The average landing page conversion rate is a meager 2.35%, meaning most website visitors are leaving without taking action (Wordstream).
With conversion rate optimization (CRO) audits, you can identify gaps in your marketing efforts that may be hindering conversions.
A CRO expert can help you make data-driven changes to your content optimization strategy, pinpointing the barriers preventing visitors from taking the next step.
In this blog, you’ll discover conversion rate optimization best practices, how to seamlessly integrate them into your content optimization strategy and why a CRO expert company is integral to your success.
First Things First – What Is a Conversion Rate Optimization Audit?
A conversion rate optimization audit or CRO audit is crucial to improving your website’s performance. By analyzing user behavior, traffic sources and other metrics, CRO experts can make data-driven recommendations to increase conversions and enhance revenue.
During a CRO audit, a thorough examination of a website’s layout, content and functionality is conducted to identify areas for improvement. A CRO expert company employs a variety of tools in their CRO strategy, such as heatmaps, user surveys, A/B testing and data analysis to gather the necessary information.
Using the insights from the audit, a customized CRO strategy is developed to enhance the website’s overall conversion rate. This includes assessing the following elements:
• Loading speed
• Layout and design
• Ease of navigation
• Call-to-action (CTA) buttons
• Checkout process
• Content quality and relevance to the topic
• Mobile responsiveness
• User experience
Now that you know what a CRO audit is and what it entails, let’s take a closer look at a few conversion rate optimization best practices.
Introducing the CRO Audit Checklist
Optimizing every area of your website where conversions may occur is essential to ensure the highest possibility of retaining visitors. These areas could include your homepage, pricing page, blog and landing pages.
This CRO audit checklist will help identify potential issues and opportunities for optimization on your website. It will also introduce you to various conversion rate optimization tools to assist you in the process.
Step 1: Determine the Need for a CRO Audit
Identifying if conversion rate optimization is the right strategy for your business is crucial before investing time and resources into a CRO audit. The first step is to assess whether your website has enough traffic to justify a CRO.
Although there is no fixed threshold, having at least 10,000 monthly visitors is generally a good starting point. If your website is generating a lower level of traffic, it may be more beneficial to focus on driving traffic before embarking on a CRO effort.
Exceptions to this rule include highly niche industries such as specialized scientific research, antique restoration, private jet charters and other relevant services with a limited market.
In such cases, optimizing for conversions even with lower traffic volumes may be more beneficial rather than solely focusing on driving more traffic.
Calculate Return on Investment (ROI)
Knowing your ROI is essential in making informed decisions about future optimization investments.
To do this, you must first determine the additional revenue generated from the improvements and compare it to the cost of the optimization effort. The ROI formula is:
ROI = (Additional revenue – Optimization cost) / Optimization cost * 100
For example, if you spent $5,000 on CRO improvements and generated an additional $20,000 in revenue, the ROI would be:
ROI = ($20,000 – $5,000) / $5,000 * 100 = 300%
This means that you earned three dollars in additional revenue for every dollar spent on optimization.
Step 2: Set Measurable Goals
Setting clear conversion goals helps determine which conversions are necessary to track for your business. It also allows you to establish a benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of your CRO efforts.
Here are some steps to help you determine which conversion goals make the most sense for your business:
• Identify your business’s primary conversion goals based on your industry type.
• Consult with various organizational stakeholders to determine which conversions are essential to track. This could include macro conversions like purchases, subscriptions and signups or micro-conversions like adding products to the wishlist and watching a demo video.
• Set specific conversion goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your overall business objectives, e.g., setting a goal to increase your website’s newsletter subscribers by 20% within the next six months or increasing online sales by 15% by the end of the year.
• Monitor and track conversion rates over time to evaluate the effectiveness of your CRO efforts.
Ensure Accurate Tracking
Before we move to the next step, it is essential to reiterate the significance of tracking your CRO efforts. Besides measuring the effectiveness of campaigns, it will also help you identify areas for improvement and allocate your budget accordingly.
Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most effective conversion rate optimization tools for tracking website traffic and monitoring user behavior. You can easily view the goals you track as conversions in the admin panel.
A goal measures how often users complete a specific action. There are four types of goals to choose from:
a. Destinations – the number of times a user lands on a particular page.
b. Duration – the amount of time a user spends on your website.
c. Pages/Screen Per Session – the number of pages a user views during a single session.
d. Events – the specific actions users take on your websites, such as clicks, shares or scrolls.
