How to Conduct a CRO Audit in 10 StepsBy Lisa Ross+
- Posted in Conversion Rate Optimization
Are you struggling to convert website visitors into paying customers? Do you feel your website could be performing better? If so, you’re not alone.
The average website conversion rate across all industries is slightly over 2%. That means most website visitors leave without taking any action.
This is where Conversion Rate Optimization audit (CRO) comes in.
A CRO audit is a comprehensive evaluation of your website’s performance to identify improvement areas to increase conversions. It lets you understand your prospective customers’ needs and what will make them convert. It also helps you find and fix the friction points, gaps, and errors hurting your conversions.
In this article, we’ll dive into the 10-step process of conducting a conversion audit and share tips and examples to help you improve your website’s conversion rate.Contents hide
1. Define Goals and KPIs.
If you’re unsure where to start your conversion audits, the first step is defining your goals. Your goal could be as simple as increasing overall conversion rates or as complex as maximizing revenue per visitor.
The key here is to ensure your goals are measurable, specific, and achievable. If you don’t know how to measure success, it will be impossible to tell if your changes have affected your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Start by writing down your goals, including both short-term (i.e., increasing conversion rate) and long-term (i.e., improving brand reputation).
For instance, here’s an example of the conversion goals of an ecommerce site.
Next, consider the KPIs that will help you measure those goals.
Here’s an example of a KPI for a sales team.
It ensures the teams meet sales targets by tracking sales KPIs, including New Inbound Leads, New Qualified Opportunities, Total Pipeline Value, Sales Volume by Location, and Average Order Value.
Here are some more examples of goals and KPIs you might want to consider:
Goal: Increase website traffic.
KPIs: Organic traffic, referral traffic, direct traffic.
Goal: Increase email subscribers.
KPIs: Email sign-ups, conversion rate, email open rate.
Goal: Increase online sales.
KPIs: Conversion rate, average order value, revenue per visitor.
Goal: Improve user engagement.
KPIs: Time on site, bounce rate, pages per session.
Goal: Improve website usability.
KPIs: Usability score, task completion rate, error rate.
Defining your goals and KPIs is vital to be specific and measurable. This will allow you to track progress and make data-driven decisions.
Related Articles: How To Align Your Business Goals With Your Conversion Goals
Additionally, it’s important to prioritize your goals based on their importance to your business. For example, if increasing online sales is your top priority, then you should focus on optimizing your website for conversions.
2. Define the Target Audience
If you don’t know your target audience, how can you expect to design anything for them?
The first part of defining your target audience is deciding what kind of users you want to attract to your website. Are they male or female? Young or old? What languages do they speak? Is there anything else about them that will help you decide what kind of website they need?
Here are some factors to consider when defining your target audience:
- Demographics: This includes age, gender, location, education level, and income. For example, if you’re selling luxury goods, you might target affluent customers with higher incomes and a taste for high-end products.
- Psychographics: This includes personality traits, values, interests, and lifestyles. For example, if you’re selling eco-friendly products, you might target environmentally conscious consumers who prioritize sustainability and ethical practices.
- Behavior: This includes buying habits, online behaviors, and customer preferences. For example, if you’re running an e-commerce store, you might target customers who have abandoned their shopping carts in the past with retargeting ads or emails.
- Pain points: This entails identifying your target audience’s problems and challenges and how your product or service can address those issues. For example, if you’re selling software, you might target businesses that struggle with productivity or efficiency.
Here’s an example of how you might define a target audience for a B2C athletic shoe brand:
It defines key demographics, key psychographics, challenges, preferred channels, and preferred content types.
Defining your target audience helps you create a user-centric website that resonates with your ideal customers.
When you understand their motivations, preferences, and pain points, you’ll find it easier to optimize your website to meet their needs and increase conversions. This can involve changing your website’s messaging, design, and user experience to align with your target audience’s expectations and preferences.
3. Conduct Website Analysis
Web analysis involves a comprehensive review of your website’s design, content, and user experience to identify areas for improvement that could increase conversions.
Here are some key factors to consider when conducting a website analysis:
- Website usability: includes website navigation, page load speed, and mobile responsiveness. A website that’s difficult to navigate or loads slowly may result in high bounce rates and decreased conversions (more on this later).
- Website design: Here, you’ll have to assess the color scheme, layout, and branding. A visually appealing and consistent design can help establish trust and credibility with your target audience.
- Content quality: This includes readability, relevance, and persuasiveness. High-quality content addressing your target audience’s needs and pain points can increase engagement and conversions.
- Conversion rate optimization: includes factors such as call-to-action placement, form optimization, and checkout process. Optimizing these elements can help increase the likelihood of visitors taking the desired action on your website, such as making a purchase or filling out a lead form.
- Analyze website content: Use tools like SmallSEOTools to check your keyword density, grammar, and plagiarism. You can also use tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to improve your blog post titles.
You should also look for broken links, missing images, and inconsistent branding during the website analysis. Once you identify these issues, you can prioritize the areas of your website that require the most attention and implement changes to improve your site’s user experience.
