How we’re using our AB Theme Testing Plugin + Google Analytics to increase conversions at WPMU DEV

So, as you know, we’re big fans of eating our own dog food here at Incsub and that’s no different with our latest release, the AB theme testing plugin.

The reason we created this plugin, and purpose we’re using it for, is simple… essentially it allows you to AB test different combinations of copy, images and literally any other element you care to mention in terms of how they impact on our sales at WPMU DEV.

So sure, there are other AB testing plugins around, for example the excellent (and free) Max Foundry AB tester – but that (and the others) generally allow you only to test different WordPress pages off against each other, whereas this plugin allows you to test literally any design element on your site, through as many different variations as you like, by instead rotating through a different set of themes.

So here’s how we’re using it at WPMU DEV

We’re interested in how a whole bunch of different things affect our conversions, so we’re using 4 different themes, and it’s not hard:

  1. Install the plugin
  2. Copy your main theme to, in this case, 3 other themes and name each of the themes differently
  3. Install the themes, activate the plugin and select the themes in question

And you’re now rotating your themes for each visitor.

Now we’re gonna assume that you already use Google Analytics to track your site, but if you don’t you can enter the code in the box provided and you’re good to go.

Making the edits

So now you’re ready to make some edits to each theme.

Of course, the main thing to do is to test out one thing at a time on each theme, so that you can get an accurate representation of whether it’s making a difference.

In our case we’re focusing on the buttons on each plugin, for example, two variations are:


(we’re gonna test out the color later too in a separate test, I don’t like it much either :)

So just edit each theme differently, probably leaving the original unchanged and – if you want o see them live, just use Donncha’s excellent Theme Tester plugin to do that.

Finding out the results

Probably the nicest thing about this plugin is that you don’t need to do any fancy Analytics work, it sets the user defined variables for you!

So just visit Analytics and hit Visits > Users defined like below:

Then, you’ll see a lovely set of general stats which you can already draw some conclusions from, for example, here are our latest (we’ve just installed this):

So what this is telling me is that there is a significantly lower bounce rate for test 3 (which is interesting) but we’ve hardly had enough traffic to be detailed, that could be down to it’s higher % of new users, and also there’s a bunch of traffic analysis and refinement (for example, making this new rather than all users).

But I could go on about that forever :)

Much more interesting is whether you’ve been able to set a goal, like we have (completed checkout)which also yields some interesting results:

Now, basically, over the next 1-2 weeks we’ll be able to use this to determine our most effective combinations of words on the checkout button, and then apply them, after which I’m gonna try some different colors and then even some radical different designs.

And all I needed to be able to do that was the capacity to edit a regular WP Theme, the AB testing plugin and a Google Analytics account!

Easy :)

We’ll let you know how the results turn out… and also, feel free to drop in your own tips, ideas, conversion notes or features you’d like to see us add to this plugin.