Entering the game of selling online has never been easier thanks to website builders, marketplaces, and social media. But once you’ve started your store, you need to keep the sales rolling in. No matter what you sell, where you sell it, or who you sell to, all businesses are in the game of conversions. The only issue? That game is rarely an easy one to play.
To convert a customer online, you first need to hook them with a catchy, captivating landing page – full of attention-hogging headlines, plus images and copy that compel. Next, you need to use a complex blend of web design, behavioral psychology, and scientific testing to create a secure, intuitive environment where they feel safe – and excited – to make a purchase.
When you look at it that way, it’s no surprise that conversion rate optimization (CRO) can feel daunting. Fortunately, though, once you know the tips and tricks you can start making real improvements.
So below, we’re walking you through our top nine conversion rate optimization best practices. From kicking things off with an audit to keeping things up with a constant cycle of evaluation and iteration, read on to explore everything you need to boss your CRO strategy.
To understand how to increase your website’s conversion rate, you first need to know what you’re working with from the get-go.
Which means kicking things off with a meticulous CRO audit.
To begin, dissect your website’s traffic and user behavior to get to grips with who’s browsing your site, where they’re coming from – and in what numbers. (Here, Google Analytics 4 is a good place to start – learn how to set up GA4 with our simple, step-by-step guide.)
By scrutinizing your site’s key metrics – bounce rates, click-through rates, exit pages, and more – you can pinpoint common conversion bottlenecks. These stumbling blocks could be unclear calls to action (CTAs), lengthy checkout processes, or too few – perhaps even too many – payment methods to pick from.
Be sure to also explore not only what’s on your website – but how easy it is to use. Evaluate your site’s structure and user experience through the lens of intuitive navigation and mobile responsiveness to understand where its biggest room for improvement lies.
Developments over the last couple of years in AI (Artificial Intelligence) have been well-publicized (ChatGPT and deepfakes both come to mind).
But the field isn’t restricted to writing content. Because AI and machine learning are also playing a pivotal role in the field of CRO.
AI is already helping websites create personalized experiences: analyzing user data to deliver relevant content and tailored product recommendations. Machine learning algorithms enhance the accuracy of this targeting by deciphering complex patterns in user behavior: empowering your website and marketing team to optimize campaigns and landing pages to the right customers.
Similarly, customer service is benefiting from the intelligence and convenience this emerging technology offers. By providing real-time assistance – directing customers to specific parts of a website, and answering their queries without the need for a human support agent – AI-powered chatbots can boost conversion rates and reduce friction in the customer journey.
Want to know more about AI chatbots, and how they’re changing the conversational commerce game? Explore our bumper guide for everything you need to know!
Any list of the conversion rate optimization best practices that didn’t include mobile wouldn’t be worth its salt. So why is mobile CRO so important?
Well, we’ll start with 5G. Now an established fixture in the US – and in many countries around the world – this high-speed internet reduces page load times and enhances the overall experience for mobile users. What that means for mobile sites is that the quick, well-optimized ones get quicker; the slow, poorly-optimized sites look even worse in comparison.
To set your mobile site up for high speed and even higher conversions, adopt a mobile-first design: ensuring the layout is streamlined, and that the navigation makes sense. As for conversion optimization, cast an eye over your mobile site’s checkout process.
Some relatively low-effort, high-value strategies you can get started with include:
- Simplifying forms
- Offering guest checkout
- Enabling one-click payments
- Allowing your customer to save their card details
- Supporting various payment methods
- Incorporating visual cues, like progress indicators
- Adding trust signals, such as security badges
- Ensuring your mobile site has a valid SSL certificate in place
As for speeding up your site, we’ve summarized our top ways of doing this – along with the latest, greatest website load time statistics – in a detailed guide.
Ever since Robert B. Cialdini’s game-changing text Influence hit shelves, CRO specialists have been using his principles of persuasion to bolster their sites’ conversion rate.
How? Through something called social proof.
It’s essentially the phenomenon that we, as humans, love to do what we know other humans are already doing. It’s why reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content work so well – because we can see someone else has already tried, and been satisfied with, a product, it takes the perceived risk out of our own decision – fostering trust, and encouraging us to convert.
Another Cialdini-ism? Scarcity. This technique creates a sense of limited availability through phrases such as “limited time offer!” or “only a few left in stock!” It ignites a fear deep within the human psyche of missing out – spurring quick decisions, and doing wonders for your business’s conversion rate.
Learn more about the power of reviews – and how to add customer testimonials to your website – by diving deep into our dedicated guide.
If there was a single, definitive CRO mantra, it would probably be these five words: “test, test, and test again!”
Tweaking different variants of a website – such as CTA button color, shape, or size, or playing around with multiple versions of the same landing page or email – is crucial. And here’s where A/B testing (comparing two versions of a variable) and multivariate testing (contrasting several different variables) comes in.
