8 CRO Hacks For Your WordPress Website
Let’s say you’re taking a look at your Google Analytics (like you do every day, right?) and you notice that conversions have decreased. You run though all the obvious reasons why they might be down, but can’t pinpoint why they’ve been down for months.
Have you considered that it might be the way your website is laid out or the lack of content on your service pages that may be the reason why users are leaving before hitting the “buy now” button?
What makes people convert and why your conversions aren’t increasing are exactly the types of problems we get to solve with conversion rate optimization!
Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the process of improving conversion rates on a website. The goal is to get more people taking action, or converting on your website and there’s a strategy behind it.
Moz defines CRO as: “… the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise.”
And, even though they both are 3-letter acronyms and end in the word “optimization,” CRO and SEO are two separate things. SEO is the practice of optimizing for keywords and ranking higher in search results. CRO is well, improving the conversion rate.
Now that you may have a better understanding what CRO is, let’s discuss when and why you should perform a CRO audit on your website.
Why should you optimize your website for conversions?
The answer may be too obvious—to get more leads. Yes, we all want more leads and customers!
However, websites (businesses) serve different purposes. Depending on your industry, it may look different than others.
For example, eCommerce websites want users to feel comfortable purchasing straight from the website, where home service companies are more interested in phone calls.
Outside of more leads and customers, some additional motivations behind having a conversion-friendly website:
- Happy customers (possibly referrals from positive experiences)
- Repeat customers
- Higher rankings in search results
- Increased profits
Without customers, you wouldn’t have a business which is why CRO is gaining popularity as more websites are built and more competition pops up.
As Google continues to evolve, so do websites.
Websites must continue to adapt to not only Google’s ranking factors, but user experience. How users engage with your website is important now more than ever because it’s no longer the days of people walking into your store and purchasing from you, the owner. They may never step foot in your store or talk to someone in your company before placing an order.
Before you reach out to a CRO agency or start making drastic changes, ask yourself the following questions and do a little analysis.
Questions to ask:
- Are users converting on my website?
- Is there any ROI from my marketing efforts (PPC, social, etc.)?
- Can I navigate easily from the homepage or a top landing page and make my way to the “thank you” or checkout page without any issues? (This is also a great question to ask someone who hasn’t visited your website yet!)
Metrics to look at:
1. Conversion rates
- Website conversion rates, along with conversion rates from other marketing channels like PPC, social media, email marketing, etc.
2. Bounce rate
- Specifically look at the landing pages for your campaigns or popular service pages found organically. Are users bouncing off right away?
How to perform a CRO audit
A CRO audit is the process of studying your website design and layout, user behavior, analytics and conversion best practices to figure out what may be getting in the way of conversions. With the deliverables of ways to improve a website to get more conversions.
Before you make any changes to your website or implement an A/B test experiment, you’ll want to take a look at the current situation and review the following during an audit.
Know your customer
As mentioned earlier, start with your customer. The people you want to arrive and convert on your website will be able to tell you exactly what they’re looking for. If you don’t know your audience, review Google Analytics and check out the demographics of your website visitors.
Another way to gather more information would be to conduct a survey, either online or in-store, and talk to past customers to get honest feedback on how they feel about your website. The answer is in your customer.
There could be a blog post dedicated to this topic alone, but we won’t go too in-depth here. Generally, you want to make sure you’re making the most of your white space without overwhelming users with too many boxes. It’s important to consider where you want the users to go when designing your website.
Do you want them to read 1,000 words and then click a button for a demo of your tool? Or, do you want to give a little bit of information, share a quick video, and offer them more content if they’re still engaged?
Sidebar forms can be a solution to most websites, to ensure there’s at least one conversion opportunity in the user’s view at all times. Plus, everyone knows what a contact form is and has a certain expectation of getting a response within a day or so.
UX (user experience)
The easiest way to do this is to install a tool like HotJar and use the heat mapping and session recording features to gain a better understanding of how users and interacting with your website content, and you may also learn where and when they are leaving the website.
There are also websites like User Testing that allow you to pay for screen share and voice recordings as users walk through your website and a set of questions you provide. It’s pretty neat!
Or, if you prefer human-to-human feedback, ask your customers while they’re in your store or run a focus group to gain a better understanding of how people really think about your website from existing customers and not-yet customers.
When evaluating your analytics, look at the following metrics:
- Bounce rate – are users leaving right away?
- Pages per session – are users visiting multiple pages?