Set up conversion tracking as soon as possible to ensure you’re making data-driven decisions and optimizing your website effectively. You can also ask your CRO agency if they offer conversion tracking as part of their conversion rate optimization services.
Step 3: Analyze Target Audience
Effective marketing begins with gathering and analyzing user information, such as demographics, behaviors and preferences. This information is then used to create detailed customer personas, which represent the ideal customers.
By tailoring content, optimization strategies, ads and landing pages to the specific needs of these users, businesses can increase their effectiveness.
Furthermore, understanding the psyche of your ideal customers can also help you identify opportunities to expand your reach and attract new customers.
If you’re looking to identify your most valuable customers, opening up Google Analytics and navigating to the Audience tab is a great place to start. This will provide valuable insights into:
Analyzing the age demographics of your audience can help you understand the generational preferences of customers.
For instance, if a business discovers that its most valuable customers are millennials, it may focus its marketing efforts on social media platforms like Instagram and Tiktok, which are popular among this age group.
Alternatively, Facebook may be more effective if a business’s audience skews older.
Understanding the age demographics of your audience also helps identify any age group with an above-average conversion rate.
Suppose a business has a high conversion rate among customers aged 50-65; it may shift its advertising budget towards channels popular among this age group.
Understanding the gender makeup of your audience can be particularly valuable for businesses offering products or services commonly used by one gender.
For example, if a business identifies that a significant portion of its audience identifies as non-binary or genderqueer, it can take steps to ensure that its messaging is inclusive and representative of those individuals.
By doing so, the business can establish trust with its audience and create a sense of community, leading to increased brand loyalty.
3. Household Income
This metric provides insights into the purchasing power of your audience. If your audience has a higher household income, you can market higher-end products or services.
On the other hand, if your audience has a lower household income, you should focus on providing affordable options.
When a significant portion of the audience is located in a particular region or city, creating targeted ads specific to that area can increase engagement.
This may involve creating campaigns with localized language, highlighting local events or including customer testimonials from people in that area.
5. Affinity Categories and In-Market Segments
Affinity categories and in-market segments are two targeting options for advertisers on Google Ads.
Affinity categories refer to groups of people with specific interests, such as cooking, sports or travel. These categories are based on the user’s online behavior and can help businesses target people more likely to be interested in their offerings.
For example, a business selling sports equipment may target people in the “Sports and Fitness Enthusiasts” affinity category.
In-market segments, conversely, are groups of people actively researching or considering purchasing a particular offering. These segments are based on data from recent searches, clicks and views.
It helps businesses target people who are more likely to purchase soon. For example, a company selling laptops may target people in the “In-Market for Laptops & Notebooks” segment.
By understanding the nuances of customers, businesses can create more relevant and personalized experiences that resonate with their audience. This can result in stronger brand loyalty and higher customer acquisition.
Step 4: Analyze User Behaviors
After identifying your audience, it’s time to discover why they’re not converting at the desired rate. Google Analytics offers these metrics to help you better understand user behavior on your website.
• Landing Page Conversions: identifies high-traffic pages, pages with high bounce rates, top-converting pages and pages with the lowest conversions.
• New vs. Returning Customers: identifies which groups are converting more, so you can focus your retargeting efforts accordingly.User Engagement: shows how much time users spend on a page (time on page) and how long users stay on the page (page depth).
• Behavior Flow: visualizes how users navigate through your website, from the entry point to the exit.
• Exit Pages: pages where users leave your site. Identifying the top exit pages can help you understand why users are leaving and how to optimize those pages to encourage them to stay.
• Checkout Behavior: shows the steps users take when purchasing on your site, from adding items to their cart to completing the checkout process.
Tracking key metrics can help you identify where users drop off, abandon carts or leave your site, allowing you to optimize those pages accordingly.
Suppose you run an online store and notice a high checkout abandonment rate. GA’s Checkout Behavior report will allow you to see what part of the checkout process users are dropping off.
You can then optimize that page by adding more payment options or simplifying the payment process to reduce friction and encourage users to complete the checkout process.
Step 5: Assess Channel Traffic
You can find your most valuable traffic sources by identifying the channels that bring the most traffic and generates the highest conversions:
Google Analytics provides two metrics for this:
• Traffic Source & Medium: helps you identify which channels drive the most traffic to your website. The source refers to the website or platform from which the traffic is coming, while the medium describes the type of traffic (e.g., organic search, paid search, email, social media, etc.).
