Website optimization is the practice of modifying your website content and testing variations to find the copy/image/call to action that is the best at converting website visitors into bookers. A/B testing programs will split your webpage traffic into 2 groups (or more depending on the number of variations you are using), and shows each group different content, after a period of time, you will be able to determine which content piece converts the most.
Many vacation rental marketing professionals neglect A/B testing, having confidence in their content, and often overlooking the diverse needs of their website visitors. Remember that what seems logical and good to us, is not always what will convert the best. That is why A/B testing is so important for marketers.
A/B Testing Combination Samples:
With A/B testing you can test a combination of content variations:
- Call to Action Button Text: “Inquire Now” vs “Inquire” vs “Contact Us”
- Call to Action Button Color: Red vs. Blue vs. Red
- Property description: Short property description vs long property description vs bullet points
- Image Combinations: Change headline Image to “property exterior” vs “living room” vs “view”
And many many more such as number of reviews to display and their placement, special deals, pricing etc.
Testing with Caution:
With an endless list of A/B testing possibilities, it is easy to get carried away and over-testing. Below are a few factors to consider when A/B testing your vacation rental website content:
- Test single features at a time. Don’t test the call to action button text, and property description on the same page at the same time. You will not be able to distinguish which content part is giving you the change.
- Set goals and track them. Make sure you define your goals in advance, whether it is increasing bookings, increasing inquiries, increasing social media interaction etc. In order to track goals, make sure you have a “Thank You” page with a unique URL after someone makes an inquiry or contacts you.
- Make sure you have enough visitors to your website to make a proper judgement on the winning content solution. 50 visitors (split into 2 groups of 25) is not enough to get a true result: you will need at least a few hundred visits.
A/B Testing Platforms:
There are numerous programs you can use to conduct A/B testing:
- Google: Google’s free A/B testing platform Website Optimizer has recently been integrated with Google Analytics. Within Google Analytics you can now set-up A/B testing, under the label “Content Experiments”. With Google you can test up to 5 variations. For full details on setting up Content Experiments, you can visit Google Support for Analytics.
- Visual Website Optimizer: If you are not tremendously technical, Visual Website Optimizer is a great paid solution for you. Everything is visual with very little-if not no HTML knowledge required.
- We do not like providing reviews of products we have not used, so we won’t go into detail, but there are also the following programs that many users love to use for A/B testing: HubSpot, Optimizely, Omniture etc.
Once you have selected you’re A/B testing platform, you will need to have a course of action as to which features you will test and in which order. Once you have made a plan, you will need to implement tracking codes on your website (a very simple action with Kigo Vacation Rental Websites)
A/B testing is a great platform for marketers to see which content combinations convert the most. Be warned that it does not provide an absolute result that you can use for years to come, but instead provides a guide to understanding the types of content that website visitors prefer. Do you use A/B testing? If you do, which programs do you use for A/B testing? If you don’t, why don’t you A/B test? Join the conversation by commenting below:
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