If you’ve ever wondered which text or other page elements on your website is the most effective at persuading your visitors to complete a certain action, such as downloading a file, or clicking on a link, then the plugin we are looking at today can answer these questions for you.
The Nelio A/B Testing service and plugin for WordPress allows you to run experiments on your website that compare multiple versions of a page element against your goals, in order to find out which one achieves the highest conversion rate. The service can also be used to compare design tweaks and even entire themes against each other to see which version results in the best goal conversions.
If you want to increase your revenues and optimize your site based on data, not opinions then Nelio A/B Testing is well worth checking out.
Nelio A/B Testing Features
Nelio A/B Testing is a service that integrates with WordPress via a free plugin. Once the plugin has been installed on your website you can begin running experiments to compare different versions of the content on your site, or its appearance.
For example if you wanted to improve the percentage of your visitors that click on a specific link on one of your pages, then this plugin can easily let you create two or more version of the link text. Each version will be shown to a different section of your visitor in order to find out which one gets the most clicks.
You can do a lot more than just change the link text though, including:
- Test any post or page content
- Test post or page titles
- Compare themes
- Compare CSS tweaks
These options allow you to not only test the wording on your site, but also any of the content in your posts or pages. You can also optimize the design of your website by comparing two different themes against each other, or smaller design differences by editing individual CSS styles.
Nelio A/B Testing also includes a heatmap tool which collects data on where your visitors are clicking on your posts and pages and how they are interacting with your content.
Despite all this additional data that is being collected, you don’t have to worry about server performance as all the information that is gathered is stored on Nelio's backend servers, with the statistical calculus performed there too.
Using Nelio A/B Testing
While the plugin is freely available from the WordPress plugin directory, you will need an account with the service in order to use it on your site.
There are two defined plans to choose from when creating an account, with a third option of a bespoke plan. While none of the plans are free, they do include a free 14-day trial so you can try out Nelio A/B Testing on your site without making a payment (although you do have to enter your payment details to begin the trial).
Once you’ve signed up and activated the plugin on your site, you can begin configuring it from the admin sidebar menu that is created. After you’ve entered your email address and registration code, you can begin creating experiments on your WordPress website.
Creating an Experiment
From the Add New Experiment menu item on plugin’s submenu you can create your first experiment to test two or more variations of your website and its content against each other.
There are six experiment types to choose from which consists of:
- A/B test for posts: compare one or more versions of a post
- A/B test for pages: compare one or more version of a page
- A/B test for page or post titles: create multiple titles for a single post or page which are displayed when your posts or pages are listed on your site (recent posts etc.)
- A/B theme test: test two different themes or slightly modified child themes against each other
- A/B CSS test: change the appearance of individual elements of your site using CSS
- Heatmap experiment for a page or post: see where visitors are clicking on your posts and pages
If you are not sure which areas of your site you want to optimize, then running the heatmap experiment is a great place to start. The heatmap stats will show you which parts of your posts and pages are being interacted with the most by your readers.
If the heatmap results reveal that a particular link on your site is getting clicked on more than the others on the same page, then it’s a good candidate for an experiment. This experiment could be an A/B test to see how you can further increase the clicks the link receives by experimenting with its appearance or text.
To start running the heatmap, it’s just a case of clicking on the corresponding option from the different experiment types, and then configuring the settings for the experiment.
The settings for the plugin have been created using the native WordPress UI so they integrate seamlessly with the core features of the software. This helps to make it feel like a part of WordPress.
The settings are straightforward and for this type of experiment, it’s simply a case of giving it a name and description and then selecting which post or page to start tracking user interactions on.
Once you are ready to start an experiment to compare two different versions of your content against each other, you can choose the type of experiment you would like to run from the available options.
The A/B Type for New Posts is a good option to start with as it allows you to make changes to the post content, such as editing the link text or formatting, or changing the content in anyway you see fit.
Again setting up the test is straightforward as you can give it a name and description and then choose the post or page you would like to run the optimization experiment on.
The next step is to create an alternative version of the original post or page you are trying to optimize. There are two options at this point:
- Start with a blank post
- Make a copy of an existing post to edit
The second option if very handy as it allows you to make a copy of any post and then make changes to the areas you wish to optimize, rather than having to start from scratch. However, if you do want to start with a blank canvas you can easily do so by choosing the first option.
Whichever option you choose, the plugin will create the second post or page that will be compared against the original. Once it has been created you can open the alternative version for editing in order to make your changes to the areas you wish to optimize. This is all done using the standard WordPress editor.
Once you’ve made your changes you can hit the update button to save them. At this point you can either create a further version of the post or page to run a split test on, or move on to the next step.
Setting one or more goals for the experiment is the final step of the setup process. Each experiment can have multiple goals, and there are three goal types to choose from:
- Post: visitor accesses a post on your website
- Page: visitor accesses a page on your website
- External URL: visitor accesses an external page
Each goal can have multiple actions, and each experiment can have multiple goals. However, in order to make your results more meaningful its best to start off with a single goal consisting of just one action as this well make it easier to see which change resulted in the increase or decrease in goal conversions.
Once you’ve saved your goals you can then start the experiment. Once an experiment is running you can view the results at any time without stopping it.
Viewing the Results
The results screen for an individual experiment will give you a summary of the experiment, showing the conversion rates of the two or more versions of your content you are testing against each other.
Further down the results page you also get to see more detailed information. This includes data such as the number of visitors that saw each version of your content, their conversion rates, and the improvement factor compared to the original version. By including an apply button on the results page, the plugin makes it easy to set the highest performing version as the live version that all visitors will see and end the experiment.
The advanced section of the results page includes some more data on how Nelio A/B testing was able to carry out the experiment and make use of the data.
The plugin also includes a feature that gives your experiment a confidence value. This rating tells you how trustable the results are. If the rating is over 90% then it’s safe to conclude that enough data has been collected to declare one version the winner.
As this is based on the number of visitors that have interacted with the different version, the amount of traffic the page being tested receives will determine how long it will take to reach the 90% threshold.
Once you’ve collected enough data to reveal the highest performing version of your content or design, you can then end the experiment and set the best converting version live. Alternatively you can create another experiment, further testing the winning version against a new alternative.
With a number of different types of experiments available, there is no shortage of ways you can optimize the content on your website to find the highest converting versions.
Although the Nelio A/B testing plugin is free, the service isn’t so you will need to have signed up with one of the plans:
- Basic: $29 per month
- Professional: $89 per month
- Enterprise: bespoke
Each plan comes with a 14-day trial so you can test out the service before becoming a fully paid up member. You can compare the features of the plans here.
Testing the different elements on your website in order to improve your conversion rates is a highly recommended activity for any website with specific goals.
Whether your goals are income generation related or more focused on user interaction, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be running content experiments to optimize your website.
Nelio A/B Testing is one experiment option for WordPress users and its one that is very easy to use. The documentation to help you get started is all there and the user interface is very friendly.
Its surprising how easy it is to begin creating multiple versions of the your content, which the plugin will then display to different portions of your audience to help you clearly see which one is the most effective in relation to your goals.
If you want to take the guesswork out of the design or your site and the content you publish, then Nelio A/B Testing is a service that has all the features you need in one easy to use package.