Have traffic but no results? Try Conversion Rate Optimization!
Have you heard the "Conversion Rate Optimization" buzzword that's been thrown around lately? You may have heard it if you’ve researched website improvements or read other industry newsletters. In this article, we’ll examine what CRO actually is, how your site can benefit, and how you can get started with it at no cost.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO, is the process of making targeted improvements to your website, based on quantitative data, with the goal of improving conversion.
(We should note that “conversion” typically refers to making a purchase, but it can apply just as easily to your site if you aren’t selling anything online. If you’re collecting leads, encouraging people to call, or just gathering email signups, whatever your “goal action” is would be your conversion.)
What is CRO not?
CRO is different from other forms of increasing conversion, such as advertising or search engine optimization, because it requires you already have significant traffic to your site. CRO is about making changes to your site that take advantage of opportunities to increase conversion with existing traffic.
We should also clarify that CRO is not the same thing as A/B Testing. In fact, A/B testing is a type of CRO. Other types include heatmap analysis, data analysis, user surveys, etc. What we’re really advocating when we talk about CRO is combining these various types so that, at a high level, you’re analyzing (data, heatmaps, survey results, etc.), then hypothesizing, then running an A/B Test to prove that hypothesis true or false. CRO is therefore significantly more sophisticated than traditional A/B Testing alone.
How can my site benefit from CRO?
Every website owner should understand how their site is being used, but that’s often not the case. It’s easy for your team to fall into a cycle of groupthink and fail to realize that there are holes in your user experience that cause confusion or drop-off.
The thing is, standard analytics can show you all that information. CRO takes it a step further, focusing on A/B tests that improve your site based on the data.
As a result, if your site has a goal and has traffic, it can benefit from CRO.
How can I get started?
You can run Conversion Rate Optimization tests on your website, by yourself, with simple off-the-shelf tools. Here’s how to successfully get started:
- First, examine your analytics. Is your data detailed and accurate? Confirm that visits are being tracked correctly as users move throughout your site. The worst case scenario is to make large business decisions based on inaccurate data, so if there are any issues, it’s best to resolve them before getting started.
- If you don’t already have it in your analytics package, install software such as Hotjar that tracks your website usage with heatmaps and scroll depth diagrams that visually show you how specific areas of your site are performing.
- Analyze your data and look for weaknesses. Determine where a fall-off is occurring and form a hypothesis for the reason behind that fall-off. For example, if you observe a high bounce rate on your homepage (meaning that people visit your site then leave without doing anything on the homepage) and see that most visitors aren’t even scrolling but, of those that do scroll, they also tend to make a purchase, then your hypothesis might be that removing the current hero image from the homepage will improve conversion. If you notice that people are adding items to their cart but not checking out, your hypothesis could be that they can't locate the checkout button.
- Based on your hypothesis, use a tool such as Google Optimize or Visual Website Optimizer to run a test. These tools can help you make minor modifications to your website easily and then randomly serve the test or control option to each site visitor. For example, Google Optimize could hide your homepage hero for 50% of traffic or make the CHECKOUT button on your cart page much larger and more obvious.
- Examine your results. If your hypothesis is correct, then make the change to your website.
- Rinse and repeat, continuing to examine your data, then hypothesize and build tests to prove them.
By the way, if it seems like a lot to handle, we can help! Whether you’d like to run a single CRO audit or ongoing monthly tests, we can set your site up for success. Talk to us and let us get started today!