The Ultimate Website CRO Guide for 2024

Conversion Rate Optimization Playbook

Stop wasting your ad dollars by sending traffic to an un-optimized website. Our guide teaches you how to generate more qualified leads with actionable tips and a 70-point CRO checklist!

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This Isn’t Your Basic CRO Guide…

A conversion-optimized website is optional—if you don’t mind wasting ad dollars and losing leads to your competitors.

The proof is in the data 👇

2.71 billlion

online buyers

28%

of all business worldwide is conducted online

50 milliseconds

before a user forms their opinion of a website

40%

of websites rank 1-10 in the SERP

There are a lot of online users and a whole lot of websites. The million-dollar question is why should they choose yours? Giving them reasons to pick you is what website CRO is all about. Not to sound ominous, but it’s a big, competitive digital world out there.

Welcome to
our ultimate conversation rate optimization guide!

“Most marketing teams are focused on driving as much website traffic as possible. But sending users to a website that isn’t conversion-optimized is like trying to collect water using a bucket full of holes. No matter how much water you pour into the bucket, it’s going to leak. Stop doing the same with your website traffic and plug the holes in your conversion funnel.”

-Danielle Howson, Lead Web Optimization Manager at The Influence Agency

In this playbook, you’ll learn:

The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization

How to Calculate Your Site’s Conversion Rate

Tips for Building Buyer Personas and Analyzing Behavior

Several Important Website UX Considerations

The Secrets to Creating Content That Converts

How to Conduct A/B Testing That Works

A/B

Who to Trust For Proven CRO Services

Get Your Free 2024 CRO Playbook

Understanding Conversion Rate Optimization

What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

CRO is the process of reducing friction in the conversion funnel to get more of your website visitors to take a desired action—buying a product, signing up for your newsletter, submitting a contact form, whatever it may be.

Conversions are never an accident; they’re earned. CRO for websites involves analyzing user behavior, identifying barriers to conversion, and implementing strategies to improve conversion rate. AKA making things as easy as possible for your website visitors!

Defining Your Website CRO Goals and Objectives

Any CRO guide that suggests there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to setting goals is lying—your targets should be specific to your business objectives.

Say you want “a good conversion rate.” Well, what is that? While you might have heard it’s anything above 5%, you also have to consider how it varies dramatically depending on your industry and business model. Getting 3% of web page visitors to take a desired action could represent an astronomical success in your industry, and that’s fine!

What’s important is to set realistic website conversion optimization benchmarks based on industry standards and historical data. Determine what kind of numbers a successful company within your industry is doing and go from there. You can’t succeed if you’re setting yourself up for failure by aiming way too high.

Average Conversion Rate by Industry

Agency

2.3%

Auto

3.7%

AB2B Ecommerce

1.8%

B2B Services

2.7%

B2B Tech

2.3%

B2C

2.1%

Dental & Cosmetic

3.1%

Finance

3.1%

Healthcare

3.0%

Industrial

4.0%

Legal

3.4%

Professional Services

4.6%

Real Estate

2.4%

Travel

2.4%

0%

1%

2%

3%

4%

5%

How to Calculate Website Conversion Rate

Here is the formula for calculating your website’s conversion rate:

For example, if you had 100 website visitors over the last three months and five of them signed up for your newsletter, you would have a conversion rate of 5%.

The Main Elements of a CRO Strategy

There are four main pillars of a successful website CRO strategy. While each can be used on its own, the real magic happens when they’re used together to maximize the effectiveness of your website.

Research & Data Analysis

Gathering insights from analytics, user feedback, and competitor research to inform optimization efforts.

Branded & Reactive Content Creation

Improving the usability and accessibility of the website to enhance the overall user experience.

Content Optimization

Crafting persuasive and engaging content that resonates with the target audience and encourages conversions.

A/B Testing & Experimentation

Testing different elements of the website to identify what drives the highest conversion rates.

Conversion Research, Data Gathering, and Analysis

Analyzing Your Competitors
Every effective website CRO strategy is rooted in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. What are they doing well and how can you do it better? What aren’t they doing well that you can? If your direct competitors aren’t doing so well (lucky you), don’t hesitate to learn from industry leaders! 

The G.I. Joe crew once said that knowledge is half the battle and they were on to something.

Understanding Your Target Audience
Buyer personas are research-driven representations of who you are trying to reach. Knowing who they are and what they like is the key to understanding how they are going to act when they engage with your website. The two best ways to build these personas are often through user testing or reviews focused on assessing your conversion funnel. Remember: CRO for websites is all about tailoring the experience to those you want to reach.

Conversion Funnel Analysis
Speaking of your conversion funnel, you need to assess every step of a user’s journey as they navigate your website. Consider which pages and elements on your site can be considered high-impact (i.e. they get the job done) and which are doing more harm than good. This analysis should include technical elements such as website speed and mobile responsiveness, which can greatly impact conversions depending on their performance.

