The Ultimate List of Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

The Time to Increase Your Website Conversions is NOW.

To help get you on the road to success, I have listed out 73 Conversion Rate Optimization tips that are sure to make an impact.

WARNING: This is not a short list. I challenge… no… I DARE you to read this in its entirety and start implementing these in your CRO strategy. If you read the entire list, let me know in the comments below and I acknowledge you as an official CRO dare-devil.

SIDE EFFECTS MAY INCLUDE:  increased level of knowledge, increased conversion rates, improved online presence, dizziness, sleepiness or going cross-eyed.

Conversion Rate Optimization TipsConversion Rate Optimization, commonly referred to as “CRO”, is all about turning those website visitors into quality leads or customers. A website conversion could be considered any of the following: online sales, subscriptions, newsletter/Email marketing sign-ups, completing a form, sharing content, booking a stay, signing up for an event, calling a certain number, downloading a mobile app, creating an online account…. you get the point. In the end, it’s all about getting more people to do what you want them to.

Many will define CRO as using feedback and analytics data to make informed decisions on improving the performance of your website. In other words, gaining insight on how to manipulate your site to have more control over user experience and actions.

The term “manipulation” gets a bad rap… I myself, being a young woman, may have been called manipulative a time or two… but, hey! Can you blame a girl? We all want certain things, and as a business, you should do all that you can to get the end result you want.

I want to take the idea of Conversion Rate Optimization a step further. While I agree on the fact that you want to make changes to your website to increase conversions, I also strongly believe in driving the RIGHT target audience to your website to help increase conversions. This is where online marketing techniques like SEO, SEM, Email Marketing, content marketing, link-building, local marketing, and so on fit into this huge 1,000,000 piece puzzle we call CRO.  Sadly, statistics show that marketing is often the first area that gets cut from a company budget (tip #1: don’t fall into this statistic!).

The following 73 tips for increasing conversions online will start from the foundation of your website strategy and work all the way up to tips on driving quality visitors to your website that are more likely to complete those conversions we so desperately desire.

1) Determine measurable goals.

You can’t track a conversion if you don’t have any measurable goals in place… DUH! Believe it or not, there are companies out there that aren’t entirely sure what their online goals should be. Grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and take the time to think about the measurable online goals you should be tracking to help you reach your bottom line.

  • Examples of measurable goals:
    • Makes an online purchase -> increase online purchases by 20%
    • Signs up for a newsletter -> increase newsletter signups by 15%
    • Signs up for an event -> increase event registration by 10%
    • Books a room -> increase online bookings by 30%
    • Shares your content -> increase content shares by 10%
    • Requests a sample -> increase sample requests by 14%
    • Hops on one leg, while spinning in a circle, and pat their belly (ok, that one could be a bit harder to track… but hey… who am I to judge what your goals are.)

Here are some more tips on setting business goals.

2) Always start with strategy.

Whether you are building a website from scratch, just doing a redesign, or ready to start marketing, you need to have a solid strategy in place. A good strategy takes time, research, more time, and more research. You can not just think about what YOU WANT, you need to understand your CUSTOMERS’ WANTS and NEEDS. You need to have a strategy behind everything you produce — from the website design and user interface to your online marketing and ongoing content generation. Your strategy should include a large percentage of the rest of the items on this list. You should NOT write your strategy in stone. In fact, I usually keep a big bold “DRAFT” watermark on all strategies because you need to be flexible and ready to change as necessary.

3) Define your target audience.

To those of us in the marketing industry, this is a no-brainer. It has been pounded in our heads since Marketing 101 in college. Most companies know they need to define their target audience as well, but how well do you really know your audience? Why is this so important to CRO? Well, based on your product or service, your analytics data, other research, and personal experience, you can determine who will actually want/need your product or service. Your website and online marketing should be geared specifically to persons who are most likely to convert. If you get a few stragglers along the way, awesome. But you cannot simply say: I want everyone to buy my product or use my services. You must know who you are talking to and what will resonate with them.

  • Examples of well-defined target audiences:
    • Example 1: Male. 25-35. College-educated. Enjoys sports and social scene. Athletic. Single.  (is this a defined target audience or someone’s online dating profile?…)
    • Example 2: Mothers. 30-40 Combined household income of over 100K/ year. Enjoys cooking, watching TLC, and going to the gym.

4) Understand and connect with your target audience.

