Test and Improve Your Beta Website with Usabilla

5 min read

After spending months rebuilding your website, the time comes when you finally get to launch it in beta. While this is already a rewarding moment in itself, releasing a beta website will come with many more questions and more points to work on.

How will your beta users like the new website? Will they understand everything? And, more importantly, is the beta website actually an improvement for your users?

Your users have the answers

This is where Usabilla comes in. Through user feedback, you can:

  • Collect passive feedback to rapidly identify early stage issues
  • Run active campaigns to validate any assumptions with real user insights
  • Measure the customer satisfaction rate of your new website
  • Learn what effect your website changes have made on your KPIs

This is exactly what we did with our recently relaunched Support page. Using our own tool we were able to both test and improve our beta site, resulting in a shiny, new page that we’re exceptionally proud of.

So, where to start? We’ve condensed our experience into these 4-steps.  

1. Invite your visitors

After launching your beta website, the very first step is switching your traffic over. By showing a Recruit Participants campaign on your current website, you can invite (a % of) users to try out the new website. Without using development resources, you will be able to have an invite up and running in a matter of minutes – find out more here.

beta website invite

Initially, you can decide to only direct a small percentage of your users to the beta website by using the “target X% of your users” targeting option for the campaign. Once you’ve gathered insights from these users and have made improvements accordingly, you can gradually invite more users to the beta website.

The advantage of inviting your users versus simply directing them to the new page is that invited users will be more aware that they are on the beta website. This ensures returning visitors are not surprised when they discover your website has changed. What’s more, they will likely feel special to be selected as one of the few to view the beta site. This interaction could even increase their engagement with you.

2. Emphasize your button

Using a passive feedback button on your beta website can bring great results. Once your users are on the page, it’s time to inform them about your feedback functionality. There are two ways in which you can inform your users; show them a second notification when they enter the website or use a Boost Feedback campaign.

test beta website

Using these campaigns makes your users aware of the feedback button. They might not give feedback immediately, but when they then run into an issue, they’ll know where the button is. Also, we found that letting the user know upfront that you listen to their input puts them into a different mindset, making them more attentive to things they could leave feedback about.

3. Simply ask for feedback

We’ve covered the ways you can facilitate the feedback process when your users take the initiative; now we will discuss how to actively reach out to your users to collect additional feedback. Through Active Feedback campaigns, you can ask relevant questions targeted to specific users to collect actionable feedback. Here are a few survey ideas to use on your beta site:

How do you feel about our new website?

Although this question seems similar to the one in your feedback form, asking it actively can provide you new insights from a different perspective. When a user clicks your feedback button, they are probably motivated by an issue or a bug. This is why you may notice more negative feedback collected from the feedback button. If you actively ask you users how they feel, your results will be more objective.

improve beta website

CES – How easy was it to accomplish X on our beta website?

With every new version of your website, one of your goals is probably providing a smoother experience for your users. A powerful way to measure this is by collecting Customer Effort Score (CES). Measure this score by asking your users “How easy was it to accomplish X on our beta website?” after they complete a specific action (i.e. after they’ve made a purchase). Comparing your old site’s CES to your beta site’s CES will reveal the pros and cons of your potential new site.

Measure this score by asking your users “How easy was it to accomplish X on our beta website?” after they complete a specific action (i.e. after they’ve made a purchase). Comparing your old site’s CES to your beta site’s CES will reveal the pros and cons of your potential new site.

Error page campaign

Let’s face it, when developing a beta website, things will go wrong from time to time. Maybe you missed a link or redirect that causes a user to end up on your 404-page. While this is a frustrating experience for a user – beta or not – they can help you fix the error and prevent it from happening for future users. With Usabilla, you can identify these broken links quickly and efficiently by setting up a campaign on your error page.

4. Find out why users leave

Most beta websites offer the option to go back to the old website. If a user navigates from the beta website back to the current website it’s often a sign they are missing something from your old website or they don’t like certain aspects of your beta website.

test beta website

Asking these users why they chose to return to the original site will help you to identify what users like better about the old site and what they need from the future site.

It’s best to show this campaign as a Full Screen survey as soon as they switch back to the old site. You can easily target users that return to the old website using the document.referrer.

Combine these 4-steps with some willing users and you should be well on the way to a new and improved website. Any questions? Reach out to our friendly support team or request a demo to see what Usabilla can do for you.

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Sophie Janson
Customer Success Representative at Usabilla