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GrahamTheDev
GrahamTheDev

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Conversion Rate Optimisation [🎯 EP0: Series introduction and posts for the year! πŸ“ˆ]

A real passion of mine that is often overlooked.

People spend so much time driving visitors to their site, only to waste the opportunity with poor UX and bad site structure / design.

Most of the UX stuff out there is "pretty", but very few people who call themselves UX experts actually focus on what is important, the user journey and "reducing friction".

In this mega series I will be covering what research tells us will help conversions, along with effective A / B testing (and the things you don't need to A / B test and can just implement if you haven't already!).


Part of my "year of the series"

This is one of 4 series I am writing this year, you can see the other series here:


What will you get out of this series?

In depth looks at techniques and tricks to monitor, track and improve your conversion rate both on site and via multiple channels!

I will be sifting through the research and experiments people have run to show you things you can definetely implement without A / B testing and the things you need to test for yourself!

Finally I will be running some experiments of my own to help me build a CRO methodology that you can steal for your own site!


Why am I writing this series?

I am building a page builder / CMS - that is the ultimate goal with all of these articles and series I am writing this year, essentially I am writing guidance for my own project!

As I want this CMS to be designed for professional bloggers, marketers etc. then I need to make sure I give them the tools they need to maximise their returns!

In order to build those tools I first have to understand all of the moving parts though and know which features are "essential" and which are "nice to haves"!

It is also useful for me personally as I apply tips and tricks to my own articles and site to increase engagement and get people to sign up to my newsletter etc. as part of my long term goals!

Although I know a decent amount about the subject it is also an excuse for me to do a load of research and look at techniques I may have ignored in the past to further my knowledge!


Ok it sounds interesting, what will the series cover?

Here is the current draft list of articles (unordered):

