Building Community

Split Testing for Bloggers: 7 A/B Testing Tools You Can Use

Want to do some split testing? Today is your lucky day.  In this post, I’ll show you the best split testing tools on the market. But first, let me tell you more about split testing. Table Of Contents 1. What Is Split Testing? 2. How to build a split testing strategy 3. The Best Split … Continued

Want to do some split testing?

Today is your lucky day. 

In this post, I’ll show you the best split testing tools on the market.

But first, let me tell you more about split testing.


What is Split Testing?

If you’re new to blogging, you may not even know what split testing is.

Split testing – more formally known as A/B testing – involves testing two versions of an app, ad, page, or individual element.

Different variants are tested and compared side-by-side. As a result, the time it takes to achieve the best version is significantly reduced.

What Is Split Testing?

How to build a split testing strategy

The most practical way to split test is to implement multiple changes between variants. That’s because each split test requires data from thousands of visitors to draw reliable results.

If you change one thing at a time, you’re looking at weeks or months before you make significant progress. 

Here’s how you can do it.

Let’s say you want to improve the user experience on your blog and get more conversions.

First, you need to identify your Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. These are metrics or values that gauge how well something is performing.

For this, you need to focus on engagement metrics, like:

  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session
  • Average session duration
  • Conversion rate
  • Scroll depth

These will be your KPIs. 

Now, suppose you have two versions of your landing page: version A and version B.

Version A vs Version B

After split testing, you figured out that version A led to significantly more pages per session. Version B, on the other hand, had less bounce rate, more scroll depth, and higher conversions.

In other words, version B generated more traffic and sales.

Version A generated fewer sales but distributed more traffic to other pages.

Version A vs Version B Results

Which one would you choose?

Sure, it’s easy to say that version B won. After all, most website owners only really care about conversions.

But what if you can get the results of version B with the pages per session of version A?

That’s a possibility you can explore by looking at the individual elements that most likely affected your KPI.

In the scenario above, the KPI is pages per session, which can be improved through: 

  • Inline internal links
  • Sidebar navigation links
  • Footer links
  • Better overall website design

Looking at the variants above, you noticed that version A’s content had more inline links.

With that information, you can move forward by incorporating those links in version B’s content. Alternatively, you can run another split test – this time, with version B and another variation with revamped navigation elements.

You can keep this going until you’re completely happy with your results.

All you need are the tools that track the KPIs that are relevant to what you’re trying to improve. 

For example, an email marketing platform allows you to A/B test emails and opt-in forms. But you probably can’t use it to test Facebook ads or WordPress landing pages.

This takes us to the next section, which I’m sure we’re all excited about.


The Best Split Testing Tools

There are several tools you can use for split testing different aspects of your blog.

Let’s start with a tool that can track pretty much everything:


1. ClickMagick

ClickMagick

ClickMagick is a must-have tracking tool for bloggers who care about having accurate marketing insights.

It’s designed to be your “single source of truth” on the performance of your affiliate links, ads, autoresponder, and more.


What does ClickMagick do?

ClickMagick is a very powerful tracker that will give you a crystal-clear view of the customer journey. It will tell you exactly how leads move through different stages of your sales funnel – all while collecting valuable data.

ClickMagick Funnel Tracker

As a result, ClickMagick can help you identify which areas to focus your optimization efforts on. It will also help you save money by pinpointing channels and keywords that aren’t generating enough returns.


How to use ClickMagick for split testing

You can use ClickMagick to split test variations of your web pages. You simply need to plug in the URLs of your primary page and the variations.

ClickMagick will automatically track important metrics like:

  • TC – The total number of clicks
  • E – Number of engagements (subscription, click-through, etc.)
  • S – Sales
  • NET – Net profit
  • ROI – Return on investment
ClickMagick Link tracking Metrics

In terms of split testing, what makes ClickMagick extra remarkable is the automated split testing feature.

When configuring your split test, you can specify what you’re trying to optimize right off the bat. It can be the number of actions on your page, engagements, sales, or earnings per click.

ClickMagick Split Testing Goal

ClickMagick’s proprietary algorithms will then be put to work. These make sure you statistically have sufficient data to declare a true winner among the variations.


2. ConvertBox

ConvertBox

ConvertBox is my go-to tool for lead generation.

It’s an advanced form builder that comes with automation features, built-in analytics, conditional targeting, and more.


What does ConvertBox do?

If you’re an active Master Blogging reader, you may have come across some of the things I created with it. It helped me build eye-catching opt-in forms presented as overlays, particularly callout modals and center modals.

ConvertBox Overlay Formats

ConvertBox features a collection of pre-built templates you can use to accelerate your progress. If you prefer a blank template, the actual form builder has a drag-and-drop interface you’ll surely enjoy.

