What is CRO? Conversion Rate Optimisation For Websites

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Adam Cook

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the process of optimising your site to extend the likelihood that visitors will convert from visitors to paying customers. This process can be seen throughout the marketing world with supermarket upsells at till points, cleverly positioned products in aisles, and queue management tactics like self serve. For the sake of this blog post, we’ll be solely focused on CRO for websites.

Let’s say your site is doing brilliantly in many areas. Traffic is coming your way via an efficient SEO, paid search, social or content strategy. Great! – Unfortunately, the people visiting your site aren’t achieving the goal you really intended them to realise within the first place. They’re not converting. No conversions mean that traffic is worthless, you’re making no money. 

‘Conversion’ might not necessarily be a sale, although more often than not it is. A conversion, depending on your goals, can be an email sign-up, the creation of an account, the completion of a survey, an app download – any desired outcome that you’re trying to encourage through the optimisation of content and site components.

a customer buys a cup of coffee

A/B or multivariate testing

Companies whose sales are decreasing have a 2.42 A/B and multivariate test completion average, whereas companies with significant increases in sales are achieving 6.45 A/B and multivariate test completions a month.

What is A/B testing? In very basic terms, you found out two different landing pages, each featuring a different element from each. Perhaps one features a bright green call-to-action, the opposite features a slightly less garish colour. Your site presents one among these pages to half your traffic, and therefore the less garish one to the opposite half.

Then you’ll then see whether or not a little change to a call-to-action (CTA) can make a difference to conversion.

The button isn’t the sole element which will be tested in fact . Headlines, product copy, image size, layout, amount of text, fonts… If it’s a component on the page then it’s often tested. If testing that element means an opportunity of accelerating conversion, then it should definitely be done.

Multivariate testing just means splitting up your traffic towards multiple versions of an equivalent page. For this your site requires an outsized amount of traffic so as to check the larger number of combinations successfully. Testing should never reach a stage of completion: even if you believe that your CRO has been refined to the very limits, carry on – no-one knows what minor tweak may create more conversions.

For four years, with two-thirds of companies reported to be using A/B testing, it has remained the most used method for improving conversion rates.

An example of a WordPress plugin for testing A/B elements like articles, landing pages and headlines is Nelio.

CRO and SEO (search engine optimisation) are related but are vastly different strategies. The key difference is that CRO only cares about how humans experience your website, SEO is merely concerned with how machines, algorithms, and Google bots interact with it.

CRO and SEO specialise in different stages of your sales funnel. Optimisation for search engines happens earlier within the funnel—getting visitors to click through to your store. CRO takes it from there—visitors are here, now let’s convert them to clickers, shoppers, scrollers, and subscribers.

CRO and SEO do crossover sometimes, for example, if you optimise your blog copy for specific keywords, you will improve its readability and make it clearer for human readers too. Streamlining the architecture is another instance of them working together.

Find Your Conversion Rate

Calculating your current conversion rate is pretty easy if you’ve got the info available. Use this formula:

CR = Total number of conversions ÷ number of visitors

Example: 100 people purchase an ebook from your store. Divide the number of buyers by the number of visitors to your site. If 100 people bought the e-book but 800 visited the site, your CR would equal 12.5% (800 ÷ 100).

What are the particular benefits? 

Here are three:

  • You Get Higher Profits
  • Your Traffic Increases 
  • It Keeps Your Focus on the Customers

The Four Principles of CRO

To achieve the most effective conversion rates, entrepreneurs and marketers follow four basic CRO principles.

1. Have a Value Proposition that is Clear

Customers take subsequent steps in your sales funnel once they understand what sets you aside from the competition. If your value prop is your price, increase the font size and make that price tag bold. If it’s the standard of your service, devote a whole section of your homepage to explaining your case. Customers will compare you to other businesses, and they’ll convert more once they understand the benefits you bring.

2. Incentivize Your Customers to Act

Half-priced sales, 30-day trials, and free downloads increase conversions because they incentivise shoppers to act. But there’s far more to customer motivation than simply incentivising through free stuff.

Money-back guarantees and good feedback also increase customer conversion. The standard of the “About Us” page and FAQ page can decide whether a visitor continues to your product pages or leaves to a competitor’s. Well-composed product photos entice customers to shop. Even the standard and usefulness of your blog articles incentivises customers to share your content and return for more.

a web user entering bank card details to pay for a product online

3. Lower Barriers to Conversion

Customers need incentives to act, but if there are obstacles in their way, all the giveaways you can offer won’t fix it. Remove anything that impedes any conversion you’ve established. Barriers can include things like:

  • High prices
  • Slow page-load times
  • Forcing customers to register
  • Hard-to-find “Buy Now” button
  • Confusing product descriptions
  • Having no product images
  • Off-site checkout

These are just a handful of the most important barriers to online purchases. Remove them and your incentives will work more effectively.

4. Make the Customer Feel Safe

Customers who feel unsafe about your brand or your process are hesitant to act—no matter how low the barrier is or how strongly motivated they are. Many things affect a customer’s comfort level, from your home page’s colour design to the payment gateway you employ.

Some marketing strategies accompany a tinge of distrust already attached to them. For instance, pop-up ads on your homepage are effective at getting people to convert to subscribers. But they also carry a stigma because they’re employed by cyber thieves to steal information and above else, very annoying.

Weigh the pros and cons of each part of your marketing plan and never sacrifice customer trust for a simple conversion.

‘57% of all online consumers will abandon a site after waiting 3 seconds, and 80% will never return.’

a secure website is key to passing sensitive data online

How To Measure Your CRO

CRO isn’t measured using only one tool or one piece of research, instead, you’re pulling data from multiple sources to compile an optimisation tactic for better conversions.

  • First, you’ve got to identify the troublemakers and block them immediately.
  • Second, you’ll devise an idea in order to keep the pesky anti-CROs away from your site permanently.
  • Third, you’ll need to compile your numbers again, then recheck your CRO health, and adjust when necessary.

Best CRO Practices That You Should Implement Now:

1. See Where Your Traffic Goes

By now, you ought to have Google Analytics on your site (and correctly setup). If you do, checking out where your traffic is bottoming out should be a breeze.

Remember, certain percentages of your visitors are going to be lost during any transition opportunity. Instead, search for unexplained or above-average bounce rates and exits.

2. Think Like Your Site’s Visitor

Yes, you own the location, but now’s the time to step into the shoes (or screen) of those visiting your website.

Look at your pages. Do they flow well? Are you able to navigate them easily? Is the call to action (CTA) clear, concise and compelling? Do you know what the purpose of each page is?

See what stands out on the page and what fails to be noticed. Anything important should be easily seen, like links, phone numbers, and most of all, the CTA.

3. Run a Survey

There’s no harm in asking people on your site what you need to improve. After all, they’re the people you need to be impressing. You can conduct a survey via social media, emailing lists, or even conduct an outdoor survey if needs be.

4. Usability Testing

Have people try out your website. You can make use of sites like Usertesting.com to give people tasks to finish on your site. You’ll even receive feedback (format depending on which tool you use), like messages, audio responses, etc. telling you what users think.

5. Heatmaps

A heatmap will show you where visitors are clicking and where they’re not at all (going cold). Heatmaps also are able to show you where visitors expect your call to action to be on the page.

A few good heatmap tools to use include Tableau, SumoMe, Hotjar and CrazyEgg.

a web user entering bank card details to pay for a product online