As we all know, blogging so much more than just writing words on a page.
If you want to run a successful blog, you also need to think about treating your blog like a business.
That’s why you always see the biggest blogs are supported by and encourage the business behind it.
I want to talk to you today about three aspects of blogging that many people don’t consider until well into the game:
- Increasing conversions
- Being more productive; and
- Exploding your revenue
I’m actually going to do something counter-intuitive here and sum up all three by introducing a tactic to you that I’m a huge fan of.
It’s called split testing and if you haven’t heard of it before this article should serve as a great introduction to it and how it can improve your blog/business.
Split testing can take care of all three of the above points when you approach it right.
What is split testing?
Split testing, or as it’s sometimes called A/B testing, is the scientific method of creating variations of something and testing the impact of those changes to see if the change brings about a positive or negative impact on some metric.
Generally the metric is something like:
- Contact form submissions
- … and so on.
How do you split test something?
Split testing starts by identifying something on your site or landing page that you want to test.
An example of this could be something as simple as the colour of a button. Does changing the colour of this button bring about more subscribers?
Many people employ split testing on various pages of their site to test and tweak little things like this.
There are a number of tools out there that will do the job, but I want to introduce you to a WordPress based plugin that we wrote called Simple Page Tester.
It’s a tool that has been made specifically for split testing and making these kind of experiments work and will take care of all the traffic splitting and monitoring.
Go and download a copy, the core plugin is free.
Setting up a split test
To setup a split testing Simple Page Tester all you have to do is goto the edit screen of the page you want to test and hit setup split test.
You then get a dialog that asks you what you want to do for the variation, typically you’ll be selecting duplicate page which makes a carbon copy of the page you’re working on.
I’ve done this using the ‘Start Here’ page on my blog which features several email signup forms.
Editing the variation
How you edit the variation will depend entirely on what you’re testing and how you have your site setup.
Many people are using landing page tools so you might need to make adjustments using those tools. Sometimes it’s as simple as making a content change.
Others like myself do things a bit more old school so in order to make the button colour different I had to do make a tweak to my stylesheet.
For me the end result was two pages, very similar, with one main difference: the button colour is different.
Next is the most important part of setting up a split test and that is tracking your conversions.
For me it’s easy since I am using the Premium add-on to Simple Page Tester which gives me conversion tracking with a simple shortcode that I can install on my newsletter subscription thank you page.
If you’re not using the Premium version though, you can also use something as simple as Google Analytics and some Goals to track your progress.
I wrote an article on how to set this up on our blog recently. It might help you out as well.
Let your test run
The one place most people come unstuck with split testing is not letting their test run long enough.
There is such thing as statistically significant results and that’s what you’re aiming to get to.
You want to be certain that the difference in conversion rates between the two variations is statistically significant enough to be considered accurate. i.e. is the variation really 20% better than the original? When it’s a statistically significant result you can be more sure that the answer is ‘yes’.
There is a number of online split testing (or A/B testing) calculators that use statistical analysis to calculate this for you. You can just run a Google search and return dozens.
Simple Page Tester Premium also does it for you automatically so that you can see the result at a glance in the sidebar of your split test.
Create The Split Testing Habit
Once you’ve run one split test, it’s hard to stop.
I definitely encourage you to set up one split test on your blog today. Have a think about what you could test and what would matter to you.
- Could you increase your email subscribers to gain a bigger audience?
- Would a better landing page lead to more sales?
- Does your about page convert the most people it can into readers or are there changes you could make?
The options are only limited by your imagination so see where it leads you. Your blog and business will be better off for it.