Collecting and Interpreting User Behavior and Feedback
Data can also provide insight into user behavior. Web analytics tools—we’re looking at you, Google Analytics 4—can inform your CRO strategy development by providing empirical insight into how users interact with your site. Beyond GA4, this includes specialized CRO tools like heat mapping, visitor recordings, surveys, and more.

The importance of data is a recurring theme in our conversation rate optimization guide!

User Experience (UX) Optimization

The Importance of UX in CRO

A positive user experience is critical to an above-average conversion rate, as users are more likely to engage with a website that is intuitive, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. Poor UX optimization is a recipe for high bounce rates, low engagement, and lost revenue opportunities. We’ve all visited a website only to be immediately overcome with frustration because it’s impossible to use—don’t let that be your site!

Mobile Optimization

With an increasing number of users accessing websites on mobile devices, optimizing for mobile responsiveness and performance is essential for maximizing conversions. Having fast loading times and intuitive navigation ensures a seamless user experience across all devices, especially the ones people carry in their pockets. If users start thinking “I’ll check this out later on my laptop,” you’ve already lost them.

Improving Website Speed

The road to high bounce rates is paved with painfully slow loading times. Attention spans are short; website speed optimization is a crucial aspect of both the user experience and CRO. Implementing performance optimizations—such as image compression, browser caching, and minification of code—can significantly improve website speed and help mitigate these frustrations. Think about it: do you want to feel like you are wasting your time before you give someone your money?

Website Navigation and Layout

Clear and intuitive navigation helps users find what they're looking for quickly and easily, reducing friction while increasing the likelihood of conversion. Websites that are highly readable, thoroughly accessible, and feature a strong visual hierarchy are the ones that keep people on the page.

You know that old expression about not building walls when you can instead build bridges? It applies to interpersonal relationships and to conversion-focused design ideas for a landing page.

Enhancing Content Readability and Accessibility

Words are powerful; they can unite or divide. Content that’s well-written, informative, and easy to understand plays a huge part in UX optimization. To ensure everyone can appreciate the content on your website, make certain yours has proper markup, alt text for images, and can be navigated via keyboard to accommodate those with disabilities. A site that makes everyone feel welcome can get a conversion from anyone.

Website Persuasian: Content Optimization for CRO

Crafting Compelling Headlines

Attention: compelling headlines are important! Yours should be clear, concise, and capable of grabbing people’s attention. Give people a reason to engage with your content by incorporating the keywords they’re looking for or emotional triggers that make them feel something as they’re scrolling. Speak to their pain points and don’t be afraid to tug on their heartstrings!

When done right, headlines increase visibility and click-through rates to supercharge traffic and conversions.

Writing Persuasive Copy

Great website copy isn’t selling people on a “thing”—it’s presenting them with a solution to a problem they’re having. Anyone can wave a product in front of your face, but website CRO pros understand wants and needs. Use persuasive language to make your product more appealing. Tell a story to connect with them. Incorporate social proof to build trust and credibility. If you do all these things within your persuasive copy, you’re going to increase the likelihood of conversion in ways we can’t begin to quantify.

Using Persuasive Visuals and Multimedia

Visual elements such as images, videos, and infographics can further enhance the appeal and effectiveness of content. Make being engaging and shareable part of your CRO strategy. Incorporating multimedia elements strategically throughout your website can help convey information quickly and effectively, improving user comprehension and retention. Remember: a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words. When it comes to getting people to convert, we think that number is closer to a million.

Highlighting Social Proof

Social proof comes in many forms: customer testimonials, reviews, endorsements, and more. No matter how it’s delivered, its purpose is to build trust and credibility with potential customers. As a buyer, seeing that someone else chose the product you’re considering to fulfill a similar need reduces skepticism. As a seller, it’s especially important to include social proof on product pages and checkout screens to reassure users and alleviate any concerns they may have.

Friction? Never heard of it!

Optimizing Call-To-Action (CTA) Buttons

Your CTAs should be clear, concise, and action-oriented. This means they prompt users to take the desired action, whether it's making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a resource. You accomplish this with yours by using contrasting colors and compelling language, then placing them strategically to attract attention. If users are asking “What do I do next?”, your website conversion optimization has failed.

Utilizing Urgency and Scarcity

People want what they can’t have—and what they worry they won’t be able to have if they twiddle their thumbs too long. Creating a sense of scarcity can motivate users to act quickly, driving conversions and reducing procrastination. You can employ psychological tactics such as limited-time offers, countdown timers, and low-stock alerts to instill the dreaded fear of missing out (FOMO) to incentivize people to take immediate action.

