Start AB Testing Websites
Here is why I highly recommend you to start AB testing websites.
But why would I first ask you to take my Home Page A/B test? Read to the end of this post, and you will clearly see why.
But first matters first.
Let me give you the reason of this post.
Although I am beginning to see some decent traffic and am getting some nice conversions for my new site, I noticed something that in my Google Search Console that was quite concerning: my bounce rate was way too high.
Note: This is not my bounce rate, but is only a representative example.
What could it be?
Why was my bounce rate higher than I expected?
This was a bit of an enigma to me.
Everything on my site seems to be working right.
Other than additional direct user feedback, I then decided that the best way (and ONLY way) I could personally assess this was to create a brutally honest “checklist” of questions and then to go through them one by one to test the usability and user experience of my site.
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Start AB Testing Websites with 6 Brutally Honest Questions
I thought long and hard about these.
Here were the 6 Brutally Honest Questions I came up with to start AB Testing websites:
1. Was my bounce rate high because I wasn’t publishing enough good content?
No. I already just published my 110th post in only 3 months.
2. Was my bounce rate high because I was not using good low competition keywords for my articles?
Nope. All of my keywords have been thoroughly checked and rechecked. They all fall within the “goldilocks” range in Jaaxy for low competition with high enough searches. Also I always do an incognito check on Google for the keyword I am going to use to see who my competition is for that keyword. I won’t use the keyword unless I know I have the “green light.”
3. Could the reason that my bounce rate was high be that most of my content is low quality content or off-putting?
Highly doubtful. With almost zero exceptions, based on over 315 comments the feedback on my articles have mostly been very good to exceptional.
4. Was my bounce rate high because my site speed was slow (over 3 seconds), therefore the user experience was suffering?
Negative. My site speed for all of my pages and posts are in the 90’s in both desktop and mobile, and are loading in under 3 seconds. Most of these pages are loading in under 1.5 seconds.
That’s because in addition to using few plugins, all of my images are optimized on every page and post. I also follow my own evergreen training on site speed, and it continues to work like a charm.
5. Could it be that my bounce rate is high due to my content not being relevant to my niche?
Not likely. Mostly all of the content I write in some form or other is highly related to my niche.
6. Could it be that my bounce rate is high since I do not use a blog roll on my Home Page?
I do not believe so. Personally I am a firm believer of not using your blog roll on your Home Page. Even though I know other people CAN have proven success using a blog roll on a Home Page, I realize this.
Note that I use a static Home Page. I don't believe in using a blog roll on my Home Page, because IMO its too distracting. I believe a static page that directs the user exactly where you want a visitor to go to that "one place" is always the better way toward getting conversions.
I am a firm believer that a blog roll on a Home Page is simply too distracting, and can send the user off in multiple directions. So I DEFINITELY don't believe this is the cause of my higher than expected bounce rate.
However, I do include Featured Posts on my Home Page.
Ah, Maybe Could It (Possibly) Be My Home Page? (Lightbulb Moment!)
Then I realized maybe….just maybe….it might be my Home Page design itself.
I remember way back a few months ago when I first designed this Home Page, as much as I liked the content the message, and the structure of it, something inside of me told me it was too busy.
A few other close people to me thought so as well.
This can have a “huge” impact on your bounce rate, as your Home Page is usually the FIRST thing a visitor sees “above the fold.”
“Above the fold” means it s the first thing a vistior will see. In other words, what the visitor will see when first clicking on your site which is on the top of your page or post, without scrolling down. Most people won’t even scroll down anywhere beyond the top of the page or post (which would be “below the fold”)
It’s just like the same reason why most people will not search beyond Google Page 1. (even though I will, but don’t go by me, I am in the minority!)
Yet since I personally liked it so much and was attached to it (and invested a good amount of thought and work into it), I couldn’t bring myself to changing my Home Page design at the time.
Well, the time has finally come.
Immediately yesterday when I saw my bounce rate, I “got on the horn”, and began to design a new Home Page
So Ladies and Gents, here they are. You will see them below.
Both the original Home Page (Design A), and the New Home Page (Design B), which is the new homepage I created yesterday.
You be the judge.
Beyond personal preference, which Home Page would you be likely to stay longer on?
Time to Start AB Testing Websites
I’ve been putting off this step for a while, but now is finally the time to do it.
Luckily, I have a great theme for this. I am a user of Thrive Themes, and they have a very useful feature for A/B testing any of your pages and posts against one another.
An A/B test is always about a Control version (A) vs. a Variation (s) version (B, C, D, etc.). Which version will win, based on a higher number of views (impressions), lower bounce rate, higher conversions, etc.?
The theme then will give you all the clear and understandable analytics data for both the original (A) and the latest version (B), so you can make an objective decision.
If you like (and have the time to Go Crazy!), you can also even A/B test multiple different versions of the same page or post.
Take My Home Page A/B Test
So let’s get back to my original proposal.
Let me ask you Ladies and Gents, do you have any predictions based on simply viewing BOTH of these Home Page designs and layouts? (Design A and Design B)
Who will be the “winner” of the Home Page A/B Test?
Here is my current Home Page "above the fold" -original version Design A:
Note: If Design A is the winner in this case, I will have to go back to the drawing board.
Or will the winner be the "above the fold" New Home Page Version Design B?
Cast your vote in the comments below.
Conclusion: What are your predictions?
So what are your predictions?
Will it be Design A or Design B?
This is the reason why we need to start AB testing websites. I will publish the results of the A/B Test very soon.
Let’s say give it about 2-3 weeks to gather enough A/B data.
Please feel free to offer any comments below.