Conversion rate optimisation is the process of discovering why visitors to your website aren’t converting and then putting improvement measures in place. SEO, Search Advertising or a combination of both might be driving relevant, quality traffic to your website but if this traffic isn’t converting then time, effort and money is going to waste.
When undertaken professionally and correctly, conversion rate optimisation can make a dramatic improvement to the productivity of your website. Results could include a decreased bounce rate, more newsletter sign ups, more calls or a decrease in the number of abandoned shopping carts. But what are the steps in the CRO process and why are they important? Let’s take a look…
1. Decide on your Conversion Goal
First things first, you need to decide on your conversion goal. What exactly are you looking to achieve from your website – what do you want your audience to do? Are you an information site looking for people to sign up to your newsletters, are you offering a service and looking for potential customers to contact you via call or email, or are you an e-commerce site driving for sales?
A single conversion goal might apply to your whole website or you might have a different goal for each landing page. Yet, in either case, the better you can refine your goal per site or per page then the better you can focus on improving your conversion rates for that goal and later, the more effectively you can measure the results.
The first and most important step in CRO is to undertake a wealth of research about the website’s current performance levels. This includes analysing your traffic, your conversion and bounce rate stats along with finding out which of your landing pages are the most popular. Tools such as heat maps, scroll maps and flow charts can also be used to check out where your site is getting the most clicks and how far down each of your pages your visitors view.
It is also worthwhile to undertake off site research. By taking a look at competitor sites, you can discover how their design looks, how they have laid out their CTAs, their links, their copy and more. Researching other websites is a great way to stumble on some ideas for improvement and to flag up aspects of your site that might be missing.
3. Creative Development
After a wealth of research and data mining has been undertaken, it is time to start thinking up ideas and making relevant changes to your website that will work towards your conversion goal. Possible modifications might be on a tiny or large scale and could include a combination of any of these features:
- Style and substance of copy
- Layout of copy
- Design layout
- Colour scheme
- Website size
- Loading speed
- Amount, design and/or position of CTA copy, buttons or links
- Position and/or proximity of design elements on the page
- Contact us page features
- Contact form fields
To make changes without looking at the results is to miss the point of CRO. Indeed, to push your site to its optimum conversion rate, it is most likely that more than one set of changes will need to be made and various combinations of these trialled. This fine-tuning is known as the testing stage.
Testing is a continual process that takes place over time, using various tools to take various measurements. Changes may either have positive or negative results and both are part of the learning experience.
Two of the most widely used and recognised CRO testing tools are:
A/B Split Testing
This method involves the development of two new landing pages, each with a different design, layout and/or combination of features. Traffic is split evenly and randomly between the two pages and then actions are recorded.
This testing involves the creation of several redesigns that focus on modifying particular elements on a landing page. Traffic will equally and randomly experience different combinations of the landing pages’ modified elements, with actions recorded.
For more comprehensive testing, analysis of flow charts, scroll maps and heat maps can be used again to analyse the new, altered landing pages.
Effective Conversion Rate Optimisation requires in-depth research, the identification of the conversion goal, the implementation of changes and extensive testing. CRO can take a significant amount of time and testing but when the most fitting combination is found, you can reap the rewards of improved conversion rates and a much better ROI.