Conversion Rate Optimization Guide: 40 Actionable Tips

by Nikita Shevchenko

Whether you run an eCommerce website or want to build an email list for your blog, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is something you would definitely want to master.

It is one of a few key factors that can separate successful online marketers from mediocrity.

It this guide you will find super actionable techniques that A-gamers implement here and there.

Let’s make your website highly converting!

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Basics

Before looking at our proven steps, let’s answer the simple question:

What is Conversion Rate Optimization(CRO)?

Conversion Rate Optimization is the process of optimizing your website in such a way that it will lead website visitors to certain actions.

Those actions can be email subscriptions, product purchasing, sharing the content, and so on.

Now you probably wonder:

How to do CRO for a website?

Read on and check 40 time-proven tips that help small bloggers and media giants increase their revenue.

1. Go With a Modern Design

People are visual creatures(if it’s not appealing it’s not converting).

Pick up a nice, well-coded theme from a reputable source like GeneratePress or, if the budget allows, get your theme exclusively crafted for you.

The average price of a unique theme: from 1600$

The cost of a GeneratePress premium template: 49,95$ (you may get a 10% discount using this link)

generatepress themes Conversion Rate Optimization

2. Test Website’s Usability

No matter how awesome your theme looks, if it lacks usability you are in trouble.

The theme bought from reliable online shops would rarely bring a headache to you. Still, it is necessary to check by yourself.

  • Test your website’s performance on all major browsers
  • Visit it from PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Fill in all the forms as a random user

Ask your friends or colleagues to run through the site and provide feedback.

Pro Tip: If you are serious about your online asset, I would suggest you hire professionals who will analyze your website usability and provide detailed feedback.

Way 1: Get it done on Fiverr for a very low price.

Way 2 Use Trymyui services(Prices are much higher, but service is way better)

3. Use Heat Map Tools

This way you will know for sure, what elements drive most and least user attention. Get rid of the useless parts or improve their appearance and/or value by experimenting with their design.

website heatmap in action Conversion Rate Optimization

Heat maps are must-haves if you want to improve your website user experience.

4. Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are stealing visitor’s attention and prevent them from recognizing Calls to Action(CTAs). They may become your worst enemies on the way of conversion rate optimization.

Reduce cloaking, make everything super simple to follow and make sure your CTAs stand out.

5. Optimize the Site’s Speed

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of website speed optimization.

Simply follow the instructions outlined in it and watch your site beat sprint records!

6. Leverage Social Proof

Social sharing though does not have a direct impact on an SEO, it builds the visitor’s trust.

  • Make sure you display social sharing buttons prominently in the blog posts.
  • Brag with number of likes, followers or customers

Copywriting for CRO

If your copy doesn’t convert, your entire business loses tons of money and opportunities.

In fact, I have a great article that covers the topic from head to toes.

Don’t miss SEO Copywriting to take your copywriting game to a whole new level.

Here are some of the top tips from the guide:

7. Craft an Awesome Headline

No one clicks on mediocre headlines unless they are from reputable sources.

Clickable headlines like magnets will organically drive traffic to your website

  • Make it emotional

Instead of “Best Paleo Diet Recipes” try “Paleo Diet Recipes for Energy Boosting”.

  • Add numbers in your headline

Numbers attract visitors like crazy. If you want to go even further, try using “%” “()” “[]” signs. They help make the headline more professional.

serp title with percent sign Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Use title tag modifiers

There are two main benefits of doing so:

  1. You add emotional value
  2. You start ranking for long-tail keywords

8. Use an Action-Oriented Copy

Active-voice copy converts like a pro. It helps readers sense the desired goal from the very first words.

So instead of telling:

“Learning playing the guitar can be an extremely rewarding process”

try “Become a guitar hero in 3 months!”

9. Do not Write for Harvard MBAs

It’s much better to use plain English, rather than writing super-long and complex sentences. The reader will get bored and leave the page.

10. Readability is HUGE!

Split your text into short and nice paragraphs. Use bullet points, bold text, and italics.

Would you rather read Copy 1 or Copy 2?

article text readibility Conversion Rate Optimization

11. Use CTAs Where Appropriate

Anytime you feel you get visitor’s attention, put a not disturbing call-to-action to sign-up, download, try for free, etc.

in post cta Conversion Rate Optimization

12. Give People More Information

If you are going to sell a product or service that costs 2000$, it is useless to stick a 200-words copy to it. You won’t convince anyone to purchase it, no matter how good of a copywriter you are.

Make it detailed as much as possible! When people finish reading it they should have no questions left, all they should have in mind is a huge desire to try what you offer.

What can you include?