For example, you might discover that your website’s checkout process is too complicated, causing potential customers to abandon their purchases. You could increase conversions and revenue by streamlining the checkout process and making it more user-friendly.
For instance, Sergii Filonenko, a UX designer, managed to increase the conversion rate by 12%, reduce the bounce rate by 15% and improve customer satisfaction by 20% by redesigning the checkout experience for a travel management company.
He conducted a website analysis and discovered that the previous checkout was a single-page layout with an inconvenient interface. He conducted stakeholder interviews, competitor research, and team brainstorming to define the goals and requirements for the redesign.
But how do you conduct website analysis? How will you spot how your users are actually behaving on your site?
To perform a good website analysis, you must have good analytical tools.
You can use Google Analytics or any other analytics tool to track how users interact with your site and what they do on it. These tools’ data will help you understand how users interact with your site, which web pages they view, and what they are looking for.
Look at goals, funnels, traffic sources, and conversions to see where people are coming from, what pages they visit, and how many people convert (or don’t).
Next up, conduct a heatmap test using FigPii to see which parts of your website get the most attention and where they stop reading or scrolling down the page. You can also use the tools to find out if there are any areas of your site that no one is visiting at all – like the footer or sidebar.
4. Analyze Website Traffic
Website traffic analysis is important because it helps us understand when, where, and how users interact with our website.
It also helps you identify which channels drive the most visitors and conversions. Common traffic sources include search engines, social media channels, email marketing campaigns, and paid advertising.
For example, if we want to optimize for mobile visitors, we need to know how many mobile visitors we have and what percentage of total traffic they represent.
You might discover that most of your website traffic comes from mobile devices, but you’ve yet to optimize your website for mobile users. Optimizing your website for mobile devices could improve the user experience and increase conversions.
Here are some tips for analyzing website traffic:
Use Google Analytics: Google Analytics will give you insights into website traffic, including demographics, behavior, and traffic sources. You can use this data to identify areas for improvement and opportunities to increase conversions.
- Set up conversion tracking: By setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics, you can track specific actions visitors take on your website, such as completing a purchase or filling out a lead form. This can help you identify which pages and traffic sources drive the most conversions.
- Use heat mapping tools: Heat mapping tools (such as FigPii) can help you visualize how visitors interact with your website. By analyzing heat maps, you can identify which areas of your website are getting the most attention and where visitors are dropping off.
- Analyze user behavior data: User behavior data, including click-through rates, bounce rates, and time on page, can identify areas for improvement and opportunities to increase conversions.
- Conduct A/B testing: A/B testing involves testing two webpage versions to see which performs better in conversions. Again, tools like FigPii offer A/B testing tools that can help you test different variations of your website to identify the most effective design and content.
5. Analyze Website Usability
Usability refers to the ease with which visitors can navigate and interact with a website, and it plays a critical role in driving conversions. A website that is difficult to navigate or has confusing user flows can lead to frustration and visitors leaving.
Let’s be real. A website that’s hard to use is like a car with no steering wheel, and it’s not gonna get you anywhere.
To analyze website usability, consider the following:
- Navigation: Is the navigation menu clear and intuitive? Can visitors easily find what they are looking for?
- Search functionality: Is the search bar easy to find and use? Does it return relevant results?
- Forms: Are any forms on the website easy to use and fill out? Are there any fields that are causing issues?
- Mobile optimization: Is the website optimized for mobile devices? Are buttons and links easy to click on a smaller screen?
- User flows: Can visitors easily navigate through the website to complete desired actions – like making a purchase or filling out a form?
Don’t forget to use user testing tools to gather data on how visitors interact with your website and identify areas for improvement. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to identify the usability issues we might have missed.
And it’s always a good idea to conduct A/B testing to compare different usability variants.
Let’s talk about the power of A/B testing, shall we? Swiss Gear is an excellent example of a company that used this technique to boost user experience and increase conversions.
They wanted to simplify their product detail pages and draw attention to the sales price. So, they created two versions of the page and showed them to different groups of site visitors.
The results were clear – the variant with a simplified layout and highlighted sales price led to a whopping 52% increase in conversions. And during the holiday season, they saw an incredible 137% increase in conversions.
One specific improvement was in the display of the product name. The important information in the A/B test variant was clear and easy to find in red, making it stand out on the page.
It shows that sometimes small tweaks, like color and placement, can impact the user experience and ultimately drive more conversions.
6. Review Conversion Elements
Now, it’s time to review your site’s conversion elements.
The three main conversion elements you need to check are:
Forms: Make sure they’re not too long or complicated. If they are, break them down into smaller chunks.
Checkout process: Are there any unnecessary fields that could be causing visitors to abandon the form or checkout process? Simplifying the form and checkout process can lead to higher completion rates and more conversions.
Calls-to-action (CTAs): Are they prominently displayed and easy to find? Are they relevant to the page content and the user’s journey? You may consider A/B testing different CTA designs, placements, and copy to see which variations lead to more conversions.
Aside from A/B testing, you can also analyze CTAs using tools like HubSpot. It will give you CTA performance reports.
You will also get a report of the views, clicks, and submission conversions, along with the Call-to-action placements report.
