Conversion Rate Optimization: Do or Die!

What if you could make a few key adjustments to your website that would cause visitors to do exactly what you wanted them to do? That's CRO...

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Imagine that those adjustments were based on data, and you knew the EXACT changes to make.

Well, you don’t have to imagine it. It’s 100% doable with a growth hacking technique called “Conversation Rate Optimization.”

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is the method of using data and analytics to improve the conversion rate of your website. Simply put, it’s all about taking something you have now and making it work better.

So, let’s say that you have a website and it’s not converting as it should be — visitors aren’t doing what you want them to do. You open Google Analytics and notice that you have traffic, but it’s not converting.

You might want to start by testing your site on various browsers and their different versions. You might have low conversions because your call-to-action button isn’t showing up on an older version of Chrome, or your website doesn’t work well in Internet Explorer.

Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL, said it this way: conversion optimization is a process that looks like:

Set goals → Set up measurement and gather data → Analyze data → Turn data into insights → Turn insights into prioritized hypotheses → Test your hypotheses → Get data from tests → Back to data analysis. Repeat.

The team over at Qualaroo broke down the definition of Conversion Rate Optimization into two handy lists, explaining what CRO is and what it is not.

Conversion Rate Optimization IS:

  • A structured and systematic approach to improving the performance of your website
  • Being informed by insights—specifically, analytics and user feedback
  • Defined by your website’s unique objectives and needs (KPIs)
  • Taking the traffic you already have and making the most of it

Conversion Rate Optimization is NOT:

  • Based on guesses, hunches, or what everyone else is doing
  • Driven by the highest paid person’s opinion
  • About getting as many users as possible, regardless of quality or engagement

Conversion Rate Optimization is all about using the data you get from your website and using it to change to site towards achieving specific goals

Here are some more resources that might help you better understand Conversion Rate Optimization:

How Conversion Rate Optimization Affects Business Performance

Consider this: you come up with a great new product idea. You go through the process of developing that product, manufacturing it, and getting it ready to sell. You put up a website and….nothing.

No sales. No inquiries. Little to no traffic.

The most common explanation is that you had a bad idea. Your product or service didn’t sell, so people must not want it.  But often, it’s not the product or business idea that was bad. It’s how you went about marketing it.

With the right tools and an optimized website, just about every idea can make money.  But if your website isn’t converting, if visitors aren’t clicking through to get more information or buy your product or service, your idea will not work.

Think of it this way — if you don’t optimize your website, people won’t click through to convert, and you end up with no money.

According to Econsultancy, 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load!

This means that, if your website takes 4 seconds to load, you have lost almost half of your site visitors, many of whom might have converted. (Here’s a great infographic from WP Curve about optimizing your website speed)

 Rich Page gives us four enormous benefits of conversion rate optimization:

  • Generate more leads or sales on your website, with the same traffic you already have (means you don’t have to spend more money on traffic (aka acquisition))
  • Helps maximize the return on investment of your marketing spend (paid search, social media etc)
  • Improves your website so that it engages visitors and increases the chances of them returning (cheaper than acquiring new visitors and decreases churn)
  • Will give you a competitive advantage because your competitors probably aren’t doing it well yet and if they are, you would not be missing out.

That’s the effect CRO has on your business performance. It can literally make your idea successful, or cause you to “close up shop” and go home.

Here are some more resources on the benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization:

Website Elements You Should Optimize

Now that I’ve given you the foundations of conversion rate optimization, here are some specific elements of your website that you should optimize:


You’ve likely heard people say “Content is King” — because it’s true. The content you write is key to converting people on your website.

People have to understand what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and who you are if you have any hope of converting them. People buy from people.

 Here are a few ways to optimize your content:

  • Use subheads and bullet points. Most people won’t read all the copy you write — they skim. Subheads and bullet points make your copy easy to read.
  • Build authority by citing others. Anyone can start a website and make claims that they know what they’re doing. You need to build authority by citing respected experts in your field.
  • Write for SEO and humans. Search engine optimization is important to get people to your page, but you have to remember, people are the ones that will read it, and ultimately convert.
  • Make your copy easy to understand. While technical jargon and flowery language might sound good, if it’s difficult to read and understand, people will leave your page without converting.
  • Explain why they should convert. If you want people to convert, you need to explain why it benefits them. What do they get out of signing up for your email list, downloading your ebook, or buying your product.

