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How To Use Split-Run Testing to Raise Your Conversion Rates

By Merle
Posted Friday, July 16, 2004

Have you ever heard the phrase "split-run testing?" No? If you have a website and you're trying to sell something online, you need to know about this valuable testing process that can increase your bottom line.

Split-run testing is where you create different versions of a sales page (for example) to test its effectiveness. When users enters your site, they're shown one version or the other. Once you do this enough times you can easily see which version converted visitors into buying customers. Are you following me here?

The benefits of split-run testing are many. You can see at a glance what's working and what isn't. By testing different versions of your copy and tracking what converts, you can make permanent changes and see an increase in your sales with the same amount of traffic. When you improve your conversion rates, the money you spend on marketing will work harder for you as more of your site's visitors make the leap from browsers into buyers.

If your sales copy is ineffective, all the traffic in the world will not increase your sales activity. By testing and tracking and finding out what does and doesn't work, you can incorporate changes that are proven winners and make more money. Sound good? Of course it does.

So what kinds of things might you want to test? Some people might start with two different versions of their sales letter (for example, your home page). Then once they finish testing the copy itself, run tests on more specific elements like including more or less testimonials, the headline, adding a Post Script or not, etc.

There are many different factors that you can test, but for the most accurate measuring results, the trick is to test only one component at a time. You'll also want to allow each test to run to between 500 to 1000 unique visitors before coming to any conclusions.

Here are some things you might want to test:

1) Your Headlines

2) Different Design Elements of Your Site (i.e., fonts, colors, etc.)

3) Sales Letter

4) Navigation Structure of Your Site

5) Bonus Offers

6) Pricing Points (high or low)

7) Long Copy Versus Short Copy

8) Different Advertising Strategies such as banners, ezine ads, pay per click copy

9) Openings/Closings

10) Order Forms

So now that you have a clear idea of what "split-run" testing is, how do you do it? There are many different software packages out there that can do the job for you.

Let's review some options:

1) Split Test Generator: (

This script is free to download and once it's installed on your server, you simply enter two web addresses into a form and press submit to start the testing process.

2) Scientific Internet Marketing Assistant: (

Created by Duncan Carver, who is an absolute genius when it comes to online marketing. It's hard to believe he gives this software away for free, but he does. It allows you to run multiple tests simultaneously, broken down into individual campaigns. You can test five different test subjects against each other at once.

If you need help with installation or have some questions on the script's workings go to Duncan's forum ( You'll find plenty of other test users willing to answer your questions or provide assistance.

3) Sales PageMaster Pro: (

This 49 software package runs on UNIX systems. You'll need access to your CGI bin and the ability to run Server Side Includes on your site. You decide what to track, actual subscriptions, sales, etc. You can also enforce a fixed deadline for special offers.

4) Split Hits (

Install this 9.95 PHP database driven software and it will automatically rotate different versions of your website, so you can see at a glance which ones are outperforming the others.

5) Scientific Web Marketing System (

A script that runs on your server and is UNIX based. This software works by constantly displaying different versions of the same web page at the same url. Comes with a 60-day money back guarantee and sells for only 7.97.

As you can see, testing and tracking what works and what doesn't isn't that hard -- and can save you a lot of money in the end. Without testing, you have no way of knowing what's working with your marketing efforts, and that's like playing pool in the dark. You might be able to feel your way around, but you'll have no way of knowing if you're aiming in the right direction when it comes to sinking the ball in the pocket.

Converting visitors into buyers is the name of the game online. Isn't it time you found out if all your hard work is paying off?

About the author
Merle is an internet marketer, promotion consultant and ezine publisher. Visit her sites at (, ( and (


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