Ever since Google Website Optimizer disappeared and was replaced by the far inferior “analytics experiments”, I’ve been looking for an easy to use – and not ridiculously expensive – software for split-testing global elements on a website.
Global elements are things that appear on multiple pages – e.g. header banners, navigation, text size, button images… and so on….
This led me to try out Visual Website Optimizer – it got a good write-up on a couple of sites and comes with a free trial.
Having run a split-test successfully, here are my thoughts:
(1) If you don’t have some html and/or CSS experience, you’ll probably struggle with it.
(2) Creating the alternate versions is a bit tricky with Visual Website Optimizer – especially at first. After a few tests, it probably makes a lot more sense. But it’s a lot less clear than GWO was.
(3) They could do with better help videos. Something like, “If you want to test x, watch this”.
(4) The section that ‘globalises’ the split test – allows you to run it over multiple pages – is really simple once you see it. But, until you see it (which is well into the process of setting up your first test), it’s not clear how you can make the test site-wide.
(5) Adding the code is easy if you have a modular site.
All in all, Visual Website Optimizer does what I needed it to do. And the €49/month is reasonable if you’re going to do a lot of split-testing. But there is a learning curve and some experiments will end up being binned because the set up was wrong.