ConvertBox Drag-And-Drop Builder

You can learn more about ConvertBox by reading my full in-depth review here.


How to use ConvertBox for split testing

With ConvertBox, you can easily split test up to two versions of your forms.

In the main editor, click ‘Create A/B test’ to pull up the variations window. From there, you can quickly clone your original form or click ‘Create new variation’ to build from scratch.

ConvertBox Create AB Test

You then have the option to run a “cookied” split test or regular split test.

In a cookied split test, the variant will be picked at random for every user. However, the same variant will always be shown to them even in future sessions.

A regular split test will also show a random variant to users. But unlike a cookied split test, a regular split test may show different variants to the same user.


3. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign

Here’s another tool that I personally use to grow my blog.

With ActiveCampaign, I can automate personalized emails that will help my audience get to know my brand. It’s a comprehensive email marketing platform with everything you need to nurture leads and guide them through your funnels.


What does ActiveCampaign do?

ActiveCampaign comes with a straightforward email builder with plenty of templates for welcome emails, newsletters, abandoned cart emails, and more.

ActiveCampaign Email Templates

Of course, these templates are fully customizable. If you want, you can also start with a blank canvas to make room for all your unique ideas.

That all sounds cool and all, but those features aren’t the reason why I absolutely love using ActiveCampaign.

Rather, ActiveCampaign easily has one of the best automation workflow builders in the business.

It features a visual automation builder for pretty much every campaign you can think of. More importantly, every email you send can help you segment your lists through intelligent contact scoring.

Oh, and did I mention that it has email automation recipes that will save you a ton of time?

ActiveCampaign Email Automation Recipes

There’s a lot more to explore when it comes to ActiveCampaign’s features. To see everything in action, I suggest starting your free trial account here.


How to use ActiveCampaign for split testing

As you may have guessed, ActiveCampaign allows you to split test emails to generate the best possible response from subscribers.

You can split test email subject lines, sender information, and individual elements in your email. Just remember to pick ‘Test different email subjects, from information, and/or email contents’ to enable all split testing options.

ActiveCampaign Split Test Type

ActiveCampaign’s builder will then allow you to create all variants of the same email in one place. Simply click ‘Add new test design’ to create a new variant and instantly switch to editing it.

Add New Test Design

After building your email variants, ActiveCampaign allows you to set the “email ratios” accordingly. These numbers determine how much of your contacts will receive each variant.

ActiveCampaign can also automatically determine the winner based on which has the highest click rate or open rate. You’re also in control over how long the split testing period will last.

To set the conditions, select ‘Determine (and send using) the winner’ under the “Test Winner” settings.

ActiveCampaign Split Test Options

Excited about the results?

During split testing, you can monitor the performance of your emails from within ActiveCampaign. You should also consider exploring the “education center” to reap the full benefits of this platform.


4. Google Optimize

Google Optimize

If you use WordPress, you can split test your landing pages for free with Google Optimize.

It’s a free user experience optimization platform that lets you run “experiments” – from multivariate analysis to server-side tests.


What does Optimize do?

There are several reasons why you should add Optimize to your digital toolbox.

First of all, it works seamlessly with other Google tools like Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is also the recommended split testing tool for popular page builders like Elementor.

Google Optimize Integration with Google Analytics

However, my favorite part about Optimize is the “What You See Is What You Get” or WYSIWYG editor.

With the help of the Google Optimize extension for Chrome, you can effortlessly build variants of your page.

Think of it as a pocket page builder that lets you apply tweaks to your page – no coding required.

Google Optimize WYSIWYG Builder

How to use Optimize for split testing

Apart from regular A/B tests, you can also use Optimize to run split URL tests.

That’s when you compare two different pages with entirely different URLs. This is the ideal experiment type if you recently launched an extensive page redesign.

Optimize Redirect Test

Just like any other split testing tool, you can also manage the traffic share of each variant. This can be done from the “Targeting and variants” section of the Optimize dashboard.

Optimize Traffic Weight

You can also set advanced audience targeting options to ensure you get data from relevant visitors.

To do this, look for the “Audience targeting” section and click ‘Customize.’ This will bring up a list of rule types you can use to define your experiment’s target traffic.

Optimize Audience Targeting

Impressed?

Keep in mind that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what Optimize can do.

It’s also worth noting that configuring Optimize along with its integrations requires a bit of setup. For that, you can refer to this step-by-step guide – courtesy of Elementor.


5. Nelio A/B Testing

Nelio A/B Testing

Nelio A/B Testing is a turnkey solution that proves split testing doesn’t have to be complicated.

