Everything You Need to Know to Run an A/B Split Test in WordPress

Hanne   18

"I don't understand why nobody seems to think split testing is sexy!"

My friend looked at me as confused as a chameleon in a bag of Skittles.

"We've just doubled our sign-up rate thanks to an A/B test we ran on one of our landing pages" I continued. "If that isn't sexy, I don't know what is..."

He exploded laughing but admitted that that was a pretty cool result.

Would you like to know how to get these type of results? Keep on reading!


How Does Split Testing Work?

A/B testing or split testing or ab split testing are all terms that are used to describe the same thing:

You create one or more variations of an element (this can be a page, an opt-in form, a blog title,...) and a tool will split the incoming traffic among the variations.

By storing cookies and other data, the tool will remember which person saw which variation and make sure, next time around, the visitor sees the same variation as long as the test is running.

After a while you'll be able to see in the statistics of the tool, which variation is giving you to best results (more leads, more sales, more clicks, etc.)

Let's have a look at an example:

Imagine you're running a split test on a lead generation landing page.

The original page (also called the control page) has no video. You create a variation of that page (also called test variation) with a video. 

Control page without video

Test variation with video

Now, the a/b testing tool will show half of your visitors the control page and half of your visitors the test variation. In the analytics, you would be able to see which page gets most sign-ups. This will allow you to decide if the video page is performing better or worse than the original page.

Now that you understand what split testing is, you might be thinking that this is not for you... But give me a paragraph to try to convince you otherwise.

4 Reasons Why You Should Start Running Split Tests On Your Site Today

1. It Will Increase Your Conversions

Incremental improvements make a big difference over time.

We're all about conversion optimization and split testing is a surefire way to increase your conversions.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you will double your conversions with each test you run. But the more tests you conduct, the higher the chances of hitting a home run.

This means that by running a/b test you'll get more leads, more engagement and more sales.

2. It's Easy

I know you think it's not... But let me prove you wrong. 

With Thrive Optimize you can start running A/B tests on your (landing) pages in under 1 minute.

And our other tools such as Thrive Leads and Thrive Headline Optimizer are just as easy to use!

3. You Don't Need a Ton of Traffic

I believe this is the biggest misconception about split testing. Many think it's only for the "big guys" with tons of traffic.

I wrote an in-depth article about why traffic is not the most important factor when running an A/B test.

What really matters is the conversion delta. The conversion delta is the difference in conversions between the control and the variation.

That's why you can start split testing on a site that's not getting a ton of traffic as long as you make BIG changes between both variations.

4. It Runs On Auto-pilot

Set up your test and forget about it! Our tools will do the job for you.

I know you're busy running your business. You have no time to waste checking in on your tests. Good news is, you can set up your test and forget about it. Then the a/b testing tool will do all the work:

  • Split the traffic
  • Count the conversions
  • Calculate the statistics

All you have to do is sit back and relax while your site is getting better at converting visitors into leads and customers.

Our Mission: Helping You Get Over Your A/B Testing Fear And Get Results Fast

Can you see how powerful A/B testing is? Do you want to start conducting split tests on your own WordPress website but you're still a bit unsure about what, how and when to test? 

Then I have something for you... Our new Thrive University course: A/B Testing for Non-Mathematicians.

In this free course you'll discover:

  • The definite answer to the burning question: How long should I keep a test running?
  • What to test on your (landing) pages including 3 tests you should start running today.
  • How to develop an A/B testing habit on your site to optimize every instance and get more leads and sales.

You can sign up for Thrive University below or click here to access the course if you already have an account set up.

I hope that after taking the course you'll find split testing just as sexy as I do 😉

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

by Hanne  April 25, 2018


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  • Curious — since I got here via a link I clicked in an email, isn’t there a Thrive tools that would have that form automatically filled in for me? I seem to remember reading about, but can’t recall the name…

    • Hi Danno,
      You’re referring to signup segue. This feature allows to take the information you already have about a subscriber (name and email) and not ask for the same information for let’s say a webinar signup.
      In this case, we also need you to choose a password to create an account, which is why signup segue is not the right solution.

