A great example of Blind Testing is the famous Pepsi vs Coke taste test. No one gets to see the brand name on the can until they have tasted the contents.
- To get the best results, we need to remove any personal bias. Ezoic does this by testing new layouts to your users - and keeps the testing 'blind'.
- The system rates the merits of each variation by looking at the results of each test rather than relying on the opinion of one person or a small group of people.
- The good news is that you are able to easily see how each variation is performing in our publisher user interface (under the Experiments tab).
It is very important to realize that the system optimizes based on data, not on a subjective opinion (how one variant's 'looks' versus that of another). Sometimes, a variation that one individual I might not find aesthetically pleasing, actually works very well for the site's visitors and the user metrics reflect this with higher time on site, page views per visit and lower bounce rate.
Attachment to a particular layout or look, restricts your ability to improve the site for your users
[Above images - original site (purple background) and some example Ezoic test layouts]
You've been working on your site for a long time. It's normal to feel some attachment to how the site currently 'looks'. But remember, you have your traffic because of the quality of your original content that you created, not because of it's design in 2013. Remember that there are a huge number of 'ugly' sites out there getting a ton of traffic, because they serve their niche better than any other site. It's unlikely that search engines rank sites by how nice they look. What is 'pretty' to one person won't appeal to another person. To that we eliminate this personal bias (including your own), the system is programmed to go back to basics and start testing from the ground up with brand new layouts.
In the early stages of testing, the Ezoic platform will test big changes - like different column layouts, menu placement and backgrounds. As the system learns, it starts testing out smaller refinements such as colors, fonts, menu styles etc. The system then takes apart the variations that work well and combines them into new variations.
Big sites test layout - Ezoic helps you do the same
Whether it's an ecommerce site like Amazon, or a digital newspaper like theguardian.com, most big online properties are testing their layout to improve usability, income or conversion rate. Mobile navigation is especially crucial to future success.
Is Amazon a 'good looking' site? Did the color of the 'buy it now' button just happen to be orange, or did it get tested to see which color worked the best? What about on mobile or Tablet? It may seem like an elementary example, but it holds true for informational sites as well as ecommerce sites. If you don't test the usability of a site, you cannot know how it stacks up against better performing versions of the same content.
The look of a site is subjective to the publisher, but really should be directly related to visitor's actions and user metrics. It's very difficult to find the right layout by testing things manually (or guessing the right layout based on personal taste). The Ezoic system tests thousands of variations simultaneously.
The best way to think about it is that the Ezoic platform is a dynamic layout engine, not a list of layouts. The end result is a constantly improved site that is getting better every day on all screen sizes.
Testing Layout is hard to do all by yourself
Unfortunately, if you don't have a big technical team around you, testing is actually quite hard to do and takes a lot of time.
If you used an off the shelf testing tool like Adobe Target, you would need to construct the experiments (write the new layouts in css/html), run them to your users concurrently against your control (your old site layout), decide upon the things you're going to change for each test including things like menus on mobile and tablet ad placements. You need to make sure those experiments work on all browsers (opera mini anyone?),and once you've run those tests, you need collect the user metrics and income from you ad exchange accounts and make decisions about which layouts are winning. You need to make sure that you don't slow the site down, and that it's loading fast on all devices... You then need to keep it all up to date as you conduct tests into the future. If a new browser or device goes mainstream - you need to make sure you're ready for that. Ezoic does all this for you - to use free (for 2 weeks) and then on a revenue share thereafter. Our aim is to keep your site improving an crowd source content improvement ideas and technology in one place.