To design these tests, begin with a clear hypothesis, and identify the variable (or variables) you estimate will have the biggest impact on conversions. These might be headlines, CTAs, imagery, or copy. Be sure, too, that you have a clear idea of which element of your website’s engagement metrics – be it bounce rate, time on page, or conversion rate alone – you’re measuring.
To interpret these tests, adopt a scientific, statistical mindset. Avoid jumping to premature conclusions, and make sure any results have statistical significance before making changes to your website off the back of them.
Segmenting your audience – based on their interests, their demographics, and their behavior while traversing your website – is an example of excellent CRO best practice. That’s because, when you know who your customers are – and what they like – you’re better able to tailor the content and CTAs on your site, and in your marketing, to their specific interests and values.
Personalization is, of course, a sales strategy as old as commerce itself. Tailoring content to the individual establishes a deeper connection between seller and buyer: fostering trust, and increasing their likelihood of converting.
Dynamic website content takes this strategy even further. It adapts content based on user behavior – such as past purchases or browsing history – to create a journey that’s both seamless and highly relevant to the individual customer.
Similarly, personalized email marketing is crucial. Because delivering tailored messages, product recommendations, and exclusive offers to recover abandoned carts is vital for attracting – and retaining – customers.
Looking to learn how to create a personalized shopping experience? We can help!
Your landing pages are the lifeblood of your CRO strategy – no surprise, then, that optimizing them for conversions is one of our top CRO best practices.
So what are the trends this year? Well, sleek, minimalist designs dominate – particularly those that emphasize clarity and ease of navigation, and that walk your user, hand in hand, through each step and stage of the conversion journey.
A well-structured layout should direct your users’ attention to key elements – prominent headlines, persuasive visuals – that serve as focal points for conveying your unique value proposition.
Equally vital? Compelling, action-oriented copy. To write this:
- Craft concise headlines that resonate with your audience’s pain points and desires
- Use persuasive language to communicate your offer’s features and benefits
- Write calls to action that are clear and concise, to lead users towards conversion
To optimize your landing pages for conversions, you can also incorporate interactive elements, such as quizzes, polls, or calculators. These not only provide personalized experiences, but keep users invested and motivated to complete the action you desire. (Take a look at this quiz – plucked from our flagship best website builders page – for inspiration!)
Find Out More
Do you run an online store? Our specific guide on Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization has even more helpful tips!
Want to see some real-life examples? Take a look at our Top 5 CRO Examples
CRO isn’t simply about imploring your users to convert while on your website – it’s creating a safe, supportive, and secure place for them to do so.
Through this lens, building trust in your website is vital.
To do this, communicate transparently with your audience about your website’s privacy and data handling policies, as well as the measures you’ve put in place to safeguard your customers’ highly sensitive information. Displaying trust signals – such as privacy seals and SSL certificates – helps to foster confidence here.
When it comes to accepting payments, a sense of security is particularly important to getting those conversions over the line. This means you need to secure your payment gateways: employing robust encryption of data, and ensuring your provider is PCI DSS compliant to safeguard financial information.
To further reinforce that you’ve got all your data-handling ducks in a row, display recognized payment logos (such as PayPal or Apple Pay) at the checkout to reassure customers.
CRO success hinges on a constant cycle of monitoring, analysis, and iteration.
Tracking key metrics – conversion and bounce rates, plus user behavior – offers key insights here. As does customer feedback, which is a veritable goldmine of iterative improvements.
Collecting this – be it through sending surveys, incentivizing reviews, or soliciting insights through customer support interactions – helps illuminate your customer base’s pain points and desires. And enables you to refine their experiences accordingly.
To recap, our top conversion rate optimization best practices are:
- Conducting thorough conversion audits
- Leveraging AI and machine learning for CRO
- Optimizing for mobile conversions
- Utilizing behavioral psychology techniques
- Harnessing A/B testing and multivariate testing
- Personalizing and segmenting
- Optimizing landing pages for higher conversions
- Addressing trust and security concerns
- Monitoring, analyzing, and iterating
Finally, in order to fully enjoy the benefits of conversion rate optimization, be sure to stay up-to-date with CRO tools and trends as they emerge. It’s a cliche, but the digital landscape does evolve rapidly. New technologies, tools, and behaviors reshape the playing field on a near-unceasing basis.
And in the dog-eat-dog ecommerce world’s survival-of-the-fittest mentality, only the businesses most able, and willing, to adapt will do so.
On that note, good luck and enjoy – we recommend checking out our conversion rate optimization checklist to help track your progress as you go. Let us know how you find implementing these conversion rate optimization best practices in the comments section below!
- Crafting compelling product descriptions
- Placing high-quality product images and videos on the page
- Streamlining the purchase process
- Leveraging persuasive CTAs
- Showcasing related products to cross-sell
For the full lowdown, explore our complete guide to product page optimization.
- Minimizing headers and footers
- Reducing the number of form fields
- Adding multiple checkout buttons
- Including a product summary at the checkout
- Confirming product availability