Is CRO All it’s Cracked Up to Be?

Any serious business owner has a lot of time, money, and energy invested in their website. Sure, it’s fun building a website from scratch and watching your organic traffic streams grow, but at the end of the day, we all want to increase our bottom line. In short, we need to see results. As such, a lot of people turn to conversion rate optimization to maximize the effectiveness of their website and make a strong impact with their audience. You want your traffic to grow. You want your subscriber list to multiply – and ultimately you want more conversions. But those of us who don’t know a whole lot about conversion rate optimization are making some big mistakes.

But what is conversion rate optimization, you ask? Simply put, CRO is finding small mistakes and flaws on your website that are causing people to not take action. Maybe it’s a button that isn’t easily visible, maybe it’s optimizing your call to action copy, or even changing the color scheme in an effort to entice more people to buy your product or service. There are thousands of small things that affect a visitor’s thought process – both consciously and subconsciously. Before you invest the majority of your waking hours into CRO strategies, consider the following common CRO mistakes.

Mistake #1: Jumping the Gun

Many websites can benefit from CRO. Did you see how I used the word “many” and not “all?” The fact is that not every website can benefit from CRO, and if you’re new to Internet marketing you might want to get all of your ducks in a row before you start optimizing. If you’re website is getting, say, a whopping 100 unique visitors a month, you won’t likely benefit from CRO in the short term. Why? Because you have no leverage. With higher traffic volumes, small changes that optimize your website can translate into large amounts of recurring monthly revenue. In these types of situations, even small things like the aforementioned button color and button copy can have a huge impact on revenue because these small changes affect so many visitors to your site. However, if you’re just starting out, don’t jump the gun with CRO. Your efforts are likely better spent elsewhere.

Mistake #2: Having a Small Picture Mentality

When you are ready for CRO, you have to consider the big picture. Though testing the color scheme and button copy is an integral part of CRO, it’s not the place to start. Instead, you want to start by testing big changes to your website – such as the design, menu structure, and alternate landing pages. Only after you have tested big changes should you fine-tune and obsess over the small things.

Mistake #3: Marketing Misinformation

One sure fire way to harm your conversion rate is to misrepresent you site with online advertising. Basically, once you hook a lead with your online advertising, the images and copy you use in your ad need to match your website. If you over-promise and fail to deliver, your website is going to appear low-quality and spammy to the visitor.
Once they reach your site and see that your advertisement doesn’t fairly represent the content and user experience on your site, they are likely going to be irritated. The net effect is that your traffic stream is going to be terrible, and your conversions will suffer.

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Mistake #4: A Lack of Patience

Some people harm their conversions because they fall into the money-chasing trap. Instead of waiting to complete CRO tests, they hop around and do a lot of small, incomplete tests. It works like this: a business makes a small change to their website they think will increase conversions. Two days later, they notice that their conversion rate doubled. Great news, right? That small change they made is causing more leads to convert! Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.

Because the website administrator didn’t have the patience to see their test all the way through, there are countless other potential factors that could skew the results. For example, maybe there was a holiday that increased the conversion rate in the two-day time frame, or maybe people simply buy more of your product or service on the weekend. We can’t say for sure that the small change truly optimized conversion rates because there is not enough data and the test wasn’t run for a significant period of time.

Before you dive into CRO, keep these tips in mind. You want to make sure that you work smart and not hard when you are doing testing. Though not always appropriate for brand new sites, for medium size and large sites, even small changes can make a big impact on your future income. If you don’t know how to optimize your website, though, you will need to reach out to a web design expert.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.