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Why Testing & Failing Improves Your Website

Every day we fail and we should do more of it. In fact, I'm going to argue that having a website that fails (a lot) is central to online success.

Failure Is Normal

Without failure, we wouldn’t have most of life’s inventions; aeroplanes, the microchip or the light bulb. (Edison worked on about 3,000 different theories to develop the light bulb. In other words, he failed 2,999 times before eventually succeeding.

Put simply, nothing new is perfected in one go. This is particularly true when trying to improve your website. In order to perfect your website, you’ll have to test lots of different ideas; price changes, new headlines, different page layouts, colours, etc. Frankly, if you can name it, you can test it. By testing different approaches you are identifying which idea or marketing approach works best and, therefore, wins you more business.

the internet gives us a unique opportunity to test several ideas at the same time and get the results back almost instantly

Failing Faster Than Ever

The internet gives us a unique opportunity to test several ideas at the same time and get the results back almost instantly. For example, if you sent out two different emails to different halves of your database you’d instantly see which got opened more often and which won more business. Or you could create lots of different landing pages each selling the same product but with slightly different offers. By driving traffic to each one you’d eventually find which one performed best and, therefore, the best offer to present to your customers. And because you can often get the results back in (nearly) real-time it means that you can fail faster than ever before!

When it comes to measuring the results of your ideas (or tests) you’ll probably notice that some are miserable failures, some work okay and, some (perhaps 20%) will outperform all the rest put together. Incidentally, 20% isn't an arbitrary number, check out Web Design & The 80:20 Rule.

However, if you weren’t testing lots of different ideas you wouldn’t find the amazing 20% that generates 80% of your sales!

The bottom line is that when you test 10 ideas you give yourself 9 more opportunities to make more money than if you had only tested 1. This is also a great argument against anyone who says that you shouldn’t try anything new. (If you'd like to read more about this subject take a look at The Pillars of Digital Marketing.)

Remember, testing improves your website, unfortunately, lots of people don’t test different marketing ideas on their website simply because they don’t want to fail and that’s natural given that failure can be off-putting. Whereas failure is simply a result. It’s not good or bad, just a result. The key is to continue to learn from it and not regard it as a personal failure but as one less failure, you need to have en route to success.

Failing To Be In Good Company

Here are some other notable failures to keep in mind whenever you fail:

  • Bill Gates dropped out of University.

  • Einstein’s Maths Teacher said, “Einstein you will never amount to anything”.

  • Walt Disney bankrupted himself.

  • 20 Century Fox dropped Marilyn Monroe because they said she was “unattractive and couldn’t act”.

  • Beethoven’s music teacher said, “as a composer, he is hopeless".

  • Michael Jordon was cut from his high school basketball team.

  • The Beetles were turned down by the Decca recording company stating “We don’t like their sound, guitar music is on the way out”.

Keep failing, you’ll be in great company.



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