Congratulations, you’ve got your website up and running and visitors are coming in. But the work doesn’t stop there. To succeed in the online world, you need to shift your focus towards making your website more customer-centric. You should become an inspector, hunting down the pesky “leaks” on your website that are stopping visitors from converting into customers.
Audit time! A conversion audit is a customer-centric approach aimed at identifying areas of improvement on your website to enhance its conversion rate. It delves into essential elements like design, layout, SEO, social media optimization, checkout processes, and content.
Why Should You Perform a Conversion Optimization Audit?
A conversion optimization audit won’t instantly boost your conversion rate, but it provides the necessary data to make the right improvements. This audit reveals where potential customers drop off and why.
Even if you are content with your current conversion rate, conducting a conversion audit can unveil opportunities for enhancement.
If your website isn’t converting as expected, there’s a good reason for it. Even two websites selling similar products to different audiences can have distinct conversion issues. These conversion “black holes” represent elements that deter user actions, such as poorly placed buttons, ineffective copy, poor mobile responsivity, or wrongly targeted traffic.
A conversion audit aims to uncover these issues.
Essential Elements for a Conversion Audit
To conduct a successful conversion audit, you must meet certain prerequisites:
- A complete, realistic customer avatar: You must understand your ideal customer in order to tailor your landing page to cater to their needs. If your actual visitors differ from your target audience, your landing page must be adjusted to accommodate the new audience.
- Define desired actions: Clearly establish what actions you want visitors to take when they arrive on your page. Make sure your landing page aligns with these objectives.
- Analyze visitor behavior: Understand how your visitors behave when they arrive on your page and adapt your page accordingly. You can use behavioral analytics tools, such as heatmaps which are great for tracking user attention.
- Traffic Sources: Identify the sources of your website traffic, their demographics, and how different audience groups behave to narrow down your target market.
Three Key Components of a Conversion Audit
- Technical Audit: A technical audit covers load speed, SEO, browser compatibility, and device optimization. It will help you optimize load speed of your pages, images, scripts, server response times, compression, and browser caching.
- Copy Audit: Your copy is your message to visitors, it should position your product or service effectively, have a compelling headline, a strong CTA, and tested button text. Provide all the information your ideal customer needs to make a buying decision.
- Design/UX Audit: The design serves and amplifies the message. Evaluate the use of colors, images, fonts, and layout to improve user experience and engagement. Ensure one clear call to action (CTA) that matches your brand and messaging.
Who Should Perform a Conversion Optimization Audit?
You have three options for conducting a conversion audit:
- Why not by yourself? Needless to say, it is a critical expertise than any business eventually needs to own in-house. If you choose to do it in-house, it might be your first conversion audit. While you may get it right, there’s a risk of missing critical elements.
- Hire an Individual Contractor: The best contractors in CRO audit aren’t easy to find, most often specialize in one aspect of the process, potentially neglecting other crucial components. If you find a good one, think of hiring them.
- Bring in an Agency: Agencies employ multiple specialists who collectively focus on all aspects of the audit. However, they tend to be more expensive. Remeber: You don’t want to become dependant on an agency for something as crucial as CRO.
Key Audit Areas
When conducting a conversion audit, consider the following crucial areas:
- Design and Layout: Ensure your website is visually appealing and easy to navigate, including responsive design for mobile users.
- Search and Social Optimization: Integrate your search and social efforts, aligning style, tone, and branding across platforms for a seamless user experience.
- E-Commerce Product Pages and Checkout Process: Optimize product pages, checkout processes, and incorporate features like visible shopping carts and free shipping.
- Content Writing: Craft compelling, customer-centric content that addresses user needs, uses storytelling, highlights features and benefits, and evokes emotion.
- Calls to Action (CTAs): Implement specific CTAs that match page content, test placement, size, color, and copy, and create urgency in your CTA messaging.
- Design: Ensure a clutter-free design, easy navigation, high-quality images, and mobile responsiveness. Use color and fonts effectively, keeping the focus on user experience.
45 Points Checklist for Optimizing Conversions
Optimizing conversions can be quite a complex task, and meticulous attention to detail is the key to improving your chances of success. This comprehensive checklist has been crafted to guide you through the entire conversion rate optimization (CRO) process. It leaves no stone unturned, covering every aspect from the captivating headline to the compelling call to action. It even offers valuable recommendations for useful tools to support your efforts.
As you embark on your journey into conversion rate optimization (CRO), remember that it all begins with creating the right context. This is the foundation upon which your CRO efforts will rest.
Let’s dive into the essential components of a successful conversion audit:
- Establish Clear Goals: The first step is to define your objectives for each key page. What actions do you want your visitors to take, and what results are you aiming for?
- Master the Conversion Funnel: Understanding how your website visitors navigate through your site and its pages is pivotal. Visualize the conversion funnel, charting their path from curious visitors to delighted customers.
