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How to Do A/B Testing on Your WordPress Website

One way to get better results from your website, whether that’s more page views, clicks, or sales, is to optimize its content.

If you can find out whether your visitors respond better to a green button vs a red one, then you can make changes to your site that will generate more clicks.

But how do you find that out and start intelligently optimizing a WordPress website for more conversions?

The best way is to install a plugin that will let you run experiments or A/B tests. These tests compare two versions of your entire site or individual pieces of content. One segment of your audience will be shown version A, while another will be shown version B. After enough visitors have interacted with your content, you’ll know which version is most effective at helping you achieve your goals.

This might sound a bit complicated. But actually, it’s very straightforward. With the right tool, which could be a free plugin, you can start optimizing your site today and getting more conversions without increasing traffic.

If that sounds appealing, then read on to find out how to do A/B testing on your WordPress website for free.

Introducing Nelio A/B Testing

The plugin we recommend for running free A/B tests on your WordPress website is Nelio A/B Testing.

The main reasons to use Nelio A/B Testing are that it’s very easy to use and has a free version that’s perfect for running these types of tests on most sites.

With the free version, you can do A/B testing on your WordPress website to optimize page headlines and content as well as other aspects of your site, including widgets and themes.

So if you want to know if one button text gets more clicks from your audience, or one page layout gets more engagement from your readers, Nelio A/B testing will let you know, all in just a few clicks. There’s no coding required unless you want to use test CSS. The plugin works with WooCommerce, too, should you want to optimize an online shop.

The only drawback of the free version is that you can only use 500 page views for your tests. After that, you’ll need to purchase one of the paid plans, which start at $24 a month.

There are some other tools out there, which we cover at the end of this guide; however, for most people, Nelio A/Testing is hard to beat.

Setting Up Your First A/B Test

Whether you’re looking for a guide to doing A/B testing on your WordPress website or you’d like a walkthrough of what the process looks like, read on to find out how to quickly set up a test with Nelio A/B Testing.

1. Install the Plugin

As the Nelio AB Testing plugin is free to use, it can be installed directly from within your WordPress dashboard.

Once you’ve logged into your dashboard, click on Plugins > Add New from the left-hand sidebar menu.

WordPress Add Plugin

From the Add Plugins screen, you can search for Nelio AB Testing. When you see the plugin displayed in the results, click on the Install Now button.

Next, click on the Activate button and the plugin will be ready to use.

2. Create an A/B Test

Clicking on the Nelio A/B Testing item on the sidebar menu will take you to the plugin dashboard. On your first time using the plugin, you might have to accept the terms and conditions to proceed.

Nelio A/B Testing has a helpful tour that walks you through the main aspects of the plugin. When you’ve finished the tour, you can create your first test by clicking on the Add Test button.

3. Choose a Test Type

As mentioned, Nelio A/B Testing lets you optimize a range of site elements. So in the next step, you need to choose which part of your site you want to test.

The options are:

  • Page: Test alternative versions of a page.
  • Post: Test alternative versions of a post.
  • Custom Post Type: Test alternative versions of a custom post type (WooCommerce product, etc.).
  • Headline: Test alternative versions of a title, featured image, and except.
  • Heatmap: Discover which parts of a webpage are attracting the most attention.
  • Template: Test different templates.
  • Theme: Test different themes.
  • Widget: Test alternative widget configurations.
  • Menu: Test alternative versions of a menu.
    CSS: Test different CSS rules on your site.
  • WooCommerce Product: Test alternative versions of a product name, price, etc.

All of those are good things to test on your website. But in this guide, we’re using the page option to demonstrate how you can test different elements of a page to try and improve its conversion rate.

To follow along, click on the Page option to get started.

4. Set up The Test

Before you create the test, you will need to have a page on your site that you want to improve. Once you have created or decided on an existing page, you can enter a name for your test. Try to choose something that will help you identify the test should you create more than one.

5. Choose Which Page to Test

Next, select the page you want to improve from the drop-down menu. For this guide, the sales page will be the focus of the test.