  • Detailed description
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • CTAs
  • Video explanation

13. About Us Page Should be Unique

This page is literally among a couple of the MOST important pages on your website.

Anytime the visitor wants to get to know the person behind the curtains he would visit About us page.

Make it nothing less but awesome! Make it remembered!

What can you include?

  • Professional photo (photo stock pics are big NO)
  • Interesting introduction
  • Testimonials
  • Mission and Service
  • Sign-up box
  • Other CTAs

Below is a Nike’s About Us page(Yes, they also have it)

nike about us page Conversion Rate Optimization

14. Use an Unusual Call to Action Copy

Lots of experience internet surfers are fed up with generic “Sign up” or “Join the newsletter” CTAs. Why not offer something more original?

Here are a few great examples

  • I’m in!
  • Let’s do it!
  • Yes, I want to become rich.
  • Send me my copy!

15. Use Click Triggers

There are some types of CTA’s that help you generate sales like crazy, they are called click triggers.

Top e-commerce sites and affiliate blogs are constantly putting them in lots of places of the selling copy.

They can be:

  • A money-back guarantee
  • Main benefits
  • Sale price tag
  • Free shipping
  • Limited time
  • And many more

Here is an example from Amazon:

amazon click triggers Conversion Rate Optimization

Email List Building

Email marketing is by far the BEST way to sell products or services. It can be compared with your own trusted society of people who actually CARE about what you are going to offer.

So if you want to build a solid fan base, that can help achieve your financial goals, check out the suggestions below:

16. Generate Subscribers From Your About Us Page

Remember when I mentioned how important this page is for your site?

Well, guess what, not only does it serve as a narrator of your business anatomy; it can actually help you capture some e-mails!

Include a subscription box into the page and watch your email list grows!

17. Use The Content Upgrade as a Bribe

This technique is my all-time-favorite one!

Instead of asking people to subscribe and hoping for the best, why not offer them something of value, something they really want to get.

Content Upgrades are ideal to accomplish this task.

They can be:

  • PDFs
  • Blueprints
  • Checklists
  • Ebooks
  • And many more

You gain an email by providing additional value to the reader, win-win!

18. Email Subscription Box in the Sidebar

In 99% of the cases, it is a necessary part of email capturing.

Anytime I see the blog that lacks this crucial element, it shows me that the person doesn’t realize the full potential of the listed building

Include it in the sidebar, make it attractive:

19. Use a popup to capture more emails

Although I am not a huge fan of destructive Pop-Ups, some of those which are well-designed tend to receive new emails easily.

One of the best options for an email hunter would be including some value in the Pop-Up. Value is a GREAT reason to give up the email address.

Check out what these guys as an abandonment offer:

abandonment pop up offer Conversion Rate Optimization

20. Stick a Notification Bar on the Top

This technique is one of the least popular in this list. However, its power is often underrated. Depending on your website type it can become your email hunting super-tool!

notification bar Conversion Rate Optimization

You probably wonder:

Where to get all of these email list building tools for my blog?

I suggest you get yourself an ultimate list building plugin for WordPress called Thrive Leads. It is a one-stop solution for professionals who are looking to expand their follower’s base.

21. Collect Emails and Nurture Them

In order to get something, you must first give something. There is a very small percent of people who would purchase any product without thinking of value it can bring to them.

So instead of starting selling from the very first email letter, get the reader to take a closer look at your services. Send them new articles you published, ask to participate in polls and so on. This way you will share some knowledge and get subscriber’s trust.

Pro Tip: Create an email mini-course, make the reader’s WAIT for your next emails. Occasionally share some freebies with your subscribers. They will feel a part of a close, selected community.

There are numerous techniques that e-commerce giants like Amazon use to stay on top of the game. Some of them may not bring any benefits to your business, while others will become perfect solutions for revenue increasing.

Let’s have a close look at some of the finest strategies that work on almost any e-commerce website.

E-Commerce CRO

Conversion rate optimization is especially important when it comes to ecommerce SEO.

Below are the finest tips you can try on your own online store.

22. Figure Out the Best Length for the Landing Page

Remember I told you in the Copywriting section of this guide that long copies sell better. Well, not always.

You see, if you are willing to get an expensive product sold, than Longer = Better.

But what if you just want to let the visitor try your product for free?

Then there is no point to craft another “War and Peace”. Make it short and sweet in order to not lose customer’s interest.

The rule is simple:

Big Commitment = Long Copy, Small Commitment = Short Copy.

23. Brag with User Reviews

Reviews and testimonials are like an extra solid layer of guarantee that the product, people are about to buy, is legit.

