Optimising sign-up pages using Google Website Optimizer

We’re trying out some variations on our signup page to make it as effective as possible in terms of getting people to actually sign up to use Analytics SEO. We’re using Google Website Optimizer to help us with this, and it’s been pretty easy to get going.

The part of Analytics SEO you can see is developed using Drupal, (but don’t just take my word for it!).

One of the great things about using Drupal is the wealth of third-party contributions, to simplify the inclusion of the required Google Website Optimizer code snippets. Once the module is installed and the required tracking code snippets pasted in, it’s just a case of wrapping the sections of the form we want to vary with Google’s script labels, and we’re good to go!

As always, there are always a few complications, even when Hofstadter’s Law is taken into account.

The first hitch came with the conversion page. We are using Ubercart to handle the payment and subscription side of the site, and want to track people reaching the final “All done – thanks for your money” page (cart/checkout/complete). Unfortunately, if you browse straight to that page without going through the checkout process first, you are redirected to your shopping cart page, which doesn’t have the Google completion code attached to it. This means that Google’s validation of the tracking code fails, and they won’t let you continue to set up your tests.

To get around this, I updated the Google Website Optimizer module configuration to temporarily add the completion tracking code to the shopping cart page instead, so that we passed the validation. I then changed the configuration back to the “checkout complete” page, and was able to set up our tests.

The second hitch was trying to preview the tests to make sure everything looked good. Fortunately, Google have included a really handy dashboard where you can preview the different combinations of tests you have set up. Unfortunately, this dashboard gives a “Navigation to the webpage was canceled error” in Internet Explorer. Fortunately, Google have anticipated this, and written a guide on how to preview your tests directly on your site. Unfortunately, this is written in fairly dense Google-ese. Fortunately, after reading it four times, I was able to decipher it and test our different signup page combinations.

I think we already know which combination is going to be the most successful, and probably by some margin. However, we’re resisting the temptation to simply change the signup page to that version and be done with it – gut feel has been proved wrong before!

By: Mark Bennett

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