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A dead-simple trick to create site-wide A/B split tests

Posted in A/B Split Testing, News on April 13th, 2010

With Visual Website Optimizer, we like to keep things extremely simple. However, don’t mistake simplicity of VWO for less number of features. It is the job of a good UI designer to present a tool in layered fashion: core essential features being obvious to most users, while letting advanced users use plethora of other features by uncovering options as and when needed. That is what we have done with the latest new feature in VWO. It is a feature a minority of advanced users will ever need, but we still added it to VWO for completeness sake.

Here is the new feature: now you can define wildcards in split URLs too. Allow us to explain. Suppose you want to split test your entire website (and not just a single page). Maybe you are testing different themes or maybe you are testing different sidebar location or testing different placement of ads. While with CSS testing this is anyway possible without the hassles of creating separate versions of your complete website, but let’s assume you have created two or more versions of your complete website.

Now the challenge with other (free or paid) testing tools (and until now with VWO) is that you can’t do split traffic on the whole website! You need to specify a single page, and the tool redirects the visitor to one of the variation URLs and determines which one works best. However, such a strategy won’t work for site-wide split test because a visitor can land on any site page, and not just the specified page.

So, what we have done is to allow using wildcards in test page URL and variation URL. Check out the screenshot below:

Do you see the wildcard (*) here? Using it in your test URL will redirect the visitor to any page of your website (example to corresponding page on variation website (example

What’s more exciting is that you can even use multiple wildcards. If you are running an exotic test, then perhaps your control will be http://** and your variation will be*/*. Corresponding * in variation URLs are replaced by what matches in the control.

Hope you like the new feature. Please let us know your feedback, ideas, comments or suggestions though the comment box below or email us at

Paras Chopra

CEO and Founder of Wingify by the day, startups, marketing and analytics enthusiast by the afternoon, and a nihilist philosopher/writer by the evening!

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Ian Cheung
May 12, 2010

Sounds like a brilliantly implemented idea. Just one question, would it work with the WordPress plugin? Where you installed control to the root directory, and then installed another WordPress installation to a sub-directory named ‘b’.

Paras Chopra
May 12, 2010

Hi Ian, if you can install two WordPress instances, then this would definitely work.

Ian Cheung
May 12, 2010

great! I’ll give it a try.

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