Perform Split Testing with phpA/B
Split testing, also called A/B testing, is a testing method where you compare a base sample with another test sample, changing one specific variable inside it.
For example, you could have a base landing page, and then you would compare it against a new landing page where you changed the main headline.
As a blogger, there are many things you could improve with split testing. Examples include:
- The number of subscribers you get by testing the headline and position of the subscription form.
- The AdSense earnings by testing different AdSense units and placements.
- The bounce rate of the blog, by testing different placements of your content above the fold.
- The number of retweets you get per post, based on the placement of the retweet button.
But how do you perform a split test? You have two options. You can either do it manually, by changing the variable one week at a time and then tracking the results, or by using a piece of software and letting it rotate the variables for you.
The second option, which involves automated software testing tools, is usually the best one, and a couple of days I discovered a software you can use to do that. It is called phpA/B, and it is free as long as you use it for personal purposes.
I haven’t test it yet, but it looks promising. The main idea is to let you test anything within your site, with a simple setup interface. You can also integrate it with Google Analytics if you want.
Definitely worth a look. Once I test it here I’ll write a more complete review, so stay tuned.
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18 Responses to “Perform Split Testing with phpA/B”
And why not use Google Website Optimizer for this? Its free.
As is phpA/B, it doesn’t matter so much what tool you use really, all A/B testing tools provide one big common element in their toolkit, they provide the ability to test between version A and B of a certain aspect in your site. Google website optimizer does this just as well as phpA/B does.
One might argue phpA/B provides a little more freedom as it actually provides you with tools that you can use to implement the A/B testing, where-as Google website optimizer only provides result verification.
- Rian Orie
I recently came across your blog and have been reading along
Superb concept. Will try it soon enough.
Will be waiting for your review though 😛
I’ve never make split testing. Now split testing in my blog may be stupid, because now I am doing a lot of other works on my blog, so results may be falsified.
I think about write a split tester in Ajax.
Keep an eye out for potential lopsided testing segments.
i have never done split testing, but it definitely sounds like something that I will be performing in the future, as I delve deeper into the depths of blogging.
If you do a review, could you compare it to google webmaster tools?
Tom | Oral Answers
Do you know if there is an easy way to implement this to alternate themes on a WordPress-powered site?
I noticed that you can add the phpAB code into a page, but I think it would take a LOT of those to change all of the CSS, images, divs, and everything else.
Thanks for letting us know about this.
Tom, combined with, for example, a theme switcher plugin this should be relatively easy to do.
I wonder though, how effective is A/B testing when you change the whole site.. doesn’t it defeat the purpose of A/B testing? The point of A/B testing is to increase results through fine-tuning small parts of your site.
Tom | Oral Answers
Thanks for the reply, Rian. I’ve been working on reducing my bounce rate and I think the theme plays a huge role in that. I would make the themes pretty similar, but change subtle graphics and colors to see if one is more attractive to visitors and entices them to stick around for a while.
While the theme may play a large role in sites, I think the content is the main attraction… It’s probably not as subtle as many of the other A/B tests that could be performed.
- Tom | Oral Answers
- Rian Orie
Do you know something, it’s funny, but I test sales pages and squeeze pages all the time…
But I never thought to test my blog!
Can’t see the wood for the trees sometimes until someone points out the obvious.
Will get onto it pronto!
Fab post, Sally 🙂
I didn’t do formal split testing but tried out various combinations of AdSense units for one week, then switched a week later and vice versa. Something that automates the split testing is much more beneficial as I had to track all the statistics manually.
Thanks for reminding me of this. I was doing a lot of split testing couple of month back. Then of course, I got comfortable with what I have. I will look at the link. However, tell us how it works with a full review.
Chat with you later…
- Paras Chopra
I look forward to hear how it works out for you.
Nabeel | Create Your First Website
I agree, split testing can work wonders and not just in blogging, but in any website like a squeeze page, a sales page etc.
phpA/B looks like a novel concept and idea. I thought the only way to split test was the ‘this title for one week and the next title for the second week’ approach.
I wonder how how do you actually implement it on a blog/website?
Looking forward to the detailed review!
It is a php script you need to donwload and install on your server.
But it is easy to do it, and they have a guide too.
- Daniel Scocco
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