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Running a web development business isn’t an easy endeavor at all. You have to manage multiple projects, tough clients, and a constant stream of relentless deadlines. One key methodology which enables a web designer to generate more return on investment for his clients’ websites, web ads, email newsletters, offers and promotions is A/B testing. Don’t worry if the term sounds alien to you. It’s actually a very simple process; segmenting your users into two different groups and showing each group a different version of your page. To put it in a simpler way, A/B testing — or split testing as it’s sometimes known — is showing different page elements to different people and understanding which one gives better sign-ups or sales. Print Runner Why is A/B testing important for small businesses? For one primary reason: to make more money. As a web designer working with a small business owner, you know that investment by your client has a clear return on investment (ROI) expectation attached to it and successful conversion rate optimization provides one of the best returns on that investment. To see how it works, let’s take a simple example. Suppose the website has 5,000 monthly visitors with a conversion rate of 4%, meaning 200 people end up buying. If you wanted to increase sales by 50%, you’d have to increase the number of visitors by 50%. Getting the additional 2500 visitors would mean expenditure on online/offline marketing activities that might or might not attract visitors who want to buy. The second option is to optimize the conversion rate. You think hard about what your client’s customers want, create a different headline that you feel better communicates the value provided by his business and split visitors 50/50 between the original (control) and the variation (also called “challenger” by some). After a week when your test has had about 1000 visitors, the software says it’s confident that the variation headline is better and converts 10% more than the original headline. That’s 20 more sales at the cost of 30 minutes to sign up for an A/B testing tool and setting up a test. Not to forget the large smile you’ll be greeted with when your client sees you. Choices Image via Shutterstock This is why the eCommerce world is raving about Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). The return-on-investment for CRO, through A/B or any other form of testing can be huge. It has been in wide use by large enterprises like Amazon and Microsoft for years but has only recently become easy and affordable enough for web designers and small business owners to undertake on their own.       /2012/09/the-web-developers-guide-to-ab-testing/