MaslowsHierarchyOfNeedsOnce you have spent time figuring out exactly who you are targeting, now you need to get to know them a little better and know how to best connect with them on their terms. When talking to your target audience, you need to show them why they need what you offer. Show them how you can solve their problems or improve their lives in some way. Figure out what messaging will work for reaching your defined target audience and then research the best ways to get that message in front of them.

5) Talk to your current audience.

Getting honest feedback from your website users and customers is a valuable part of your strategy. Don’t just do something because you want to do it or you think it looks cool. Find out what they are looking for, what their needs are, and base your decisions on that. This will help guide future website users to converting on your site. Build a survey for your customers to identify their needs, what they think you are doing well, and where they think you could improve. I recommend looking at Survey Monkey or Constant Contact if you’re already using them for Email marketing.

6) Competitive analysis.

Google Analytics Benchmarking“Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” Sounds a little snobby, but being competitive is a good thing. Understanding your competitors is imperative. If you can narrow it down to your top three competitors, you can begin to examine their website and online marketing efforts to see where you need some improvement (and of course figure out how to one-up the SOBs). Do yourself a favor and be realistic with your competitors. You at least need to be in the same ballpark. Don’t start an online forum and say your competition is Facebook. Don’t start a pizza joint and say your biggest competition is Pappa John’s because everyone knows they have better ingredients, better pizza. What I’m trying to say is: if you measure yourself against competitors that are truly similar to you, the insights you gain will be much more valuable.

  • Examples of things to look for when doing your competitive analysis
    • What does their website look like?
    • Who has a higher domain authority?
    • How do I stack up in Google Analytics Benchmarking
    • Who is linking to their site that isn’t linking to mine (this can come in handy with link-building, which we will look at later)?
    • Are they speaking to the same target audience I am trying to reach?
    • Who has the better product?
    • Who offers the better service?
    • Who has the better online reviews?
    •  Are they getting any attention in the media?
    • What marketing tactics can you already tell they are implementing?

7) Good ol’ fashioned S.W.O.T.

An oldie, but a goodie. Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats. The takeaway point here is that you need to identify all of these so that you know how to use them to your advantage. Figuring out your S.W.O.T. will help you better position your company to reach a higher conversion rate.

8) Intuitive navigation structure.

A website navigation structure is extremely important. How irritating is it when you get to a website and you have to click 4 or 5 times to get to a specific page you were looking for?! Some websites may be a long scrolling one-pager, in which case the content should be structured in a hierarchy that makes logical sense. Other websites, like organizations, or large eCommerce stores, could literally have hundreds, even thousands, of site pages. Spend the time to figure out the best way to organize all of that content in a way that will make sense to your target audience. I think site searches are good practice as well. In my experience, they don’t get used as often as you would think, but the people that do use them know exactly what they are looking for and want to get there fast. The easier your defined target audience can find what they are looking for on your site, the more likely they are to convert.

9) Mobile vs. desktop use.

responsive website conversionsI don’t care who you are, your mobile website traffic is bound to continually increase. A responsive website is a must. That being said, you still need to consider what device your target audience is using most often and make that your primary focus. If you already had a website with Google Analytics installed at this point, you can look at historical data to see what devices your visitors have been using. Don’t rely solely on the number of conversions that were acquired through each device, because your old site may have not been structured properly to help drive those conversions. If you don’t have any analytics data to measure, think back to whom your target audience is and analyze their general lifestyle. Q: Are they constantly on the go? A: Mobile devices. Q: Are they laid back watching TV? A: Tablets. Q: Are they always in the office working overtime? A: Desktop.

10) Clearly defined calls to action.

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These can (and should) evolve and change on an ongoing basis, but as part of your strategy, you should determine what calls to action your website should include, what they should look like, and where to place them. Give it some time… and now change everything. Notice any anomalies? Try A/B and/or multivariate testing with different text, images, colors, and placements to gather data on which variation is leading to a higher goal conversion rate.

11) Color choices.

Using your brand/logo colors is important in keeping a consistent image and identity. However, consider how different colors affect how people perceive things and how colors can elicit specific responses. Some colors even resonate better with specific audiences, so that is something to keep in mind as well.

Check out this interesting infographic on how color affects purchase behavior, by KISSmetrics.

how color affects conversion rate

12) A picture is worth 1,000 words, but is it worth 1,000 conversions?

The pictures you choose say a lot about your company. You need to determine the purpose of each image, where each image will be used, the message it is sending your users, and how the image can assist your goal conversions. Images often reinforce the content that is presented on a given page, but they can do so much more. Consider using strong visuals as a call to action. Link your image to a page where a relevant conversion can be completed. Try adding a Pinterest hover button to encourage users to share your awesome photography (and thus, a link back to your website). Great images can produce powerful results. Read more about choosing pictures for your website.

