Intro to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)


Once you have a website and your marketing efforts are sending new customers to your website, it’s important to analyze the flow of traffic from the moment the visitor lands on your site through to the final conversion: whether placing an order or submitting a contact form. Analyzing visitor behaviour and making changes based on that analysis is called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Increasing traffic alone is a great way to increase business, however, you are leaving a lot of money on the table if you have never considered optimizing your website for better conversions. How can you take your existing traffic and make more money from it? That’s where conversion optimization comes into play.

Let’s break it down: first we have to determine what a conversion means for your website, then analyze traffic flows so we can ultimately make changes to the site that will either reduce friction between landing and conversion, or drive traffic to the right places.

Please note: we assume that you are using Google Analytics to track website visitors as they use your website.

Google Analytics is a great tool to better understand your website’s traffic, as well as to identify any issues with your conversion rate optimization. That said, it can be a daunting task to try to figure it out and learn what you need to know. Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources out there that can help you make sense of it.

What is a Conversion?

Conversions come in many different shapes and sizes. Some examples of conversions may include: a purchase, downloading a brochure, signing up for a mailing list, filling out a contact form, or making a phone call.

These include both micro conversions that could be looking up your contact info, visiting specific product pages, or downloading a free eBook, and macro conversions such as purchasing a product online or submitting a contact form.

Once you’ve determined the top 1 or 2 conversions you would prefer your visitors engage with, the next step is to configure Google Analytics to track those goal conversions. Then we move on to tracking visitor flows: this is where good stats and tracking come into play.

Advanced Analytics & Visitor Tracking

With the help of proper analytics and visitor tracking we can take the guessing game out of optimizing your website to get the best user-experience possible. There is so much visitor data that can be captured that will tell us what we should be doing to make sure your website is a constant source of leads or income for your business.

You’ll need to dig deep into Google Analytics to help you understand your traffic as best as possible.

Define what quality traffic looks like and segment visitors into four groups: unengaged, interested, engaged, and converting. We can use these segments to identify performing channels and understand what sources of traffic are performing the best.

Notice that people who find your website from a certain search result, or a particular referrer, are more likely to contact you? Great data! Is it mostly people with a penchant for My Little Pony marathons, or who like Greek food? You’d be surprised the level of (vaguely creepy) detail you can get from visitor tracking.

Click and scroll maps are great tools to get a visual representation of what visitors are doing on your website. They provide a great deal of information if you can decipher their meanings. The basic Google Analytics reports will tell you how a visitor got to each page, functionally speaking. Maps will show you how a visitor actually interacted with those pages.

When we’re performing a Conversion Rate Optimization we use a variety of click and scroll maps to paint the best picture possible of what your visitors are doing.

Improving Usability with Design

After analyzing the flow of visitors across your website content, it can often be relatively simple to fix issues. For example you might find that 25% of your customers are not reaching the bottom of a long page and so the solution to improve sales on the page is to include call-to-action buttons (such as “Buy Now!”) part-way down instead of solely at the bottom.

In other cases, simply inserting a button isn’t simple enough. Let’s say it’s actually important that some visitors read the content closer to the bottom of the page, but others only need to read the first half of the page. This is one such case where usability can be improved with design elements. You could insert an accordion or tabs on the page such that the first part of the page is showing and the second part is hidden until the matching (and clearly titled) tab is clicked, thus revealing the second half of the page and hiding the first half. With this design element in place, the visitor can then quickly access the information they want without constant scrolling and regardless of which portion of the page they came looking for.

Need a Hand with CRO?

Ask us for help! You’ll need to share your Google Analytics data along with your intended goals (if you’ve already got them set) and we’ll build a report on how best to optimize your site to improve conversions.

This article was originally posted on November 5th, 2017, but has been updated frequently since then as tactics and tools improve.

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Allen Pooley

Allen is a self professed geek and technology lover. He's always playing with one of his various websites, and loves helping customers with theirs. He can often be found with a coffee (light roast, please) in his hand and a smile on his face... or trapped under a pile of yarn.

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