Optimizely is an application which allows users to optimize their websites by running experiments on how different website variations increase customer engagement. This is a process known as A/B testing, something that marketers know to be both effective and vital, but which in the past has been a fairly clunky process to use on websites themselves. Optimizely uses a simple drag-and-drop application and a line of java script code to allow users to create different versions of their website. The java script is placed on the page and each visitor to the site sees a random variation of the site. Optimizely then tracks the engagement data in real time. Users can stop the experiment at any time so they can permanently launch the most effective version of their page.Show more screenshots »
Optimizely was founded in 2008 by Dan Siroker and Pete Koomer, two former product managers from Google. In just a few years, Optimizely became the world’s leading multivariate testing platform. Many leading companies use Optimizely, including Starbucks, Disney, and Ebay.
Optimizely has its competition: Google Optimizer, for example. They all seem to work basically the same, though Optimizely has a more attractive platform than some of its competitors. Optimizely also does not every require users to change the java code once you implement it on a website, which means users can run multiple tests on a site once it is all set up.
Using the drag and drop interface is smooth and even fun, though “easy” may be a misnomer. One of the demo sites presupposed that the user knew enough about java to change the functionality of basic site elements, something that seemed at odds with a WYSIYG interface normally aimed at web developers who aren’t as tech savvy. Getting the tests to work at all relies on copying and pasting a snippet of code to the source code on the website, which presupposes that the user has any idea how to do this. Users who run all of their websites on WordPress, for example, might be instantly lost as to how to implement such a thing. Optimizely seems more concerned with courting large companies than individual users, and as these companies are likely to have IT professionals who know exactly where to place this bit of code it’s probably not a problem. However, the marriage of the words “easy” and “just install this java code into your webpage” is what prevents Optimizely from receiving a 5 star rating: it’s not quite user-friendly enough for average proficiency users yet.
Users add their name, e-mail, address, and password. Users are also required to give their phone numbers and to agree to the terms of service. Once users have done this they are logged in and ready to begin running tests.
Optimizely offers a number of pricing plans. There are four basic plans, and the price of each plan depends on whether users choose a month-to-month plan, a one-year plan, or a two-year plan. On the month-to-month plan users pay $19/month for bronze membership, $79 per month for silver membership, and $399 per month for gold membership. A one-year membership offers a 10% discount on all prices, and a two year membership offers a 25% discount on all prices. Users who want the unlimited platinum account have to call the company. The account levels are based on the number of monthly website visits.
Optimizely is a great application for anyone who has a website that’s integral to their business. Testing the effectiveness of different website variations will help users make more sales, get more leads, and make more money. However, as mentioned, users will need the technical know-how to support the app’s use, as it’s only “easy” for people who intimately understand how to get to the right place for copy-pasting the code tag.