• Social Media Conversions: tracks the number of conversions resulting from social media traffic. It lets you see which social media channels drive the most conversions.
Armed with this information, you can prioritize your efforts to improve your most valuable traffic sources and even test channel-specific content to enhance your conversions further.
Step 6: Conduct Technical Analysis
Contentsquare’s 2021 Digital Experience Benchmark report reveals that the average time on page across all industries is 54 seconds. That means you have a very short window to make a good impression and engage users!
Technical analysis ensures your website functions optimally and provides a smooth user experience. Here are key metrics you should keep an eye on:
According to Neil Patel, 40% of visitors abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Therefore, it is essential to ensure your pages load quickly. You can measure your page load times in Google Analytics and PageSpeed Insights to identify potential issues and take corrective measures.
Given the increasing number of users browsing the internet on their mobile devices, providing a mobile-friendly experience is crucial. To check whether your website offers this experience, you can use the mobile overview report in Google Analytics.
This report provides insights into issues affecting mobile conversions, such as slow loading times, broken links or poor user experiences.
Ensure that your website is compatible with all major browsers by checking the Technology dropdown in the Audience tab of Google Analytics. Then, select Browser & OS to get a breakdown of your users’ browsers.
By identifying browser compatibility issues, you can pinpoint potential problems preventing your site from functioning correctly.
Step 7: Perform Heuristic Analysis
A heuristic analysis is a quick process CROs use to understand how users behave and make snap judgments about your website. It involves looking at the user’s experience and motivations to identify issues preventing them from converting or clicking.
The solutions you develop will help improve the user experience and encourage positive interactions. With experience, you’ll become better at spotting these opportunities over time.
Key metrics of a heuristic analysis include:
This ensures consistency of messaging across different touchpoints. Doing so helps build trust and credibility among users.
The messaging on your ads or search results should match what users see on your landing page. For example, if your ad promotes a discount, the landing page should also mention the same discount.
This refers to the ease with which users can understand the value proposition of your product or service. Users should be able to quickly understand what you offer, how it will benefit them and what actions they should take.
You can improve clarity by simplifying your messaging and using concise language. Avoid jargon or complicated words that could confuse users.
You must include credibility signals on your website to convey trust and credibility to users. These can be in the form of trust badges, customer testimonials, case studies or any other social proof that demonstrates the reliability of your product or service.
Adding credibility signals helps reduce anxiety and increase confidence in your brand, which can lead to higher conversion rates.
Step 8: Rank Optimization Efforts in Order of Priority
After completing the CRO audit, you’ll have plenty of ideas for improving your website. But how do you decide where to start? Organizing and prioritizing your ideas is important to save time and avoid mistakes.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Identify the pages with the most traffic.
2. Organize those pages in order of value.
3. Attach four to 10 potential changes under each page.
4. Choose the ideas that will have the most significant impact.
To help rank your ideas, you can use the ICE technique.
The ICE Technique
The ICE method is a prioritization framework that helps you rank ideas based on their potential impact, confidence level and ease of implementation. Each idea is scored on a scale of one to 10, with one being the lowest and 10 being the highest score.
Here’s what each metric represents:
• Impact: The potential impact an idea could have on your conversion rate. This is typically based on the size of the opportunity and the number of users that could be affected.
• Confidence: How confident you are that the idea will work. This is typically based on data, research and experience.
• Ease: How easy it is to implement the idea. This is typically based on the resources, technical expertise and time needed to execute.
Once you’ve assigned scores to each idea for these three metrics, you can calculate the ICE score by adding the scores for impact, confidence and ease.
Ideas with the highest ICE score are typically the ones that should be prioritized first because they offer the most significant impact, are backed by data or research and are easy to implement.
Important Tip: The ICE technique is one way to prioritize improvement ideas, but there may be better methods for your situation. Other essential factors to consider include the cost of implementation, the strategic importance of the idea and the level of effort required to execute it.
Using a combination of methods is the best way to ensure you prioritize the ideas that will impact your business the most.
You’ve Completed a CRO Audit…What’s Next?
CRO audits are great starting points for optimizing your website’s conversion funnel, but data collection and testing are ongoing.
While audits are based on data analysis and user behavior, they cannot predict what will work for your business and audience. Therefore, the audit’s recommendations must be tested and refined through ongoing experimentation and data analysis.