  • Thank you Hanne,

    I loved this line:

    “As confused as a chameleon in a bag of Skittles”.

    That´s how I feel sometimes when trying to make my entrepreneurial journey a successful and profitable one.

    A/B testing is a must do.


  • Do you have any suggestions for using the Thrive Optimize for A/B testing affiliate link clicks?

    For example, I would love to be able to split test links from my site to Amazon, but I am not able to track this using Thrive – unless you have a way of tracking specific actions on specific DIV ID’s or something like that?

    • Hi Tao,
      At the moment we don’t have link tracking and unfortunately Amazon does not allow to use bit.ly or other link shortening and tracking services anymore… So I’m sorry but I have no easy solution for this. Maybe if you couple it with event tracking in GTM?

    • Hi Lee-Anne, thanks for asking.
      If you’re looking to set up your first list building landing page, I would suggest this course and if you’re looking to get your opt-in forms up and running, the 7-day list building challenge would be a prefect start.
      Both are in Thrive University and both are free courses 🙂

  • What love very much is your follow up messages in my email box…I love the clarity of the messages….please can you show me the email marketing software you use? Secondly, am confuse about AB testing track. What type of email follow up system do I use?

    • Hi Alex,
      We use Active Campaign. I’m not sure if I understand your question correctly.
      If you A/B test, people would still get the same emails (if you’re testing the same opt-in offer).
      If you’re testing different offers, then in the lead generation element you would specify a different list or assign a different tag which would allow to send different emails to your subscribers.

  • I disagree. When the traffic is too low as few visitors a day, you can hardly run A/B test.

    At most, run one test at a time? In our case, I try to run the test, every 2 weeks.

    Because it’s a physical local product targeting the local market. It’s just too low searches per month, only 100.

    • Hi Charles,

      Indeed if you get zero traffic A/B testing will not help. But as soon as you get some traffic (and more importantly some conversions) you can start A/B testing. You might have to test opt-in forms before starting to test your sales pages (because you’ll get more sign-ups than sales aka more conversions to test) but you can get started already.
      And yes you would run only one test. I never suggest running more than 1 test anyways (unless you have crazy amounts of traffic in which case you can test multiple variations).
      But if you get 100 visitors a month to a sales page and 10 people sign up, you can run a test and get that number up to 20 for example. Totally worth it IMO (even if it takes a bit longer to test).

  • I am a fan of split testing but I have a client that is also interested. We have built a local business site for him, the site has about 15 pages. The question we have is this:

    If we split test the home page will that have any effect on our rankings in the search engines. This site is ranked well and we do not want to do anything to effect the rankings…especially with Google being so sensitive.

    If you could comment on this it would be great.

    • Hi,
      As long as the test is running, Google will not see any difference because Thrive Optimize does not create a second page.
      Ones the winning page is decided, the winning page will replace the original page and at that point, Google will see the content on the new page (but the URL will stay the same).
      This means that if you change all the content on your homepage, it could affect rankings (because google will crawl the new content and see if it’s still relevant) but if you change design and layout and so on it shouldn’t affect your rankings.

      Basically here, you want to ask yourself why you’re ranking so high and make sure not to touch those things in your test.

  • I like this feature. I want to start an ab test, but I use sendowl and after purchase, users are redirected to the download page which is on sendowl domain… So, I wanted to know if you will add a feature for cross-domain tracking or smthing like that. I can add a script to the sendowl download page. Thanks

    • Hi Ion,
      We’re not currently developing that. Maybe in the future. I’m pretty sure SendOwl allows you to redirect to your website though if you choose to…

  • I disagree. When the traffic is too low as few visitors a day, you can hardly run A/B test.

    At most, run one test at a time? In our case, I try to run the test, every 2 weeks.

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