The pros and cons of using optimization tools to improve your website

Posted by David Otero on June 08, 2017
pros & cons.png

These days, installing an optimization tool on your website is a fairly common practice that isn’t very difficult, and most tools even offer free trials. It’s just a matter of asking your IT department (if you have one) to add the tag onto your website, and then you’re ready to use the tool.

But, as easy as this sounds, it’s also a bit like opening a Pandora’s Box on your website because suddenly you have the ability to make changes to your site without relying on heavily on the IT department. You’re instantly able to bypass the QA process that IT goes through, which can be both a good and a bad thing.

Here’s why…

Installing and running your own optimization tools is somewhat of a double-edge sword, and there are definitely pros and cons. On the one hand, an optimization tool will allow you to create an agile digital environment where you can quickly and easily make changes to your site without a lot of fuss. But on the other hand, this kind of autonomy can sometimes lead to internal chaos and confusion among teams, even disrupting planned updates or releases. As you can imagine, these disturbances will probably ruffle some feathers on your IT team.  


So, yes, having the flexibility to rapidly adapt your site based on the changing needs of your marketing or sales teams is certainly an advantage. But, at the same time, I would emphasize the importance of testing as a crucial part of this optimization process so that you’re not just applying changes ad hoc without understanding your unique users’ behaviors or needs.

Here’s one more thing to consider…


One of the final steps to optimizing a website includes “pushing” your winning variations to 100% — meaning, publishing the winners from your test results so that all of your users are getting the same, optimized experience.


Ideally, your IT team will implement all of these changes on their codebase, but oftentimes that’s either not possible or the changes simply take too long. In those cases, we’re able to create so-called “band aids” for our clients’ websites, pushing our tests to 100%, while we wait for IT to eventually take over (which, in some cases, can take quite a while).


Just keep in mind, in some cases where band aids are applied, IT departments can get frustrated when the Marketing teams take over these kinds of projects and will resent giving up any kind of control over their website environments. So, make sure there’s plenty of clear communication with IT so that they don’t feel pushed out or unfairly accountable for any website changes or mistakes that they weren’t initially responsible for.


Finally, if you plan on pushing an experience on your website to 100%, remember that, before you start, it’s important to know if the tool you’re about to implement offers such capabilities, or if it has limited sessions/pageviews that would render the tool ineffective for such a project.


Here’s a list of optimization tools we work with and recommend:


  • Optimizely
  • Monetate
  • Convert
  • Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)
  • Google Optimize
  • Qubit


Want to learn more about optimization tools and how to use them to improve your website? Email

Topics: Test and Optimization, Optimization Tools

Written by David Otero