Continuous A/B Testing to Maximize Conversions

A Starting Perspective: Preparing Your Site for CRO

By Shane Jones on August 30th, 2013

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What is conversion rate optimization? For bloggers, it’s a relatively simple desire that almost everyone has—you want more people to come to your website or blog and become loyal followers by providing their email addresses!  For ecommerce sites, it’s more sales and items added to the cart.  For service providers, it’s more contact forms and lead forms being submitted.

If you want to prepare your site for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), so you can optimize your content to increase conversions, there are a few preliminary steps you should take.

Prepare Your Site for the CRO

There are small parts of your site, such as the call-to-action, that you might believe are hindering your conversion rates.

If you think your call-to-action is weak, you could test it by showing different versions to different visitors to see which is more effective. However, gaining this statistical information can take a long time, even if there are tools that can test variables for you.

While it’s important to think about the design and color of your call-to-action, when it comes to preparing your site for CRO, it’s more important to focus on content or branding.

Maybe users don’t like the image you’re presenting, and that’s why they won’t subscribe via email. Maybe they aren’t impressed by the information you’re describing to them.

Either way, preparing your site for CRO means thinking about the big picture instead of small details. Successful conversion rate optimization moves users from the initial phase of discovery to repeat visits and then to subscribing for the long-term.

Define Your Goals

When defining your CRO goals, keep in mind that you want to figure out how to influence a visitor’s decision.

When a user decides to subscribe to your website or blog, there’s a lot of complexity to that decision. Users consciously and subconsciously consider factors such as likability, design, branding, social proof, word of mouth, price, timing, copywriting, trust and more.

Everyone will have different big-picture goals for their site, based on the factors their audience considers, but these are some of the most common for a blog:

  • You want to increase the amount of traffic to your site.
  • You want to keep the same amount of traffic, but increase the percentage of users who are subscribing via email.

Let’s take a look at some of the varied approaches to conversion.

Varying Goals

Here’s an example from Clarity Way, a blog on rehabilitation.  Clearly, their goal is to increase readership and draw in email subscribers based upon their sidebar. One approach they could take when thinking of CRO is to remove the tags section, as they take away the focus for the “Email Subscription” button.  Clarity Way could then utilize that extra space to make the subscriber button cleaner, and more of a focal point!

clarityway

 

Other sites will have different intentions for their own blog.  Take a look at the Growth Giant blog.  While content is obviously a high priority, Growth Giant’s goals aren’t entirely focused on increasing readership.  Rather, the company is striving to encourage new users to test their beta! You can see that clearly by the 3 converting buttons at the top of the page.

 

gg

It’s important to create a goal based on the type of visitors you want to convert, so you can begin determining what specific audience members care about while still meeting your own goals.

State Your CRO Goals

The best way to state your overall, conversion-focused goals is by:

  • Forming an understanding of what your site is already doing to make users subscribe. Why are they taking the action on your site and staying interested enough to subscribe?
  • Finding out why visitors aren’t subscribing. What’s holding them back from providing their email addresses?

One way to do this is by segmenting your users into groups and surveying them. It’s pretty simple—you want to understand your visitors’ opinions, so you know which factors are influencing their decision to subscribe.

Once you find the answers to what visitors want, you’ll be able to clearly state your CRO goals, and you’ll have a vivid understanding of which factors should be improved to increase conversion rates.

Ask the Right Questions

When you’re trying to discover what audience members are looking for in your site, it’ll be difficult to find this information without asking them!

  • If they haven’t subscribed yet, ask them what has prevented them from signing up. What would make them more likely to subscribe?
  • If you notice a lot of visitors subscribe but then cancel, ask them what factors made them cancel their subscription? What could your site have done to make them stay?
  • If a pool of your visitors is already subscribed, ask them what initially made them interested in sharing their email address? What part of your site has been most valuable to them, as subscribers? Did they have any problems or complaints along the way?

The data you’ll receive from surveying all types of audience members can be extremely valuable. These types of questions should help you get answers, so you can begin thinking about the big picture of CRO and making decisions based on what users specifically told you they want.

Find out the objections or problems people are having with your site—what is preventing them from subscribing—and answer those objections by making the appropriate, conversion-focused improvements to your site’s content.

This is an effective, practical way to begin preparing your site or blog for CRO, a process that will ideally increase your conversion rates!

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About the Author


Shane Jones is an entrepreneur and conversion rate optimization expert for WebpageFX whose experience has provided value to hundreds of his clients. Currently Shane writes his own column on conversion marketing at Econsultancy, his own blog, as well as here on Growth Giant. Follow Shane on Twitter


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