Conversion Optimizer Basic for Joomla!

Joomla! 1.6 Native  Joomla! 1.7 Native  Joomla! 2.5 Native Joomla! 3.0  Joomla! Plugin

This version works with Google Analytics Content Experiments and no longer supports Google Website Optimizer. Versions prior to 3.0.0 became obsolete on August 1, 2012 - However if you need documentation on that version you will find it here.

The Simple Way to Run Google Analytics Content Experiments on Joomla

The Conversion Optimizer Basic is the simple way to run a Google Analytics Content Experiment on Joomla! websites. Create your experiment and goal in Google Analytics, cut & paste Google's script into the plug-in configuration, add a simple tag on your test and variation pages, then sit back and wait for Analytics to tell you what works the best.


The Basic version is a Joomla! 2.5 plug-in, allowing you to run a single standard A/B experiment. The Conversion Optimizer Pro (available soon) allows you to run many experiments at the same time, and simplifies the setup process. Find out more about these versions on our overview page.

Setup & Configuration

Set up and Configuration is simple, quick and painless. Here's how to get started.

Install the Conversion Optimizer Basic Plug-in

  • If you don't already have a Google Analytics account, set one up now.
  • Download the Conversion Optimizer Basic Plug-in.
  • Install the Conversion Optimizer Basic package using the Joomla! Installer (Administrator->Extensions->Extension Manager->Install Tab).

Create your Experiment in Google Analytics

Designing an experiment is beyond the scope of this documentation, however Google offers some information on the topic. Once you're ready, set up your experiment on the Google Analytics site. Google will ask for several URLs when setting up your experiment, if you're using SEF, remember to use the SEF version of the URLs. When you reach Step 3 - Add and check experiment code, do the following:

  • Pick the I'll add the experiment code myself option
  • You're now ready to set things up in Joomla.

We've tested this plug-in extensively. Still, it's always a smart practice to check your site and make sure it works in your exact configuration. If you run into any problems, disable the plug-in right away and contact us with the specifics.

Configure the Plug-in

  • Plug-in Manager - In Joomla's Administrator, pull down the Extensions Menu and pick Plug-in Manager
  • Find the Plug-in - Filter on the word Optimizer
  • Change the Plug-in Order - to be the last (highest number or simply 9999). This will avoid conflicts with other plug-ins (e.g., SEF). Some plug-ins will alter the Google Content Experiment script after our plug-in adds it to your page.
  • Edit the Configuration - Click on System - Conversion Optimizer Basic.

  • Get Google's Script - Go back to the Google Analytics Content Experiments set up page, then cut & paste the experiment script code into the plugin parameter's Experiment Script box on the Joomla side.


This plug-in does not check your Experiment code, so double-check that you've cut & pasted the entire script!

  • Enable - the Plug-in.
  • Set Ordering - Change the plugin Ordering value to Order Last
  • Save - Click Save at the top.

Sites with mod_security enabled may experience a 500 error when saving the script. This is because some configurations of mod_security prevent javascript code with calls to external sites (in this case from being saved in the database. To resolve this, you will need to change the mod_security filters to allow scripts from, or upgrade to Optimizer Pro or Pro Plus.

You're almost there! Next, you'll need to tell the plug-in which pages are in the experiment. Here's how to set that up:

Adding The Tags

Customize the Tag

We recommend that you change the default {optimizerbasic} tag to another value for added security. This plugin searches your entire page, including any user-created content, right before Joomla shows it to the visitor. It's possible for a user to add the {optimizerbasic} tag within their content. If so, it can potentially mess up the results of your experiment. To avoid this, simply change the value in the Plugin parameter's "Plugin Tag" box to whatever you wish. Remember to use your customized tag within curly brackets rather than the default {optimizerbasic}.

