Conversion rate optimization is a complicated-sounding term for something marketers do, on a conscious and subconscious level, every day: perfecting a website or process to maximize the number of conversions.
What’s a conversion? A conversion can be anything: purchases, sign-ups, donations, signatures. Basically, it’s what the website owners or company sets as their ultimate goal for the customers for that site or that landing page.
A well-designed landing page is geared towards funneling users towards conversions, whether that’s through seamless user experience, compelling copy, high-quality imagery or stellar customer service.
A CRO expert is trained to understand user psychology and behavior, and be able to pinpoint where a landing page may need improvement, or what might better persuade a user to convert.
It’s a valuable exercise - according to Wordstream, CRO tools have an ROI of an astounding 223%.
However, a professional CRO team can be a long-term commitment. But even if you can’t undertake an entire CRO investigation, you can always benefit from making incremental improvements to your website.
To start you off, here are 7 basic things a CRO team does that you can look at yourself to improve conversions on your own site.
1. Check for delays and time lags
It seems like a minor annoyance, but a small-time lag can make a big difference to consumers. According to Neil Patel, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s a little time to lose a lot of business.
CRO experts know to look for this, and for the root causes - do you have videos or animations on your landing page that are slowing things down? Photos which could be compressed?
While you may be attached to bells and whistles on your website or homepage that are causing it to load slower, the truth is, visitors are much more likely to be satisfied with a speedy, simple website than an elaborate, sluggish one.
2. Check for User Experience Design Issues
Even a company with a great product or service can be foiled by a clunky user experience. Today’s internet users are so accustomed to intuitive design that anything that makes them think too hard or inserts friction into the buying process will work against your ultimate goal.
Check your own website and ask yourself if anything about it is frustrating. For example:
- Does checkout take too long?
- Do your forms take long to fill out or have unnecessary fields?
- Are buttons where you expect them to be?
- Is each process simple, clear and easy to follow?
- How easy is it to find the information you want?
- How easy is it to get help, or get in touch with the team?
The little things you notice and gripe about in your workflow might be causing visitors to abandon your site entirely (and go to the competition instead).
3. Test for Browser incompatibility issues
It’s not a glamorous detail, but it’s an important one.
If you assume that your website is working fine if it’s working on your browser, you’re making a rookie mistake.
While we tend to be loyal to our web browser, people interact with the web in different ways, through different interfaces. Your website needs to play nice with all of them.
Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera: you need to test all aspects of your website display and checkout process on every browser, on multiple versions.
If your website freezes, slows or crashes on one browser, that’s not just one browser’s problem: that’s an entire section of the market you’re excluding.
4. Audit Your Copywriting
If you don’t have a dedicated copywriter on your team, there’s a wealth of resources to help you. There are several online tools to improve your writing, and courses and articles geared towards copywriting for the web. Several are free, and can start you creating great content to help you better connect with your audience.
5. Check for other conversion opportunities
There are a number of ways to generate leads and get conversions. You don’t have to get your customers to purchase a product or sign a petition on their first, second, or even third visit. Rather, you can cultivate a long-term relationship with them.
Let them sign up to your email newsletter to keep in the loop on news, get offers for sales or discounts, or receive your blog posts and articles right in their inbox. Offer them links to your social media. Have them sign up for webinars or meetups.
Things like this reassure your customers that they’re also getting something out of the deal. In today’s crowded market, you need to do more than provide a good product. You need to provide personalized service, added benefits and a genuine customer relationship.
6. A/B Testing
(Note: This is one of the more complex undertakings, but if you can start even basic A/B testing in your development processing, it might be well worth the investment.)
During your last webpage redesign, did you overhaul your site and launch it? Or did you test and reiterate each of your changes based on how your audience responded to them?
CRO testers know to test every hypothesis by launching it as an A/B test - comparing how customers interact with a previous page vs. one with their proposed changes, and comparing the findings.
It’s a slower process than a simple redesign and relaunch, but ultimately saves time and increases conversions (and therefore ROI) if it catches designs that slow down consumers, or identifies ones that the audience particularly responds to.
In today’s consumer-centric market, every decision should be influenced by our customers: how they think, behave and interact with your website will be crucial to your business’s success. Including them in your design with some elementary A/B testing, and incorporating the findings in your ultimate website design, is a solid step towards user-centred thinking.
Farahnaz (you can call her Farah) is a content marketer at Wishpond, with a background in journalism and a love for digital marketing, travel and dogs