Not too long ago, online marketers used to focus only on increasing website traffic. However, that changed when they realized that the number of people who come to your website is not as important as how many of them perform the desired action. In other words, today it’s all about how many website visitors convert.
This is why the focus on conversion rates is very high at the moment. But even with all that effort, the average website conversion rate is only 2.35%. If you want to get more conversions, you need to optimize your website for them. And this whole process starts with a conversion rate optimization audit.
What exactly is a CRO audit?
A conversion rate optimization audit (also known as a CRO audit) is a data-based research and assessment process that determines the state of your website. It’s conducted to find any conversion barriers and bottlenecks that stop your website visitors from converting.
When you perform a conversion rate optimization audit, you don’t have to depend on random guesses and speculations to determine the issues on your website. You will be doing individual and personalized tests that reveal your website’s historical data, needs, as well as motivations of your visitors.
If you want to create a flawless CRO process, an audit needs to be the first step. It will allow you to pinpoint any issues in your conversion funnel and learn more about your website visitors’ behavior. And with this knowledge, you can achieve great results.
What are the benefits of a conversion rate optimization audit?
At the foundation of any good conversion rate optimization process, you will find a CRO audit. But the end goal of the audit isn’t to provide an instant increase in your conversion rates. Instead, it’s to shed light on the various problems that could be stopping you from making sales.
The biggest and main benefit is that you will have an insight into what conversion barriers you need to address. Moreover, this audit will also help you understand your customers better, as well as their wants and needs, and learn how to cater to them.
What website pages should you audit?
Performing a conversion rate audit on all of your web pages would be a waste of time and resources. After all, not all of your pages were designed to lead to conversion. Therefore, not all of them require an audit.
There are two things you will need in order to start your audit – a landing page and a sizable amount of traffic that is targeted on that page.
It’s important to remember that your landing pages can be a variety of different pages such as:
- Product page
- Category page
- Cart page
While you can perform your audit on all of these pages at the same time, it would be wiser to perform it page by page.
The big question for most people performing an audit for the first time is where they should start. This differs from person to person, but the best option is to start with a page that has the highest impact on your website’s overall conversions.
Most people make the mistake of starting their conversion audit with the homepage. And while your homepage is very important, it probably doesn’t provide instant conversions like your product pages or cart pages.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t audit your homepage. The smartest choice would be to leave it for last and first focus on pages that are more likely to convert visitors.
How to conduct a successful CRO audit step by step
We need to point out that there isn’t a universal CRO audit that would fit every website. Naturally, your audit process will largely depend on your website. That being said, here are the proven steps you need to follow when performing an audit.
1. Set your goals
Before you make any changes to your website, you need to know what you’re hoping to achieve. Determine what goals you have for your business and the conversion goals you’re hoping to achieve with this conversion optimization audit.
In fact, with the conversion rate optimization audit, you can achieve a wide range of different goals. Some businesses might want to increase sales, others would like to generate more leads, while some are looking to increase the number of newsletter subscriptions.
In short, goals are unique to every company. You also might be looking to increase chatbot conversations or maybe get your potential customers to download a piece of content.
2. Analyze customer data
The importance of customer data in CRO audits is more than obvious. Since one of the main reasons why someone performs this audit is to get a better understanding of their customers, skipping this step would be a big mistake.
If you don’t understand your ideal customers, you’ll never be able to optimize your site in a way that makes it appealing to your target audience.
Just to make it clear, when you analyze customer data for a conversion optimization audit, you need to look at more than just the general customer profiles you already have.
Analyze the behavior of everyone who visits your site and determine why they performed the actions they did. Stop relying on your own assumptions and ideas. It’s not about what you think they will do, and it’s not about blind guessing.
Also, this level of customer data analysis can’t be done manually, which is why you need to use tools when performing a conversion rate optimization audit. While there are many different CRO tools available on the market, one you can’t miss out on is Google Analytics.
With this free tool, you can analyze your website’s metrics in great detail and find out a plethora of valuable information. You can learn about conversion rates by acquisition, customer demographics, landing page performance, traffic source, and much more.
3. Analyze your website
The next step in your audit should be to analyze your website. It’s very important to know how your visitors interact with different parts of your website, including its design, layout, content, and assets.
Let’s start with the design and layout. The most important element here that you need to pay attention to is your CTAs and their overall performance. If they’re not bringing high conversion rates, try to determine why it’s so by using analytics tools.
Next, take a look at your pages and posts that have high bounce rates and look at them through the eyes of your visitors:
- Is there something that might be off-putting to the people who land on these pages?
- Would different formatting make the experience on those pages more enjoyable?
When it comes to design and layout, user testing is the best way to determine what elements work.
Moving on to content and assets, you need to understand that this is something your website visitors engage with the most. If you have stale and uninspiring content, you can’t expect people to stick around.
At least, you need to have:
- Captivating content
- Engaging headlines
- Amazing pictures
- Social proof
- Multiple methods of contact
- Compelling CTAs
4. Test your UX, forms, and checkout process
A big part of a CRO audit is understanding the importance of user experience, forms, and the checkout process.
Evaluate user experience
User experience is created on every part of your website. To guarantee your UX is great, you need to make sure that:
- The content you provide to visitors is of high quality, accessible, and useful.
- The design is appealing.
- Your website is responsive, has fast loading speeds, and doesn’t have any broken links or error pages.
- Your content, brand, and website are all trustworthy and credible.
Test your forms
Forms are a necessary part of any website, but you need to be careful about how you create them.
Here are the two rules you need to abide by when creating forms:
- Their purpose needs to be clear to anyone who’s filling them out.
- The forms shouldn’t be too long and drawn out.
However, the story changes when it comes to creating forms that are meant to attract qualified leads. For this purpose, you should use longer forms because only those who are interested in your business will be willing to fill them out. And with longer forms, you will get more actionable data.
Evaluate your checkout process
Did you know that most sales for online businesses are lost during the checkout process? In fact, in 2021 the estimated value of items abandoned in online carts amounted to as much as $4 trillion. And the main culprit for that is a badly created checkout process.
Take a look at your cart abandonment rates and see how many conversions you’re losing at the finish line. If the number is high, take a look at your checkout process and determine if there’s anything you can do to optimize it.
Create a CRO plan
Once you’ve performed your audit, you’ll be able to identify all the areas that need to be improved and come up with a CRO plan. Resist the urge of making changes as you go, but instead document your findings and come up with ideas you can implement later.
You can work alone or you can hire CRO services and let conversion experts help you optimize your conversion rates. If you know where the underlying issues are, it will be easy to find solutions to your problems and improve your conversion process.
Start your CRO process with a CRO audit
In today’s world of hyper-competitive online stores and companies that are looking to make money all over the internet, it’s hard to stay in the race. For some online merchants, low conversion rate stats are just an indication they aren’t doing enough to stay competitive in the world of online selling.
But there’s no need to give up. If you know how to perform a conversion rate optimization audit, you will see exactly why your website visitors aren’t converting as much as they could be. And when you identify the problem, the solution will be just around the corner.