Using the AB Theme Testing Plugin on WPMU DEV (aka eating our own dog food)

We’re having a bunch of fun at the moment testing out some variations of the WPMU DEV theme using the AB theme testing plugin (one of my favorite, but I think our least appreciated, plugins).

AB Testing - this is what came up in CC image search, honest!

What does the plugin do? Well, put very simply it allows you to run two or more versions of a WP theme side-by-side and then, using Google Analytics, Custom Vars track how folk act differently, based on what theme they are using.

And, best of all, it allows you to do that without any complex configs, tricky tweaks or an advanced diploma in analytics or web optimization… just stack the themes up against each other and let it roll!

What are we testing, well, basically:

The original front page


The new un


The regular plugin screen


A fancy simple new one

As well as a bunch of stuff during the signup process – but you get the gist… old = view plans & pricing etc. / new = free, create an account to get started etc.

And, of course, we’re tracking how this affects site usage and, naturally, sales.

In terms of sales, I’ll give you in a follow up when we’ve got that data together (just subscribe by RSS, Twitter or Facebook to get that :)

In terms of usage, well, it’s definitely been interesting!

A massive (and probably fairly obvious to guess) initial stat is that the new design has boosted free user registrations by well over 200%.

  • Conversion rate to new free user with old yellow view – 4.16%
  • Conversion rate to new free users with new green look – 8.99%

And not surprisingly this has been accompanied by a serious improvement in bounce rate:

  • Bounce rate for old yellow design – 40.59%
  • Bounce rate for new green design – 38.07%

And increased average page views & time on site :

  • Old design average page views / time on site – 5.52 / 6.04
  • New design average page views / time on site – 5.82 / 6.32

So, whether it’s the yellow vs green, complexity vs simplicity or pricing vs free – either way we’re getting a bunch more activity with the tweaks, which is great.

And, critically, it means you get a heap more users signing up – that’s a whole bunch of new people using (and hopefully) enjoying your free plugins and themes

BUT, does that translate to conversion %s and $s… watch this space and once we’ve got some really good data (it might surprise you what we’re looking at so far), we’ll let you know!

Feature Image CC + Kris +