Now enter a name for the variant of the page you’ll be testing. Nelio A/B Testing will create a copy of the page you’re testing, and the name you enter here will be the name of the copy or variant of the original page.

If you want to create more variants, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription of the plugin. However, using the free version and just comparing two variants should give you enough data to start improving your website.

6. Define Your Goals

Once you’ve chosen the page to test, you must then name your test and define a goal. Nelio A/B Testing lets you choose from a few different goals, including visiting a specific page, clicking on an item, clicking on a link, playing a YouTube video, and a custom event.

The goal of this test is to increase the number of visitors who click through from the sales page to the pricing page. So with that in mind, the page goal was selected, then the goal page was defined.

A paid subscription lets you track more actions, but for basic A/B testing, the free version is fine. Paid subscribers can also use segmentation to only run the test on a portion of their audience, rather than all of their visitors. Some of the conditions you can use for setting up a segment include the visitor location, language, URL parameter, and referrer, as well as day and time of visit, to name just a few of the available options.

After choosing a goal, now would be a good time to hit the save button in the top right corner of the screen.

7. Create the Variant

Now that you’ve set up the test, it’s time to work on the variant of the page you want to optimize. To do so, click on the Edit button under the B variant.

Clicking on the Edit button should take you to the WordPress editor. From there, you can make the changes that you want to test. For this test, the button text was changed to see if it would encourage more clicks.

You can change your variant page as much as you want. However, if you want to know exactly what caused the change in conversions, it’s best to make just a few changes per test.

8. Start the Test

Once you’ve finished editing the variant, you can save the page by clicking on the Save Draft button in the top right corner of the screen.

Then you can go back to the test configuration page by clicking on the name of the test, located under the Nelio A/B Testing section of the right sidebar.

Now all you have to do is hit the Start button in the right-hand corner. The free version of Nelio A/B Testing doesn’t let you define an ending condition for the test – you have to stop it manually. However, if you upgrade, you can set a test duration, the maximum number of page views, or when a winner is found with a level of confidence you’ve specified.

Monitoring the Results

Nelio A/B Testing displays the results from a test in a very clear way.

Once enough data has been collected, a winner will be declared, letting you know when to end the test.

As you can monitor the results while the test is running, you can decide when to stop it or pause it and make adjustments while it’s in progress.

Once the test has ended, you can set the winning variant as the live version of the page that all visitors will see. After that, you could run another test to optimize the page further.

Alternatives to Nelio A/B Testing Plugin

As you can see, Nelio A/B Testing is very easy to use. The free version has enough functionality to help you start improving your WordPress website, with the premium version providing lots of useful features.

However, it’s not the only WordPress testing plugin. Here are some alternatives:

Thrive Optimize is a premium split testing plugin for WordPress. It integrates with the other Thrive tools, such as the Thrive Architect page builder plugin and the Thrive Theme Builder website design tool. Thanks to this, you can import page templates, insert elements, and customize your content as part of your tests. All of the Thrive tools are available in one bundle that’s ideal for anyone who wants to customize and optimize their WordPress website.

Divi Leads is an A/B testing tool that’s built into the Divi WordPress theme and Divi Builder plugin from Element Themes. Like Thrive Optimize, the customization options for Divi Leads are almost unlimited, giving you the ability to optimize all aspects of your website through a powerful user interface. Divi Leads is available as part of the Elegant Themes bundle.

Google Optimize is a free tool that lets you run A/B and multivariate tests (MVT) on any website. It’s a powerful solution but it’s not as easy to use as some of the WordPress plugins out there, including Nelio A/B Testing. However, there is a paid tool, which is available as an add-on for MonsterInsights that makes it much easier to integrate with your WordPress website.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to do A/B testing on your WordPress site, it’s time to start optimizing your content.

Here’s a quick recap of what we just covered:

  • Install a (free) WordPress plugin, such as Nelio A/B Testing.
  • Create a test that compares two versions of your content.
  • Monitor the results and wait for a winner to be declared.
  • Create another test to experiment further to improve conversions even more.

Whether you want more page views, clicks, leads, sales, or some other results, A/B testing removes the guesswork from website optimization.

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