CRO (conversion rate optimization) is one of the most important things to understand when you’re launching a website.
Put simply, it’s the process of improving your website to drive a certain KPI.
Whatever you want to optimize for!
Some common examples include:
CRO means you’re making intentional, concrete changes to your website in order to get your visitors to complete that specific action.
Before you commit to a CRO-motivated website makeover, step back and ask yourself the following questions.
Your answers will inform the tactical decisions you eventually make to optimize your site.
Am I following CRO best practices?
Have you used CRO best practices to evaluate your entire site?
We’ll explore these specific best practices in future posts. Right now it’s important to just think about constantly re-evaluating your entire website—not only your homepage—to ensure you're utilizing CRO best practices.
Think about the basics: do I have CTA’s at all the relevant points in my site? Are those CTA’s highly visible? Are their button sizes large enough? Does my website tell a coherent story about my company or product?
Where does my traffic come from?
Identify what key sources drive traffic to your website.
For instance, maybe you know that paid ads generate the majority of your sales. In that case, make sure your website tells a cohesive story through the ad creatives driving that traffic.
Or maybe the majority of your traffic comes from press or influencers. These leads tend to be “cold,” so you could focus more on storytelling and organic user-generated content (UGC) for this audience.
Beyond these surface-level questions, dig a bit deeper. For example, if you’re primarily growing through paid traffic, ask yourself: where is that paid traffic landing?
If most of your paid ads point to your product page, that means your product page should have all the info customers need to make a purchase; that info can't just live on your home page.
Make sure you also understand what converts your specific customer. That leads us to Question 3…
Do I understand my customer?
Maybe you’re selling a technical product and your customers tend to be highly skeptical and/or inquisitive—in that case, you may choose to feature a heavy amount of technical specs on your website, even though that might violate traditional CRO best practices.
Maybe your customers come from a certain geographic area; say they're younger, trendier, and live in major cities like Los Angeles or New York. These customers probably want to know more about what influencers use your product—not whether it got mentioned in a TechCrunch article.
Accurate knowledge about your customer will affect how you structure your website and what information you choose to highlight.
Am I writing quality copy?
It's easy to stumble into common copy issues—maybe it’s too long, not optimized to convert, or too vague.
At Slope, the way we think copy centers around consistency.
Your tone of voice needs to stay consistent throughout your website.
Importantly though, that doesn’t mean that every section of your website should present copy written the exact same way.
Your home page might read more abstract and emotional and be brand-forward in it’s language; in contrast, your product page might be more direct and sales-heavy as customers move further closer to conversion.
Always write with a consistent tone, but give yourself flexibility to modify that tone in order to better optimize for your select conversion point or page.
Am I thinking critically about my user journey?
Building on the previous point, it’s important to think about how your copy (or design, etc.) should reflect your customer’s journey on each individual page.
Each page on your website is a mini-funnel.
For example, if visitors scroll all the way through your homepage, that may mean none of the modules interested them enough to click right away.
In that case, the copy and design at the end of the page could focus on ways to stay in touch or connect with your brand—if they’re not ready to convert, at least grab their email and continue educating them about your brand. You can convert in the future.
People tend to design and build websites as if it's the same person visiting every page at every point in time.
As quantitative as they can be—and though the numbers do matter— remember that websites also tell your visitor a story.
How does my SKU size impact my approach to CRO?
Your SKU size should determine your larger approach to CRO optimization.
Maybe you only offer one or two products (think: Peloton)—that means you want to quickly move visitors to convert.
You might only have a home page and a cart; with only one or two products, you’re optimizing for the minimum clicks necessary before conversion.
As your product line expands, you’ll add more pages to your site—but there's a tradeoff. You need to ensure your site is still easy to digest and simple to navigate.
Only start building sub-pages and collection pages when the pain of navigation outweighs the benefits of a simple site with a direct path to conversion.
Is my website memorable?
Nobody likes a boring, out-of-the-box website.
We’ve all seen them—they suck.
So be bold. Break some rules. But keep these questions and principles in mind.
Make your site visually interesting…but not in a way that detracts from your brand narrative or makes conversion difficult.
By taking some intentional liberties with website design, you’ll help visitors remember your brand.
And, ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.