Test or Die

“Testing is an infinite process of comparing the invisible to the ambiguous in order to avoid the unthinkable happening to the anonymous.”

 If you think that was a totally bewildering line, then you should know that we did not make that one up! These are the words of James Bach, software tester and developer of session based testing. Website testing is complex but it has to be done.

 Testing, especially when applied to business websites is:

  • Mandatory
  • Relevant
  • Continuous
  • Mandatory – or have we mentioned that already?

 Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when concerning the importance of periodically checking how your business website is performing.

 Why Test?

Burt Rutan, the aerospace engineer said that testing leads to failure and failure leads to understanding. This is a principle that fits the business world too. It is only continual testing that will give you the ability to understand how your business website is performing and how you can make it better in order to retain customers.

 The failure to retain a customer will lead to:

  • Loss of sales (and profits)
  • Higher costs of sales
  • Depletion in market share
  • Weakening of brand image and reputation

 How to Test?

When it comes to business websites, there are plenty of effective tools that can be used and the key is to customize such tests. To paraphrase James Dyson, the industrial designer, standardized testing is convenient but lazy. It would also be relevant to keep in mind that what was an effective method for customer engagement in the past may not be effective today.

 Which Method to Adopt?

Your end goal is to check your website’s usability quotient. This means that your website needs to be checked for:

  • Navigation
  • Content
  • Relevance of information
  • Security
  • Readability
  • Accessibility

 It All Boils Down to Usability

The usability of your website simply means that customers and visitors find it extremely easy to find what they are looking for. Website analysis methods such as heat map tracking tools will be able to tell you exactly how a user is engaging with your website. Whether it is the use of mouse tracking heat maps or eye tracking heat maps, such a testing tool will give you actionable data on what material or kind of content holds the viewer’s attention for the longest period of time.

 If you want to get your content tested, then you really should apply A/B testing. This gives viewers the opportunity to look at two different versions of a website and tell you exactly what works and what does not. This is an extremely simple tool and can help you quantify a design change so that your website makes maximum impact.  Many marketers use A/B testing to determine what banner ads perform best, what colors lend to more clicks, and what ad copy resonates with consumers.

 A more dynamic version of such A/B website testing is multivariate testing which brings together several design combinations to the test group. You can then figure out which combination of designs or elements had the most positive impact.

 Regardless of the method that you choose, there is no getting away from the fact that ‘test or die’ is the motto that you live by as a digital marketer!

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