Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the technicalities of setting up and keeping a website running, and with the (seemingly endless) tick list of things to do now to keep certain search engines happy, it can be easy to lose sight of the real people you’re marketing to in the first place!

User testing

It’s good practice to conduct regular user testing on your website – not just using past data from your Analytics package, but also live user testing from random users who do not have any pre-formed opinions of the website/offering.

It’s especially important to user test on mobile platforms, especially in the light of Google’s Mobile First update, as mobile users now make up over half of all global web traffic (from 43% in 2016 to 50% in 2017 and 52% reported so far in 2018). The number of mobile users is only going one way and you need to make sure you’re keeping your website up with them!

There are several platforms that conduct paid user testing, but it’s also worth asking friends and family to cast an eye and give their opinions. Ask them to perform dummy tests such as placing an order or following a typical user journey and report back and snags or issues they found. It’s surprising what can be picked up by people who don’t see your website every day! It’s important not to take any feedback personally though, as what works for one person will not necessarily work for another, and you want to try and cater for the widest number of users possible.

Split testing

Once you’ve got some feedback and recommendations, it’s time to look at making some changes. You don’t necessarily want to just then launch these straight away to the website with no feedback, which is where split testing comes in.

Split testing (also known as A/B testing or multivariate testing) can be done over 2 or more pages and basically means creating duplicate landing pages of the areas you’re changing that are then randomly served to different, real time users. We’d recommend starting with A/B testing before moving to multivariate testing, as you need to track your pages carefully and ensure that Google or other search engines don’t index them all and mark you down for duplicate content. Only creating one variation if you’re new to split testing keeps things much simpler. When you’re more confident, then more complex multivariate testing with 3 or more variations per page is the next logical step).

A great example of split testing is if you are changing on page copy and call to actions on a key landing page, such as a top-level category or sign up area. You could keep your original page as it is as a control page, then create a copy with a specific difference (variable) that you then want to gather metrics and feedback on. This may include element placement, different imagery, different copy, or anything else that your research has led you to want to improve. Once you have your results, you can then change something else, and so on.

Once the new page is ready in a dev environment, and you have ensured that they can’t be indexed (so don’t add them to your sitemaps, make sure they are included as no follow in your robots.txt file, add noindex and nofollow tags, or use canonicals back to the original), then make them live. You can then use split testing tools (such as Google’s Content Experiments program), to gather metrics and decide how to proceed with permanent changes to your live website,

Common CTAs & layouts

There are a number of common Call-to-Actions that crop up on nearly every website; these include:

  • Contact form
  • Contact page (including email address and phone number)
  • Social links
  • Sign up area for an account
  • Sign in area for an existing account
  • Newsletter subscription

Ecommerce sites

  • Buy product option
  • Cart
  • Checkout process

It is very common to see fluctuating metrics for these areas, especially as different users access different areas and try to undertake different tasks. Keeping a close eye on your analytics data will help to identify any common choking points where users may be dropping out, as well as any reviews or feedback you receive by email or on a review platform.

There are also a few layouts that people almost expect to see, such as:


  • Top line navigation to key categories and areas
  • Contact number in header
  • Sign in/up options in header
  • Business address in footer
  • Copyright symbol in footer
  • Footer links for core pages such as Contact and About Us
  • Clearly defined hyperlinks in a separate colour
  • Pop up online chat

Ecommerce sites

  • Add to Cart (or similar) option on products
  • Clear pricing with currency easily defined
  • Bullet pointed product copy with videos where possible


  • Navigation menu as 3 lines, either on the left or right hand side but needs to be at the top
  • Pop up agreement for Cookie/privacy policy (especially in the light of GDPR)
  • Clear icons for contact and search function at the top of each page
  • Clearly defined hyperlinks in a separate colour

Ecommerce sites

  • Clear icons for add to cart
  • Clear pricing with currency easily defined
  • Bullet pointed product copy above the fold

However you choose to conduct user testing, remember that most problems can be easily fixed, and the more feedback you get, the better your website will perform in the long run.