As the name suggests, it’s a dedicated A/B testing platform for WordPress that lets you test website elements. This includes pages, headlines, menus, CSS styles, and more.


What does Nelio A/B Testing do?

To use Nelio A/B Testing, you need to install the official plugin on your WordPress website.

You can then configure split tests straight from your WordPress dashboard. Just head to the plugin page, select ‘Tests,’ and click ‘Add Test.’

Add New Test with Nelio A/B Testing

Nelio A/B Testing lets you test anything – from individual pages to WooCommerce product summaries.

Variants can then be created and edited using your native page builder. This can be the default WordPress page editor or a third-party platform like Elementor, Divi, or Thrive Architect.

Nelio Control Version and Variants

Interested in trying out Nelio A/B Testing?

Feel free to download and install their official plugin from the WordPress plugin repository. Just bear in mind that you can only test pages and heatmaps unless you buy the premium version.


How to use Nelio A/B Testing for split testing

Using Nelio A/B Testing, you can specify the desired specific conversion action you’re optimizing for. This can be a page view, click, external link visit, or a custom trackable event.

Conversion Goals and Actions

By default, split test variants will be shown to all your website visitors. You can change this to only a specific group of users if you bought the premium version.

Other than segmentation, a premium subscription will also unlock the following features:

  • Enable A/B testing for up multiple websites
  • Custom test scheduling
  • Participant quota control
  • Testing for posts, headlines, templates, themes, widgets, menus, products, and CSS
  • Email notifications

6. Hotjar

Hotjar

Hotjar is a heatmap platform that lets you analyze user experience through visual observation – skipping all the number crunching.

Basically, a heatmap is a visual representation of the “hot” and “cold” zones of your website.

Hot zones encompass elements that garner the most clicks from your audience. Cold zones, on the other hand, are areas of your website that often get ignored.


What does Hotjar do?

Hotjar allows you to set up heatmaps in four steps. You just have to give your heatmap a name, pick a format, specify the target page, and save your settings.

Hotjar Heatmap Setup

Once your heatmap is ready, you can track specific user actions like clicks, mouse movements, and scrolls. You can also view data collected from a specific device type, be it desktops, smartphones, or tablets.

Explaining Heatmaps

Apart from heatmaps, Hotjar can also capture actual screen recordings so you can experience your website through your audience’s eyes. This allows you to monitor exactly how users interact with every element you put on your website.

Hotjar Video Recordings

Looks cool, right?

There are two more ways Hotjar can help you optimize the user experience on your blog.

With the “Incoming Feedback” feature, you can give your audience the chance to voice out their thoughts on your blog.

Hotjar Incoming Feedback Feature

If you like something more traditional, you can use Hotjar to run a survey directly on your blog.

Everything – from building the survey form to analyzing the responses – can be done from your Hotjar dashboard.

Hotjar Surveys

How to use Hotjar for split testing

You can use Hotjar to split test pages by setting up heatmaps or recordings on each variation’s URL.

What makes this great is that you can see exactly how your users react to the design changes you implement. Additionally, you don’t need to buy Hotjar to split test pages with different URLs.

If you have a Hotjar Business plan, you can use JavaScript to split test pages with the same URL. It also grants access to third-party split testing tools like Google Optimize and Optimizely.

This leads us to the next and final tool I’d like to discuss. 


7. Optimizely

Optimizely

Ready to take user experience optimization to the next level?

Optimizely is an enterprise-grade digital experience platform that provides optimization solutions to businesses and developers.

For website owners, Optimizely offers a visual interface for split testing, multivariate testing, and personalization campaigns.


What does Optimizely do?

Before anything else, be informed that Optimizely isn’t for everyone.

You either need to be either a full stack developer or a website owner with an in-house development team.

If you fall into either group, Optimizely is a long-term investment that will multiply the results you’re getting. Just be informed that it won’t come cheap.

Optimizely Experiments

Optimizely includes comprehensive optimization features that go beyond split testing. They provide AI-driven recommendations, optimization as a service, feature flagging, and more.

Their core offering, however, is the Optimizely Digital Experience Platform, which includes the following: 

  • Content Cloud – Use content modeling to build great content by creating, combining, and reusing individual content components. To streamline content development, Optimizely’s Content Cloud also includes tools for media management, project collaboration, and split testing.
  • Commerce Cloud – Manage multiple websites, visitor groups, and eCommerce campaigns from one platform. You can take full advantage of the Optimizely visual interface to push changes in your eCommerce campaigns without writing code.
  • Intelligence Cloud – Optimizely’s top-of-the-line analytics lets you consolidate customer data, integrate with third-party platforms, and create experiences tailored to your audience. It uses AI automation to accelerate testing, content strategy, brand messaging, marketing, and conversion rate optimization.