13) “Jazz it up”

This is a little bit of an inside joke here at Ironistic, so I had to get it in here somehow. When we say “jazz it up”, we mean to make it more visually appealing, engaging, and exciting. Your website design should provoke a certain emotion from your target audience. Design a site that will speak to them and give them a reason to spend more time on your website.

14) Webmaster tools verification.

If you have a website and you’re not verified in Google Webmaster Tools, do it now. Seriously, stop reading this for a moment (just remember you left off at #14 and come back) and get your site verified so you can keep an eye on the health and crawl data of your website. If you’re getting ready for a new website, make sure this is on the checklist. Be sure that your website has a well-written .xml sitemap to help Google properly crawl your site with the parameters you have chosen. Check things like your crawl errors, keywords, and landing page data of how your website is currently being discovered, 404 errors, and much more. Don’t just look at it! Do something with it. Use this data to determine changes that can help improve your conversion rate.

15) Set up Google Analytics Goal Conversions and Event Tracking

Google Analytics Event TrackingYou’re going to want to set up your Google Analytics Goal Conversions and Event Tracking as soon as possible so you can understand how people are using your website and which events are assisting in a website goal conversion. Typically the goal conversions that I set up consist of eCommerce tracking or someone completing a form (contact us, registration, request, Email signup, etc). There are a lot of other conversions you can track in there as well, like time spent on a specific page or someone watching a video… but in my opinion, the most important goals to track are those that help you reach your bottom line.

Event tracking can also be very useful for tracking user actions that Google Analytics doesn’t automatically track. Some examples would be tracking when someone clicks on an Email address link, or clicks on a photo, which then takes them to an event registration page, ending in a goal conversion (woohoo!). Tracking these events will give you (or your marketing team) insight into which elements are helping you reach your bottom line. By experimenting and testing different elements, one can determine which is preferred. You may be testing a text link, then decide you want to try another variation of the same link using a button. Check out my other rambling on how to make event tracking in Google Analytics easy. I even generate the code for you!

16) Macro vs. micro-conversions.

Don’t let them lie to you… size does matter. No one goes out fishing all day hoping to catch 3 little fish they have to throw back into the lake. You’d rather spend all day reeling in that one big fat Tuna, take a bunch of pictures, and show it off to your friends on Facebook. Okay, Hannah… where are you going with this? My point here is, as a company, you should focus and aim for the macro conversions. The micro-conversions will always fluctuate, and tracking every single one will drive you insane (trust me, I’ve tried). Don’t disregard the micro-conversions completely, but figure out which of those micro-conversions lead to macro conversions and focus your efforts on those. If the others bring in an occasional sale or lead, great!

17) Get the most out of your analytics.

Google Analytics and CROHaving Google Analytics installed on your website doesn’t mean a darn thing if you never look at it. Google Analytics provides you with the data to do the analysis and come to conclusions on your own, or with the help of your favorite team of web experts. Set up those goals, track those conversions, segment those audiences, find out which channels drive the most conversions… The amount of data you can get from GA is endless. If you get overwhelmed, find a professional to do the research and analysis that can break it down for you and use it to make adjustments to your website and marketing tactics to improve your goal conversion rate.


18) Predictive analytics.

Predictive analytics is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. While predictive analytics is NOT some magic crystal ball that can predict the future, it can provide some businesses with great insights into what may happen when similar circumstances arise.

For example (this is totally made up by the way and not based on any fact whatsoever), let’s say an online sports fan shop normally carries the same inventory for every NFL sports team. During playoffs, they notice that sales for the teams in the playoffs skyrocket. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, they sell out of every Patriots and Seahawks jersey in the warehouse. They now know they should stock up on all of the potential Super Bowl team’s fan gear next year so they can sell even more merchandise the following year.

19) A/B testing.

Once you have your website up and running, you should continue to run various A/B tests to determine if a different version helps drive more conversions through your website. You can do A/B testing with just about anything…. call to action buttons, form fields, form length, different images, ad text, homepage layouts, and so on. Get creative and don’t be afraid to test the big things, as they will often make the biggest difference. If the results didn’t turn out as you had hoped, you can always go back to what you had before or perform a new test!

20) Content experiments / Multivariate testing.

