Implementing a Content Experiment from Google Analytics with a WordPress Website; Conversion Testing
Proper conversion rate optimization requires testing of landing pages. Google recently introduced Content Experiment on Google Analytics as a replacement for the old Google Website Optimizer that was part of the Adwords platform. Content Experiments allows users to experiment with website or landing page layouts to find those that best accomplish online conversion goals such as completing a sale, downloading a file or content, or signing up for a newsletter.
The best way to learn is to try new features yourself; which is what I did with my WordPress website. I have an ebook I use for lead generation, called A Strategic Guide to Lead Generation using Pay-Per-Click and Google Adwords. I had initially created a landing page to use for paid search and social media. Now, Content Experiments allows me to test elements of my landing page. For this exercise I tested landing page headlines.
So here’s a step-by-step procedure for testing your landing pages with a WordPress site. FYI if you’d rather watch a video, here it is:
Step 1: On Google Analytics click on the Experiments word under the Content section.
Step 2: Name your experiment. Then type in the URL of your base (Control) landing page. I named it “paid.” Then, you’ll have to create URL variations of the landing page. Below are the names and unique URLs I created from the WordPress dashboard.
Step 3: From the WordPress dashboard, I created two variances from my initial paid search landing page by simply copying the content from the original page to two new pages, and changing the permalink and the headline for each new page.
Step 4: Set options for the experiment. First, I enter a goal URL that represents a conversion. This is typically a “thank you for submitting” page that appears after a form is submitted or a purchase occurs. On WordPress I have designed this Thank You page, and it’s listed as one of my website goals. When a user requests my ebook using, in this case, a Wufoo form, users are directed to this Thank You page.
Visitors Included in the experiment: This is a percentage of all audiences who are part of the experiment. for this example:
100% means all audiences are part of the experiment, meaning each of the 3 landing pages are shown to all audiences equally. 75% means 25% of the audience is not involved, and go to the original landing page. Of the remaining 75%, each landing page is shown equally. In this case, the original landing page is shown 50% of the time; the other variances 25% each. The same formulas exist for each percentage option.
The rewrite variation option, when checked, allows analytics to apply all landing page data, original and variances, credited to the original landing page, if you prefer to view the data that way. Unchecked; each landing page is tracked separately when reviewing content metrics.
Step 5: Now we need to add Content Experiment code. As instructed below, this code only goes on the original landing page code. Now comes the fun part of this procedure.
Step 6: If you have one of the Google Analytics plug-ins for WordPress, any page you create will have analytics code automatically. Please make sure you have downloaded one of these plug-ins; it’s easy to implement.
Step 7: If you go into your host dashboard or cpanel (I use Bluehost) and go into the directory where your WordPress theme and content are, you’ll be able to view your theme files. In order to put the experiment code only on the original page, you have to create a new page template. Below I copied the page.php file into the same directory, renaming it Conversion.php
Step 8: Once you have the new file, conversion.php, you have to edit it, and make it a template. For me, I added the first 5 lines of code to the page, and named the template Conversion. Below that is the Content Experiment code I pasted. Double check this with your WordPress designer in case the code below is different for your theme.
Step 9: Go back into the WordPress dashboard and go to the original landing page, and under Page Attributes, change the template from the default or existing, to the newly named Conversion.
Step 10: Go back to Google Analytics, and the next step is to verify the code is working, and the landing page variances are ready. Excellent!
Step 11: Review the experiment. You’ll see how each landing page variance will look. Note below that content experiments last maximum 3 months.
Step 12: Run the experiment, and track the results. Besides basic metrics like conversions and conversion rates, Google measures how each landing page varies from each other regarding conversion rate, and gives a percentage throughout the test which landing page variance, if any, has a chance to beat the original landing page in conversion rate. Eventually a winner will be chosen.
Well, that’s how you can test landing pages with WordPress. The same principles apply to other content management systems; you’ll just need some IT help renaming and coding the pages. You can run 8-10 experiments concurrently, and up to 5 page variants per test. It’s not the best scenarios for A/B or multivariate testing like we’re used to, but it is testing, with the goal to optimize conversion rates. Have you tried Content Experiments yet?