When you launch a major new website for a big business, you need to be careful to make live only that version which best suits the largest number of users. This falls in the arena of A/B testing, which runs a number of versions of your site on an emulated platform and tracks the one that performs the best with regard to user satisfaction, interactivity and other factors.
A new application called the Visual Website Optimizer is built around managing the multi-version website testing process, which can quickly become complex without an application like this. The new Visual Website Optimizer has a number of conceptual relations to a startup named Optimizely which was launched in July 2010.
One of Visual Website Optimizer’s essential features is multivariate testing. In this, you can manipulate multiple items on your website; Visual Website Optimizer will then work them all in multiple permutations and see which combos have the best feedback from users. The application also shows heatmaps which tell you where users are clicking the most, and lets you understand which variations of your site are getting the highest clicks. Another important feature is a split url feature. This lets you redirect your users to different variations on your website located in different URLs, but accessed through one gateway.
Visual Website Optimizer offers plugins for Google analytics, Drupal and WordPress. These usually come with login pages, but Visual Website Optimizer can test pages behind the login wall. Visual Website Optimizer lets you run targeted tests, like on visitors who arrived at your site using keywords.
Visual Website Optimizer also lets users create a custom dashboard where they can see all their data and management tabs. Visual Website Optimizer will send test results via email, use third-party cookies to track Google analytic conversions in multiple domains, and send screenshots for your reports and archives.