What you decide to test depends upon your business goals and priorities. While not a substitute for a test plan, the following example experiments can help get the creative juices flowing and jump-start your testing program.
Pages to optimize
Before performing tests on your most popular web pages (like your home page) consider starting small first, which will allow you to experiment with lower-risk pages. Keep in mind that you’ll need to test pages with enough traffic to get results quickly.
Start by experimenting with the color of a button, the copy in a call to action, or the order of a navigation bar. After completing a few experiments, graduate to testing headlines, images and landing pages when you’re ready.
Here are some web pages that are prime candidates for optimization and experimentation:
- Category/family page
- Product page
- Cart page
- Thank you page
- Contact form
- Search results pages
- Landing page
- Home page
Elements to optimize
The following are some examples of website elements that are frequently tested, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Use it as an idea-starter to brainstorm on potential experiments for your website.
- Copy – Voice, tone, message.
- Appearance – See color and size examples.
- Order – Link order can make a big difference.
- Design – Color, depth, size.
- Sub-navigation vs. not.
- Features – Suggestions, type-ahead, auto-complete.
- Box location
- Advanced search vs. not.
- Results on same page vs. new page.
- Button type – Words vs. icons.
- Quantity of form fields – Less is more.
- Required fields – or not.
- One page vs. multi-page.
- Copy – Headline, label, buttons, help text, tooltips.
- Design – Simple vs. complex.
- Step indicators – Numbers, breadcrumbs, percentage complete.
- Button type – Words vs. icons.
- Size – Can you see it from a couple steps back?
- Color – Green and orange historically test well, but it depends on your color palette.
- Copy – Less is more. Use the active voice.
- Placement – Is it above the fold?
- Images – Do they convert?
- 3D vs. flat – Timeless vs. trendy designs.
- See Colors, Buttons, and Images sections above for more ideas.
- Cost-benefit analysis of including videos or not.
- View portal size.
- Location on the page.
- Thumbnail image.
- Title and description.
- Auto play vs. click to play.
- Auto sound vs. click to hear.
- Sound volume settings.
- Quantity – Single versus multiple.
- Security icons – Thawte, McAfee, etc.
- Privacy text – Policy links and email disclosure copy under email capture fields.
- Testimonials – or not.
- Social proof – The positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.
- See Buttons section above for more ideas.
General areas to optimize
Some general areas that can be tested and optimized on every website include the following:
- Wording – Put yourself in your reader's shoes, try a different approach.
- Clarity – Simplify complex sentences, remove jargon.
- Length – Write shorter instead of longer.
- Format – Use action verbs ("Try it now.")
- Voice – Is it on-brand, consistent, use active vs. passive voice.
- Fine print/footer links – Make them descriptive, don't obfuscate!
- Quantity – Try less if you have a lot
- Sizes – Smaller or larger?
- Subject matter – People, babies and pets.
- Products vs. features – Both a popular in images
- Carousels vs. static images – The result may surprise you.
- Trendy vs. classic.
- On-brand vs. off-brand.
- Call To Action (CTA) – matching your palette vs. standing out.
- Textured/shaded vs. flat.
- Visually-impaired/ADA compatibility.