The Definitive Guide to

Conversion Rate Optimization

By Khalid Saleh & Ayat Shukairy


Your conversion rate is one of the most important indicators of how well your website is performing. Many website owners invest huge amounts of effort, time and money to drive traffic to their sites. Visitors come, traffic jumps from hundreds to tens of thousands. But then nothing happens. No orders, no leads, no subscriptions, and no email opt-ins. No conversions.

Why this guide?

We started our conversion optimization business back in 2006. Over the years, we have worked with hundreds of companies both large and small. We conducted thousands of A/B and multivariate tests. We have seen a multitude of companies struggle with increasing their conversion rates. We believe that creating highly converting websites is rewarding for online visitors as well as businesses. When you create a website visitors fall in love with, they will convert.

It is a win-win game.

This guide includes 15 chapters in it. As you read through the different chapters, make sure to look for insights that you can implement right away in your campaign. While the guide is written in an easy to read fashion, you must always remember that the real goal is to help you increase conversion rates. So, look for actionable insights that you can bring into play. We recommend reading the guide one chapter at a time. Do not move to a new chapter until you have carried through the lessons you learned from the previous chapter.

Chapter 1

What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Why Is It Important?

What is Conversion Rate Optimization by Invesp

“Instant 20% boost in online sales and revenue, after changing the color of a button.” This type of quote may be misleading about the true magical powers of website conversion rate optimization.

The right CRO methodology can provide incredible results, but you’ll be just as amazed by the process to achieve these results through the fact-based, data-driven scientific approach we will bring to you in this guide.

Let’s start with basic definitions for online conversion rate and conversion rate optimization.

Take Me To Chapter 1

Chapter 2

How to Create a Robust Conversion Optimization Plan?

Conversion optimization plan guide by Invesp

Ready to go ahead with optimizing your site for conversions? Great!

Let’s start by discovering the essential concepts behind online conversion.

Too many companies jump into conversion optimization without a real plan or a methodology to identify candidate areas of optimization. Very often, the process is too simplistic and does not consider website visitors in a meaningful way.

CRO is a comprehensive process that only succeeds when it involves two elements:

Identifying areas of the website that should be optimized Following a repeatable process to optimize these areas

If you don’t recognize the leaky holes in your site and don’t

Take Me To Chapter 2

Chapter 3

How To Calculate Your Website Or Campaign Conversion Rate

Calculate website conversion rate by Invesp

A successful CRO program involves integrated costs and revenues. We have formulas for these figures, but they come disguised in three-letter words, like PPC, ROI, and AOV.

If this is your first project on conversion optimization, the formulas might seem a bit daunting. But, with time, you will get used to the basic math we are presenting in this chapter of our guide.

Let’s take baby-steps. We will start with the main formulas of CRO.

The basic conversion rate equation is:

Conversion Rate = Total number of conversions / Total number of sessions

In a month, if your site reaches

Take Me To Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Google Analytics Metrics That Impact Conversion Rate Optimization

Using analytics for conversion rate optimization

As you focus on increasing your online conversions, you will have to spend time digging through and analyzing your analytics data. CRO is about looking at different metrics and putting them together to determine which pages to optimize and which hypothesis to pursue.

Let’s take a look together in some of the central features of your website data.
In this chapter, we explain about entrance, bounce rate, exit rate, average time on page, and traffic sources. Learn how to differentiate between bounce and exit rates, and find out how to interpret the behavior of your traffic segments.

This data

Take Me To Chapter 4

Chapter 5

The Average Website Conversion Rate by Industry (updated for 2017)

Average website conversion rate by Industry

Conversion rate information is one of the most protected data on the web.
You should expect such secrecy. Website owners do not jump on the idea of sharing their website’s performance with competitors. While many tools available can estimate the number of visitors a website receives, limited software options may determine any website conversion rate.

The question now is: what is a good conversion rate?

The answer: it varies. What’s great for one industry might be below par for another.

One multi-billion dollar company I once worked with had conversion rates of 41% for first time visitors. And they

Take Me To Chapter 5

Chapter 6

The Conversion Framework: 7 Principles to Increase Conversion Rates

Conversion rate optimization principles

Conversion rate optimization is a science.

This means you should be able to reproduce a process, step by step, through a time-tested system, to achieve the increase in conversions you aspire for your website.

Sounds good, right? That is why we created the Conversion Framework.

The goal of the Conversion Framework is to remove the guesswork from the conversion optimization process. It provides anyone interested in optimization with a specific methodology to produce consistent results.

In the following chapters of this guide, you will discover the Conversion Framework and its different elements. This framework is the process we developed and deployed on hundreds of

Take Me To Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Optimizing for Trust: How to Create a High-Converting Website

increasing conversion rate by building trust

Trust is the cornerstone of long-distance relationships.

Without the proximity of in-person purchases in brick-and-mortar stores, trust becomes vital in your connection to your online customers.

Luckily, you can manage and convey trust on your site, as one of the dynamics of the Conversion Framework. Our Framework is built around the potential customer’s needs, interest, motivations, and objections.

