How many CRO experts do you need to change a lightbulb?
Just one. Conversion Rate Optimizers are one-man bands proficient in data analysis, psychology, copywriting, and many other arts, crafts, and sciences.
How many CRO experts do you need to boost your conversions and squeeze more revenue out of your eCommerce website?
Well, it depends. If they’re absolutely amazing like Maria Caciur (Head of Omniconvert Agency) and Nils Kattau (Founder of the Online Marketing Summit in Berlin), you only need two of them. Because they’re ruthless with the details and because they know their stuff like the real pros they are.
A while ago, Maria and Nils got together and analyzed websites submitted by users.
Here are the key tips we’ve learned from their analysis:
Table of Contents
The first thing our super-CROs noticed when they landed on this site was the fact that, well, they couldn’t see much – the pop-up blocked the screen entirely.
We’re big fans of pop-ups, regardless of whether they’re lead collectors, discount reminders or surveys. However, we’re also big fans of pop-ups that aren’t intrusive – whereas this one was a little intrusive because it blocked the view of the homepage as soon as you landed on it.
CRO Tip #1: Using pop-ups can actually boost your Conversion Rate – but you have to always make sure they don’t make the user’s experience a bad one (and especially not as soon as they have landed on your site because the next thing they’ll do is hit that “Back” button to return to Google, where they started in the first place).
Another thing to consider is the information at the very top of the website, which isn’t relevant for the user at this point in the Sales Funnel (e.g. shipping and payment information isn’t necessarily relevant for someone who has just landed on your site);
Screenshot after a Google Translate version of the website
The homepage also looks crowded and a bit chaotic.
CRO Tip #2: User-experience is crucial. You wouldn’t let a physical store fall into a state of decay. So why would things be any different for an online store?
One of the first particularities that struck Nils was the header, which looked outdated. The HD graphics on the header were inconsistent (low-quality on the first page, better on a second one). Consistency in design is important. This will make the visitors feel secure.
HOMEPAGE BANNER DESIGN
Banner Design on a Second Page
CRO Tip #3: HD graphics make your site look good, just like an appealing window decor makes you more interested in a physical store. To make sure your graphics look good even on a high-end monitor, try Retina.js. You just have to install the script and it will automatically replace your website’s images with high-resolution versions.
Secondly, the page layout of the site would probably need a bit of re-adjustment as well. To be more specific, the newsletter box stood out to Nils: It was too far down on the page, which means that it’s likely that it didn’t get much attention from users. If you want to see where your users spend the most time on a page, you can use HotJar to track their behavior on site (where they spend more time, where they click, and so on).
The copy wasn’t convincing for the newsletter box either. To begin with, as Nils put it, the copy was quite bland and unconvincing.
- It simply said “Subscribe to our newsletter. Get the latest information about games and hardware directly in the mailbox”, which is rarely actually persuasive.
- The copy also focused on the features of the subscription, rather than the benefits the user would get if they entered their email address. Once you focus on the benefits, the copy will sound different (e.g. “Never miss a game release”).
- The word “newsletter” could have been avoided because most people associate it with “spam”. “Get our daily/ weekly/ monthly updates on gaming” would have been better.
In this case, the newsletter box was very important because the site was a news-based one, so returning visitors are extremely important. For many websites, the newsletter box is the main conversion happening on the site – and this means that it’s even more important to make sure it looks and read perfectly.
CRO Tip#4: Be very careful with how you position everything on your website because it can make or break the entire Conversion Rate Optimization process.
CRO Tip #5: Likewise, be careful with your choice of words in every single instance. Even one wrong word can completely alter the user’s journey on your site.
CRO Tip #6: Know your audience and know what they want to see on your site. WHO is the most important question to ask yourself when you create a website, because user-centricity should be at the top of your list of priorities. Always.
One of the first issues that struck Nils about this Russian website was, again, the positioning of the elements on the homepage.
More specifically, the phone number is positioned right under the logo – whereas it would have made much more sense to place it at the top right-hand side of the page. That’s where most sites add their phone number, and people are already used to looking for it there – so why not make it easy for them to find your contact information?
Maria also noticed a couple of issues with the copy on the homepage as well. First of all, it was rather difficult to read it because the contrast between the text and the background made it more difficult than it should be.
Secondly, the copy seemed to talk more about the company, rather than the user and the benefits the user would get from using the company’s products (nota bene: the original site is in Russian, so this assumption was made based on the Google Translate version – we cannot give an opinion on the style of the copy itself, but we can give one on the intent behind the copy).
CRO Tip #7: Your logo needs to be clear and it needs to stand out. Adding any other element near it will lower its impact (and it will lower the impact of said element as well).
CRO Tip #8: User-centricity is everything when it comes to both the design and the copy of a website. Make your texts easy to read, and make them about the customers, rather than you.
Furthermore, the heavy use of stock photography is another issue Nils noticed – all photos on the homepage looked very general, which can have a heavy impact on users landing on the website.
CRO Tip #9: Avoid using stock photography as much as possible. Your site’s photos need to reflect reality (your office, the people working there, and so on). Use real images – they are much more authentic, which creates a sense of trustworthiness for visitors landing on your site. As a test, try removing all copy from your site’s pages and ask a stranger what the site is all about: if they are at least close to the main type of products/ services you offer, your images are good.
