The dating game Use Google’s website optimizer to let data drive your site design

Posted by tom klein June 8, 2007

As with any communication or advertising, your website has a split second to work its magic – or your customer will just click away (what’s called a bounce). When you agreed to the design of your site, was that decision backed by data or was it shoot from the hip?

Now you can use Google’s website optimizer to inform your design decisions with knowledge of what worked and what didn’t. And for you research nerds like us, this tool replaces A/B testing (comparing version A to version B) with multivariate testing (comparing unlimited versions at once).

Once you’ve designed and tested the different versions of your page(s) (everything – photos, text, headlines, lay-out), you receive a detailed comparison report that will help you separate the wheat from the chaff. How long are you going to rely on your gut when (did we forget to say free!) tools like this exist?

In this superb video overview of how to put Google's website optimizer to work, you’ll learn everything you need to know. While multivariate testing is a long word, remember that just like any testing, it’s not perfect. It’s most useful when your site has a very specific, measurable goal.

When you’re working with your design firm, be sure to include in your detailed brief the requirement to develop several different designs for different portions of your site. But be cautious to prevent using this optimization ability to weed through designs that are clearly off-strategy. You’re showing alternative designs to customers, not guinea pigs.

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