Item Description
Colour theory Emotions and meaning, beware differences in different cultures, men vs women on colour preferences (bright bold colours for men, soothing and subtle shades for women)
Power Words List of "power words" and phrases that motivate buyers
Andy Bound's "A, B, C" method Afters, Build Confidence, Close
Writing for skimmers (nobody reads your stuff) Headings, bulleted lists, quotes / hero sections
Say it with pictures Where people are looking, the importance of faces, stock photography that doesn't suck, graphics and vector images
Long form vs short form copy Pros and cons of both and when to use each plus SEO benefits of longer form copy
Ask questions Higher click through rates / engagements for Ad copy / email subject lines
Reading age of a 12 year old avoiding use of jargon and complex words (and how to deal with it if it is unavoidable)
Optimising Headings and titles
Gated content Provide value in exchange for action or an email address, eBooks, Resources, white papers and "bonus material"
multiple touch points It is said that you need to have 12 different touch points before someone will trust your brand / make a significant purchase
Congruency Allow people to switch devices and content consumption methods
Does dark mode actually help? Exploring whether dark mode is actually preferred by the majority of people and how to implement it properly
Deliberate complexity Sometimes you **want** to make a process more difficult to increase lead quality, how do we make sure we get the balance right
Reduce form friction Remove unnecessary fields, explain why you need information that may be sensitive
Fancy vs plain Sometimes having a simpler site converts better than a modern one, how do you find out without multiple redesigns?
Thank you and confirmation pages Don't miss an opportunity, give a bonus item that is unexpected to make customers smile and increase the chance of creating an advocate.
Should you have a phone number Trust, conversions, etc.
A logo ticker / adding logos to your home page Is it a good idea, does it build trust?
Sliders / Carousels - time to ditch them? Does a carousel actually help, does it just slow your page down? Also "banner blindness"
Background video Video is great, but background video is a waste of time and reduces conversions. How to use video effectively
Marking fields as optional Make it clear which fields are optional and required, if they are optional then do you even need them? Pros and Cons
How long should free trials be? 30 days, 14 days (kiss metrics study)
Product image size on ecommerce sites Larger image or "hover to zoom", which is better
Customer feedback is 10 times more valuable than a/b testing Ask them what you are doing right and wrong, why they didn't complete a purchase (if you have their info on an abandoned cart) etc. Also how to get customer feedback (phrasing, reward etc.)
Monitor your search bar See what people are searching for, make adjustments to categories, product names and descriptions etc.
Play around with pricing Lower doesn't necessarily mean better, random looking amounts (127 vs 129) etc.
Long Term thinking vs short term thinking How KPIs need to be carefully crafted, no use adding 20% customers a month if you reduce their lifetime value by 50%!
Pre-landing CRO Optimise your campaigns to get better prospects to the site in the first place
Heatmap tools and scroll monitoring Know where people are clicking and where they abandon pages, it can be anonymous too!
Monitor what drives traffic Does a specific keyword drive high quality traffic, optimise the page around that keyword to reassure people they are in the right place
Reassurance is sometimes off-putting "We will never spam you", "We value your privacy", be careful whether you are actually adding doubt!
Small commitments on the path to big commitments Get someone to share an article before signing up to your newsletter, get them to fill out their details for a detailed review / comparison before making a big purchase etc.
Call To Actions Frequency, size, location on page etc.
Money Back Guarantees Do money back guarantees improve your conversions, what length of time etc.
Should you have a free tier on your SAAS product? Does a free tier actually cause more harm than good with people frustrated at features they wish they had or scared they will get "cut off" if they go over a threshold
You need a blog Blogs breed trust and traffic, how to keep it on message and convert visitors to customers / into the sales process
Tell stories Make your copy engaging
Fear of missing out "only 2 left", "only available at this price for 24 hours", see which work and don't work
Social Proof Testimonials, case studies, ratings etc.
Tracking and measuring Conversion Rates The right metrics, what to measure, how to measure etc.
Perceived page loading time 1 second loses 10% of visitors, conversion increases etc,
Call to action wording "Add to cart" vs "buy now" vs "start your order" etc. The balance between assertive and unthreatening
The "F" pattern position of things on a page, how people read / scan content
Subtle animation Draw attention to key things without being too distracting
"Before you leave" Do they work or do they annoy people!
Modal popups How long before they show, do they work for you, what should they say
Dark patterns to avoid Tiny "no thankyou" text, popups, cookie acceptance etc.
the 3 click rule Simplify navigation so that people can get anywhere on the site in 3 clicks (actually about flattening the site structure etc.)
Multiple ways to pay Paypal, credit card, debit card, direct debit if appropriate, bank transfer, crypto even!
International sites Automatic currency conversion, multi language, aware of cultural faux pas with images and writing etc.
Live chat / multiple contact methods Phone line, live chat, email / contact form / WhatsAppΒ  etc. Give people options
Delivery times The faster the better for most things, offer different shipping options and let people choose a delivery date if possible, pick a better courier who gives slots during the day and make it clear that you offer this
Show delivery costs early Don't annoy customers with delivery costs added at the last stage of checkout, display them clearly on the site or include them in the price, offer free delivery over a certain amount
Retargeting Should you still do it with privacy concerns? Does it work, etc
VIP club For regular customers offer VIP discounts in exchange for a monthly fee or commitment, give people a reason to keep coming back!
Key partners When people make a purchase partner with firms who have the same customer base but do not compete and create special offers as a bonus, can also be a great additional income / upsell
After first sale follow up Follow up for a review, promote special offers, engage in fun ways, basically turn a single purchase into multiple purchases and increase the lifetime value of a customer
Increase trust (especially for high cost items) Security seals such as verisign, phone numbers, reduce errors on your site, grammar, punctuation etc.
Build a better 404 page 404s happen, make sure there is a search box, some related products, top sellers etc. give people a reason to stay if they arrived here from search engines / external links (oh and stop making "404" the largest text, nobody knows that it means!)
Familiar patterns Don't try and reinvent the wheel, put navigation and search in the places people expect to find them
Have a HTML sitemap If people can't find what they are searching for direct them to a well structured HTML sitemap in case they are looking for the wrong term etc.
Reduce the number of options On pricing pages for services keep the options simple and easy to understand, try and direct people to your most profitable offering. You may even introduce an offering that appears poor value for money on purpose that you don't actually want people to buy!
Don't use voucher codes Voucher codes and discount codes drive people away from your site and make them think that they are not getting the best deal
Socially Responsible? Shout about it If you are green, donate to charity, buy only from your Country etc. then make sure you say it, you can even make it part of your identity and split your marketing to target certain people
Progress bars on multi step forms make sure that people know where they are in a process, experiment with shorter sections early on longer multi step forms to get people "invested" in completing the process, or try reversing it to leave people with the impression of an easy process
When to ask people to sign up Check out as guest, then asked them to sign up later vs sign up for account before buying etc.
Should you have a FAQ page Does it help or hinder your conversions, concentrate on answering questions as part of your copy, if you do have a FAQ page make sure most questions are actually covered and well explained, make sure other ways to ask questions that aren't answered are highlighted such as live chat and phone numbers!

Cool, I am looking forward to it, what should I do now?

First thing is first, you should bookmark this page as it will serve as the "index" for the series so you can quickly jump between articles (I will link to each article in the above table as they are released).

Then follow me on DEV.to if you don't already!

After that the only other thing you should do is follow me on Twitter as I will be releasing some bonus material over there and upping my Twitter game too this year!


Wrapping up

I hope that this series will highlight where most UX advice is pretty rubbish and how you can optimise your own site and content for maximum conversions!

Above all though I hope that people will chip in with ideas and things that have worked (or not worked) for them so I can explore and test those also!

Hopefully over the next few months I will have a complete guide to CRO that people who find it interesting can follow and implement!


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I hope you have a fantastic 2021!

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Discussion (4)

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev Author

Any aspects of CRO I have missed that you really want explaining / covering / you would suggest I look at that aren't in the list?

Let me know in the comments.

Oh and thanks for reading this (and my other articles I just released if you have read them), have (another) ❀ and πŸ¦„ to show my appreciation!

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev Author

Well as I haven't decided the final order of the articles I might be able to do the long form vs short form article in the next few weeks for you!

Thanks a lot for the kind words and I really hope you enjoy the series! ❀