Beginner’s Guide to CRO

CRO Feat Image
Image Source: Pixabay

Conversion rate optimization is the use of analytics and user feedback to improve your website. CRO can be used to improve any element on your website that’s significant to your business. These are often called key performance indicators (KPIs).

To put it another way, it helps to increase the percentage of website visitors who become customers. In this quick beginner’s guide, I will offer you some tips to help you get testing! 

Avoid Blind Testing

When first starting out with CRO it can be quite a daunting task to figure out what exactly you should test. While you might be able to guess at certain aspects of the site that could use improvements and you might be right occasionally it’s best to use tools that help you address these issues.

One such tool is a heat map. This allows you to record user sessions on your site and see the areas that are “hot” (receive clicks/activity) and the areas that are not and could use some improvements.



With the data from these tools, you can start coming up with various ways in which to improve your website and correct the issues that are present. For instance, if you are trying to drive traffic to your request-a-quote page and that area of your site is cold, then you know you need to reposition the link in a more active area of the site.

Recording software, another useful type of tool, allows you to record all of the mouse movements that are made on a website and to play them back in video format. These are powerful tools that can show you exactly how a user interacts with your site and their process from page to page. This gives you the ability to see where users may be having navigation issues, ultimately helping you improve the layout of your site and make it more intuitive to the user.

Test for Significance

Once you have created a solid hypothesis it’s time to put it to the test. After setting up an A/B or multivariate test it’s important to let it run long enough to generate enough traffic to determine a clear result of statistical significance.

If you run a test for only a short period of time your results may not actually reflect the true impact of the changes. For example, if you made changes to a site and the next week you get conversions, while it’s likely that the changes caused the conversions there is still the possibility of that just being a good week for sales regardless of the changes made. When the test is allowed to run for a longer period it becomes much less likely that the results are due simply to chance.

The usual benchmark for statistical significance in CRO is 90%. This means that there is a 90% chance that the effects of our experiment would be less extreme if the control and experimental groups were the same. Another way to think about it is that there is a 10% chance that we would get the same result if the control and experimental groups were identical.

Test Big

While A/B tests are very useful for changing one element at a time, it can take time to complete multiple changes when one A/B test can take 4 weeks or more to complete.

Multi-variate testing allows you to make adjustments to various aspects of the webpage and test them all at once. This is useful when changing multiple elements with the same end goal and can eliminate the need for multiple A/B tests. When multi-variate testing with a program such as Optimizely, the program will take the various element changes and test them to find the best combination for improving the page for a given goal.

Before running a multivariate test it’s important to find the sample size that you will need for each variation to reach a statistically significant result. You will need a decent amount of traffic as the test will be splitting traffic between the various elements you made changes to. If traffic to the page you would like to test is low, consider using an A/B test instead of a multivariate test.

Constantly Test New Changes & Final Thoughts

Once you have run a test on your site it’s important to keep going. Just because one test was successful and provided an increase to your conversion rate does not mean that the page is now perfect.

Image Source: Pixabay


There is almost always room for improvement on a webpage; continual testing is the best way to ensure that you are constantly using the most effective page that you can. Test as many variations of different page elements as you can to find the best page layout for your audience.

Now that you are equipped with a bit of knowledge, it’s time to get out there and get testing!

About The Author

Mike Criswell is a contributing writer to Direct Online Marketing. He contributes on subjects involving PPC strategy, ad campaign optimization, and conversion rate optimization. Mike is an avid Pittsburgh Penguins fan much to the chagrin of people in every other hockey town in North America.

View Mike's full bio.
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