Having Testing Trouble? How To A/B Test With Little or No Traffic

Whenever we talk about content marketing with our readers and clients, there are a few key practices we always throw out. Always be thorough. Don’t run hard sales. Stay consistent. A/B test often. Sometimes we worry that we sound like a broken record, but it’s only because this is important! When it comes to increasing your site’s conversion rate, these are some of the most vital and underappreciated techniques you can use.

Out of everything we usually recommend, A/B testing is the one thing most people aren’t willing—or simply aren’t able—to give a fair shake. We can sympathize with just how difficult it really is, it’s tough for us too! Not only does it take time to tweak and edit the same thing over and over, it takes more time to study the short and long-term changes. If you don’t have very much traffic coming to your website, that study process can take weeks and months, not days.

If you’re ready to try A/B testing for better results, but you just don’t have the traffic to adequately test your changes, this is the article for you. Today I’m going to take a look at A/B testing tips and how you can optimize your variation testing and attract a little more traffic at the same time.

PPC Campaigns Attract Valuable Test Traffic at A Small Cost

One of the first and most directly valuable traffic-building methods for A/B testing would be attaching a PPC campaign to your tests. For instance: you’re testing the conversion potential for a few variations of a landing page. You can create a PPC campaign that will catch traffic from Google Search results and direct them straight to that landing page you’re testing out. Switch the landing page out after it’s had enough time to accumulate some traffic, and measure the click-through or conversion results you got from each page.

The obvious benefit to a PPC campaign for testing purposes is that you’ll be pulling traffic through paid advertising. On paper, you’re killing two birds with one stone: advertising your site and your services, while A/B testing your content at the same time. You want to be careful, though, that you keep an eye on your day-to-day results and that you’ve optimized your test content for conversion effectiveness. Testing can actually hurt your bottom line if it turns out your tested content causes you to lose conversions instead of gain them.

Qualitative Results Are Fair Game in Low-Traffic A/B Testing

Web developers, content writers, and small business owners alike know that sometimes, you just have to rely on their gut instinct. Giff Constable at Proof NYC and his peers agree: when you have to move forward now rather than later, qualitative observations backed with a little bit of test data are worth it, especially if waiting for enough quantitative data would lead you to the same decision.

Making a qualitative decision for the sake of simply making a decision should be a point that you come back to later in the website’s lifecycle. Any good marketer will tell you that A/B testing never truly “ends.” You’ll want to constantly change and revisit your entire website piece by piece, and optimize with new strategies and insights you’ve learned over the lifespan of your website. If you make a call early on based on a hunch or a good feeling towards one variation over the others, be sure that you revisit this soon after you’ve accumulated more traffic data to see whether your decision holds up in the long-term.

Web Testing Services Help You Visualize Your Conversion Effectiveness

There are plenty of services for businesses of all sizes that do nothing but test other websites. User testing is an important aspect of website optimization: you can do all the technical optimization you want, but it won’t mean anything if your end-users have a hard time navigating your sites. Websites like UserTesting.com, Loop11.com, and YouEye.com send real users to your website and employ different kinds of tracking and testing methods to show you exactly how people use your website.

These tests are usually more expensive than your average PPC campaign and other paid advertising tools, and you won’t attract extra visitors to your website in the process. That doesn’t mean these services aren’t worth the money: you’ll receive a video or a document that shows you exactly how the average user behaves on your website, as if you were standing over their shoulder watching. These real-time tests will often help you spot crucial design flaws that are keeping you from earning the business conversions you’ve hoped for.

A/B Testing is Absolutely Worth Your Time

Major international companies often employ large focus groups to determine whether or not a product is a profitable venture before it goes to market. For years, big businesses had focus group testing exclusively to themselves: small businesses had no choice but to put a new product on the market and hope it wasn’t dead on arrival. Thanks to the internet, small businesses and startups can take advantage of the power of instantaneous focus group testing—but only if they’re willing to put in the effort.

A/B Testing is a steady process that requires a good eye for website usability, decent data, and the willingness to spend a little up front to maximize your potential to earn more in the long run. If this sounds like something you need to do, take these tips and give A/B testing a shot. If you’re in need of new content to test for your website, you know who to call.

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Andrew Glasscock is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated with a BA in English, specialized in Creative Writing, with a minor in Marketing this past May. Along with copywriting, he loves being an improv comedian, playing frisbee, and dogs.

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