Using your advertising to test out website design ideas

Many people think that testing out ideas for their website’s home page is too difficult. They can only imagine manually switching between the alternatives they’re testing, maybe one day or week at a time. Even so, they’re going to end up wondering if the traffic coming in was randomly balanced enough.

But if you’re running a search advertising campaign, it’s easy to test out landing page ideas which can subsequently be transferred to the home page. In search advertising, you decide where the visitors go, and these landing pages could be set up as experimental page designs with very little effort.

Supposing you supply red, blue and yellow widgets, and wanted to find out which worked best on the home page: a picture of some products, or a picture of a person. Set up two fairly simple landing pages, A and B, both of them showing all three types of widgets in separate panels linking through to those products’ pages. Then in page A, have one big picture, and in page B have the other. That would be the only difference.

Now start sending your pay per click traffic through to these two test pages, selected at random, rather than to the normal product page about widgets. Look at the variation in engagement (clicking through into the site from the landing page) – you’ll almost certainly find a clear winner after a while.