A/B Testing and Experimentation

Creating a Testing Plan

Guesswork is a pseudoscience. Developing a structured testing plan involves identifying hypotheses, defining success metrics, and determining test parameters such as sample size and duration. Prioritizing tests based on potential impact and feasibility can help optimize resource allocation and maximize ROI. Ultimately, you want to approach CRO for websites knowing what you’re looking to test and how you intend to test it.

Split Testing vs. Multivariate Testing

Warning: definitions ahead!

Split testing involves comparing two versions of a single element to determine which performs better, while multivariate testing involves testing multiple elements simultaneously to identify the most effective combination.

Choosing the appropriate method for your A/B testing depends on the complexity of the changes being tested and the resources available for experimentation. Some elements are mutually exclusive, while others work best when combined.

Choosing Variables to Test

Your A/B testing should center on testing specific elements, but which ones? Prioritizing variables based on their potential impact on conversion rates and ease of implementation can help streamline your efforts and drive meaningful results.

CTAs

Button Colours

Images

Page Structures

Headlines

Product Descriptions

Pricing and Offers

And More!

Running A/B Tests Effectively

If you want to study behavior, you need to conduct research that fulfills the general requirements of due process. This means using sufficient sample sizes, practicing proper randomization, and drawing statistically significant conclusions from rigorous data analysis. You also need to avoid common pitfalls—now we’re looking at you, cognitive biases that ruin experiments—to produce accurate results.

Scientist labcoats and goggles are recommended for maximum enjoyment, but certainly not required.

Test B

Test A

Analyzing Test Results

Analyzing A/B test results involves comparing conversion rates, revenue metrics, and other key performance indicators between test variations to determine which one performs better. Using statistical methods such as confidence intervals and hypothesis testing can help validate results and make data-driven decisions. None of this is straightforward, but rest assured it will provide you with valuable insight that can inform changes.

Implementing Winning Variations

Implementing winning variations involves deploying changes to the website or marketing campaigns based on test results. Consistency is key; ensuring accuracy across all channels is how you’ll truly reap the rewards for your work. Additionally, monitoring performance post-implementation and iterating based on ongoing feedback and testing can help optimize results over time. This CRO guide is so long because it’s a fluid process; don’t feel discouraged if you need to make further changes down the road.

Monitoring and Continuous Improvement

Setting up Ongoing Monitoring

Establishing regular monitoring processes, such as weekly or monthly reviews of key performance indicators, allows businesses to track progress and identify areas for improvement. Implementing automated alerts and reports can help streamline your monitoring efforts. It will ensure you’re able to intervene quickly if or when your website performance starts deviating from expectations. What’s important is that you’re routinely conducting pulse checks to see how things are going.

Tracking and Reporting on KPIs

When taken together, these will provide insight into website performance and the effectiveness of optimization efforts. Generating regular reports and dashboards that are customized to stakeholder needs facilitates data-driven decision-making and accountability across teams when reporting. 

Tracking key performance indicators is key, some of which include:

Customer Feedback

At the end of the day, the people whose opinions matter the most are your customers—they’re always right, after all. So, if you really want to get ahead, ask them what they’re enjoying about your site and what they think could be improved. One way to do this is by setting up post-purchase surveys. These are a quick and easy method through which they can share their two cents on their experience.

Iterative Optimization

Iterative web conversion optimization involves continuously testing, analyzing, and refining website elements and marketing strategies for better results. Adopting this approach requires a bit of a mindset shift. You need to embrace a culture of experimentation and learning where failures are viewed as opportunities for growth. Accepting (with a smiling face and open arms) that CRO-driven optimization is an ever-evolving puzzle is how you foster innovation and drive continuous improvement over time.

Scaling Successful Strategies

Are you doing something people are loving? Keep doing it! Scaling successful strategies means replicating and expanding optimization efforts across other areas of the website or marketing channels to maximize their impact and ROI. It’s about identifying patterns and best practices from successful experiments and applying them systematically to help accelerate growth and achieve sustainable results. There’s no shame in finding what works and looking for opportunities to keep making it work elsewhere.

Staying Up-To-Date With Industry Trends

Breaking news alert: you can’t afford to live under a rock if you run a business. Rather, you need to keep a pulse on current website design trends, technological advancements, and consumer preferences. Living on the cutting edge is essential for staying competitive and maintaining relevance in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. You can do this by engaging with industry forums, attending conferences, and participating in professional development activities, among many other avenues!

Homepage

  • Concisely communicate what you offer and how you solve visitors' problems

  • Prominently display your value propositions

  • Visuals that align with your products or services

  • Actionable language to inspire visitors to explore further

  • Simple and user-friendly navigation (i.e. clear labels and logical organization)

  • Prominent and persuasive CTAs that guide visitors toward desired actions

  • Make CTAs stand out using contrasting colors

  • Showcase social proof to build credibility and trust (i.e. testimonials, reviews, ratings, client logos, etc.)