Tap yourself in the back when you get new 5-start feedback from a satisfied customer. The more positive reviews the more sales they will bring.

24. Ask for Micro-Commitments

Instead of convincing a new customer to purchase a product right away, why not let them get a greater awareness of what you are offering?

Micro-commitments are some of the best e-commerce techniques that lead to sales.

Offer buyers free samples, trials, monthly membership, and even free quotes.

Make your imagination work!

free trial offer Conversion Rate Optimization

25. Add Product Filters

Filters will help you bring the visitors exactly where they want to be. Make sure your e-commerce website has this essential feature.

ecommerce site filter Conversion Rate Optimization

26. Add Auto-Suggestions in Product Search

This simple feature helps search for all sorts of products related to a certain keyword or category.

Often it even increases your sales by showing the customers what they did not expect to find.

Amazon does it, so should you:

amazon product sugest Conversion Rate Optimization

27. Slap a Discount Sticker on The Products

Discount stickers have long been among the best friends of the marketers and salesmen.

They bring more attention and purchases. Experiment with the discount amount and go with a golden middle.

discount stickers on products Conversion Rate Optimization

28. Show Multiple Product Images

No matter if you sell iPhone cases or pickups, the multiple high-quality product photos will help visitors observe the goods from different angles, thus picturing them more vividly in their minds.

various product images Conversion Rate Optimization

29. Make the Best-Sellers Prominent

Do you have a product that performs better than others? Great!

Put it in front, make it visible, customers will more likely to purchase top products with tons of reviews rather than taking a chance to try something new.

30. Add Countdown Timers to Short-Term Offers

Anytime you need to sell a product immediately, place countdown timers on it. It increases customer’s need in buying the product dramatically!

Again, you can use a notification bar from Thrive Leads.

31. Use Price Anchoring

This technique is solid. It is a bit old-fashioned, yet works amazingly!

Set the product price a little bit higher than the average, then cross it out and put a current price.

The trick is that you don’t have to make your price any lower, but the customers think you actually did.

Sale magnet!

price anchors in online shop Conversion Rate Optimization

32. Use Refunds

Customers need reinsurance that there is always an option to change the mind. Purchasing a product, especially the pricey one can be a tough decision to make.

Assure the customer that you will provide a “no questions asked” refund if he is not satisfied with the product or service.

money refund policy Conversion Rate Optimization

33. Offer Free Shipping

This simple trick will increase your profits significantly. Buyers rarely want to make a purchase and only then find out that there is an additional cost for the delivery.

Entice newcomers with this sweet offer; this will give you an advantage over some of your competitors that do not leverage this technique.

Don’t forget to mention it:

free shipping offer Conversion Rate Optimization

34. Test Free Trial and Freemium

Free trials are like nice bait that helps marketers catch a BIG fish.

Offer free trials for the services with high prices, or for the products that don’t sell well.

The best way to try the product is…

to give it away for free! For a period of time of course.

Freemiums would be a great solution too. The customers got to know your products, finds out how awesome it is, and finally purchases the paid version with extended features (I did it with my WordPress theme).

35. Bonuses Will Make Them Fall in Love With You

Have you ever noticed that if you give people MORE than they expect, they would really appreciate it? Some of them would even have a strong feeling of reciprocity.

Bonuses are a sweet cherry on top of the cake. If fact this strategy is being constantly used by marketers from one of the most competitive e-commerce shops in the world – TaoBao.

taobao product bonus offer Conversion Rate Optimization

36. Reduce the Number of Fields and Options

Keep it minimal. If the visitor had time, he would have visited Walmart. Make the process of submitting the required information simple and smooth. Get rid of useless fields.

37. Try an Inline Validation

This nice usability hack will free a customer from the headache. It is a huge pain in the ass when you fill in the 5-minute form, and then find out that one tab was filled incorrectly and that you have to repeat the process again.

Inline Validation process Conversion Rate Optimization

38. Remove Hidden Fees

These nasty little extra fees may ruin the entire process of purchasing. Who would want to proceed with the payment, if the price at the beginning was nothing compared with the last number? Set the price and stick to it!

39. Show Progress Bar

Progress lines or bars are like milestones of buying success.

People, who see the number of steps and required actions, tend to complete purchasing much more often.

purchase progress bar Conversion Rate Optimization

40. Test Different Payment Options

The more payment options you provide, the bigger the chances of a successful sale. Don’t limit customers’ options with only Visa or MasterCard. Add some more ways of payment.

Now you know exactly how to approach conversion rate optimization.

Let me ask you a quick question:

Which trick will you try first?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Quora, I share some useful stuff there 😉

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