Is A or B better? Or maybe C? Have you wanted to try several variations on a page or post and compare the results? Premium A/B testing services may take a seasoned developer to implement. Add to that the monthly services cost of these services (we’re talking hundreds of dollars monthly), and I’m already under water.
This is Ryan from Trumani. I have no money and very few talents, so A/B testing my WordPress sites should be out of my reach, right? A/B testing can be costly. Two big obstacles are page view limits, and not much out there specifically integrates with WordPress. As with many other problems, Google is the solution to your A/B testing needs, specifically Experiments through Google Analytics.
Other videos that offer advice on leveraging Google Experiments exist, but they only got me halfway there because the ones I’ve seen are dated, and I haven’t seen a video that captures the end-to-end process.
Step by Step A/B Testing Instructions
- Sign up for Google Analytics (if you have gmail, you have analytics)
- Create a new Property (https://yourwebsite.com) – (This is not captured in the video)
- Return to your WordPress site and install and enable the following plugins
- A Google Analytics plugin that allows you to easily authorize GA to insert its tracking code on your website. I like Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP).
- Simple Google Content Experiments
- An SEO plugin or another plugin that allows you to customize the robots.txt file. I like Yoast SEO. You can easily tell search engines not to crawl certain pages. This is important because you will be creating duplicate content in your tests and don’t want to get dinged for doing so.
- Quickly clone the original page by using Duplicate Page.
- Authorize your Google Analytics plugin
- Identify the original page you wish to use in your experiment. Create a new page or pages that will act as the variations on your original by using the duplicate page option. Google allows for multiple variations so go crazy. Make it A/B/C/D/E/F testing.
- Make the desired design and/or content changes to your variation page(s).
- Return to your GA dashboard.
- (Optional) Create a goal by navigating to Conversions–>Goals on the left menu. I recommend creating a custom goal so you are in control of exactly how the goal functions.
- Navigate to Behavior–>Experiments on the left menu and create a new experiment.
- Give the experiment a name, define the metric (select your goal, create a goal, or use one of the Google default metrics). I like using bounce rate.
- Choose what percentage of the traffic will be part of the experiment. If you only have few visitors, choose 100%. Otherwise, th e experiment won’t collect many results.
- Add the original page URL and its variation(s).
- Select the “manually insert the code” option and copy the code snippet
- Return to the editor of your original page and insert the snippet into the experiments box. The plugin I recommend requires you to create a custom field called: google_content_experiment_code. Paste the GA code snippet as this field’s value.
- Return to your GA dashboard.
- Click “next step” to validate the experiment. If the code validation is successful, click “start experiment.”
Your A/B test should be running! To be sure, from a different browser or in incognito mode, type in the url of your original page. You may get the original or you may get a variation, but if you selected 100% of the traffic to be tested, you will ALWAYS see an experiment id added to the end of the url.
Troubleshooting Note: It took me several plugins before I found the right one to add the Google Experiments snippet. If Google isn’t validating your code, click “view source” on the original page. Check to ensure the following:
- The experiments code is present and near the top of the page in the <head>
- The GA tracking code appears below the experiments code