Content experiments or multivariate testing allow you to test completely different versions of the same page, at the same time, by randomly showing the variations to a percentage of your website visitors. Google Analytics offers a free content experiment tool that will test up to 10 versions of a page with separate URLs on the same domain. This is a great way to track and analyze the results of your experiments right from within your Google Analytics account. Figure out which page performed better, and use it moving forward.

21) Eye tracking.

eye trackingEye-tracking is a method used to better understand what users look at when they visit your website, the types of elements that most catch their attention, and the way in which they naturally seek specific types of information. There are a number of software products you can buy for this type of testing, or you could do it the old-fashioned way and have your current customers look at your website and let you know the order in which they see various elements on the page.

22) Heat map testing.

Heat map testing is a method used to determine which elements and areas on your website are hovered over most often. Understanding where your user’s mouse spends most of its time offers similar benefits to understanding where their eyes are most drawn to. You may be surprised by the results! Take this data and see if it aligns with where you want people to keep their mouse. If it doesn’t align, maybe it’s time to make some changes. You can find software that does this, but typically they are going to come with some cost.

23) Usability testing.

Usability is extremely important when it comes to your website. Usability basically boils down to how easy a website is to use. If your website isn’t easy to use, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will move on to another website that offers the same thing so they can easily get what they are looking for. Users need to be able to navigate your website quickly and efficiently. For most businesses, a website is the number 1 place where users will go to convert or begin the research process that leads to an offline conversion. If they can’t use it…. you’ll lose it.

24) Speed optimization.

Website performance optimizationIn the words of the bratty little girl from The Chocolate Factory, “I want it now daddy, I want it now!” Or, in the words of the infamous Sweet Brown, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!” (click here for the remix). If your website is lagging and is taking longer than it should, you can count on it costing you a lot of conversions (see #24 about usability).  Contact your web developers and have them do some performance optimization immediately.

Learn more about why website performance matters… and how to optimize it.

25) Highlight key differentiators.

This is an important part of any business plan. Your online marketing and website are no different. With the internet, consumers and website users have the power in their hands to search countless companies that will provide the services or products they want or need. Highlighting your key differentiators is important in helping you stand out from the crowd. Yes, having a great website and marketing is extremely important, but how your company offerings are portrayed through those channels, will ultimately lead to the deciding factor.

26) Be yourselves. 

Be YourselfWhy would I include this in my CRO list? Well, I find that most people want to do business with a real live person. Unless you have an undesirable personality (you know who you are), then don’t be afraid to show potential customers the kind of people you have in your company. Make your website users feel like they know you and can relate to you. One way that many websites pull this off is by having a “Meet The Team” page to introduce the people behind the company.

Want to meet our awesome team? Click here.


27) Create personal connections.

Don’t just capture your leads and think of them as customers. They are people too. Treat them as such. Show your potential clients that they can trust you, and it will increase their likelihood to convert in the future by building a solid business relationship and friendship.

28) What produces your highest ROI?

Figure out which service or product you offer that produces the highest ROI and focus on it. This goes back to my point in #16. At the end of the day, size does matter. Landing that one huge project or selling the most expensive thing you offer will often be more beneficial than landing multiple small projects or selling a ton of small products that equal the price of that one larger project. You spend much more money and time on resources for multiple projects than you do on one large one.

29) Why should consumers care?

Getting fans of your brand can be a powerful thing. It’s great if you can get new conversions on your website, but getting them to truly care and stand behind your brand will stretch far beyond that one-time conversion. Use your website to showcase why your customer should care about and support your brand. You can also utilize online reviews, Social Media, and much more to further encourage this level of customer loyalty.

client testimonials30) Utilize happy customers.

If you keep your customers happy, they will keep coming back and bringing you new customers that you can make happy. For example, a large portion of Ironistic’s customers has been acquired through referrals, allowing us to spend less than expected on paid advertising. Never underestimate the power of referrals and word-of-mouth. By using these happy customers to encourage their personal connections to view your website and try your service or product will help increase your overall conversion rates.

31) Put good testimonials on display.

Now that you have your happy customers who are so pleased with your product or service that they are willing to spread the word about you, ask them for testimonials so you can display them on your website for all of your visitors to see. Testimonials along with names, location, an image, company name, or other relevant information can help further validate them. Check out our testimonials page here.

32) Showcase your successes.

Along the same lines of showcasing your happy customer testimonials, case studies can provide new visitors with an insight into how your product or service has been successful in the past. This is a great way to showcase your innovation and expertise. If you have a product that helps people, explain how it helped a specific person. If you provide a service, explain how that service helped a customer achieve his/her own goals.