A/B Experiment Tags

  • Tag original and variation pages - Place an {optimizerbasic} tag ANYWHERE in your Joomla content on the original and each of the variation pages. You can place this tag within your content, or a custom html module position. Place it where you feel best. When the plug-in sees this code, it'll place the Content Experiment script from the plug-in parameters where Google wants them.
  • You're done with the plug-in, go back to Google and finish setting up your experiment!

Custom HTML Modules
You can add tags in custom HTML modules too. Be careful, though, to publish modules with these tags on your experiment pages ONLY.

Validate on Google

Now that you've set up the plug-in parameters and added codes to your experiment pages, go back to your Google Analytics Content Experiment setup - 3. Add and check experiment code page. And do the following:

  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue Next Step button. Google will check to make sure your Google Analytics code (not added by this plugin) and your content experiment code exists, is properly placed and correct. If validation fails check our Troubleshooting section:


  • Is the Plug-in Enabled? - The plug-in must be enabled to do anything, so make sure you've enabled it in Joomla's plug-in manager.
  • Is the Plug-in Order set to LAST? - Some other plug-ins (e.g., SEF) will attempt to modify or rewrite the Google scripts and URLs added by this plug-in. To avoid this possible problem, run this plug-in last. Change this through the Plug-in Manager, in the Extensions menu of the Joomla Administrator.
  • Is the Plug-in Access Level set to Public? - Google is not logged on to your site, so if the plug-in isn't set to public, Google won't be able to test it.
  • Are the page access levels set to public? - Again, Google appears as a public visitor when testing your pages, so make sure Google can reach them to test.
  • Correct URLs on Google - recheck each of the URLs in your experiment and make sure you've given Google the correct URL. If it's checking the wrong page, it won't find the optimizer code.
  • Google Analytics Code - This plugin does NOT add Google Analytics tracking code, you must make sure to add this code separately - you can do this with another plugin, with your template or a custom html module.
  • Plug-in Tags on each page? - Remember, all experiments must have at least one conversion page. Make sure that the plug-in tag {optimizerbasic} appears somewhere on your original and each variation page (in the content or a module).
  • Plug-in Parameters - Make sure that Experiment code is correct and complete. You may wish to delete the code from the Plug-in Parameters then cut and paste it again.
  • 500 Errors while saving scripts - Sites with mod_security enabled may experience a 500 error when trying to save the GWO scripts. This is a feature of mod_security which prevents javascript from external sites from being stored in the database. You can either alter your mod_security filters to allow for the Google scripts or disable mod_security entirely while running your experiments. Please note that this is not an issue with Optimizer Pro, as we have more control over how Joomla stores component data.
  • Header Meta Tags - Ensure that no optimizerbasic tags appear in the section of your page. Some extensions, including VirtueMart, and SEO/SEF related plug-ins will automatically generate meta keywords and/or meta description tags from your content. In some cases these extensions may copy optimizerbasic tags in your meta tags. Generally, this plugin will simply remove the tag from your meta tags, but in rare cases it may cause a problem.
  • Firewalls - Make sure that you can access the Script site from your computer. Some organizations block or firewall the Google Analytics site to prevent polluting test results. If so, you will need to either unblock the site or test from outside your firewall.
  • If all else fails, post a message in our Optimizer Basic forum with the details and we'll help you get it working, who knows we may even update the code or these instructions to make them easier to follow.

Get It Now

Get it now

Security Update

Versions of Conversion Optimizer Basic prior to 1.4.0 contain a potential XSS security threat. If you're running any version prior to 1.4.0, please upgrade to the latest version. Download the current version now.

Conversion Optimizer Basic

What Users Say

Hugely simplifies setting up of Google Optimizer... in short, great plugin, excellent support and help that goes beyond.

- Andrew Wilkin | Cyberion Consulting

Does what it says on the tin. Excellent instructions... a pleasant surprise.

- Sandra Newton |

Massively simplifies Joomla side of GWO... support was fast, friendly and efficient.

- Dominic Hughes |