By Chris (Tres) Homer
Last month Brianna wrote about the importance of split testing on your law firm’s website. And if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.
At GNGF, we always want to do bigger and better things, and use quality data to drive our decisions—for both our clients and with our own internal marketing.
When redesigning our own GNGF website, we wanted to test two totally different homepages. Why? We knew that our homepage was going to be one of the most visited pages on our website, and most likely one of our top landing pages as well. With that many people visiting our homepage, it made sense to start our split-testing journey here.
There is one problem however: WordPress, our website creation tool and content management system, made this quite the difficult feat.
WordPress treats the homepage very differently than any other page or post, which in turn makes it a real pain to effectively split test anything on it. So we had to think outside the box and find an effective way to split test the homepage of a WordPress site.
How We Split Test a WordPress Homepage
Visual Website Optimizer has an option to split test two different URL’s which is used when wanting to test a completely different page instead of one single element. This was our ticket to split testing the homepage, however WordPress doesn’t allow you to create two different homepages without quite a bit of PHP knowledge. We wanted to figure out a more user-friendly way to implement a split test of the homepage.
We decided to duplicate the entire website and proceed to set up a different domain, or create a subdomain in order to create a second URL to send visitors to.
For example, test.com, which is our main site and control during the test, and 1.test.com, which is our split test URL.
Be sure to set your split tested URL to no-index. With Google cracking down on duplicate content, you do not want Google crawling a site and finding a 100% match on content from your main site.
On the split-tested version of the homepage, we also setup a catch-all redirect using RegEx to send visitors back to the control version of the site for all other pages. We also made sure we created a second Google Analytics property to track visitors on the test site, as well as tracking user path when entering from the test site.
Duplicating the site and setting up a subdomain seemed to be the easiest, most user-friendly way of split testing a homepage on WordPress. We are excited to continue testing multiple homepage layouts and using data to make the best decision for our law firm clients.