Website Optimiser, Part 6: Understanding your results

Thursday, February 12, 2009 | 10:49 AM

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So you have come this far; you started a Google Website Optimiser account, you installed the JavaScript snippets (small bits of code) on the appropriate test pages and you launched your experiment. You then allocated a percentage of your website's traffic to be exposed to the test pages and now the website optimiser is showing you results.

You are probably wondering, how do I take action from here?

Step 1.

View the results page of the Website Optimiser.

page h1
This is our landing page heading. According to the website optimiser, the best heading was: "Give Thousands Hope - Donate Today!" which improved conversions by 11.9%.

The button that improved conversion rates contained the call to action, "Help Today!"

When it came to images on our landing page, removing the image altogether caused a negative impact on conversion rate, so we determined that it was best to leave the original image in place.  Its relatively safe to assume that having an image will help improve conversion rates. You could consider rotating a few different appropriate images on the page and seeing which one has the biggest impact.

Note: The column variation only shows partial text. So headings are abbreviated.

Step 2.

Ideally, you should take the winning combination. When you view your reports overview, you will see which combination number had the highest result. You can use this combination to immediately improve your site's performance and then consider further improvements based on the results you'd like to achieve. 

However you are not finished just yet. You may have found a better combination than the original, but could you further improve the new version? Now that you know how to test and configure the Google Website Optimiser, put it to work again and see if you can improve conversion rates once again. You will need to launch a new experiment to do this. Remember you cannot edit an experiment once its running, you can only pause it.

Also remember the idea is to test, test, test and be willing to try new things. You might be surprised by the results. The more effective you make the pages on your website, the more visitors you will convert into customers, members, etc.

If you can get other work colleagues to input their ideas, have a competition and try to predict the winning combination. Your work colleagues may come up with fantastic ideas you never even thought of.


Improving your website through Google Website Optimiser has many benefits. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits is that the advertising you do will become more cost effective. This is because more of your visitors are becoming customers / members / contributors / donors or whatever you want to convert them into. This is much better than users just browsing your website and not taking action.

After improving the conversion rates of your website, you may find advertising that previously did not work or had very little impact in the past suddenly becomes much more significant or viable to you and your website.

If you need some ideas when it comes to improving conversion rates, Google has a library of helpful information called conversion university.

As a final note, testing can not only improve your bottom line (conversion rates), but improve the overall user experience derived from your website. A happy visitor is more likely to return in future and return visitors cost you nothing.