The “Download” CTA was also quite confusing because it didn’t provide much information on what was to be downloaded. Also, the technical validation of the button could be improved as well (the “Download” button gets green when a correct email address is entered, but when a wrong email address is entered, the user isn’t informed that they have made a mistake).
CTA Download Button at the moment of the site analysis (has changed meanwhile)
CRO Tip #10: If you want to include a lead generation form on your website, make sure you explain to users what it is that they are getting in return for entering their email address.
Nils and Maria noticed a series of issues that, when fixed, could have a major impact on the site’s Conversion Rate.
First of all, the slider on the homepage was not necessarily the best option, mostly because it showed only one offer/ each slide and most users don’t wait for 20 seconds for the next slide to appear (nor do they actually click through the slides). Consequently, the majority of the potential customers that land on this website would only get to see one of the offers.
CRO Tip #11: Think like a user and test your site through the eyes of your ideal customer. What would you do if you were in their shoes?
On the category page, Nils and Maria noticed that the product labels looked like CTAs. Positioning them differently (at the top of the product image, instead of under it) would create less confusion.
CRO Tip #12: Originality is great – but you shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Some things are always the same on all similar websites for a reason: it is the tested way to convert more users into buyers.
On the cart page, Maria noticed that users need to log in to be able to place an order – this might seem a good idea if you want to collect more leads for newsletters, but it can also be perceived as intrusive by a lot of users (and it can be a hurdle in their way to making a purchase).
A note was added under the login pop-up, saying that if you don’t have an account you can create one in the next step – which created the second obstacle in placing the actual order.
CRO Tip #13: Don’t make it difficult for users to actually place an order. Make it more appealing for them to create an account, but don’t make this an absolute requirement. And if you do, make it easy for them to actually create the account.
The first issue noticed on this website was the fact that neither the logo nor the navigation was actually visible. Furthermore, the text on the image was difficult to read because of the contrast between the text and the image itself.
Since the analysis Maria and Nils made, Blushandbar has changed the positioning of their logo and made it more visible.
Moreover, the homepage only showed one product – which might put off users landing on the website looking for a completely different product.
Blushandbar.com’s Homepage at the moment of the analysis
Blushandbar.com’s Homepage at the moment of the analysis
CRO Tip #14: Make sure the crucial elements on your site are easily visible: the logo, the navigation, the text itself. The less effort the user makes to understand what your site is all about, the more you will convert.
On the product page, Nils and Maria noticed that the benefits of buying those specific products were below the CTA. Normally, it would be the other way around because people want to hear about the benefits before they buy anything.
Product information was difficult to find, there were no testimonials visible, and the fact that the Facebook picture of the user was pulled into the site was a bit sketchy (and potentially non-compliant with GDPR).
CRO Tip #15: Treat your site’s visitors the same way you would treat customers entering a physical store: put everything on display for them (products, information about the products, call-to-actions), follow their normal path to purchase in the way you arrange the main elements on page (e.g. they first want to see the benefits, and then consider buying), and don’t scare them off by being intrusive.
The main issue Nils noticed with this fashion website in Germany was its copy. Being a native speaker, he was able to draw a very important conclusion: the copy on the website was poorly written and poorly delivered at the same time (mostly written for SEO purposes, not for users, placed at the bottom of the page where most users don’t scroll, etc.).
Furthermore, the text was badly formatted as well – the large chunks of text make the copy unappealing to the vast majority of the users, but a text that’s split into more paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings would be much more likely to be read.
Zalon.de’s Homepage Copy (Google Translate Version)
CRO Tip #16: Search Engine Optimization and user-centricity should not be mutually exclusive. SEO focuses a lot on optimizing your site for an algorithm (the search engine’s). And while that algorithm might bring users to your website, a good copy will convert them into actual buyers.
The language barrier may have been an issue for the copy here, but leaving that aside, both Nils and Maria agreed that this site had some pretty major issues on the security front.
For starters, their connection was not private because they didn’t have a valid SSL certificate – a very important element when it comes to building trust.
Moreover, the site had an unusual way of ordering products – they used a form to require the payment details from the user, but nowhere on the site (or on the so-called “cart page”) was it specified what exactly the user would order.
Thecoffeehouse.vn’s Order Page (at the moment of the analysis)
Since the analysis was made, Thecoffeehouse.vn have changed their site slightly. They still do not have an SSL certificate, but their design has suffered modifications that make their service somewhat clearer. Our advice now is that this could be improved, as well as the entire user experience on the site.
CRO Tip #17: A lot of people still have issues trusting online products and service providers – and that’s understandable, given the fact that anyone can create a site and sell something online. Get a valid SSL certificate and always be very specific about what your site is offering.
All of these tips were offered at a quick glance of the site. Keep in mind that Conversion Rate Optimization is more than this. Quantitative and qualitative research complement this type of heuristic analysis of a site to form a potent CRO hypothesis. A/B Tests, experiments, and surveys validate the hypothesis and help an eCommerce Manager implement the best changes to boost their CR.
We hope Nils’ and Maria’s tips gave you a bit of boost on your Conversion Rate Optimization journey. It’s going to be a joyride – but you’re going to love every minute of it.
We promise :).