Here are a few more resources to help you optimize your content:


The headline of your page or post is a critical element to optimize. According to Brian Clarke from Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people on average will read the headline copy of your post or page, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.

You need a headline that will not only grab people’s attention but also interests them to click through and read the rest of your page or post.

Here are a few tips for writing optimized headlines:

  • Be clear and specific. Clever headlines may sound good, but rarely convert well. Tell people exactly what they will find on your page or post in the headline.
  • Focus on one thing.
  • Make it short (but long enough to make sense). If you use too long of a headline, people will stop reading it. But sometimes you can’t convey your thought in six words. Keep it short, but make sure it’s long enough to make sense.
  • See what’s already working. Sites like Buzzsumo allow you to see the highest performing blog headlines from any website on the Internet.
  • Use headline formulas. Content marketers have spent time and money on figuring out how to optimize headlines. Using their formulas can help you write better headlines.

An optimized headline will drive people to click through to your page — which is the first step in getting them to convert.

Here are a few more resources to help you optimize your call-to-action buttons:

Call-to-Action Buttons

Your call-to-action buttons are essential elements to converting visitors. They represent the next action you want your visitors to take and should be easy, clear, and compelling as possible.

 Here are a few tips to optimizing your call-to-action buttons:

  • Use a color that stands out. It should stand out from the background and grab reader’s attention.
  • Keep the copy simple. It should finish the sentence “I want to…”, as in “I want to Download a Free Copy of the eBook.”
  • Use a good sized button. You don’t want the button too big (that just looks obnoxious), but if you make it too small, people will miss it.
  • Limit their choices. The more choices you offer, the less likely they will be to convert. One option is best. If you must include more, limit it to two.

Here are a few more resources to help you optimize your call-to-action buttons:

Other Elements

Here are a few other elements to consider optimizing on your site:

  • Customer Reviews. If you run an ecommerce site, you need customer reviews.
  • Q&A Content. People always have questions. Providing Q&A content that answers the most common questions and is easy to find will benefit you greatly.
  • Social sharing buttons. Want more people to visit and ultimately convert on your site? Optimize your social sharing buttons so people share your page.
  • Page Speed. According to Sharon Hurley Hall, a two second delay in load times can increase the abandonment rate to 87%. Get your page speed up to keep more of your readers.

Here are a few more resources to help you optimize your site:

The Psychology Behind It All

There’s a reason why all these tips and tricks work across so many different sites: Psychology.

We’re all wired with emotional and mental triggers that drive our actions — and for most of us, those triggers are essentially the same. Understanding those triggers, knowing how to evoke them and utilize them correctly in your marketing message, will help you influence your readers to convert.

There is so much behind the psychology of converting, that I’ve decided to do an entire post on it in the future. For now, it’s important to know that there are psychological factors at play, and if you tap into them, you increase your conversation rate.

If you can’t wait until then, here are some resources to get you started:

Importance of Data

I mentioned earlier that conversation rate optimization is all about the data — and using that data to determine what needs to be optimized on your website.

Data can give you insight into who your users are, where they come from, what they’re looking for, the headlines and content that appeal to them, what drives them to your site, and what causes them to convert.

Metrics that Matter

The first step in using data is to identify the metrics that matter to your business. This is the first thing GrowthRocks does when we work with a new client.

Here’s why:

There are different strategies and metrics for different goals. If your goal is all about acquisition, you’ll have a different strategy and different metrics than if your goal is retention.

Set your conversion goal, then determine what KPI’s (key performance indicators) you need to optimize to reach that goal.

One Metric

If you’re new to conversion rate optimization, mining the data can be intimidating, so my advice is to find one metric that matters, and optimize your entire website around that metric.

For example, Facebook knows that if they want to keep new users, those users need to invite others to join the site. There is a magic moment for users when they are able to see people they know on the site — it drives retention.

So Facebook set their one core metric to getting a user to invite 10 more users in 14 days, and optimized their strategy and site to increase that metric.

Go through your data, find that one key metric that will lead to you reaching your goals, and optimize your whole site around it.

Here are some more resources to help you understand the technical data behind Conversion Rate Optimization:


Conversion rate optimization is an essential technique that will drive more people to do what you want them to do on your site. The resources in this article will give you a better understanding of conversion optimization, but let’s be honest…

What tactics have you used to optimize your website for conversion? Leave a comment below and let us know!



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