. Google has already started to implement its functionalities into Google Analytics’ Content Experiments. Therefore, you should now start setting up website experiments from Google Analytics to improve the performance of your websites. You can get started with Content Experiments (if it’s already available in your account) right away by logging into your analytics account and click ‘experiments’ within the content section of your regular diagnosis reports.

Is ‘Content Experiments’ available in your Google Analytics Account? Please feel free to ask any questions or share your own opinions regarding the same.