33) Empathize with unhappy customers.

…Then turn them into happy customers. Keeping an eye out for negative reviews is just as, if not more important, as seeking positive reviews and testimonials. Unhappy customers are typically 10 times as loud and ready to share their poor experience than a happy customer is to share a positive one. The best way to combat this type of negative energy is to get straight to the source. If possible, reach out to the unhappy customer directly and ask what you can do to make it right. This will show them that you care about them as a customer, and they will see that you are willing to go the extra mile to make sure they are satisfied with their service.

34) Customer Surveys.

Consider doing a series of surveys throughout the course of a year. Let your customers help you determine what is most important and how you can improve your website and services to better meet their needs. Use the survey data to make changes that will make a lasting impression on your current customers and bring in new conversions through your website.

35) Don’t be a %*#^.

Excuse my French here, but don’t be a [enter bad name here]. This goes back to a few of my previous points about keeping up good relations with your current customers so that they will keep coming back and referring more business to you in the future. If you have a negative attitude, that will come across to customers and will cause you to lose business.

36) Reviews.

Reviews are similar to testimonials but are typically unsolicited (although, a little encouragement to your happy customers never hurts). There are a number of websites out there that are built entirely for reviewing companies. Keep an eye on your reviews and ratings and make sure you follow up with any of the negative ones. I consider Google Business Page reviews to be of high importance since these reviews will often show up in search results (along with some other review sites) when someone is researching your business. If someone does a Google Search and the first thing they see is an average rating of 2 stars… odds are they will seek out the competition getting better reviews and ratings to fulfill their needs.

37) Information architecture.

The information architecture of your website is essentially a blueprint or site map of all of your website content. It is important to get your information architecture right in order to help guide your users to the sections of your website that will most likely lead them to convert. You may even have two separate target audiences that should be guided to different areas of the website where their conversion would take place. Make sure this is clearly defined so that the user can easily find the content that is meant for them to see. Break your content into sections/categories that allow users to then dive deeper into that specific subject matter. Think of how a clothing brand, like Nike for example, sets up its navigation. Breaking their products into different categories of clothing goods, age, gender, size, etc. is a great way to help their customers filter through all the clutter and narrow down the content they are ingesting to what is specifically meant for them to see. This same idea can be put into place for any type of business.

38) Find your voice.

When I say find your voice, you can also consider this the tone of voice for your business. This should also be partially determined by your defined target audience. Now that you know who you are speaking to, this helps you decide how you should speak to them. Once you are able to define a clear-cut tone of voice, incorporate this overarching tone throughout your website and all marketing channels. This will help to further define your brand and allow you to better resonate with your target audience.

39) Provide the information your customers need.

This seems obvious and we have touched on it in a few earlier points, but simply put – figure out what your customers need to know and make it easy for them to find that information. If you sell products on your website, make sure that your products are described in detail so your customers know exactly what to expect when making a purchase online. If you have a lawn maintenance company, provide your customers with helpful information and tips on maintaining their lawn. This is also very important as you start your content marketing. Figure out which questions your customers are asking and answer those questions on your website. Not only will this help new customers find your website organically as they search these questions online, but it will also provide you with some great information to share through your Social Media channels.

40) Understand your sales funnel.

So first of all, I want to point out that I personally believe that the standard term “sales funnel” has made a shift in most industries. A typical/traditional sales funnel might look something like this:

online conversion funnel

While this model still holds true in many circumstances, we have to take into consideration that sales are no longer dictated by a salesman (or saleswoman). With the amount of information available online and the vast amount of competition, much of the power is in the hands of the consumer or customer. Many internet users will spend hours researching different companies prior to ever entering the sales funnel. Before everyone had their own website, it was up to the salesperson to capture leads, and then follow up with them to explain the services or products that the company offers. Consumers are looking for this information on their own and may not even want to speak to a salesperson. This fact makes it even more important to ensure that your website is ready to guide them to conversion. That being said, if possible, try to determine a sales funnel that fits your typical sales timeline. Use this information to help you better understand how your information architecture should be set up.

41) Quality content generation.

Content, content, content. Yes, we’ve all heard it a hundred times before. Having content on your website is vital to bringing in more organic traffic, and content marketing can help guide your readers into customers. Keep the content coming, but make sure that you are producing quality content that will be beneficial to your target audience. Quality = original + informative + useful.

42) Quality vs. quantity.

For most businesses, creating quality content is more important than the quantity of content that you create. For some of you, creating interesting and sharable content will be most important. For others, it may be simply to create content that clearly defines and explains different aspects of your business. No matter what content you are creating, try to keep quality before quantity.