Another important aspect is social proof. Are you showcasing customer reviews, testimonials, and other social proof elements on your website? These marketing efforts can help build trust and credibility with potential customers, leading to higher conversion rates.
7. Analyze Landing Pages
At this point, you should have a good idea of how people are entering your site and the problems they’re having. Now we’ll look at how they’re leaving it – your landing pages.
As a rule of thumb, you need to optimize your landing page for conversions from when someone arrives.
This means that you’ll want to avoid sending them to other pages on your site, where they might get distracted by other content or links that don’t relate directly to the goal you’re trying to accomplish with this particular page.
To begin analyzing landing pages, start by looking at the metrics. Which pages are getting the most traffic? What is the bounce rate? How long are visitors spending on each page? These metrics will help you understand how effective your landing pages currently are.
Next, take a closer look at the design and content of your landing pages.
Is the message clear and concise?
Are there any distractions or elements that could confuse or overwhelm visitors?
Is the call-to-action (CTA) prominent and easy to find?
It can be helpful to create different variations of your landing page and conduct A/B tests to see which version performs better. For example, you might test different headlines, CTA buttons, or images to see which elements lead to more conversions.
8. Map the Conversion Funnel
It’s apparent by now that there are many different aspects of your website, and you need to test all of them separately to see what works best for you.
However, you can integrate these elements into one conversion funnel to see where users drop off and spend most of their time. This way, if something fails for some user groups, you can see what part of your site or service does not work well for them and how it can be improved.
And that’s why mapping the conversion funnel is so important.
A conversion funnel refers to a customer’s sequence of actions to complete an actionable goal. It helps you understand the path your website visitors take toward completing a desired action, such as purchasing or filling out a form.
Identifying these areas where visitors are dropping off or experiencing friction will help you make targeted improvements to increase conversions.
Start by identifying the different stages of the funnel.
This typically includes the initial landing page, product or service pages, cart or checkout page, and thank-you or confirmation page. Then, analyze the user behavior at each funnel stage using web analytics tools.
For example, you may find that many visitors are leaving your website after viewing the initial landing page without navigating further. This may indicate that you need to optimize the landing page to better align with the user’s expectations and needs.
Or, you may find that visitors are adding items to their cart but abandoning the checkout process. This could suggest usability issues with the checkout page or concerns about the payment process that you need to address.
Look at this example of analysis of a top-level conversion funnel in Bloomreach Engagement.
This example involves analyzing a top-level conversion funnel for an e-commerce website. The audit found that the website had a 4.6% conversion rate, with a significant drop-off between adding an item to the cart and purchasing.
After discovering the bottlenecks in the primary stage, you can closely examine the precise conversion points.
For instance, after a closer examination, Bloomreach found a significant drop-off between visiting the cart and entering personal details.
Almost 30% of the people who make it to the cart page leave without completing their purchase. However, entering personal details has a high conversion rate, indicating that the issue lies in the cart page.
By optimizing the cart page, Bloomreach Engagement could reduce this drop-off rate and improve its overall conversion rate.
9. Learn From Your Results and Iterate.
The purpose of a CRO audit is not to draw conclusions but to learn.
After you’ve analyzed your site, dig for the insights that will help you improve it – the ones that will make a difference in how users interact with your website.
For example, if users bounce from the home page, you might try creating an engaging lead-in with an eye-catching introduction to your brand. Or, if users click away from a specific page, they may need more information there. If they’re clicking away from your website altogether, maybe they don’t think it provides enough value.
And here’s a quick overview of the tools you’ll need at every step of your CRO Audit process:
- Interpret and learn from your results using tools like Optimizely.
- Use tools like FigPii or UserTesting to collect qualitative feedback on your variations and understand why they performed better or worse than the original.
- Use tools like Google Analytics or Google Data Studio to segment your results by different dimensions such as source, device, location, etc.
- Again, use tools like FigPii and Optimizely to run follow-up experiments or tests based on your learnings and insights.
Pro Tip: Ensure you use the right metrics to measure success and optimize conversions. For example, if you optimize for conversions, track conversion rate, not just website traffic.
10. Repeat the process regularly.
Optimization is not a one-time event but a continuous process.
Your website’s performance can change as the target audience changes, and new competitors enter the market, or search engine algorithms update.
Regular audits can help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your website remains optimized for conversions.
To stay ahead of the curve, schedule for conducting regular audits. It could be every quarter or every six months. This will allow you to track progress over time and identify website performance trends.
You can improve your website’s conversion rate and overall performance by iterating and making changes based on your previous audit results.
The Art of CRO: Constantly Revising and Evolving!
Conducting a CRO audit is crucial for any business that wants to improve its website’s performance and increase conversions.
By following the ten steps CRO audit checklist outlined in this guide, businesses can identify areas of improvement, optimize their website’s usability, and ultimately increase their conversion rates.
Remember, conducting a CRO audit is not a one-time task. You must do it regularly to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with the evolving customer needs and trends.
Businesses can stay relevant and achieve sustainable growth by making data-driven decisions and constantly testing and refining their strategies. So, go ahead and start your CRO audits today to unlock the full potential of your website and boost your bottom line.
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