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Conversion rate optimization best practices

Edward Christie-Young
Published 4th February 2019

    Conversion rate optimization best practices by Arcadian Design

    These conversion rate optimization best practices will cover everything you need to start cashing in on your website traffic. We'll look at current best practices in the industry. Our easy to follow guide will make your website better... much better. We work closely with businesses to, simply put; make them more money. The most successful companies combine CRO with SEO (search engine optimisation) to supercharge their growth. We advise you do the same! If you want to know more about SEO see our 'SEO best practices' guide. If you have any questions about our conversion rate optimization best practices, or anything else we specialise in, please feel free to get in touch. We love to answer your questions and help you on your way to success.

    What is conversion rate optimization (CRO)?

    Conversion rate optimization is how we create value from website traffic. CRO can seem scary and complicated but it really isn't! A lot of acronyms and complex terms are thrown around when the digital marketing talk starts. But don't worry, we'll keep it simple. A basic formula for CRO, don't panic it's not maths, is: website visitor + action = conversion. The action should be something that is of value to you. For example a form submission or a product sale (among many other things we'll look at later). If one of these actions are taken by a visitor on your website... you've made a conversion :). So what about the optimization part? Well again, that's easy. Any change to your website that makes you more conversions overall is an optimization. That's where out conversion rate optimization best practices come in.

    Best practice #1: The 5 second rule...

    Yes it's true, we all have very low attention spans while browsing online. If a visitor to your website can't understand what you do within the first few seconds of visiting your site, they'll just head to another. Not only is this a lost conversion, it also counts as a bounce. A bounce is when someone lands on your websites and then exits within a short period of time. This is one metric Google uses to rank your website so it's important to get it right.

    But how can you improve your conversion rate with this knowledge?

    So for your first conversion rate optimization best practice: Do several 5 second tests on every page you build. To do this you need to ask friends, family or even complete strangers to look at the top of your page for 5 seconds. Then ask a series of questions. Here are some examples:

    • What is this website selling?
    • What's the website for?
    • What is the purpose of this page?
    • How would this website benefit you

    If you're not getting correct responses to questions like this then you need to head back to the drawing board. To gain even more insight always ask why. There are lots of different reasons a user may get the wrong idea about your website. Make sure you make things easier for yourself by exploring this.

    Best practice #2: Above the fold...

    This is where we are going to optimize our content to the max! Everything above the bottom of the screen when your website loads is prime real-estate. This is where most of the magic happens. So lets look at some
    conversion rate optimization best practices for above the fold content. Here layout is everything.

    The absolute must haves for above the fold optimization:

    • H1 (heading tag 1)
    • H2 (heading Tag 2)
    • A call to action (CTA) (more about this shortly)
    • Logo (top left is best practice)

    Things that you should have but might not be useful in every situation:

    • A contact/signup form (with a killer heading)
    • A kick ass image that tells a story and or grabs attention
    • Menu/navigation
    • A trust builder (more about this soon)

    There are a few other things that can be useful based on your industry. For example a Loan Company could have a loan calculator instead of a form. But generally speaking the above items will serve you well.

    Let's touch on trust builders really quickly. A trust builder is a graphic that gives you/your business more credibility. The best of which are either an overview of your Google/Facebook Reviews or a few logos of client/affiliate companies. Obviously get permission before using any third party logos (most companies jump on the chance of the free advertising).

    Here's an image of a strong layout for above the fold content:

    Don't underestimate how powerful above the fold content is for increasing conversion rates...

    Best Practice #3: Buttons should be... buttons!

    If I had a penny for all the fancy 'ultra modern' buttons I see on websites. Yes they are cool and can be technically very interesting. However, nothing beats a plain, round edged green button. That's right! If you want to get those all important converting clicks green buttons rule the roost. Thanks to traffic lights we are all hard-coded to think 'green means go'. A big red button woud normally signify stop or danger (so avoid that).

    This is the Holy Grail:

    Who doesn't want to press that button in its big green face! Sure, you can use other colours to fit with your theme, I do advise avoiding orange and red though. In all the tests I've seen and done the green button with the round edges reigns supreme. It's also worth having primary and secondary buttons (and keeping them the same). Here's a quick example of hat I mean:

    Which one of those choices are you drawn to first? The one we don't want our visitors to click! It may seem simple but I've seen this countless times. Earlier today I was using a website which had a black and white submit button and a green cancel button?!? It happens. Follow conversion rate optimization best practices and get your buttons right.

    Quick tip: Aligning a button to the right underneath a form is where users expect it to be and is considered a best practice for conversion optimizaton.

    Best Practice #4: Plan the journey...

    Your user's journey is key to creating more conversions. Users love to travel from A to B easily. Some times your users doesn't even know what B is yet. But you do, you want them to do something specific and measurable. So here's where you need to plot and plan.

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