43) Creative collateral.

Your marketing collateral is all of the supporting media used in assisting with the sales process. This could include anything from your website and Social Media pages to print materials such as brochures and rack cards.  You want your collateral to reinforce your brand identity, provide your audience with a consistent message, provide the necessary information and capture their attention through your creativity. If all of your collateral is working towards a common goal, they can support the sales process and help website users to convert.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts” – Aristotle.

44) Set it and forget it. 

PSYCH! I am just testing you to make sure you’re still are paying attention. Conversion Rate Optimization should be an ongoing and evolving process. Never stop testing. Never give up. Never think that your conversion rates couldn’t get any better. *If you caught my fake-out, call me out in the comments below with the #45 and I will give you a shout-out on Social Media.

45) Cut the fluff.

This somewhat goes back to my quality vs. quantity statement. Of course, every business website is different, but the idea here is to provide information that your target audience would want or need. If they wouldn’t want it or have any need for it…. don’t include it on your website. I call this “fluff” or “filler content”. The more fluff you have on your website, the more distractions there are to guide users away from converting on your website.

46) Gold medal headlines.

Not all page or blog post titles can be exciting, funny, inspiring, and earn a gold medal, but you should be sure that the title at least provides insight into what someone can expect to gain from reading it. If you can tie that into a catchy and memorable title, great! The whole idea here is to captivate your target audience by providing a clear and understandable title. (Don’t forget to include your primary focus keywords!)

47) Are you in the media?

Media mentions are a great way to showcase what others think about your product, service, business, or organization. If you tend to get a lot of media mentions and/or you work with a PR company, find a place for these on your website. Not only can they help increase quality content on your website, but it also shows the value and importance of what you have to offer.

48) Avoid Information Overload – Minimize distractions.

Do not overload your visitors with information (says the woman with a 73-item recommendation list). Focus on the primary message that you want your visitors to receive and eliminate any unnecessary distractions. The more distractions that you present to your audience, the more opportunities it creates for those persons to be taken to a page that does not ultimately lead to your bottom line. I’m not saying you should only have one page of content that forces your users to complete one single action, but you should have a list of primary actions you want your users to ultimately take and then use every area of your website to help guide the user towards completing one of those conversions.

49) Video killed the radio star.

Coming up with creative videos can be time-consuming and pricey, but for many businesses, video is a fantastic way to build brand awareness and generate leads. Use video to showcase your products and services, do interviews with employees and current customers, and explain your cause. For example, one of our awesome clients, Blue Moon Rising, has started doing short video clips of their tiny rental cabins in Deep Creek Lake to better showcase the unique features of each property. We added the videos to their website and they received some great traction on Facebook that lead to more bookings of those cabins. Check some of their videos below:

50) Form / Checkout user interface.

Remember how I said to never stop testing? This is another one of those things that should be tested and experimented with until you find out what works best. If one of your users comes to fill out a form or complete a purchase on your site that is not user-friendly, asks for information that seems unnecessary, or it just takes them too damn long… odds are you’re going to lose out on a lot of potential leads. So, how do you go about testing, and what metrics should you keep your eye on?

First, determine what information is vital for you to obtain for your specific purposes and make those fields required. There is nothing more irritating than getting a lead and not being able to follow up with them. Second, if you are asking for information that you don’t need initially, get rid of it. As long as you collect the required information you can then follow up with each person individually to get any additional needed information. In some cases, gathering more information can be beneficial for your analysis, but beware that asking for a lot of information can be a large deterrent for users.

As you make changes to your forms or checkout process, be aware of how your conversion rate metrics change and keep a close eye on abandonment rates.

51) Break long forms down into steps.

If you’re forced to have a longer form because you need a large amount of information from your users, make it easier for them by breaking out the process into pages or steps. Having some sort of progress bar or pagination to show them how far along they are in the process will help make the large form easier for them to digest.

52) Be upfront about shipping & handling costs or extra fees.

Hidden fees are a surefire way to upset your customers and have them ‘heading for the door’. People appreciate transparency. If your business does require that you charge for shipping, handling, or other extra costs, be upfront about them early on in the checkout process. Take a look at your checkout conversion funnel in Google Analytics and see if you are getting a large number of cart abandonments happening on the shipping information page. This could be a hint that users are seeing higher shipping fees than they expected.

53) Offer free shipping.

