SiteSpect Testing System Optimizes Website Effectiveness

SiteSpect AMPS speeds up site performance and allows Web marketers to modify sites to measure key metrics such as conversion, lead generation and user engagement.

SiteSpect's latest Website-optimization application allows business managers to test and optimize content placement on Websites unobtrusively to increase the effectiveness of marketing programs and page-load times, the company said.

Introduced on Jan. 25, SiteSpect AMPS (Automated Multivariate Performance Solution) lets Web marketers and site owners run "experiments" to see which version of a Website is more "persuasive," Eric Hansen, SiteSpect's CEO, told eWEEK. The definition of "persuasive" varies by the business; e-commerce sites could define it as making site visitors buy more items or spend more money, while information portals such as insurance sites may define it as the making visitors register for an account, Hansen said.

By allowing managers to change the site on the fly, such as by showing an alternate headline, changing the image placement or adding certain links, SiteSpect can collect key Web-performance metrics that can be used to compare which versions of the site were more effective, said Hansen.

SiteSpect is used in a number of areas, such as e-commerce and travel sites. Business managers can also take advantage of the platform's behavioral-targeting capabilities by serving up different versions of the page based on the site visitor's behavior or profile, said Hansen.

With SiteSpect AMPS, a site may show a special promotion to first-time site visitors or localized sale information based on the user profile, he said. Campaigns that are of limited duration can be easily set up in SiteSpect without requiring the business to create multiple pages.

There are competing products that allow site owners to move content around a page or to collect Web metrics to analyze key performance indicators, such as Google Web Site Optimizer, Hansen explained. Adobe also has a Web analytics tool from its acquisition of Omniture, he said. SiteSpect differs from these products in that it does not use page tags or any Javascript code to track what people are doing on the site, he said. SiteSpect has more in common with CDNs (content-delivery networks) in the way it collects user data, according to Hansen.

SiteSpect customers modify their DNS records to point their host names to SiteSpect's customized domain name. When visitors come to the site, SiteSpect automatically serves up appropriate pages and collects statistics, said Hansen. Site owners log in to the console to see reports and check on specific campaigns, he said. SiteSpect collects and stores information on all user behavior, for example, what links are clicked on, how much time is spent on the site and what path the user follows during the session.

The console also has a tool that puts the Web browser into a "special mode" that allows the site owner to drag and change elements on the Website on the fly without modifying the actual source HTML, Hansen said. SiteSpect applies the modifications to the actual site when loading pages for the individual user, he said.

"It's a virtual CMS [content-management system] where you can make changes," said Hansen. Site owners never have to change the actual site in the CMS if they don't want to, he said, although it may make sense to make major site-wide changes, such as a new navigation structure. The ability to maintain changes in SiteSpect is useful for promotions that have a specific shelf life, and it is designed for environments where changes to the site may take time or require development resources, Hansen said.

SiteSpect AMPS also has the capability to segment users based on time of day, geographic location and browser type, said Hansen. AMPS can also segment based on mobile devices.

SiteSpect AMPS also accelerates and optimizes Website performance so that pages load quickly, decreasing page-load times as much as 50 to 70 percent, according to the company. Given two sites with identical content, the one that loads faster is the one visitors are likely to prefer and return to, leading to higher conversion rates, higher average order values and better site "stickiness," Hansen said. The page's load time also has SEO implications as faster-loading pages tend to be ranked higher on search-engine results, he said.

SiteSpect AMPS optimizes site pages by reducing the size of Cascading Style Sheet and JavaScript files, combining scripts, and reordering elements for optimal processing. Page-load time is decreased by adjusting cache settings to reduce network overhead, according to the company.

AMPS integrates with SiteSpect's core content-testing and targeting platform, which is priced at $3,000 a month. SiteSpect AMPS is available as either an on-premise Enterprise appliance or a cloud-based ASP version, and is priced at $600, with incremental fees for going over bandwidth limits, Hansen said.