The need to feel secure and trust the product’s seller is fundamental for a visitor. Every visitor to your online or offline store comes to you with specific intimidations and fears. They do not want to be cheated, sold at, or ripped

Take Me To Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Fears, Uncertainties and Doubts: Reducing Visitor Anxieties to Increase Conversions

Reducing Visitor Anxieties to Increase Conversions

Your website hosts an astonishing number of factors that could make your users leave after just a couple of seconds. Fears, uncertainties and doubts, or simply FUDs, group a big portion of these factors.

FUDs are certain elements that cause bad user experience and deflate user confidence. These elements raise doubts on your website visitors, as whether your product or service is the right choice for them. Ultimately, FUDs result in a complete loss of trust and/or abandonment of your site.

As part of our Conversion Framework, FUDs are web-centric factors that you can address to increase the conversion rates

Take Me To Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Engaging Your Visitors: 14 Proven Ways to Increase the Conversion Rate of Your Website

Engaging Your Visitors: 14 Proven Ways to Increase the Conversion Rate of Your Website

Users’ engagement comes from your ability to continue peak visitors’ interest on your website.

Stores with daily changes in their inventory continually engage customers by providing expectation on new product arrivals. Companies that run frequent sales are also engaging clients and putting their store on the radar for things to look out for.

With so many websites to visit, it becomes challenging to sustain users’ interest in your offering.

How can you peak potential customers’ interest?

In your site, start with setting specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)and metrics to measure user’s engagement.

A quick note on this: We notice

Take Me To Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Price, Scarcity, and Urgency: Use Incentives to Increase Conversion Rates on Your Website

Just spot some glaring FUDs-creating elements on your site? No problem, you can still increase visitors’ trust on your website by using incentives.

Incentives rank high among the best ways to counter visitors’ FUDs. With a few incentives in place, visitors might ignore the flaws on your site and move forward in their conversion journey.

Consider how you would respond to incentives when faced with a great purchase decision.

Let’s say you have to make a quick decision on a notebook. You have done your research and selected the best brand and features you would like. Now your choice comes

Take Me To Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Using Buyer Personas: The Cornerstone Ingredient for Better Conversions

Buyer persona types

Understanding your website visitors through personas

Before jumping into conversion optimization, you need to identify your site visitor, by recognizing, for example, concerns, motivations, uncertainties, and trigger words.

One of the first tasks we do as a company, which has been helping marketers optimize their content and their conversion rates, is delve into understanding the market as best we can, prior to initializing the recommendation process.

Most companies are aware of the importance of knowing customers, but few comprehend all that this recognition entails, especially online. The majority is still keeping their heads in the sand and overlooking the high

Take Me To Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Buyer’s Journey Stages: Optimizing Your Website for Every Stage of the Online Buying Cycle

Stages of online buying journey

You can only persuade your website visitors to choose your product or service when you address their motivations, needs, and fears.

Visitors are not concerned or aware of your website sales funnel. They come with their own buying funnel which may or may not match your sales process. Successful marketers identify the buying stage of the potential customer and match each stage with the correct sales methodology and techniques to meet the needs of the customer.

Some prospects enter the sales funnel already prepared to buy. Others, the majority, arrive at your site to either browse, look for information, compare

Take Me To Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Sale Complexity: How It Impacts Online Conversion Rates and How to Design for It

How fast a potential customer moves in a buying funnel defines the length and complexity of the sales process. Some conversions require little time or financial commitment, and the process is completed in a matter of minutes (sometimes even seconds). It is almost like stopping at a convenience store and grabbing a soda.

At the other end of the spectrum, for complex B2B sales or high-value consumer ticket items, a conversion may take months or sometimes years before it concludes. This type of sales would have multiple points of contact, nurture funnels, and the right approach to the right person

Take Me To Chapter 13

Chapter 14

A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing: An Introduction to Testing for Conversion Rate Optimization

“Should I run an A/B test or a Multivariate test?”

This simple yet fundamental question always pops up in planning for conversion rate optimization.

A/B testing is the default and most common procedure in CRO programs. In some cases, though, running a multivariate test can add a significant value. Other times, you have room for both tests interchangeably.

The great benefit of testing? You give your visitors a voice in the design process.

When implemented correctly, testing removes the guesswork from conversion optimization and you move to the stage where every action you take is a result of an informed

Take Me To Chapter 14

Chapter 15

9 Best Practices For Conversion Rate Optimization

Does the process of conversion rate optimization frighten you a bit?

Does it seem complicated to the point you don’t want to go through all of it?

Well, you are not alone. Marketers fear CRO programs implementations for a variety of reasons.

The first intention behind bringing this chapter to life is to encourage you on your CRO efforts, by changing the way you perceive, plan and implement your conversion optimization program. You wouldn’t want to miss the rewards of a well-implemented CRO program.

As previous chapters led us through, the journey of conversion rate optimization starts by understanding the

Take Me To Chapter 15