- Pagespeed – our attention spans are only getting shorter (currently 3 seconds)
- Browsers & Devices – are you noticing any red flags with certain browsers or devices?
- Desktop vs. Mobile – what is most used, which one is converting more, and is your website mobile-friendly and responsive?
The buyer’s journey
Map out the steps from website visitor to a lifelong customer and determine what the user may be looking at or expecting along the way.
When you understand the steps in your customer’s journey, then you’re able to fill in the content gaps or address certain CTAs across your website depending on what stage they may be at.
Do they need specific questions answered that you could write a blog post about? Would they benefit from a free trial first before subscribing at an annual rate? Would a video help them better understand your product?
Do you answer all the questions your audience would ask the first time you met face-to-face? In most cases, a website is a customer’s first impression of your product or service and your brand.
If your buyer journey requires a little research, then why not have those answers readily available on your website? Whether it’s on the main service page or shared in a blog post, give your potential converters everything they need to make an informed decision.
The FAQ page is an amazing place to start. Answer the common questions and offer up options to share more information, either through a contact form, another blog post or download.
8 simple CRO hacks
Reduce contact form fields
Only gather the least amount of information you absolutely need to drop them into your lead-nurturing funnel. Because once you have their email or phone number, you can follow-up on a more personal level, or through your CRM, and get more information.
Name and email are typically the bare necessities in any given contact form. Sometimes you may need a phone number or perhaps you have a drop-down to segment the type of assistance they may need. It’s important to make it easier on both you and the user.
Another option is a multi-step form. Ask for a couple things up front, and then bring them to another page that asks for more information. This is usually the setup for businesses that need quite a bit of information before connecting. It can also act as a validation for leads that are lower in the sales funnel.
Make your buttons stand out
Identify a contrasting color to the rest of your website, and use that as your button color. The goal is to make them stand out so users know where to draw their attention to when they’re ready to take action.
Test different CTAs
In addition to the color of your button, test different action words or types of CTAs. “Click here” may not work for you, so consider “let’s talk” or “download your free guide.” These may differ depending on the goal of your marketing or where the customer may be in the buyer’s journey. Your blog post’s CTAs will probably be different than your service area pages.
And include them above the fold. Videos have been shown to decrease bounce rate, which improves website user behavior. Testimonial videos or product videos can be a great addition to your website and help improve website engagement.
Pro tip: if you’re embedding videos from YouTube, make sure the video doesn’t show related videos after it’s reached 100% and that your video is optimized on YouTube. It is the #2 search engine!
Add trust badges and awards
Are you a Google Partner? Did you win an award with Angie’s List? Get those badges and put them on your website. This tells users you’ve gone the extra mile. Similar to winning the Super Bowl, placing badges on your website can be a differentiator between you and the competition and tell users that you’re the best in the industry.
The footer is generally a great place to put these. Otherwise, you can dedicate a page to your awards & recognition if you have more than a few.
Case studies & testimonials
By showcasing the results and reviews of your customers, you’re bringing in credibility to your brand and product or service that can help potential customers feel 10x better about a brand they may have never heard of before. It also eliminates the need for users to research elsewhere and gives them peace of mind to possibly convert on their first or second visit.
There are online reputation management tools that allow you to embed straight from Google My Business and other review websites that will not only help improve your conversion rate optimization but can also boost your SEO.
Leave intent pop-ups
Pop-ups are controversial, however, a leave-intent pop-up may be fitting. Since pop-ups aren’t favored by Google, be smart with your placement and the messaging within the pop-up.
Best practice is to offer up something valuable and FREE to your customers to make it worth their time, in exchange for their email address. That’s what we call a win-win in email marketing.
They leave with something useful, like a checklist or free tool, and you get their email address to nurture them through your conversion funnel.
Optimize for mobile and desktop
How you optimize for mobile vs. desktop may look a little different.
Have you ever noticed a website with a sidebar contact form? Well, on mobile, that sidebar is typically bumped down to the bottom of the page for mobile devices. If your audience is 70% mobile, it probably isn’t the best strategy to apply it to both.
Thankfully, there are web designers and website templates that allow for customization between desktop and mobile versions of your website to meet your audience where they are.
If you’re at the point of performing your own website analysis and CRO audit, the most important takeaway would be to start with your customer. Following that, test a few landing pages and learn from them before applying to your entire website.
Amber Ooley, digital marketing manager at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, loves to write content and optimize websites. When she isn’t working, you can find her hiking through the woods or sucked into a good book.