Here are a few conversion rate optimization tools that you can use for tracking:
1. Conduct A/B Testing
Also known as split testing, A/B testing involves creating two webpage versions. Each version contains a different variation of an element, such as a headline, CTA, image or layout.
These variations are then randomly shown to different groups of users, with their behavior and engagement tracked and analyzed to determine which version performs better in conversions.
A/B testing can be conducted on various website elements, including landing pages, product pages and forms. It helps businesses identify and eliminate underperforming parts while capitalizing on those that lead to higher conversions.
Note that A/B testing should be conducted in a controlled manner, with a single element tested at a time to ensure the results are accurate and reliable.
2. Use Heatmaps
Heatmaps are graphical representations of website user behavior. It indicates where visitors click, scroll and spend the most time on a page.
Heatmapping is particularly useful for understanding user behavior on landing pages, as it identifies which elements attract the most attention and which areas of the page are being overlooked.
Businesses can use this data to identify where to place essential elements, such as CTAs and forms, to increase conversions.
Although heatmaps are valuable, using them with other data sources, like user surveys and A/B testing is essential. Doing so will provide a complete picture of user behavior and help optimize the conversion funnel accordingly.
3. User Recording
User recording tools, including session replay and click tracking, allow CRO specialists to capture and analyze user behavior on their websites. By doing so, they can better understand how users interact with their site and pinpoint areas of friction that may impede conversions.
These tools provide valuable insights into user actions, such as clicks, mouse movements and scrolling behavior. They also reveal patterns in user behavior, such as where users tend to drop off in the conversion funnel or where they spend the most time on the site.
Marketers can adjust the website’s design, layout and content placement based on the data gathered to improve the user experience and increase conversions.
However, it’s important to ensure user privacy is respected while implementing user recording tools. Always obtain consent from users and ensure data is collected and stored securely.
CRO Audit Checklist: A Review
To recap, CRO audits should look like this:
1. Determine the need for a CRO audit.
2. Set measurable goals.
3. Analyze target audience.
4. Analyze user behaviors.
5. Assess channel traffic.
6. Conduct technical analysis.
7. Perform heuristic analysis.
8. Rank optimization efforts.
9. Conduct regular testing and monitoring.
Craft Killer Content Optimized for Conversions
CRO audits are not just limited to website design and user experience. They can also significantly improve your content strategy.
CRO specialists analyze user behavior data, including click-through rates, time spent on pages and bounce rates, to identify the types of content that resonate most with your audience. They can then tailor their content marketing services to create and promote the most compelling content.
Based on the findings, the following conversion rate optimization best practices can be made:
• Improve Calls-to-Action (CTAs): A CRO audit can identify where CTAs should be placed on the page for maximum visibility and effectiveness. Additionally, it can help you craft persuasive CTAs that are more likely to drive conversions.
• Streamline Navigation: A cluttered or confusing website can cause users to become frustrated and leave without converting. With an audit, you can identify areas where the website’s navigation can be simplified, such as implementing a clear site hierarchy or improving search functionality.
• Landing Page Optimization: Landing pages are critical to the success of any online marketing campaign. A CRO audit determines areas where landing page optimization is necessary, such as reducing load times, simplifying the page design and streamlining the checkout process.
Beyond that, here are some easy content optimization fixes that you can implement to ensure users stay engaged and convert on your website:
• Use persuasive language and calls to action (CTAs) to nudge the audience towards a conversion goal, such as subscribing to a newsletter or purchasing a product.
• Ensure the content is easily read and visually appealing, with proper formatting and attention-grabbing headlines.
• Create engaging and informative blog posts that cater to your audience’s needs and interests.
• Optimize product descriptions for clarity and relevance, making sure they highlight the product’s features and benefits.
• Use persuasive language and social proof, such as customer reviews, to increase trust and encourage conversions.
• Use visual elements like images, videos and infographics to break up walls of text.
Regularly reviewing and updating your landing page optimization, content optimization and overall CRO strategy based on data and analytics can significantly impact your conversion rates and overall business success.
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, a top CRO agency, offers conversion rate optimization audit for businesses of all sizes. Our CRO experts continuously test and analyze website data to help clients identify areas for improvement and optimize their content optimization strategy for better conversions.
Beyond conversion rate optimization services, we also implement a wide range of digital marketing strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, social media marketing, web design and development and content marketing services.
Contact Thrive today to see how we can help double your website’s conversion rates through top-notch content optimization and conversion rate optimization services.