How to use Optimizely for split testing

When starting experiments, Optimizely’s visual editor lets you make quick changes to any page to create variations. Fine-tune the copy, arrangement, and visibility of individual elements with just a few clicks.

Optimizely Visual Web Editor

Experiments support cross-browser testing, allowing you to inspect how your page looks across 18 browsers at the same time. You can also leverage advanced targeting to narrow down target visitors according to browser, device, language, IP address, and more.

In addition to split testing and multivariate testing, Optimizely is also capable of running multi-page or funnel tests.

These are experiments that involve testing entire experiences that involve multiple pages. It can be your entire checkout process, online course onboarding, webinar registration, and so on.


Additional tips for successful split testing

Found the perfect split testing tool for your blog?

Regardless of your budget, I’m confident you can make the right choice by looking at the platforms listed above.

To help you make the most out of split testing, here are additional tips you ought to remember:


1. Always start with a hypothesis

Start with a hypothesis

Before running a split test, make sure you know exactly what you’re trying to improve.

You need to come up with a hypothesis, which is basically a prediction or the idea you want to test.

For example, after tracking your landing page’s low conversion rate, you thought about changing the color of your CTA button. Perhaps the current one just doesn’t pop as much as you wanted.

From there, you can construct your hypothesis in three steps:

  • Define the problem – What exactly are you trying to solve? Can you measure and provide data that prove the problem exists?
  • Offer the solution – What are the specific changes you propose? Specify the logical basis on how it can fix the problem.
  • Plan how to measure results – What KPIs should you track to determine the success of the test? Set the target values that will help differentiate success from failure.

2. Calculate your sample size

Calculate Your Sample Size

In order to confirm the results of your split test, your data must achieve statistical significance.

This will make sure you end up with reliable results from your split test.

In most cases, a statistical significance of 95 percent is required before you can conclude your findings. This essentially means that 95 percent of your results are based on the changes you made on the winning variant.

You can ensure statistical significance by calculating the appropriate sample size for your split test. 

If your main KPI is conversion rate, you can use Optimizely’s A/B Test Sample Size Calculator to make things easier.

To use it, simply plug in your baseline conversion rate, planned minimum detectable effect, and desired statistical significance.

Optimizely Sample Size Calculator

3. Research the best practices

Research The Best Practices

When creating variants, it’s always a good idea to employ changes that are backed by data.

Don’t make decisions based on hunches. Instead, look at case studies, read about trends, and spy on your top competitors to build your redesign strategies.

A competitor research tool like SpyFu will work wonders, especially if you want to look at your competitors’ top-performing content.

SpyFu

If you’d like to check out SpyFu’s full features, you can refer to my full review here.


4. Don’t split test for the sake of split testing

Have a Reason to Split Test

Split testing is great – there’s no question about that.

It’s a solid strategy to have if you want to bring out the best in your blog.

Just don’t forget that split testing takes time, money, and knowledge. 

Without a clear reason to split test, you’ll only overcomplicate your marketing while burning a hole in your pocket.

By “clear reason,” I mean a measurable indication that your blog actually has problems.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Listen to user feedback – Are you getting a lot of negative comments about the experience on your blog? Addressing usability issues is always a great reason to do some split testing.
  • Look for leaks in your funnels – In a sales funnel, a single page can have a significant impact on your bottom line. You can use Google Analytics to spot pages with high exit rates and plug leaks in your sales funnel.
  • Use a heatmap tool – As I mentioned earlier, heatmaps allow you to visually observe which elements on your website are getting ignored. If key elements like CTAs and forms are left in the cold, use split testing to improve them.

5. Time your split testing period right

Time Your Split Test Right

To make your split test as accurate as possible, be aware of any outside factors that can influence the results.

As much as possible, plan a testing period away from events that affect the quality and quantity of your traffic. If it can’t be helped, temporarily cancel your test or keep those events in mind when analyzing the results.

Here are some examples of such events:

  • Major Google algorithm updates
  • Press releases
  • Influencer posts mentioning your brand
  • New product launches
  • Server-side crashes and prolonged downtimes
  • New marketing campaigns
  • Publicized events (speaking engagements,

Conclusion

Congratulations.

You can now add A/B split testing to your list of blogging skills.

When done right, split testing is a surefire way to reach your blog’s full potential. It’s only a matter of when you’ll get adequate data and what you’ll do with it.

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

I’m also looking forward to feedback and suggestions on what you want to read about next.

Back to Building Community
Next

Do You Humble Yourself to Learn from Pro Bloggers?