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Spring is here! Time to Clean Up Your Testing Program


Broom, Dust & Fur Ball on Parquet Floor photoThis year, March came in like a lion and leave like a lion as well. But in spite of that hopeless weather, spring is finally, officially here. And that means one thing: Time to fling open the windows and clean out the dust and dirt of long winter’s hibernation.

Just like our houses and apartments, cars and yards, our websites need a seasonal cleanup too. If you’ve been busy running tests, uncovering customer insights, and tweaking your site for optimization since before Black Friday, take a brief pause to consider these five spring cleaning tasks for your testing and optimization program:

1. Dust Off Winners

When a test variation wins, it makes sense to push it to 100 percent of site traffic. But using a testing tool to implement winning variations can lead to slow test velocity, interference with future tests, increasing maintenance issues, and reduced page performance. Take the time during your spring cleaning period to have successful changes added to the source code of your website.

2. Tidy Tags

Tag management systems make adding new testing and analytics tools to a site easy. But this means trial tools can build up, slowing down your site in ways you may not realize. Take this time to review the full list of activated tags and tools in your tag management system, removing any that are no longer needed.

3. Spruce Up Tools

Testing and analytics tools have received some major updates in the last year. These updates have fixed known problems, added new functionality, and made many powerful tools easier to use. But we know from experience that many users don’t upgrade their tools regularly—missing out on these valuable changes. During spring cleaning this year be sure to take a few minutes and upgrade to the latest version of all your testing and analytics tools.

4. Mend Code

Often, testing reveals fundamental issues and inefficiencies in the source code of a website. Occasionally, fixes that would break an experience must be postponed until a test has run its course. Now is the time to take a brief pause to update the source code, fix any known issues, and implement any new features that may have been waiting.

5. Organize Segments

A key benefit of testing and optimization is that the process produces useful new insight into customers and their behavior. Now is the time to review all your existing customer segments and personas, using new data to add depth to existing definitions, reorganize and combine groups as appropriate, and create new segments, personas and affinity groups.

Once a testing program is running—and has a strong culture to support it—it can seem like the process almost runs itself. This momentum is excellent, but it’s important to remember that just like any machine, your testing juggernaut needs maintenance too—and a little spring cleaning can help.