Use free shipping as an incentive to get users to purchase through your online store. Ecommerce businesses have some pretty stiff competition (like Amazon Prime). Offering free shipping to users that purchase over a certain amount is a great way to make your customers feel like they are getting what they are paying for without being stuck with the fees to have it shipped to their door.

54) Respect your customer’s privacy. 

This one is a given, but make sure that a) you have a privacy policy, b) that you follow that privacy policy and c) that your customers can easily access your privacy policy on your website.

55) Use trusted logos.

Use trusted logos or badges for the services you use or certifications your company has earned that customers are familiar and comfortable with. This will help them to be more confident in providing secure information over your website or using you for your services, leading to more online conversions.

56) K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid).

Even the most complex and in-depth website can be simplified for users. As you build your website and sections within it, keep simplicity in mind. Make it EASY for your website visitors to navigate your site and get what they need as quickly as they expect to find it. If you are in a place where you are ready to build a new website, keep this in mind from the strategy phase all the way through the launch and beyond.

57) Social sharing Capability.

Even if your business or organization is not the most sociable on the Web, you might as well make it easy for your website visitors to share your website content on their Social Media accounts with some simple share buttons. When someone shares content or webpages on their personal Social Media accounts, it shows their closest connections their approval and respect for what you are producing. This can go a long way in driving new quality traffic to your site and obtaining new potential leads.

58) Social Media engagement.

If your business or organization does lend itself well to becoming involved in the Social Media realm, then take advantage of that and engage with your fans and followers. While I don’t believe Social Media will change a business overnight (at least in most cases), it can be a powerful tool in maintaining relations with current and potential customers on the platforms that they use on a normal basis in their everyday lives.

59) Email marketing.

Email is not dead, but you can make it hurt your business if you abuse it. I still strongly believe that Email is a strong and powerful marketing tool. If used properly, Email can be among your top contributing sources for driving conversions. Testing does not end with your website. You should consistently test your Email headlines, content, layouts, and messaging to determine what helps drive more online conversions through this media.

60) Get personal. Segment your contact lists.

Whenever possible, try to segment your email lists to allow you to create more personalized Emails that will resonate better with specific segments of your target audience. You can do this manually based on your services, products, or business/organization objectives, or, you can simply allow users to choose which list(s) they would like to join. If you can reduce the number of unwanted emails going out to customers, you will also reduce the number of un-subscribers and increase the click-through and conversion rates generated from those Emails.

61) Quality link building.

Oh, link building… one of my least favorite things about this job. What I have learned the most about link building over the years is that some of them can be very valuable while others can be a complete and total waste of time. The important thing is to have the wisdom to know the difference. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when working on quality link building – PageRank and relevance. Relevance being of the highest importance. We have come up with a pretty solid high PR link-building spreadsheet that works specifically well for local businesses and a separate list that works across the board for all business types. Once we complete that initial list, the hard part comes in. Finding other websites that write content that is relevant specifically to your business and link users to your site can be extremely valuable. Beware of spammy link-building! Paying for links to your website from irrelevant sites or low PageRank sites can actually hurt your appearance in organic search results. Learn 7 facts about link building for SEO – quality over quantity.

62) Quality keyword research.

keyword-thumbnailIn-depth keyword research can help you identify opportunities in gaining a higher position in organic search engine rankings for keyword phrases that drive quality traffic to your site. When performing keyword research, focus on identifying long-tail keywords with low to medium competition that receive monthly searches. Learn more about keyword research tools and choosing keywords for SEO.


63) SEO

Once you have identified your primary target keywords, you can start implementing SEO best practices into your website. Good Search Engine Optimization doesn’t happen overnight. It is an ongoing process of content generation, optimization, measurement, analysis, and modification. Ideally, you want to choose 1-2 keyword phrases for each page for which you can optimize. Optimizing your website for the right keyword phrases will go a long way in gaining quality organic traffic to your website that is more likely to convert. Check out Nick Castelli’s list of simple and easy SEO techniques (minimum effort required).

64) SEM

Search Engine Marketing is a combination of SEO and paid search advertising. Essentially, SEM is a way of marketing on search engines. We have already talked a bit about SEO, now let’s talk about using paid advertising to help increase conversion rate. There are a number of PPC options out there for various Search Engines and other online databases. The most popular by far is, of course, Google. When set up and managed properly, Google AdWords can be a powerful tool in driving quality leads to your website. Now let’s dive into AdWords and how it can help drive conversions once you’ve made the conversion rate optimization updates to your website.

65) Google AdWords.

