Over the last few weeks I’ve had a few “should’ve tested it moments”; you know that nagging feeling you get when something isn’t performing the way you hoped, you spent loads of time and money getting it up and running. All you can think in the end is I should have tested it.

One of many Should Have Tested Moments

Look-before-you-Leap-e1347736558338-293x300First, let me tell you about my most recent “should have tested moment”, the page I didn’t test that cost me a lot of time and maybe even loss some money. After reading some of Pat Flynn post I decided created a resource page on my new niche site duel site. I went out a got affiliate links for all the best tools my users could use, I wrote a little about them and put up this great page for them to come and click the links. But after 3 weeks no one is seeing my pretty write ups and links because according to my Google Analytics there hasn’t been one visit to the Resource page. The site is getting over 200 page views a day but none to that page. So I changed things around a bit to get clicks I moved location, changed title, moved up on the menu; but still no traffic. So what I’ve learned is my readers don’t want resources or tools just content.  Glad I got the memo.

So this week I listened to David Siteman Garland’s podcast on creating training videos and I thought “GREAT IDEA” if users are reading over 200 pages of content I’m sure they love videos and tutorials. But this time before pulling out my camera and gathering topics I paused. What if like my ‘resources page’ I build it and no one comes L that would suck wasting all of that time and energy AGAIN!! So this time I was smarter, I figured what if I set up a page named it video tutorials and linked to some of the YouTube videos and monitored traffic to the page. I know there are videos out there on YouTube (not nearly as great as the ones I’ll produce, but it something to test with), I even created one myself recently. That’s exactly what I did, set up a quick page with 3 video tutorials I found on YouTube.

What will I learn from this test?

1) Are people interested enough to visit the page? Using Google Analytics I’ll be able to tell if people are even visiting the page REMEMBER: NO MATTER HOW GREAT THE PAGE IS, IF NO ONE VISITS IT MIGHT AS WELL BE EMPTY.  

2) Are people actually watching the videos? Google also give me the average time on the page. I embed the videos so visitors could watch without leaving the page because I know the time of the videos I’ll be able to tell if they are really staying to watch or disappointed with the content and leaving.

My Next Test before you leap lesson

I also had another near time wasted experience this week, as you may know if you follow me on Facebook. I’m working on this big project to launch this fall. I was 3 quarters of the way through the content outline when something said “I need to know if I’m answering the right questions”. Since my email client Get Response comes with a great survey tool, I crafted a really quick survey asking about small business online marketing efforts. (It’s a great SURVEY if you have a moment please take a moment a share your thoughts with me on the survey, I’m giving away a 20 minute power session for those who complete the survey). I’m so glad I did this, within the first 10 responses I already discovered that the way I intended to deliver the new content I’m working on may not be the way my potential audience wants me to deliver it. WOW!!!!! Now tell me that isn’t valuable feedback.

Why didn’t I do all of this testing before

I didn’t skip testing because I didn’t know any better; I’ve read articles, researched tools and done all of these great things to get me to test. The problem was I always got caught up in how difficult it was, the time spent, and money I needed to test etc. This is why I’m sharing my lessons about testing out ideas, concepts and even new products this week. I know I’m not the only one so quick to bring something to market that I skip the important stuff.

And testing doesn’t have to be nearly as time consuming and detailed as you might think it’s. Sometimes testing could as easy as throwing and idea and see who catches it, or like I did putting up a much easier mock page and see if it grabs the right attention.

I know now that my week of minor testing has saved me some major time and money. It’s also boosted my confidence with bringing these new products to market (even I need an extra push now and then). But now as I continue development and marketing I know there is an audience out there ready to receive.

So take this lesson and TEST BEFORE YOU LEAP. You can get started today think about a quick easy way you can test your next product or idea and share it with me the comments what you can test and how it has helped you.