Now, let’s explore a more in-depth view of the key audit areas to optimize your website’s conversion rate:
Headlines, Titles, and Subject Lines:
- Craft Engaging Headlines: Your headline should clearly communicate what users can expect from your content. Keep it concise, search engine-friendly, and create a sense of urgency. Make it specific to your offer and emphasize its benefits using action verbs.
- A/B Test Headlines: Write alternative headlines and use tools like CoSchedule’s headline analyzer to evaluate how they resonate with visitors. Pay attention to emotional and power words. Conduct A/B testing to determine the best-performing headline.
- Meet User Needs: Ensure that your page copy caters to your customers’ information requirements and problem-solving needs.
- Engage Through Storytelling: Capture interest by incorporating statistics, anecdotes, quotes, or questions. Craft a compelling story with a beginning, middle, and a satisfying ending.
- Address Pain Points: Identify and address pain points to reduce resistance to buying.
- Highlight Features and Benefits: Clearly distinguish between the features (characteristics of a product or service) and the benefits (what the product can do for your customer).
- Optimize Writing Style: Familiarize yourself with words that drive conversions. Use the first person when it’s relevant and avoid unnecessary jargon.
- Optimize for SEO: Include relevant search terms without overloading the content. Make use of subheads and bullet points for readability.
- Proofreading and Emotion: Proofread to eliminate errors that could damage your credibility. Evoke emotion in your audience.
- Assume Limited Expertise: Don’t assume your readers are experts. Explain the information they need.
- A/B Testing and Analytics: Continuously test your copy using A/B testing, heatmaps, and analytics to identify areas for improvement.
- Real Customer Experiences: Showcase real customer experiences, potentially through video testimonials.
- Product Videos: Include product videos to provide a clear view of what customers will receive.
- Customer Reviews: Publish customer reviews, as seen on platforms like Amazon.
- Social Proof: Utilize social proof as a persuasive tool to build trust.
- Data-Backed Claims: Reinforce your sales points with relevant data and statistics.
- Incentives and Guarantees: Offer incentives like guarantees and free shipping to increase trust.
- Relationship Building: Instead of hard-selling, focus on establishing an ongoing customer relationship.
- Match Offer to Buyer Persona: Ensure that your offer aligns with the characteristics and preferences of your potential buyers. Create buyer personas and avatars for precise targeting.
- Value Proposition: Make sure your offer delivers genuine value to your customers.
- Clarity: Clearly communicate what your offer entails and how users can obtain it.
Calls to Action (CTAs):
- Multiple CTAs: Include multiple CTAs on your page to cater to different audience segments at various funnel stages.
- Contextual CTAs: Ensure your CTAs align with the page’s content, avoiding generic CTAs.
- Button Design: Make your CTA buttons look distinct and recognizable, enhancing conversions.
- CTA Testing: Experiment with CTA placement, size, color, and copy to identify the most effective combinations.
- Action-Oriented Language: Use action words that inspire users to take action.
- Create Urgency: Use CTA copy to create a sense of urgency.
- Clutter-Free CTAs: Keep the CTA area uncluttered to avoid distractions.
- Legible Button Text: Ensure that button text is easily readable.
- Declutter Landing Pages: Reduce clutter on landing pages to keep the focus on your message and offer.
- Navigation and User Experience: Make it easy for users to find the information they need on other website pages. Create clear navigation paths to facilitate user actions at different points.
- Effective Imagery: Use high-quality images to draw attention, build trust, and maintain user interest. Ensure that images complement your message without overwhelming it.
- Balancing Design and User Experience: Prioritize user experience alongside design aesthetics. Striking the right balance is crucial for success.
- Strategic Placement: Position essential elements on the page where users are most likely to notice them.
- Effective Use of Color and Fonts: Leverage color and font choices to evoke desired emotions and maintain a consistent brand image.
- Simplify Navigation: Minimize the number of links to keep users focused on conversion goals.
- Simplicity in Design: Maintain simplicity in page and site design, focusing on user-friendliness.
- Embrace Experimentation: Don’t shy away from experimentation; it’s a vital part of improvement. Learn through trial and error.
- Continuous Testing and Measurement: Continuously test and measure to achieve the desired conversion rate.
By paying attention to these comprehensive areas, you can significantly enhance your website’s conversion rate and drive better results for your online efforts.
Implementing Your Conversion Audit Results
After conducting your conversion audit, you’ll have a list of areas for improvement. Some changes can be made immediately, such as optimizing images for faster loading times. Others may require more significant adjustments. You can either tweak your existing page to boost conversions or conduct split tests to evaluate changes based on the audit’s recommendations.
Incorporate the best-performing elements into future landing pages, based on real data. Experiment, measure, and learn to continuously improve your conversion rate.
In conclusion, a thorough conversion audit and subsequent optimization efforts can help enhance your website’s conversion rate and drive more business success. By focusing on key elements like design, content, and CTAs, you can create a user-centric website that encourages conversions and boosts your online presence.