Google offers a wide range of paid advertising options – from basic text ads, to image banner ads, video ads, and product listing ads. The key to using AdWords to help increase conversions is to continuously review the data that Google provides to make informed decisions on improving your Google Adwords Qualifiedcampaigns over time. It is best to have ads that can be linked to goal conversions so that you can better gauge the success of campaigns and individual ads variations. The largest benefit to using AdWords to increase your online conversions is the control you have over targeting and bidding options. If you’re new to AdWords and you would like to discuss this in more detail, feel free to email me. I’m AdWords Certified.

66) Social Media advertising.

Social Media advertising is another powerful tool that can be used to drive online conversions. Social Media platforms offer a very wide range of target options based on location, language, gender, age, interests, likes, experiences, places visited, and more. This allows advertisers to show highly targeted messages to an extremely specific audience, which can often lead to a higher conversion rate.

67) Retargeting.

Retargeting uses a pixel of code that can be placed on specific pages of your website, which in turn can be used to show specific ads to people who have already visited specific pages on your website. This is a great way to reach those users who may not have been ready to convert at that time. People are busy and bombarded by hundreds, even thousands, of business messages every single day. Retargeting is one of the best ways to remind your website users about you and bring them back to complete a conversion on your website.

68) Get excited about CRO.

Increasing your conversion rate is exciting! So, get excited about it. If you take an active interest in making these improvements, testing on an ongoing basis, and measuring the results, you will continue to see the fruits of your hard work. The more invested you are in making your website successful, the more successful your website will be for your business or organization.

69) Don’t just ass-u-me.

Sometimes educated assumptions are necessary with marketing, but with today’s technology, we have the tools to track our efforts to see what is working, what is not, and what could be improved upon. It is ignorant to spend so much money on marketing and not understand or use a company that doesn’t understand the data behind it all. If you just assume, you could be wasting hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars on efforts that are not helping your company obtain big picture goals.

70) What works for one, doesn’t work for all. 

There is no simple step-by-step guide to increase goal conversions on your website. Every company or website has different target audiences, goals, products, and services. While this list can be a helpful starting point to increase your conversions, it is imperative that you track and measure results based on your individual needs.

71) Make it a priority.

The easiest action to take is no action. The worst action you can take is no action. Digital marketing and conversion rate optimization should be high on your priority list, but sadly, it is often the area where most organizations make the first budget cuts. The success of your business depends on it.

72) Find the right people to work on your CRO.

Finding the right digital marketing partner is one of the most important decisions you have to make. We work with companies of all sizes and across all industries. Some of which have in-house marketing departments, and others for whom we manage all aspects of their digital marketing initiatives and website management. Whatever your individual needs are, I assure you that Ironistic is not only a partner you can trust but a partner that truly cares about your success. Contact us today so we can discuss your goals.

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There are currently 7 responses.

Michael Robinson
November 30, 2017

I really like that you mentioned the importance of determining measurable goals first and foremost when converting data. As you explained here, you cannot really track conversion progress if you have not established any goals. My boss has recently asked me to transfer some of the data to a different firm, and I think that this will be really beneficial to us because by setting goals, we can determine how well the program is running. Thanks again for all the information!

Jeremy Wallace
August 21, 2015

I almost faded out, but stuck it through to the end. Good article and very comprehensive.

Bob Rustici
June 23, 2015

Excellent piece and love the bits of real humor sprinkled in. I can suggest one more point if you wish. Review your phone tracking analytics and don’t forget to highlight the phone number for certain businesses. Now that Google AdWords offers two ways to tracking phone calls from PPC this offers another bit of insights. I have a client that has more phone leads over web form leads and the nature of their business is people want the service fast (pest control). What I found interesting is the top number of leads are from people who clicked on the PPC ad and went to the landing page and called – but this is not in all cases.

    Hannah Watkins
    June 23, 2015

    Thank you for the comment, Bob! I couldn’t agree more. Phone number tracking and measurement is a great way to increase phone call conversions. AdWords allows you to add a phone number to the ads themselves, as well as replacing the phone number on the website with a forwarding number that appears to anyone who clicked through the ads. This is great because even is someone navigates to the contact page rather than using the phone number in the ad, you can still attribute that call to a specific ad in AdWords. I also recommend adding click to call links on the website and then incorporate so you can view how many times the phone number is clicked from other sources such as organic traffic, referral traffic or Social Media.

    Thanks again!

May 5, 2015

Hello Hannah,

The list with 73 tips is useful. Thanks for sharing.

Nice team picture in the end.


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