How bloggers can A/B test landing pages for free to increase income

By | July 14, 2011

Guest post by Richard Patterson

As a blogger it can be easy to become preoccupied with generating traffic to your site; most bloggers will tell you this is top of their priority list. However, this can sometimes be a very illogical approach. The first stage to maximizing your blog is to understand your objectives (though it sounds simple, it helps keep you focused). Your primary objective may be to make enough money from your blog to give up your day job. At least, that’s what a lot of bloggers have in mind.

The next stage is to understand how you make money from your blog. Let’s say, for example, that you make money through affiliate links on your site, eBook sales, Google AdSense and indirectly through emails sign-ups which result in more eBook and affiliate sales.

GraphVery broadly speaking, there are two main stages to achieving your affiliate and eBook sales and generating AdSense revenue. The first is attracting people to your site which is probably what most bloggers spend the most time on. The second area is persuading those visitors to complete the actions which result in sales or newsletter sign-ups. Despite this having a huge impact on what you make from your blog, this area typically receives only a small percentage of most blogger’s time and effort.

Using an eBook as our example here’s how you can start to increase income from your existing traffic. Each time a desired action (in this case an eBook sign up), takes place it will be via a ‘call to action’, in this case the call to action may be a ‘download my eBook’ button on your blog. If every 100 visits to a page promoting your newsletter results in one sign-up, then you have a conversion rate of 1%. Improving this to just 1.25% would mean you make 25% more through eBook sales which may be much easier than increasing traffic to this page by 25%.

What is A/B testing

A/B testing is a method that allows webmasters to test different versions of pages on their sites or blogs to understand which version (version A or version B), results in the best conversion rate of clicks to the desired action (eBook sign-ups being the desired action in our example). You can learn more here about A/B tests and other forms of testing.

What to A/B Test

When you A/B test, you can either test two completely different versions of a page (perhaps with different colors, images or text), or you can change just one element each time. It’s often best to start by testing a completely different version of your page against the original to see which one performs best.

Once you have the best performing version from this initial test, the key to increasing conversions further is often to test changes to one element of the page at a time so you can work out which changes increase conversion rates. For example, try testing the following with our example of an eBook sales landing page: image used, size of image, placement of image on the page, size of the call to action button (e.g. the buy now button), color of the call to action button, placement of the call to action on the page and text used on the call to action button are just some of the elements on a page you can test.

How to run free A/B tests for your website

Thankfully you don’t need to spend anything to A/B test; you just need to invest some of your time. Google Website Optimizer is a free resource which offers A/B testing (in addition to more advanced forms of testing such as multivariate testing). There are useful tutorials on the Website Optimizer site to get you started, so if you have a blog and want to make more income from it, don’t put off A/B testing any longer!

Richard Patterson is a freelance online marketer and writer with an interest in all aspects of the online marketing mix, but in particular SEO, and website conversion testing.

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