Changes to Google Website Optimizer - what it means for you

Website Optimizer is Google’s tool to allow companies, businesses and website owners to test and optimise their websites for free, allowing them to improve their sites and essentially increase their value.

As of the changes due on August 1 2012 when Google’s Website Optimizer will no longer be available as a standalone product, website and business owners will instead be forced to use Content Experiments, which is part of Google Analytics.

This may sound like a move that will confuse and alienate some businesses and less experienced users, but it is a move that makes sense in the long term with all analytic tools being in one place.

Current users of Website Optimizer are in a slightly precarious position though, as they have lost the ability to carry out experiments over time until the new format is in place in August and Google will not be offering any sort of migration option.

There are a few ways in which businesses and users of Website Optimizer can prepare for the changeover to Content Experiments:

  • Set in place your analytics goal: what paths you want your users to take and what you want them to do on specific pages

  • Always have your new experiments mapped out: how many visitors to include, which paths you want to study, why you want to study them and what you will do depending on the results

  • Use the 5 test pages available for your origin page. This will allow you to try more subtle variations in text and images to get it just right.

  • Add an analytics tracking code to each page. This sounds obvious, but your experiments won’t be much use without these in place

When you are using Contents Experiments, the set up wizard should talk you through all of these steps, how to carry out each one and why you should be doing so, but make sure you follow them all and your transition from Website Optimizer to Content Experiments should be fairly painless and will in the long term benefit your website and business.

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