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This is part three in a series of four posts on understanding the realities and challenges of split testing to improve your website’s conversion rate. If you missed earlier parts in the series, you can read them here:

Once you have enough traffic to the page you’d like to improve through testing, and you’ve identified a potentially impactful test to conduct, you’ve arrived at the point which website conversion optimizers really earn their stripes – executing the test.

Once you have good testing ideas, you have to bring them life. Be prepared for technology to sometimes get in your way.

Offhand, I’d say half of my otherwise good testing ideas don’t fly due to the technical limitations of the website. I may not have to abandon an idea altogether, but often the ideal test just isn’t going to work like I imagined.

For example, we recently launched a test of a client’s shopping cart that materialized much differently than I had intended.

My original idea was to test a two-step checkout process against the current one-step checkout. However, the client’s shopping cart platform did not provide for two versions of the checkout process to exist at the same time, so we had to get creative.

Since the shopping cart and checkout elements were both contained on a single page, we added a “Checkout” button (previously not included) and anchored it to a spot below the fold where only the shipping/billing forms and purchase button were visible. In effect, we simulated a two-step experience on a single page.

This test hasn’t reached a conclusion yet, but we’re encouraged by the results to this point.

It’s important to be flexible and creative in designing a test treatment rather than chaining yourself to a specific mental picture of how your treatment needs to look.