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The 5 W's of Your Online Testing Program

For this week's Optimization Short, I've put together a simple guide to help you remember what’s important before you start your customer experience optimization program. These 5 considerations will ensure you iron out any predefined goals and blend the necessary realities with the desired possibilities.

1. Who?

Your team has worked hard to make a case for online optimization and it has been approved. Now there is a very important question to ask yourselves: Who will be the leader? Maybe it is not just one individual, and that’s okay. Share the love of testing if that’s what works best for your company. But (and this is key) make sure everyone understands who is responsible for which aspects of the program and how the combined efforts will come together for a seamless operation. There are a lot of moving pieces to optimization (roadmap, test ideation, configuration, analytics and interpretation) and it should be clear who can be called on as needed.

2. What?

A large component of what makes an optimization team successful is having a proper roadmap that dictates what parts of the site will be tested and what will the tests look like. In what order will the tests run? What factors will influence test prioritization and scheduling? What are the optimization benchmarks that must be met during the next 3, 6, and 12 months? Be mindful of inbound requests that might sacrifice the roadmap’s objectives or steer the team in a different direction. Like any journey, it will take focus and determination to reach your optimization goal – but armed with a proper CXO roadmap, you will lead the way!

3. Where?

You have a powerful tool at your fingertips: Where will you carry out its value? Is the company focused on desktop browser optimization? What about tablet and mobile? Does your site exist as an app as well? Nailing down the ‘Where’ will set you up for success and keep you on track with your business goals.

4. When?

Would an engineer ever start to build without a blueprint? Certainly not – and your team should be wary of testing without a proper roadmap. There are several things to consider when thinking about timing. How does your audience change its behavior during different parts of the year? Are there annual sales or promotions that ramp up purchases, while other periods are habitually slower? Aside from how visitors interact with the site, what sort of changes will the site face during the year? Is there a code freeze in Q4 that might interfere with testing? Will there be redesigns or backend functionality changes that will alter the site’s performance? It is important to keep track of when these events will occur so that the testing roadmap will remain as uninterrupted as possible.

5. Why?

This one is a constant repeater that should be asked continually throughout the testing life cycle: Why are we testing? Always revert back to the goals and be sure you can answer ‘Why’ you are testing what you are testing. Whether it is to lift conversion rates, increase site engagement, or turn casual visitors into loyal customers, these answers are the fuel that feeds the optimization engine and without them you may find yourself lost within the roadmap.

Ask and answer these five questions and you'll be on the road to a successful optimization program. Every good strategy involves the asking and answering of difficult, but important questions like these. Personalize your responses and evolve over time to find out what works best for your team and your organization.

Remember, you can always submit requests for an Optimization Short topic of your choice. Just reach out or comment on the blog - we'll be happy to answer your questions.

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