Any successful Internet Marketer worth their salt will always stress the importance of testing your landing page. And with so many metrics available to you now, landing page testing has never been more accurate.
A few years ago, if you owned an offline business, it was almost impossible to gather reliable information regarding just how many people walked past your shop and saw your poster through the window.
But times have changed, and so has the internet dynamic. You can now see exactly who looked at your ad, and how they interacted with it.
So what is landing page usability testing?
Landing page usability testing involves testing the usability of your web page on the people who are actually going to use it. Basically, you test your design ideas on the representative users of your landing page and website.
Usability testing is about expectations and real-world use. It allows the designer to see where the user’s expectations differ from the designs that he or she has created. It also helps point out where the designer’s expectations and predictions bear credence.
There are landing-page-usability-testing companies out there that will help you to find appropriate subjects for your usability tests. Testing your landing page’s usability is not expensive. You can quite often cover the most serious and significant problems with your landing page with just a small group of people (just so long as the group is diverse in a number of varied ways).
There are several protocols and systems you can set in place to create very complicated and specific tests, but because you’re looking for qualitative results it should not matter. Probing the users and making sure that they approach the landing page in different ways is more important than setting up strict and measurable tests.
What is A/B testing and when does it occur?
A/B testing is a fairly simplified form of testing that usually occurs post-design and post-usability test. It tests a landing page’s conversion performance. Conversions are measured differently depending upon what you are trying to achieve. The most common is a sale or lead conversion. Put simply, when a person lands on your landing page, they can do a lot of things (bookmark, comment, sign up, etc).
If your primary goal is to have them buy something, then your conversion rate is calculated by the amount of people who make a purchase, divided by how many people land on your page. So if you had 85 visitors, and 17 purchase something, then you would have a conversion rate of 0.2, or 20%.
What does Google suggest about A/B testing?
According to Google, if you receive over 1000 hits on your website per week, you should really conduct an A/B test. Google also suggests that you should not take A/B testing too seriously unless you are getting at least 100 conversions per page. Anything less than that is not conclusive enough to warrant you changing, adjusting or trusting your landing page.
So if you are A/B testing three or four landing pages, and one of them is getting over 100 conversions per page, then you may consider your landing page a success.
Where do Usability and A/B testing have their relationship?
Where they converge would seem blindingly obvious. If the landing page is not suitably tested and optimized for your target audience, then the resulting A/B testing will be a diabolical mess. Your landing pages may gain no conversions at all, or at the very least you are going to have unpredictable results. You may also develop a lot of anomalous results.
Does this mean that usability testing and A/B testing should go hand in hand?
If you are new to the idea of testing, or you are looking for a clean testing process, then it is a good idea to keep your usability testing and your A/B testing separate.
So how do I conduct my Usability and A/B test
The first step in any kind of website testing is creating multiple landing pages. The very first landing page that you create–you should keep along with any other alternatives that you have come up with. After usability testing, you should also have quite a few suggestions on how to improve your landing page.
Create a landing page that takes into account as many of these suggestions as possible, and then a number of other pages that account for a mix of the suggestions. All of the pages should then be A/B tested to see which ones work the best.
Common sense would say that if the usability tests were good enough, then the page with all the suggestions may get the most conversions. But this may not be the case, and upon occasion, it is the original design (with maybe a small tweak or two) that wins the conversion race.
It’s also a good idea to keep running usability tests and A/B tests. If you have a good landing page that provides a constant conversion rate, then there is little point in messing with a good system. But, do not be afraid of performing usability tests for a few more changes anyway, because sometimes perfection can be improved.