Satisfied. Comfortable. If something you are doing seems to be working OK, it’s tempting to just keep doing what you’re doing. You know, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right?
Except that satisfied and comfortable rapidly merge into complacent and stagnant. And for a business blog competing with a whole global internet full of content, OK isn’t enough.
Chances are the ways you started out doing things—your call-to-action design and placement, your blog post title formula, the design of your blog—were all based on best practices, and they have probably worked. Well enough. At least at the beginning.
But what you won’t know, if you just keep doing the same thing over and over, is if there might be ways to do it better. That is where testing comes in.
Split tests, or A/B tests, randomly assign visitors to see two different versions of an element, such as a CTA or blog design. Then you track the metrics—clicks or conversion rates or even time on a page—to determine which version is better for your blog. Then implement that change elsewhere. It’s as simple as that.
(Get more details about using split testing for a wide range of marketing elements in our Introduction to Using A/B Testing for Marketing Optimization.)
Here are three variables you can test on your blog to pinpoint improvements.
1. Test your blog titles.
Blog titles play a vital role in drawing visitors or readers in. Whether the reader runs across the title in a social media update, is sent an email subscription notification or is referred to the post by a colleague, it is still important that your title be engaging and resonate with readers.
Test to see if a specific style of title generates greater response.
Consider testing these formats against one another (using this very blog post as an example):
Actionable vs. question
“Put Your Business Blog to the Test” vs. “Have You Put Your Business Blog to the Test?”
Numbers vs. how-tos
“3 Business Blog Elements You Should Test” vs. “How to Using Testing to Optimize Your Business Blog”
Specific words, such as “secrets,” “ultimate” or “exclusive”
“The Secret to Making The Best Blogging Decisions” vs. “The Ultimate Guide to Making Better Blogging Decisions” vs. “Exclusive Advice for Making Better Blogging Decisions”
Try different methods of structuring your blog titles to see which resonates with your audience best.
2. Test your calls-to-action.
Calls-to-action can come in so many different shapes, sizes, forms, colors and placement options that there are nearly endless ways to test the CTAs you use in your blog posts to maximize the click-through rates.
Here are just a few ideas for testing your blog’s CTAs:
Change the color of a graphic CTA.
Change the text or action word used in a CTA.
Test CTAs placed toward the beginning of a blog post against CTAs at the end.
Test an in-text CTA against a graphic CTA.
Test a slide-in CTA against a sidebar CTA.
Testing CTAs really is a complete blog post all by itself. In fact, it’s right here: Test Those CTAs to Find the Best Ones.
3. Test your blog design or layout.
Thinking about changing up your entire blog layout? Test it.
Use a split test to determine if a new layout, colors or font choices impact readership or CTA conversion rates for your business blog.
One last rule you need to follow, regardless of what you are testing: Test only ONE element at a time. If you change multiple variables, it will impossible to pinpoint which one is responsible for the difference in results.
Don’t make the mistake of allowing your business blog to become stagnant, and assuming that it is good enough, when you don’t know if it could be even better.
What other common errors might be holding back your business blog from its full potential? Find out—and then make corrections—with 15 Business Blogging Mistakes and Easy Fixes.