A/B Split Testing for ASP.NET

Common knowledge: You need to do A/B testing on your site.

Why? Because it will make you more money.

Cool, but why? Because if your business sells things on the web or otherwise makes you money as a result of people doing stuff on your website, you want to maximize the percentage of people doing stuff. That's where A/B testing comes in.

What is it?

Basically, if you test one version of your website against another version, you can measure which one better compels users to do something. So, for example, you might try testing your normal "Buy Now" button against a double-sized, bright red shiny button. You'd show one version to half your visitors, the other version to the other half. Pay attention to who saw which version, and whether they actually bought your thing.

After a week or so collecting data, you can see that, for example, 4.8% of visitors seeing your old button clicked it, whereas 6.6% of those who saw the big red one clicked it. That's valuable. As in, measurable in dollars valuable, so you need to be doing it.

How to do it

To do A/B testing right, you need to run it from the web server. There are tools out there that give you javascript code that Marketing will try to convince you to paste into your site, but don't do it. It would take an entire article just to explain all the ways that's a bad idea.

It's not too hard to code something up yourself, but there are some good libraries out there that you can simply drop in. I'm writing this post to tell you about the one I wrote for ASP.NET and ASP.NET MVC:

FairlyCertain - A/B Split Testing for ASP.NET

I've been using this for the past 6 months for S3stat and FairTutor, with some pretty impressive results. Now that it's good and stable, I finally motivated myself to package it up and release it as Open Source.

It's essentially a simplified version of Rails' A/Bingo, with one major departure in that participation data is stored in the users' browser rather than a local database. That helps it scale out better and means that you can pretty much just drop the code into your project and have it start working without having to configure anything.

Check it out and let me know if you find it useful.

FairTutor is our latest project here at Expat. It's a website that connects Spanish teachers in South America with students in the US and lets them hold live Spanish classes online.

We'll be starting Beta classes soon, so if you want to score some free Spanish lessons, you might want to go sign up for the waiting list!

Jason Kester

I run a little company called Expat Software. Right now, the most interesting things we're doing are related to Cloud Storage Analytics, Online Classrooms, and Customer Lifecycle Metrics for SaaS Businesses. I'll leave it to you to figure out how those things tie together.

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