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Google Optimize – Google’s testing and personalization tool – sunset last week at the end of September 2023. At Zainatain, we’ve used this tool often for website experimentation and testing. It integrated into the entire Google Suite and was especially nice since it offered a free plan. This was a great option for some of our clients.
It’s October and Google Optimize is gone, so what tool should you use for website testing and optimization? We will walk through benefits of optimization and testing, and why optimization tools matter (and our favorite optimization platform).
Benefits of website optimization and testing
It will probably come as no surprise, from a CRO strategist, that I advocate for website testing and experimentation as part of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). It involves making strategic changes to a website in order to improve its performance, user experience, and ultimately drive more conversions. This can include anything from redesigning a page, switching up images and videos, streamlining the navigation process, and creating new calls-to-action. Testing is a vital part of this process.
The CRO process is similar to that of the scientific method. We make an observation or ask a question, gather information and research, then create a hypothesis and prediction, next we test, and finally analyze the results and draw a conclusion. Testing is a critical part of the scientific method, and also the CRO process. Can you really answer your question or hypothesis without testing and gathering data? Without testing, it is just guessing.
This is where A/B testing or split testing specifically comes in. It involves comparing two versions of a webpage or parts of a web page to determine which performs better. This can include changes to design elements, layout, content, and more. The value of testing cannot be overstated, as it allows businesses to make data-driven decisions when optimizing their website. This information enables you to draw specific conclusions about those visiting your website, if they are converting, and if they aren’t then asking the question why. This cycle continues over and over as we’re always iterating trying to understand the target audience, and meet them where they are.
You can read more about CRO tactics in our journal article here.
Why optimization platforms matter & our favorite option
In order to effectively optimize a website, businesses often turn to optimization platforms. These platforms provide tools and resources that make it easier to test, implement, and track changes on a website. Some key reasons why they’re so helpful:
- Experimentation capabilities: optimization platforms provide the ability to randomly serve a visitor a variation of the website page, including the ability to allocate a specific % of traffic to the test as well as target specific audiences (e.g. based on device type, behavior, geography, etc.)
- User-friendly interface: they typically have a user-friendly interface, making it easy for businesses to set up the various experiments and track performance
- Data-driven insights: these platforms also offer valuable data and insights on website performance, allowing businesses to make informed decisions on optimization strategies. They track and compile the data, allowing you to digest the information for takeaways more quickly. They can also sync data with your analytics tools, such as Google Analytics.
Our favorite optimization tool is VWO (Visual Website Optimizer), which is an all-in-one platform. It does offer a free plan that allows testing for split URL and A/B testing up to 50,000 unique visitors per month. This would be a great plan for small businesses who are just gaining some traction and success, and want to begin testing. Businesses further along in the journey would likely benefit from one of the paid plans, which offers unlimited testing variations and goals/metrics, along with a lot of other value. You can visit here for VWO’s packages.
There are many other paid platforms out there like AB Tasty, Hotjar and Optimizely. Some WordPress themes also include built-in A/B testing capabilities, such as Divi. Before deciding on a platform, consider what your testing needs are for your next milestones and business goals, and which tool fits your current needs. If you’re not sure and are considering testing on your website, contact us here. We’d love to chat about CRO for your site, tools to fit your needs, and how we can help.