Book Review: Always Be Testing

Website Optimizer is yet another phenomenal Internet marketing tool the good folks at Google have provided free-of-charge. Internet Retailer reports that 76% of online retailers are not testing their websites. Have you taken the plunge yet? Maybe you still have questions over your head like:

  • How long does testing take?
  • What’s multivariate testing?
  • How much can I test at a time?
  • What if I don’t get much traffic?

Or you’ve dismissed the idea because:

  • Testing sounds hard.
  • Testing sounds expensive.
  • We don’t have time to test.
  • We spent $60K on web design already!
  • I’m not technical!
  • I’m not a statistician!

Always Be Testing by Bryan Eisenberg, John Quarto-vonTivadar and Lisa T. Davis of Future Now / GrokDotCom addresses each one of these questions and excuses. After reading it, you’ll come away with an understanding of testing (even if you’re technically or mathematically challenged), types of tests, the testing process, how to use Google Website Optimizer and how to read its reports. Plus, how to determine your test length/quantity, what elements to test and how to prioritize your laundry list of testing ideas. And of course, no book put out by Future Now would be complete without integrating persuasion into the equation – buying modalities and conversion optimization principles. One of my favorite things about the book is in Part II: What You Should Test where you are given exercises to try on your site. For example, Chapter 18 on Searchability encourages you to “pick your top 10 products and come up with as many ways possible to reasonably misspell them. Search for them on Google and on your website.” Then it gives you 10 practical ideas for what to test, like “test showing products on your search results page when you return no ‘results.’ ” With over 250 ideas for testing, Always Be Testing will be a book you can constantly refer to for ideas in crafting your ecommerce marketing strategy. Check out Elastic Path’s webinar with Bryan Eisenberg on, you guessed it, testing.

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15 Responses to “Book Review: Always Be Testing”

  1. This is on my new must-read list. I’m glad they have a sample chapter available.

  2. Amrendra. says:

    Certainly a better idea to act upon!

  3. Paulo Terano says:

    Is there a traffic threshold required for this sort of testing ? Is the book valuable for smaller sites with say only 1K uniques ?

  4. The book explains in chapter 7 some basic testing concepts – including how Website Optimizer actually calculates how long your test will take based on your traffic, the number of variables you test, your current conversion rate and your expected improvement.

    If you have a lot of variables and not a lot of traffic, then it could take you centuries to finish the test with confidence. Reducing your variables (a simpler test) can drastically reduce your testing time. So testing for smaller sites is definitely possible, but you have to approach it differently.

    Also, the testing ideas apply to any site, and the book touches upon how to prioritize your list of ideas – so you might start with testing long copy vs. short copy first, then testing headlines, then form fields, then submit buttons etc.

  5. [...] clock is winding down for our upcoming webinar and book giveaway for Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer. Every registrant for this Thursday’s (September 11, 2008) webinar with Bryan Eisenberg: I [...]

  6. Paulo Terano says:

    Perfect, thanks for that Linda.

  7. Paulo,

    I also recorded this video that talks about how to do an A/B test with lower traffic websites http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/07/09/video-how-to-do-ab-split-testing-on-lower-traffic-sites/ .

    Good luck.

  8. Bryan, thanks for addressing that on your blog! I have been dealing with that issue myself, and I think I commented about it on another GE blog post. It’s great that you’re thinking about people whose sites don’t enjoy the amount of traffic that normally gives statistically significant results.

  9. It’s definitely a great book. I have went through and created a google doc now for all the main notes on what to test so I can have it all the time on my computer LOL.

    Although I’m not the marketing guy at my job my job with GWO is setting it up with our Ecommerce platform and I really got some good ideas to handle some of the dynamic content of our site.

    Bryan, I would love to see a more technical explanation of complex tests with dynamic content and examples for us developers on your blog possibly. Even though each platform is different I think just seeing how the experts are integrating it into a given system will give others some better ideas on how to do some complex testing.

    As it is now besides paying for a consultant there are only two guys on the Google Group that are really doing amazing things and helping with it.

  10. [...] Future Now’s testing webinar series, our webinar with Bryan Eisenberg and Bryan’s book: Always Be Testing. And check out our webinar replay with Bryan Eisenberg: I Know I Should Be Testing, [...]

  11. [...] by Bryan Eisenberg’s Always Be Testing: Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer, a Get Elastic reader began testing the McAfee [...]

  12. Split testing it the way forwards, I am always surprised how simply moving an image or logo can increase conversions.

  13. [...] value proposition page as you can get. Still, there’s always room for improvement. So always be testing! AKPC_IDS += [...]

  14. [...] Book Reviews for Online Retailers Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer by Bryan Eisenberg, John Quarto-vonTivadar and Lisa T. Davis Web Analytics: An Hour A Day by [...]

  15. [...] Eisenberg (the author of Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google’s Website Optimiser) refers to the HiPPO we all have to deal with in work situations. The HiPPO being the Highest Paid [...]

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