  • Demonstrate your value with success stories or user-generated content

  • Prioritize mobile experience

  • Optimize for various devices and screen sizes

  • Fast loading speed to prevent visitors from abandoning your site

  • Accessibility features (i.e. image alt text, proper heading structure, etc.)

  • Screen reader compatibility

  • Follow WCAG guidelines for accessible design

Pricing Page

  • Clear pricing structure (preferably in a comparison chart)

  • Clearly outline features and benefits

  • Communicate unique selling points and benefits of each pricing tier

  • Prominent CTAs for each tier

  • Make CTAs stand out using contrasting colors

  • Highlight the most popular plan or recommended plan as the default choice

  • Showcase social proof to build credibility and trust (i.e. testimonials, reviews, ratings, client logos, etc.)

  • Clearly outline any terms, conditions, or limitations associated with each pricing plan

  • Be transparent about billing cycles, renewal terms, and cancellation policies

  • Include FAQs about pricing or features

  • Used tiered pricing to influence purchase decisions

  • Offer flexible pricing options such as monthly and annual billing

  • Highlight any discounts or promotions available for longer-term commitments

  • Optimize for various devices and screen sizes

  • Display trust badges, security seals, or certifications to reassure visitors about the safety and reliability of your payment process

Service Pages

  • Use persuasive and actionable language in the hero banner text

  • Keep the text on the hero banner concise and focused

  • Encourage visitors to take the next step, such as contacting you, scheduling a consultation, or exploring more about the service

  • Place a prominent CTA button or text overlay on the hero banner

  • Provide a concise and engaging overview of the service offered

  • Highlight the unique selling points and benefits of the service

  • Communicate the value proposition and why visitors should choose your service over competitors

  • Make CTAs stand out using contrasting colors

  • Use high-quality images, videos, or graphics that represent the service effectively

  • Showcase social proof to build credibility and trust (i.e. testimonials, reviews, ratings, client logos, etc.)

  • Provide easy-to-find contact information, including phone number, email address, and/or contact form

  • Include FAQs about anticipated questions or concerns

  • Optimize for various devices and screen sizes

Blogs

  • Include a visually appealing featured image that represents the theme or topic

  • Provide a brief introduction that summarizes the main points of the blog

  • Use clear and concise language, short paragraphs, and subheadings to improve readability

  • Include links to related blog posts or pages within your website

  • Cite external sources, studies, or references to support claims and provide credibility to your content

  • Incorporate images, infographics, or videos to maintain reader engagement

  • Include relevant text-based CTAs within blog posts

  • Offer lead magnets to capture email addresses (i.e. ebooks, whitepapers, checklists, templates, etc.)

  • Include lead flows that feature special offers to users (i.e. slide-in box, drop-down banner, or pop-up box)

  • Place email opt-in forms strategically throughout the blog

  • Credit the author of the blog post to establish authority and accountability

  • Display the date when the blog post was published to indicate freshness

  • Include estimated read times to help readers gauge the time commitment

  • Categorize and tag blog posts to help readers navigate related content and explore specific topics

  • Include social sharing buttons

  • Recommend related blog posts or content

Lead Gen Landing Pages

  • Align copy with ad messaging and campaign objectives

  • Use a persuasive headline relevant to the visitor's needs or pain points

  • Communicate the unique value proposition of your offer clearly and concisely

  • Use bullet points, short paragraphs, and headings to make the content easy to scan and digest

  • Use visuals that convey the benefits or outcomes of taking the desired action

  • Use action-oriented CTAs that clearly communicate the next step (e.g. “Get Started,” “Download Now,” “Sign Up”)

  • Showcase social proof to build credibility and trust (i.e. testimonials, reviews, ratings, client logos, etc.)

  • Optimize for various devices and screen sizes

  • Implement exit-intent pop-ups to capture leads from visitors who are about to leave the page

  • Offer incentives such as discounts, free trials, or additional resources to encourage engagement

  • Keep lead capture form fields minimal, asking for only essential information to reduce friction

Start Using CRO Services

Nobody said website CRO is easy—but we’re saying we can help. At The Influence Agency, we’re writing the book on it (this CRO guide, specifically) because we’re passionate about helping brands run better sites. We’ll get you the conversions you deserve.

Work With Us

Why Choose The Influence Agency

We’re Experts in 360° Digital Elevation

Our team consists of experts with a wide range of marketing experiences, which allows us to tackle CRO from all angles.

We Deliver Customized CRO Strategies

Every business is unique, which is why our CRO strategies are tailored to your specific goals, audience demographics, and industry.

We Don’t Settle for Average

CRO is not a one-time fix. We continuously monitor performance, test new hypotheses, and optimize your website to increase conversions.

We Know Our Sh*t

We consistently deliver measurable improvements in conversion rates for diverse clients across various industries.

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