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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A/B testing on a DotNetNuke portal

If you’re looking for a solution to find out what should be featured on your DNN portal and in what manner in order to best suits your  visitor’s needs,  then you should try split testing. Whenever you’re building a portal, you have to make decisions on content and design.

Most of these decisions are based on intuition and imagination rather than facts. How do you accurately predict what your users will respond to? Instead of immediately implementing changes in the placement of content, color schemes, fonts or graphics on your portal you should see first what your users have to say. And that’s where split testing comes into play.

How A/B Testing Works

Shortly, A/B testing is about running two alternative versions of something at the same time and then checking the stats to see which version is performing better. So, A/B testing is your tool for finding out which solutions work best for your specific portal, based on some real-world stats and user participation data.

This article will show you how to perform simple split testing on your DNN portals with Redirect Toolkit. Let’s start with the basics.

Setting Up The Split Test in Redirect Toolkit

Here’s how a standard A/B test plays out with Redirect Toolkit:

1. If you don't already have it installed, proceed to Download Redirect Toolkit FREE TRIAL.

2. Using DNN Control Panel, instantiate a Redirect Toolkit module on the page where you want to redirect users from (this is A version that acts as the control, appearing unaltered) 
  • 3. While logged in with edit rights for the Redirect Toolkit module, locate and click the Add Redirect link in Module Actions. You will be redirected to the form for defining a new rule.
  • Add Redirect

  • 4. Then using Redirect Random option you need to set the conditions so it match Percentage of Users. Note that only one operator is available for this rule, the Equals operator  

  • 5. Add the percent you want (in our case 50) in Value section Random_Redirect 

  •  6. So far, we told Redirect Toolkit what to match. Next, we'll tell it what to do when the condition matches. In our scenario, we want to redirect 50% of users to target URL or page. 

  • So in the Redirect section, set Action to Redirect to Page (or Redirect to URL) then select the alternative page from the dropdown that activates below (this is B version that contains the proposed change)

  • Redirect_Action

  • 7. When Redirect Toolkit matches a rule, it can be configured with Additional Actions to do before executing the redirect. These actions are useful for reporting, so for our purpose set Log Redirects which provides full logging capabilities.

    • Log_Redirects
    Then, harnessing the amazing power of Google Analytics, you can track the user interactions on your portal, set goals and get concrete data on which page is producing the best results! 

  • All you have to do now is wait for the stats to come in and then choose the winning version. As always with Google, you get clear stats that you can interpret in hundreds of different ways. 

  • Once you determine which version is the winner, you can scrap the lower performing version, create a new one, and restart the test all over again. Now just repeat until you get the absolute best performing version of your test subject. 

  • Using Redirect Toolkit  for A/B testing you will have quantifiable web design data that you’ll use to optimize your portal for maximum performance. 

  • Okay, enough of me talking. What’s your experience with A/B testing in DNN?

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    Author: Ionut Grecu
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    Ionut Grecu

    Ionut GrecuIonut Grecu

    His work exists at the intersection of anthropology, psychology, comparative mythology and Online Marketing. Weird, right?

    He doesn't just deal with DNN, he lives and breathes it.

    DNN Sharp is his oyster and on a day to day basis, his role is to keep DNN Sharp's marketing engine firin

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