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Defining the CRO Process: DOs and DON’Ts of Conversion Rate Optimisation

If you are like the majority of our clients, you come to us with a problem:

“How can I scale the amount of traffic I receive, so I can make more money?”


“I just want to get more conversions from my website.”

The thing with traffic is that it’s merely a starting point – converting that traffic is your end goal.

If you already have a considerable amount of traffic, you need to focus on conversion rate optimisation.

More traffic doesn’t always mean more sales. Because no matter how much traffic you have, if your website funnel is ‘leaking’, you are losing money.

I want my website to make more money

Let me clarify this point with an example:

Let’s say your website attracts 100,000 visitors a month, which generates 1,000 leads. Your website conversion rate would be 1%.

What if you wanted to generate 2,000 leads per month? You could try to double your traffic and get 200,000 visitors a month. Or you could get more leads from your existing traffic by increasing your conversion rate to 2%.

Conversion rate optimisation works because it’s easier to sell to people who are already familiar with your brand as opposed to building trust with a new audience.

What is conversion rate optimisation (CRO), exactly?

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a data-driven process of improving a website experience to get more visitors to take a specific action.

The CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them from completing your goals.

CRO is not a one-time fix. It is a cross-functional marketing discipline that involves a team of user experience designers (UX), website analytics specialists, copywriters and web designers to coordinate effectively.

What is a conversion?

A conversion is a general term for a visitor completing a goal on your website.

Generally, websites have 2 types of goals: macro goals and micro goals.

Macro goals are your ultimate goals like a purchase, a call or requesting a quote. Micro goals are smaller conversions that lead users to your final goal. Micro goals can be signing up for an email list, downloading an eBook/whitepaper, creating an account, etc.

What is a conversion rate and how to calculate it?

Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that converted [i.e completed a goal] divided by your overall site traffic [i.e no of sessions] and multiplied by 100. The higher the conversion rate the better.

how to calculate conversion rate

What is a good conversion rate?

A good conversion rate depends on your industry and competition. Below are some rough industry standards to have in mind:

  • 1-2% in the B2B sector
  • 2% in the medium-value B2Cs sector
  • 3-4% in the low-value B2C sector

How to do conversion rate optimisation the right way: our CRO process

There is a good and a bad way to perform conversion rate optimisation.

The bad CRO is based on assumptions, guesses, doing something because your competitors are doing it or because your boss says so.

Here’s what a bad CRO hypothesis looks like: “Let’s change that button colour to red because it worked out for a competitor’s X.”

Good CRO process, on the other hand, is using data-backed insights to make informed decisions.

Good conversion rate optimisers know why users do what they do on your website, so their hypotheses look something like this: “I believe ___________ will result in _______ because __________. “

Our CRO services rely on a robust framework because this provides a clear direction for your optimisation programme and prevents you from running aimless tests.

In our 18 years of experience of working with 400+ clients, we’ve seen that the journey from zero to hero usually takes 8 weeks.

I want to increase my conversion rate

Our CRO process goes beyond ‘best practises’— below are actionable, specific steps we take to improve your website conversions:

Step #1: Research phase – identifying the areas of improvement
Step #2: Hypotheses phase – constructing a well-defined hypothesis
Step #3: Prioritisation phase – prioritising the testing ideas
Step #4: Testing phase – choosing the right testing methods and running experiments
Step #5: Learning phase – rinse and repeat

Let’s start from the beginning …

Step #1: Research phase – identifying the areas of improvement

 The first step in our CRO process is to conduct a detailed analysis of how and why people are using your website. This lets us create informed solutions.

This phase consists of quantitative and qualitative research. When quantitative CRO research tells us “where is the problem” on your website, qualitative CRO research tell us “what the problem is”.

Let’s look at the difference between qualitative and quantitative research in more detail …

Quantitative analysis provides information like: 

  • Where users enter your site
  • Where users abandon your conversion funnel
  • Which features they engage with, i.e where on a page or within your site do they spend their time

How do we get this data: Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Heatmaps, Scroll maps, Visitor recordings.

Qualitative analysis provides information like:

  • Why did they engage? 
  • What about the page or product appealed to them?
  • What do they think your site offers that makes you different from competitors?
  • How would they describe your product or service to a friend? In essence, how do they talk about what you do?

How do we get this data: On-site surveys, user testing, satisfaction surveys.

During the research stage, we uncover the conversion opportunities that will become the foundation for your comprehensive CRO test roadmap and research-led hypotheses.

Step #2: Hypotheses phase – constructing a well-defined hypothesis

A hypothesis is an informed statement based on the insight from quantitative and qualitative data. You can use this template to build successful hypotheses: “I believe ___________ will result in _______ because __________. “

Hypotheses are beliefs you can test.

A structured hypothesis sets the base for better results through optimisation. This means that even if your result fails, you can retrace your steps and correct the path.

Step #3: Prioritisation phase – prioritising the testing ideas

By the end of your research, you are likely to come up with many hypotheses you want to test.

How should you go about deciding which one to test first?

We prioritise through the lens of PIE – potential, importance, and ease. You want to start optimising pages with the most traffic, most revenue potential and with changes you can make quickly.

Every client has ‘low-hanging fruit’ on their website that we can implement quickly, cheaply and with great impact.

Step #4: Testing phase – choosing the right testing methods and running experiments

The testing phase is the stage where we test out different versions of your web page based on the hypothesis.

This phase is one of the most important stages for us because it’s easy to get wrong.

Did you know that 1 in 7 A/B tests fail? In many cases your hypothesis is right, but the implementation is poor. 

Don’t make A/B testing mistakes, contact our CRO specialist today!

The ratio improves considerably when optimisation testing is done by experienced CRO practitioners.

We are experienced in performing successful A/B and multivariate tests across different verticals and businesses.

Testing principles we live by:

  • A negative result from your hypothesis is not a failure, it’s just another learning experience
  • Results from one test should lead you to another hypothesis, and then another, and another
  • Never stop testing or you’ll get stagnant conversion rates

Step #5: Learning phase – rinse and repeat

The learning phase is never complete. Conversion optimisation is an iterative process. Each test brings newer dimensions to light about user behaviour. Each test we conduct feeds into the next test, leading to better results in an incremental way.

The learning phase requires very strong analytical skills. It’s critical to have staff or agency with the right skills to analyse and create actionable plans.

Contact our skilled CRO experts today!

This analysis phase is crucial to helping you close the conversion optimisation loop and fuel further optimisation efforts.

Summary: Why is process-driven CRO important for your website?

Hopefully, our step-by-step CRO process above gave you a solid understanding of how to increase your conversion rates time and time again.

The internet is brimming with ‘quick fixes on how to boost your conversions’, which shouldn’t be taken as recommendations but only as ideas you could test.

Constant testing doesn’t just mean a possible increase in conversions, it also leads to better user experience.

Removing barriers, simplifying forms, clarifying navigation: all these things lead to improved customer experience and as such – a more profitable website for you.

Keep learning about CRO:

Powerful Secrets of SEO Copywriting You’ve Never Heard Of [scroll down to see our definite list of power words split by emotion]

6 Proven Ecommerce Marketing Tactics That Will Explode Your Sales [find out how we’ve optimised checkout process, improved product pages, email campaigns and more]

Article by

Tudor Cioaba

Tudor has over 5 years of experience in CRO, helping businesses get more customers from their existing traffic. He has a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies. He loves to travel, eat good food, and find new ways to improve all aspects of his life—he's a true optimiser at heart.

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