April 16th, 2008 | Published in Google Website Optimizer
It's been about a year since we made Website Optimizer available to all Google AdWords users. Since then, we've seen great enthusiasm for the tool; now it's hard to find a serious advertiser who doesn't at least plan to do content testing this year. One thing we've learned is that lots of people who don't work on advertising still want to perform content experiments. These folks are often web designers, web developers, and marketers who may not be directly responsible for advertising.
So this morning, at the ad:tech conference in San Francisco, we announced that we're also making Website Optimizer available outside of AdWords. You can now sign up for and access the tool with any Google Account, such as the one you may use for Google Analytics or Gmail.
For those who use Website Optimizer from AdWords, have no fear: you can still access the tool within your AdWords account as you have in the past, and we'll continue to add features regardless of how you access Website Optimizer. For those who have been putting off testing because you didn't want to set up an AdWords account, the standalone version of Website Optimizer awaits you.
The AdWords and standalone version of Website Optimizer are virtually the same. Both are free, work with all traffic (pay-per-click, organic, and direct navigation) and support an unlimited number of experiments. No matter which version of the tool you access, you'll also see an improved setup flow for multivariate experiments, with more straightforward instructions we've adapted from user feedback.
If you're about to set up your first test, we recommend visiting our new Testing 101 section for detailed tips on how to get started and step-by-step video demos. Next, pick a page that gets lots of traffic. Create a version of that page that looks really different (don't be shy: big changes generally yield big differences in performance). Then run an A/B test to see which one does a better job of getting people to another desired page on your site, such as a Contact Us, Product Detail, or Thank You page.
Once you launch your experiment, just sit back and let your website's visitors tell you what works on your site and what doesn't. We recommend letting your experiments run for at least two weeks, no matter how much traffic you get and how strong the results initially appear, just so the data has enough time to normalize. Feel free to share your experiences and learnings with other users on the Google Website Optimizer user forum.