5 Tips on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Aside from being my job and passion, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of optimizing your site to persuade your visitors to complete an action.  Sometimes that action is completing a purchase, sometimes it is subscribing to a newsletter. Regardless, every site has a desired action, and CRO is all about improving that process. Below are some tips I find helpful in the CRO world. Leave some comments and I’ll post some more tips in the future.

1. Start at the end of the funnel
In optimizing your site, start at the end of the funnel or process flow. This is where the biggest impact can be realized. If you have a retail site with 20 conversions per day, but 20 abandon on the page prior to purchasing, a 25% lift on this one page will have the biggest dollar impact on the business. Starting at the end of the conversion funnel and working forward will not only give you the biggest value, but also allow you to manage your time effectively.

2. Maintain Scent
Every page of the process should carry the initial persuasive sell and design from the originating landing page. If you land your customers on a coupon page stating you have the cheapest prices in the business, don’t put your customer into a funnel where that persuasion or design isn’t carried through. You need to sell to your customer through the end of the process.

3. Optimize Buttons
Optimizing buttons is about the easiest task for any site to accomplish but can also have some of the biggest impact. What to do with your buttons? First, the button text should follow the action. If your button is subscribing someone to  a mailing list, the button should read “Subscribe”. If the button is placing an order, it should read “Place Order”. Button location matters as well. Your main call to action should be above the fold and follow the flow of the site. Button color, shape and size matter as well, but differ from site to site. These elements can be easily tested in a button multivariate test.

4. Optimize Site Speed
When thinking about CRO, a lot of businesses miss the impact of site speed. I along with most major retail sites find that site speed and performance directly effect conversion rates and bottom line sales. A site with slow performance is doomed to have high bounce rates. A couple of weeks ago I found a good tool to overlay your site performance against analytics (specifically bounce rates) at Yottaa.com. After giving access to your web analytics, you will quickly be able to put a dollar value on speed and get ideas for optimization.

5. Develop a Disciplined Strategy for Improvement
The most important part of CRO is having a disciplined approach. If your experiences are anything like mine, you have ten people coming at you constantly with ten different thoughts, ideas and actions for the site. To overcome having ADD in your optimization strategy, plan your optimization efforts a quarter at a time and share these action items with your team and business.

And no matter what your site does or sells, always remember to test everything you do using some type of testing tool.

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16 Responses to 5 Tips on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

  1. I agree with most of your points, but a few need to be discussed further, I will hold a small conversation with my partners and maybe I will look for you some advice later.

    - Rob

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    - Henry

  7. Samsung Soul says:

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  11. Well … all I can say is, wow. This is an impressive collection of resources, thank you for taking the time to put everything together.

  12. that’s a damn good checklist! any chance you could make it into a pdf for us all?

  13. Awesome blog, interesting posts and very good content you got here.

  14. Tommy Guss says:

    This blog is informative, keep up the good work!

  15. Solid blog. I got a lot of good information. I’ve been watching this technology for awhile. It’s intriguing how it keeps changing, yet some of the core factors stay the same. Have you seen much change since Google made their latest acquisition in the field?

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