Google Analytics Part III: Google Website Optimizer

Can't decide which images to use on your home page? Not sure if you want a 5-word headline, or 10? Wondering if you should go with Times New Roman or Arial?

You can take the guesswork out of building an effective website with Google Website Optimizer, a free tool available to anyone who has or creates a Google account.

With Google Website Optimizer, you have two testing options.

1) A/B Experiment, which allows you to compare the performance of one page version with another. Google recommends this experiment if you have fewer than 1,000 visitors to your site per week and if you're simply looking to test the layout or overall appearance of a page.

If you choose this option:

· Select a page on your site that you want to test

· Create alternate versions of that page, such as alternate images, text, headlines or fonts

· Assign each version of the page a different URL

· Choose a page that visitors will be directed to after they have successfully converted (i.e., signed up for a newsletter, submitted a contact form or made a purchase)

· Install the experiment code on your website

2) Multivariate Experiment, which allows you to compare the performance of various elements on a page. Google recommends this experiment if you have more than 1,000 visitors per week and you want to try multiple content changes in different parts of the page all at the same time.

If you choose this option:

· Select a page on your site that you want to test

· Decide which sections of the page you want to test and create alternate content accordingly

· Choose a page that visitors will be directed to after they have successfully converted (i.e., signed up for a newsletter, submitted a contact form or made a purchase)

· Install the experiment code on your website

Visitors who come to this page will be randomly divided up, with Google showing one group of visitors one version of the page and another group of visitors another version of the page.

Once the results are in, go with the version that performed best. You'll not only decrease bounce rates, but also increase time spent on your site, conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction — all for optimal ROI.

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