Google Website Optimizer is a great tool, but just like any other tool, it too has to be used correctly in order for it to work correctly. Kayden Kelly of Blast Advanced Media is an evangelist for Google Website Optimizer and believes the tool takes analytics to a whole new level that gets actionable data for clients. He lists five tips for getting started and using the tool.
The first tip is: keep it simple. Kayden suggests testing major page changes but with few variations. Just as Google says on their Website Optimizer Helpful Hints page, the more complex tests take a lot longer to get user feedback.
The second tip is conversion within 1-click. This idea is helpful when you are testing because there could be too many options distracting the customer from taking action. Think about the order of the customer performing the action and test accordingly.
The third tip is to test pages with the most potential impact. Some people like to test pages with low traffic when they are getting used to the tool. To get true results, however, you need to test your pages that bring in the most traffic. The three areas that Kayden suggests testing and focusing on are: top of sales funnel (Home, Category, and Product Detail pages), higher traffic (top landing pages, top exit pages, and highest bounce rate pages), and key process step (cart, checkout, account registration, and lead generation forms).
The fourth tip is: disable poor performing variations. Website Optimizer gives its users a visual report of the feedback from your tests. The report will rate your test variations and show them in green if they are a success, red if they are a failure, or yellow if they are in progress. If you eliminate the variations that are performing poorly and showing red, the other variations can be tested and produce quicker results.
The fifth tip: remember that failed tests are still successful. As discouraging as it is to learn that your new page variations have failed, keep in mind that you have still prevented your website from experiencing little or harmful conversion rates.
Incidentally, Blast Advanced Media has integrated Google Website Optimizer into their own e-commerce platform called Motivity. This platform is targeted at marketing agencies to help them better receive actionable results.